In this Book

Against the Wall
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Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title

Typically residing in areas of concentrated urban poverty, too many young black men are trapped in a horrific cycle that includes active discrimination, unemployment, violence, crime, prison, and early death. This toxic mixture has given rise to wider stereotypes that limit the social capital of all young black males.

Edited and with an introductory chapter by sociologist Elijah Anderson, the essays in Against the Wall describe how the young black man has come to be identified publicly with crime and violence. In reaction to his sense of rejection, he may place an exaggerated emphasis on the integrity of his self-expression in clothing and demeanor by adopting the fashions of the "street." To those deeply invested in and associated with the dominant culture, his attitude is perceived as profoundly oppositional. His presence in public gathering places becomes disturbing to others, and the stereotype of the dangerous young black male is perpetuated and strengthened.

To understand the origin of the problem and the prospects of the black inner-city male, it is essential to distinguish his experience from that of his pre-Civil Rights Movement forebears. In the 1950s, as militant black people increasingly emerged to challenge the system, the figure of the black male became more ambiguous and fearsome. And while this activism did have the positive effect of creating opportunities for the black middle class who fled from the ghettos, those who remained faced an increasingly desperate climate.

Featuring a foreword by Cornel West and sixteen original essays by contributors including William Julius Wilson, Gerald D. Jaynes, Douglas S. Massey, and Peter Edelman, Against the Wall illustrates how social distance increases as alienation and marginalization within the black male underclass persist, thereby deepening the country's racial divide.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page
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  1. Copyright Page
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  1. Table of Contents
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  1. Foreword: Strong Men Keep A Comin On
  2. pp. ix-xvi
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  1. Part I. Facing the Situation of Young Black Men in Inner Cities
  2. pp. 1-2
  1. Chapter 1. Against the Wall: Poor, Young, Black, and Male
  2. pp. 3-27
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  1. Chapter 2. David’s Story: From Promise to Despair
  2. pp. 28-37
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  1. Chapter 3. Young, Black, and Male: The Life History of an American Drug Dealer Facing Death Row
  2. pp. 38-52
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  1. Part II. Structural Analyses of Joblessness Among Black Youth
  2. pp. 53-54
  1. Chapter 4. The Economic Plight of Inner-City Black Males
  2. pp. 55-70
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  1. Chapter 5. Blacklisted: Hiring Discrimination in an Era of Mass Incarceration
  2. pp. 71-86
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  1. Chapter 6. The Effects of Immigration on the Economic Position of Young Black Males
  2. pp. 87-101
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  1. Chapter 7. Immigration and Equal Opportunit
  2. pp. 102-120
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  1. Part III. Engaging Urban Youth in Social Institutions
  2. pp. 121-122
  1. Chapter 8. Youth Entrepreneurship Training in the Inner City: Overcoming Disadvantage, Engaging Youth in School
  2. pp. 123-137
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  1. Chapter 9. Black Male Students and Reflections on Learning and Teaching
  2. pp. 138-146
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  1. Chapter 10. Fighting like a Ballplayer: Basketball as a Strategy Against Social Disorganizatio
  2. pp. 147-164
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  1. Chapter 11. “Tell us how it feels to be a problem”: Hip Hop Longings and Poor Young Black Men
  2. pp. 165-178
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  1. Part IV. Social Policy Matters
  2. pp. 179-180
  1. Chapter 12. Social Issues Lurking in the Over-Representation of Young African American Men in the Expanding DNA Databases
  2. pp. 181-197
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  1. Chapter 13. “You can take me outta the ’hood, but you can’t take the ’hood outta me”: Youth Incarceration and Reentry
  2. pp. 198-217
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  1. Chapter 14. Suicide Patterns Among Black Males
  2. pp. 218-241
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  1. Chapter 15. Why Are Handguns So Accessible on Urban Streets?
  2. pp. 242-251
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  1. Chapter 16. What Do We Do Now? Toward a Brighter Future for Young African American Men
  2. pp. 252-268
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 269-278
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  1. List of Contributors
  2. pp. 279-284
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 285-296
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 297-297
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