Academic Literature

Relocating the Deficit: Reimagining Black Youth in Neoliberal Times

2014
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Relocating the Deficit: Reimagining Black Youth in Neoliberal Times

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After-school community-based spaces are often recognized in political and educational discourse as institutions that ”save” and ”rescue” Black youth. Such rhetoric perpetuates an ethos of pathology that diminishes the agency of youth and their communities. Through ethnographic research with 20 youth workers at a college completion and youth development after-school program in the urban Northeast, findings indicate that tensions arise as youth workers strive to reimagine Black youth in humanizing ways despite pressures to frame them as broken and in need of fixing to compete for funding with charter schools. Data also reveal deep tensions in youth workers’ experiences as they critique neoliberal reforms that shape their work; yet, at the same time, they are forced to hold students to markers of success defined by neoliberal ideals. These tensions result in youth workers downplaying the social, cultural, and emotional dimensions of their work.

Baldridge, B. (2014). Relocating the deficit: reimagining Black youth in neoliberal times. American Educational Research Journal, 440-472.

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