Final paper- your average nigga joys corrections

Final paper- your average nigga joys corrections - Kristin...

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Kristin Olson Final Book Analysis Vershawn Ashanti Young writes with a sense of familiarity as he introduces a struggle most blacks’, particularly black men experience. What is advantageous on the streets, serves as disadvantageous to black men out in the dominantly white academic and corporate world. “So in order to get along on the [white] campus and in the barbershop, we must alter not the color of our skin but the ways we perform race in each location. These racial performances are most often carried out through language, the way we communicate” (Young, page XIII). Young argues that the biggest challenge for black men growing up is living with the dichotomy of having to act as macho, tough, heterosexual, rap obsessed as possible at home (the hood) and act as intelligent, well dressed, well spoken as possible everywhere outside of the world they grew up in. Being black in America carries with it an association with a lower class status. Comparatively, the white population, who holds the most power politically and in many institutions, is most commonly associated with upper/ middle class status. In order to reach the so-called ‘American of living a middle-upper class lifestyle, making a choice to perform one of the two different races becomes a necessity for many Black Americans. Young establishes his arguments through his analysis of personal anecdotes, illustrating that this struggle is his everyday reality. He goes on to attempt to prove the main focus of his book; “how education and literacy intersect with racial performance” (Young, page 11). Who would ever expect that every moment of one’s life is a performance for an audience who constantly is evaluating the authenticity of your act? It is difficult to shed
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one’s own perceptions and understand this struggle before reading this book. Sociologist Howard Becker challenged the sociological community in “Outsiders”, to look differently at deviance. This was the first time that the focus moved away from studying the cause of an individual’s act of deviance to why certain behaviors are labeled as deviant. Society engages in what Kai Erikson calls a “process of selection” (Erikson, pg. 1). The term ‘deviance’ allows society a set of comfortable boundaries, separating what is accepted from what is not accepted. Boundaries that are created by those with the most power. Those who have this power also have access to the “American Dream” but those who have been pushed outside of the line are severely limited. Up until a certain point where the line divides worlds, for the deviant it is not a matter of choice but a matter of luck; who can put on the best performance. During the Jim Crow era, blacks were mistreated and discriminated against because separation based on skin color was legal. In order to have any chance passing as white in hopes of acquiring a higher social status, one’s skin would have to appear white.
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