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Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity (Law, Meaning, and Violence) Reprint Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0472088492
ISBN-10: 0472088491
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ferguson is Associate Professor of African American Studies and Women's Studies, Smith College.
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Product Details

  • Series: Law, Meaning, and Violence
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press; Reprint edition (August 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472088491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472088492
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book and anyone interested in the future of not only black children but all children in the public school system must read it. Ferguson reintroduces us to a world many of us have long left behind and almost forgotten-elementary school. But more importantly she gives us a new perspective on the plight of young black men. Looking specifically at how the public school system constructs and imagines young black boys as troublemakers, Ferguson reveals how well intentioned educators contribute and reinforce negative and racist stereotypes about black men. Fegerson, however, is at her best when she demonstrates how young black boys through daily resistance (understood by teachers as making trouble) attempt to challenge a system that devalues their ways of knowing and expressing themselves. Read this book and give it to to a teacher, a mother, a father, a grandparent, anyone who is interested it making sure that all children get a quality education.
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Format: Hardcover
Bad Boys by Ann Arnette Ferguson was an amazing book. I appreciated the ways that the theory that I have been reading flowed out of it. The book reminded me of the experiences that I have had teaching, in particular the school I taught at last year. Last year I taught at a school which was attended by predominately African American students. Many of the children?s experiences that Ferguson described were extremely familiar to me. I thought that she did an excellent job of illustrating the ways that cultural and social reproduction is espoused in schools.
The descriptions of the forms of discipline within schools and the ways in which teachers are expected to regulate discipline were very familiar to me. In fact this book addressed the very reasons that it was hard for me to be a teacher within our current education system. The job description of ?normalizer? did not fit my personality. The pressure that I felt from the principal of my school was very much in line with the following quote from page 43.
One of the systemic pressures making for more oppressive, punitive relations for African American children is the fear that white middle-class families will increasingly pull their children out of the public school and send them to private schools. Pressure is felt by the student specialist and ?Jail Keeper? to contain, suppress, and conceal damaging behavior that could contribute to the school?s reputation as a hostile environment.
This pressure in my school was not limited to the people who had the specific job description of disciplinarian (which there were three of, not including the principal), it was put onto every teacher within the school.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some will not like the content of this book because it disturbs their "post-racial" world view of United States society. Some will not like it because they themselves stand indicted.

Others will weep or nearly weep as did I, because Dr. Ferguson affirms that what was hoped to be a local, misread problem is exactly what it appears to be. If you look at the inner-city and wonder what are the roots of the chaos, mayhem and poverty, you will find a major root in this book - the administration of public education in Black and Latino communities.

Education is the one humanly administered faculty that can level the playing field for all people. It is an indispensable foundation for true democracy, creating intellectual capital in the form of invention, creativity, industry and prosperity. Unfortunately, public education as an institution has been used to deform and debase the intellect and potential of some, a device to manipulate self-esteem, achievement and to create a class of underlings and slaves.

I can say no more than you must read this one and Dr.Raymond Winbush's "The Warrior Method: A Parents' Guide to Rearing Healthy Black Boys" .
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Format: Paperback
I was excited to begin reading this book and to learn how the school system unproportionately suspended and disciplined African American males. I was not expecting to learn how the author related the concept of masculinity and discipline into cause and effect paradigm. Even though this class and other sociological classes have taught me to think for myself, ask questions, and expand on concepts presented to me, I am in agreement with the theories and evidence that the author, Ann Arnett Ferguson, presents in her book.

The book begins with an introduction of the community that Rosa Parks Elementary School belongs to. Ferguson is conducting her research here for her doctorate. She has many forms of observing and gathering data needed for her thesis. Sometimes she is a "fly on the wall", a quiet observer. Other times Ferguson is more involved in participant groups, tutoring, and one-on-one interviews. She gathers the most information and insights through her interviews with the children that attend the school and their families. She credits the interview sessions as a valuable way to let the children ask her questions, gain her trust, and for her to develop a deeper understanding of her own strengths and weaknesses and those of her interviewees.

After observing the pupils of the school in the hallways, after school tutoring sessions, and inside the classroom, Ferguson makes an important discovery that becomes the foundation of her research. Her breakthrough came when she stumbled upon two small rooms in the school. These rooms provided discipline, punishment, and seclusion for students who were not following the classroom or school rules. The first room, used for minor infractions, was known throughout the population of the students as "The Punishing Room".
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