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Dangerous or Endangered?

Race and the Politics of Youth in Urban America

Jennifer Tilton, 0, 0

Publication Year: 2010

“This compelling book reveals a disturbing trend towards widening, racialized social class divisions among children growing up in U.S. cities. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork in affluent and impoverished areas of Oakland, Tilton maps varied forms of community mobilization around children and youth. Beautifully observed, astutely analyzed, and directly relevant to current debates about ways of restoring a sense of the public good in an era of privatization.”

Published by: NYU Press

Front Matter

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pp. vii-viii

This book was made possible by my family and all those who have become like family to me. Together, many people have taught me what America should be and what is required from all of us if we are going to create equal opportunities for all our children. My parents, both teachers, have been wonderful models and supports. They have provided the endless ...

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Introduction: Who’s Responsible for Kids?

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pp. 1-24

In June 1999, recently elected Mayor Jerry Brown visited a Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) meeting in an elementary school auditorium at the eastern edge of Oakland, California’s sprawling flatlands. Speaking to approximately fifty, mostly African American, middle-class homeowners, Mayor Brown detailed his plans for revitalizing the city, “When ...

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1. Back in the Day

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pp. 25-30

Linda Jackson had never wanted to be involved in politics. As “a preacher’s kid,” she was in church seven days a week doing community work. When she left home she swore, “I was never going to participate in anything else. That’s the end of it.” But she got “thrown back into” community work as white flight and economic decline hit Elmhurst hard in the 1970s and ‘80s, ...

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Disciplining Youth and Families in the Flatlands

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pp. 31-68

In February 2001, one of the Elmhurst Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils (NCPC) met in a classroom at a local middle school. Bill Clay, the dapper African American NCPC president, invited two uniformed community policing officers, a tall, broad-shouldered white officer and a heavyset Asian officer, to sit up at the front of the room with him, “on the ...

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2. Trying to Get up the Hill

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pp. 69-74

“What I see in Oakland is everyone doing this shift up the hill.” Liz Walker explained that parents in the Laurel district often drove their kids up to Montclair Recreation Center in a wealthy enclave in the hills and tried to get their children into schools farther up the hill. Families from the flat-lands did the same thing, coming into the lower hills to find safe spaces and ...

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Dangerous Times: Reconstructing Childhood in a Volunteer State

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pp. 75-112

In May 2000, the Laurel Redwood Heights NCPC gathered in the Laurel Elementary School auditorium for a town hall meeting with Mayor Jerry Brown. The mayor sat alongside the local city council member and assorted other city, county, and school district officials at a long table on the stage at the front of the room. Neighborhood activists had advertised the ...

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3. Protecting Children in the Hills

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pp. 113-116

In January 2001, a white man in a Rolls Royce was driving up the tree-lined street to his home in the Oakland hills when he saw some young people spray-painting a sign for Skyline High School. They were students painting a new sign as part of a school project, but that is not what he saw. Primed with mass-mediated images of “youth criminality,” he saw a group of ...

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Youth in a “Private Estate” in the Oakland Hills

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pp. 117-152

In January 2001, five high school students came to the monthly Skyline Task Force meeting to present their idea for creating a Youth Center at Skyline High School. Youth Together, a multiracial youth leadership and organizing group, had been organizing high school students to prevent youth violence, especially interracial violence in the public schools. Luis, a junior and ...

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4. Cruising down the Boulevard

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pp. 153-158

One spring day in 2003, as I took pictures along MacArthur Boulevard in the Laurel district, a fifteen-year-old African American girl asked me what I was doing. When I told her I was writing a book about youth in Oakland, she asked if I knew that they were trying to move the bus stops from the corner of 35th and MacArthur. She added in a matter-of-fact voice, “They ...

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Potential Thugs and Gangsters: Youth and the Spatial Politics of Urban Redevelopment

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pp. 159-190

On February 25, 2003, Oakland City Council held a public hearing on a new ordinance that would “prohibit loitering in public for the purpose of engaging in illegal drug activity.” This law was narrowly crafted to target drug dealing, not kids hanging out on the street, but the debate at the hearing was almost entirely about how the law would or should affect Oakland’s ...

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5. What Is “the Power of the Youth”?

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pp. 191-228

On a sunny afternoon in April 2001, a multiracial crowd of 150 teenagers and young adults marched through downtown Oakland to demand that the Board of Supervisors abandon plans to build a “Super Jail for Kids.” Months before, the county supervisors had unanimously approved plans to build a new juvenile hall, expanded from 299 to 540 beds, in a far-flung suburb of ...

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Conclusion: Hope and Fear

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pp. 229-242

Young people are growing up today in contradictory times: increasing inequality alongside expanding dreams, deep poverty beside lavish wealth, racially unequal childhoods in an era that promises equal opportunity. At a special police-youth dialogue organized by performance artist Suzanne Lacy, two young people asked questions of Oakland’s black police ...


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pp. 243-264


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pp. 265-284


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pp. 285-295

About the Author

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p. 296-296

E-ISBN-13: 9780814783313
E-ISBN-10: 0814783317
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814783115
Print-ISBN-10: 0814783112

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2010