Democracy Remixed by Cathy Cohen

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While Barack Obama's victory led many to believe that America's racial divide had significantly narrowed, the lived experience of many black youth belie this. Young black Americans today continue to be plagued by low levels of employment, high levels of incarceration, and a profound lack of trust in the government and broader political community. Yet discussions of why this is have been largely anecdotal, often putting the blame on black youth themselves--even when the commentators are also black. Think of the criticisms that Bill Cosby has leveled, for example. In Democracy Remixed, award-winning scholar Cathy J. Cohen offers an authoritative analysis of the state of black youth in America today. Utilizing the results from the Black Youth Project, a groundbreaking national survey, Cohen focuses on what young black Americans actually experience and think--and underscores the political repercussions. Featuring their stories, she reveals that black youth largely want what most Americans want--a good job, a fulfilling life, safety, respect, and equality. But while members of this generation have much in common with the rest of America, they also believe that equality does not yet exist, at least not in their lives. Many believe that they are treated as second-class citizens. Also, for a significant number the future seems bleak when they look at their neighborhoods, their schools, and even their own lives and choices. Through their words, these young people provide a complex and balanced picture of the intersection of opportunity and discrimination in their lives. Democracy Remixed provides the insight and information necessary to help us reshape the future of both young black Americans and American democracy.