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The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back

The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back: Youth, Activism and Post-Civil Rights Politics

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back
    Book Description:

    From youth violence, to the impact of high stakes educational testing, to editorial hand wringing over the moral failures of hip-hop culture, young people of color are often portrayed as gang affiliated, troubled, and ultimately, dangerous. The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back examines how youth activism has emerged to address the persistent inequalities that affect urban youth of color. Andreana Clay provides a detailed account of the strategies that youth activists use to frame their social justice agendas and organize in their local communities. Based on two years of fieldwork with youth affiliated with two non-profit organizations in Oakland, California, The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back shows how youth integrate the history of social movement activism of the 1960s, popular culture strategies like hip-hop and spoken word, as well as their experiences in the contemporary urban landscape, to mobilize their peers. Ultimately, Clay's comparison of the two youth organizations and their participants expands our understandings of youth culture, social movements, popular culture, and race and ethnic relations.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6374-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. 1 YOUTH: Crisis, Rebellion, and Identity
    (pp. 1-22)

    As a teenager, I readNelson Mandela: the Man and the Movement, by Mary Bensen.¹ I was mesmerized by the story of his life as an activist: how he joined the African National Congress (ANC), developed a military branch of the organization, was indicted and spent twenty-seven years in prison, separated from his wife, family, and friends—all in the name of freedom. I remember looking up to him as someone who gave up his life for “the cause” of ending apartheid in South Africa. His commitment was similar to that of the U.S. civil rights leaders I admired at...

  5. 2 KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE: The Contemporary Struggle
    (pp. 23-54)

    At almost any point along Skyline Boulevard in Oakland, you can see the San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge, and on clear days the Golden Gate Bridge. To the west, the beaches on the island of Alameda and the Port of Oakland spill into the Bay. Directly below, the rest of the city of Oakland looks alive. In contrast to the peace and quiet of this vantage point known as “the hills,” “the flats” are bustling in the distance—cars move along slowly through the city streets, much as they do on the freeways full of commuters. Up here, the...

  6. 3 IT’S GONNA GET HARD: Negotiating Race and Gender in Urban Settings
    (pp. 55-90)

    It was a cycle. For years, Oakland experienced interracial and interethnic violence at almost every public high school in the city. One year, at Washington High School, school coaches agreed that soccer teams could use the football field on campus to practice.¹ Unfortunately, Black and Samoan football players were not notified that the predominantly Latino soccer team would be using the field to practice that day. Once they spotted the soccer team on their “turf” and suspected rival gang members in the mix, fighting ensued, leaving one student stabbed and another seriously injured. On another day, an African American student...

  7. 4 HIP-HOP FOR THE SOUL: Kickin’ Reality in the Local Scene
    (pp. 91-120)

    On a surprisingly warm day in March, I attended a “Youth Solidarity” event at Bayview High School, sponsored by Teen Justice. The Youth Solidarity week was an annual event that Teen Justice organized on school campuses, which focused on raising awareness about various social justice issues. This year, David took a lead role in organizing the event, with a specific focus on garnering support for the youth center. I arrived at Bayview at noon, during lunch. It was a beautiful day, which was more evident as I met up with Griselda and the others on the senior quad. In this...

  8. 5 QUEER YOUTH ACT UP: Tackling Homophobia Post-Stonewall
    (pp. 121-152)

    I use Gloria Anzaldúa and Harvey Milk’s words to frame the queer experience for youth of color, post–civil rights. Not only do these youth navigate racism, ageism, homophobia, and abandonment as other youth in this study have, but they must also carve out a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Queer (LGBTQ) identity in the San Francisco Bay Area, a.k.a. the Gay Mecca. One-third of the youth in this study identified as queer (or gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning).³ Throughout my research, I became more and more interested in how the youth incorporated this identity into their activism. For instance, homophobia...

  9. 6 BIG SHOES TO FILL: Activism Past and Present
    (pp. 153-180)

    The youth at Teen Justice and Multicultural Alliance participated in social change in a number of ways: through the Youth Center collaborative, anti-oppression workshops, hip-hop culture, and interactive theater. In this chapter, I explore these activities in relationship to popular and academic definitions of activism. Specifically, I ask if these activities, values, tools, and identities that the youth have created indeed constitute activism as it is defined in popular and academic discourse. Additionally, I examine the idealized cultural image of activism, and ask how this image informs youths’ definitions of activism.

    There are indeed repertoires of activism that have emerged...

  10. 7 CONCLUSION: Sampling Activism
    (pp. 181-190)

    On November 4, 2008, Barack Hussein Obama was elected president of the United States. Personally, I was overcome with emotion: he was the first Black president. I immediately called my eighty-two-year-old grandmother, who is Black, and my mother and father, and we cried about this historic moment. As a researcher, I was also interested in the discussions of youth activism that accompanied his campaign and election. Newspaper headlines, television anchors, and everyday conversationalists concluded that President Obama had “galvanized the youth vote” and that youth activism was at new heights during his campaign. Youth were motivated more so than ever...

  11. APPENDIX Notes on Navigating “the Field”: Insider Status, Authority, and Audience
    (pp. 191-198)
  12. NOTES
    (pp. 199-214)
    (pp. 215-222)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 223-229)
    (pp. 230-230)