Ann Arnett Ferguson’s book “Bad Boys” discusses the way educators and other people in the school systems, and society as a whole view black youth in today’s world. There are many stereotypes that are discussed and stigmas that stick with black children through their entire lives in Ferguson’s book. In order to prevent further damage to this part of our society the reader should take a long hard look at the problems brought forth by “Bad Boys”.
One problem that Ferguson discusses in her book is adultification. According to her definition adultification is the idea that teachers and other adults see black children as willfully bad. Since they are seen in this light it creates an idea that black boys have adult motivations thus, making black boys seem like criminals instead of kids. Also, along the same lines, black girls are perceived as dangerously sexual. While this issue seems sort of ridiculous, these things actually happen in our public school system. While white children are seen as naturally naughty, essentially authority figures adopt the “boys will be boys” mentality when white boys get in trouble or act out, instead of issuing punishment equally to white children who act out. Ferguson states, “One the one hand children are assumed to be dissembling, devious, because they are more egocentric. On the other hand, there is an attribution of innocence to their wrongdoing. In both cases, this is understood to be a temporary condition, a stage prior to maturity.”(80)
Another problem that Ferguson observes in her book is the two controlling images of black males in schools. She says, “Two cultural images stigmatize black males in the United States today: one represents him as a criminal, and the other depicts him as an endangered species. I found that both of these images were commonly invoked at Rosa Parks School for identifying, classifying, and making punishment decisions by the adults...
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