The Book Bad Boys

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Bad Boys
In the book Bad Boys, Ann Arnett Feruson originally sets out to look at how institutions create and preserve a sort of racial order, and also how the idea of what race is influences how people view themselves as individuals and as part of a larger community. This leads her into a more specific topic, and a close look at young black males in the education system. What she finds is that black boys are looked at differently than boys in general, and they often looked upon in a negative manner. Teachers treat them differently, and are quicker to punish them for things. This is partially due to the concept of adultification. Rather than looking at actions as childish or naïve, the teachers look at the boys as “adults.” They assume that the misbehavior is intentional and that the children are fully aware of their actions. This negative idea the teachers held leads to many boys being victims of symbolic violence, which is the concept that words and standards can be as damaging and can cause injury that is as painful as a physical wound. At Rosa Parks Elementary School, the teachers labeled many of the black boys as, “unsalvageable,” and, “bound for jail,” (Bad Boys, 2010). Teachers do not see this as a race issue though; they feel they are colorblind, and believe that, “getting in trouble was not about race but a matter of individual choice and personal responsibility: each child made a choice of ‘good’ or ‘bad’” (17). Children notice this difference in treatment, though, and can become active non-learners. They reject the teachers and the lessons because they feel they do not get any respect from them. Other reactions include acting out more, and some were even proud of their discipline file. An interesting note is that Ferguson found that some boys who were troublemakers at school were known as good kids elsewhere. Ferguson noted: “Those who were classified as lazy, belligerent, incorrigible at school could be respectful, diligent, and responsible in...
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