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Balance: Advancing Identity Theory by Engaging the Black Male Adolescent Paperback – January 11, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


David Wall Rice has written a fascinating book that adds a new dimension to the scholarship on Black men. Not nearly enough study has been done of Black male success, and Rice's analysis of how Black males cope and thrive is an important contribution. (Kevin Merida, associate editor of the Washington Post and editor of the anthology Being a Black Man: At the Corner of Progress and Peril.)

In this engaging and overdue work, David Wall Rice develops a theoretical strategy for achieving more respectful and insightful understandings of the situated dynamics and agendas of identity-constitution and identity-maintenance—'identity statis'—of African American male adolescents. With such understandings should come recognition and appreciation of the positive accomplishments and tremendous potential of this much maligned, often troubled, too frequently at-risk segment of the U.S. American population. (Lucius T. Outlaw Jr., professor of philosophy and director of African American studies program, Vanderbilt University and author of Critical Social Th)

Balance signals the presence of a fresh voice in the field of psychology and hip-hop culture. David Wall Rice is an intellectual architect of the emerging post-modern engagement of culture studies and the social sciences as they pertain to the African American male experience and beyond. His work is richly informed and authenticated by his immersion in the Morehouse College milieu and offers important insight to all who read it. This is an important book for our time. (Robert M. Franklin, Jr., president of Morehouse College and author of Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities)

This book presents a masterful discussion of the cultural and racial identity of young African American males. Rice uses a strengths-based approach to explore the concept of human identity through group sessions with six African American male teenagers. The author listens carefully to the voices of these young men as they struggle for authenticity and balance in their lives as they are consistently confronted by negative stereotypes of themselves. Rice provides a valuable analysis of a group rarely understood by most Americans. (Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president, University of Maryland Baltimore County)

The very survival of the black race in America turns on our ability to address and arrest the metastasizing social crisis of the young black male. David Wall Rice in his fine new book helps us to decode and understand the identity issues that have formed at the core of this dilemma, while having us take seriously the heavy responsibility we must share for the safeguarding of our future. (Randall Robinson, founder and past president of TransAfrica and author of Quitting America: The Departure of a Black Man from His Native Land)

Identity-talk is hard talk. Rice offers us a provocative way of tackling not only the difficult issues around identity formation, he simultaneously reminds us—in a manner that is bold and unflinching—of the tremendous power and resilience of African American men. A wonderful contribution indeed! (Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., professor of religion, Princeton University and author of In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America)

About the Author

David Wall Rice is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Morehouse College.

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More About the Author

Born in Washington, DC, living elementary school years in Los Angeles, California and coming of age in Arlington, Texas, David Wall Rice calls on a diverse set of experiences in framing his work as an educator, writer and an advocate for social justice. David is currently a professor of psychology at Morehouse College where he leads the Identity Orchestration Research Lab, a strengths-based lab that works to understand and to elicit behavioral bests. This emphasis on positives is an approach that frames David's work beyond the academy. As a trained journalist and research scientist, David writes and speaks extensively on youth culture, music culture, media, politics, psychology and faith. He counts among his greatest achievements his consistent work with and for people from places of affirmation. "I appreciate and respect the access that starting from positive spaces can yield," says Rice. "This doesn't mean that we ignore the negatives, it means that we begin with a positive to get a positive. As a rule we have a problem seeing the pluses unless there are negatives that anchor them." Rice continues, "being with the people of Haiti, learning from their strength in the aftermath of the 2010 Earthquake; having a high school student that I worked with while in grad school explain that what we talked about during a difficult time was important to her - now as a physician - that is what it's all about. It's about pushing beyond the film of pathology to empower and to make free." David graduated from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, earned a Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and a Doctorate in Personality Psychology from Howard University. Presently David is Contributor to the national morning news program The Takeaway, is Editorial Advisor for The Gordon Commission and serves as Co-Director of Morehouse's Cinema, Television and Emerging Media Studies (CTEMS) program. David has also provided commentary for major networks, newspapers, magazines, has written peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and is writing his second book for Rowman & Littlefield Publishers entitled, I Ain't No Joke: Identity orchestration through the narratives of hip-hop lyricism. David's current research looks at identity and the self within the recast social context of the "Obama Era," and the psychology of strength as informed by study in Israel, Haiti and Ghana.