Afterword by: Erica R. Meiners
Publication Date: September 7, 2014
Being Bad will change the way you think about the social and academic worlds of Black boys. In a poignant and harrowing journey from systems of education to systems of criminal justice, the author follows her brother, Chris, who has been designated a “bad kid” by his school, a “person of interest” by the police, and a “gangster” by society. Readers first meet Chris in a Chicago jail, where he is being held in connection with a string of street robberies. We then learn about Chris through insiders’ accounts that stretch across time to reveal key events preceding this tragic moment. Together, these stories explore such timely issues as the under-education of Black males, the place and importance of scapegoats in our culture, the on-the-ground reality of zero tolerance, the role of mainstream media in constructing Black masculinity, and the critical relationships between schools and prisons. No other book combines rigorous research, personal narrative, and compelling storytelling to examine the educational experiences of young Black males.
Crystal T. Laura is an assistant professor of educational leadership at Chicago State University.
“Perhaps more than any other study on this topic, this book brings to life the complicated experience of those most directly and collaterally impacted by the politics of schooling and its relationship to our growing prison nation.”
—Garrett Albert Duncan, Washington University in St. Louis
“Other books have focused on the school-to-prison pipeline or the educational experiences of young African American males, but I know of none that bring the combination of rigorous research, up-close personal vantage point, and skilled storytelling provided by Laura in Being Bad."
—Gregory Michie, Chicago public school teacher, author of Holler If You Hear Me, senior research associate at the Center for Policy Studies and Social Justice, Concordia University Chicago
“Refusing to separate the threads that bind the oppressive fabric of contemporary urban life, Laura has crafted a story that is at once astutely critical, funny, engaging, tearful, dialogue-filled, profoundly theoretical, despairing, and filled with hope. Being Bad is a challenge and a gift to students, families, policymakers, soon-to-be teachers, social workers, and ethnographers.”
—Michelle Fine, distinguished professor, Graduate Center, CUNY
2016 Library Services for Youth in Custody (LSYC) In the Margins Book Award List Selection
2016 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award