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Youth Held at the Border: Immigration, Education, and the Politics of Inclusion (0) Paperback – December 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lisa (Leigh) Patel is an associate professor of education at Boston College. She has been a journalist, a teacher, and a state-level policymaker. Visit her website at Lisapatel.org.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press (December 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807753890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807753897
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tom Leighton on February 3, 2013
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Youth Held at the Border: Immigration, Education, and the Politics of Inclusion by Lisa (Leigh) Patel, Foreword by Michele Fine, Teacher's College Columbia University, 2013.

Leigh Patel's research gives us stories of immigrant young people who as they come of age, understand themselves while they wrestle endemic and socially defined otherness. The dozen academically referenced and empathetically recounted studies of young people who confront and struggle as they resolve unwanted societal definitions of themselves, move us beyond the discourse of "push and pull," the familiar grist of movement and migration discourse. Leigh Patel's young adult study subjects are active, alive with personal voice and with a vitality that propels us through invisible undercurrents of migrant dilemmas of dignity, identity and stereotype.

At a recent presentation on immigrant youth Leigh read from "Double Consciousness," one of 12 researched pieces. It is an interrogation of a verbal encounter around skin color between two young women; a lighter skinned 18-year-old from the Dominican Republic who through a seemingly innocuous remark discomforted a darker skinned 16-year-old from Haiti. With the spirit and protocol of participatory action research Patel immerses her readers articulating the feelings of "otherness" followed by sensitive insight elucidates the knowledge unearthed with her personal experience of stereotype.

A compelling read, this compendium of ethnographies takes its readers into plumbing depths of migrant experience beyond the flat prose and restraint of policy papers and legal pronouncements. We learn about the migrant quest not just for creature comforts but for a sense of self and the intangibles associated with a freedom of spirit. I especially recommend this work to anyone who works with young people.
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Lisa (Leigh) Patel has written a remarkable document for our times. With the rare and much needed wisdom and compassion of one who has both endured and been a witness to the racist, xenophobic, ignorant ethos of any dominant culture identifying itself in the face of the "other", Ms. Patel weaves a story out of stories - narratives of young immigrants living in Boston - and radiates the voices from these stories into a larger mandala of sound and fury that, rather than signifying nothing, articulates the depths of what ails the human condition today, perhaps always, as a matter of heart, of life, of death.

To know, understand and digest the implications of what Ms. Patel conveys in her tales of young people and their families, their governments, their histories/herstories, their journeys, their teachers, friends and bosses...all the variables that impact externally on their lives as either undocumented or very much documented but marginalized human beings...is to begin to look carefully at one's own life in relation to the cleaning lady, the banana one is about to eat; to understand in a new light the way a liberal democract likes to do their vocal exercises regarding truth and freedom in the face of lies and oppression...only to be in total denial of their own complicitness in systems, structures and ways of thinking that perpetuate and deepen oppression rather than to highlight and dissolve it.

It's hard book to read and for that reason, in addition to being a hard book to put down, requires of the reader a willingness to "lean into" that discomfort. You don't have to be a masochist or sadist to be able to recognize your own culpabiity in a world of suffering. Neither do you have to be a saint.
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Patel provides personal stories to frame the how policies, beliefs and culture influence education for immigrants. She effectively demonstrates, through personal relationships, the impact of a school that gets to know their students. Equally riveting is Patel's exposure of the impact of contact zones and the myth of the singular story of adolescence or immigration. I highly recommend this book for any teacher or school leaders that wants to build cohesive relationships with their students.
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By Amazon Customer on October 18, 2013
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This book was great! The author did an excellent job with her research and getting it across in the book.
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