4 April 2013
And Why They Are Not Naughty By Nature But By Culture
“Don’t Believe the Hype.” I believe the title of the very first chapter perfectly introduces and summarizes Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity. These young boys are adultified and are tied to these two controlling images of the criminal and the endangered species. The way these young boys are treated in school is a parallel to how they will be treated in juvenile detentions centers and in a lot of cases the penal system when they reach adulthood. Due to the adultification and controlling images black male youth develop different coping mechanisms to deal with these negative assumptions they know are made about them. This includes they way they act out in their classrooms. The way in which these young boys are behaving is not because they are “naughty by nature,” it is an act, or a defense mechanism that is brought upon by how they are treated by educators and other authority figures.
“[Black boys] are not seen as childlike but adultified; as black males, they are denied the masculine dispensation constituting white males as being ‘naturally naughty’ and are discerned as willfully bad (80).” School is supposed to be a place where children learn, develop and grow. However, when a child is adultified this cannot really occur. This means that adults they interact with believe that their future is pre-determined. A common phrase used without the book is “that kid has a jail cell with his name on it.” When educators have this kind of mentality where they believe they are not going to be able to change this student they do not attempt to—in their head they are as developed, as they will ever be, just as an adult would be.
The two controlling images that are tied to adultification are the criminal and the endangered species (83). Criminalization was touched on a bit when the bit about teachers believing...