The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth by Orlando Patterson, Ethan Fosse (eds.)

By Orlando Patterson, Ethan Fosse (eds.)

Individuals: Andrew Clarkwest, Rajeev Dehejia, Thomas DeLeire, Kathryn Edin, Amy E. Foran, Simone Ispa-Landa, Alexandra A. Killewald, Joseph C. Krupnick, Erzo F.P. Luttmer, Wayne Marshall, Jody Miller, Josh Mitchell, Jackie Rivers, James E. Rosenbaum, Janet Rosenbaum, Peter Rosenblatt, Robert J. Sampson, Pam Schuetz, Tommie Shelby, Jennifer Stephan, Van C. Tran, Sudhir Venkatesh, Christopher Winship, Robert G. wooden, Queenie Zhu

The Cultural Matrix seeks to resolve a uniquely American paradox: the socioeconomic hindrance, segregation, and social isolation of deprived black formative years, at the one hand, and their impressive integration and prominence in pop culture at the different. regardless of college dropout charges over forty percentage, a 3rd spending time in felony, power unemployment, and endemic violence, black adolescence are one of the so much bright creators of pop culture on the earth. additionally they espouse a number of deeply-held American values. to appreciate this conundrum, the authors carry tradition again to the leading edge of rationalization, whereas heading off the theoretical error of previous culture-of-poverty techniques and the causal timidity and distinctive pleading of newer ones.

There isn't any unmarried black adolescence tradition, yet a fancy matrix of cultures―adapted mainstream, African-American vernacular, road tradition, and hip-hop―that help and undermine, improve and impoverish younger lives. Hip-hop, for instance, has had an immense effect, no longer continuously to the benefit of its creators. despite the fact that, its muscular message of primal honor and sensual indulgence isn't really prompted by way of a hope for separatism yet via an insistence on sharing within the mainstream tradition of intake, energy, and wealth.

This interdisciplinary paintings attracts on all of the social sciences, in addition to social philosophy and ethnomusicology, in a concerted attempt to provide an explanation for how tradition, interacting with structural and environmental forces, affects the functionality and keep an eye on of violence, aesthetic productions, academic and paintings results, familial, gender, and sexual family members, and the complicated ethical lifetime of black youth.

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A final, more recent example is taken, ironically, from Lamont’s study of how panelists judging academic grant applications developed “customary rules” of “pragmatic fairness” in their meetings. These rules, however, ended up strongly reinforcing the constituted ultimate norms and values of impartiality and transparency that undergird the entire academic system (Lamont 2009, 111, 107–58). What all these cases show is that people do not arbitrarily use the constituted culture like toolkits to serve their peculiar whims and interests.

Note that the distinctive feature of distributed knowledge is not only that it is embodied in persons but also that it is embedded in interactions between them. The importance of procedural knowledge for an understanding of ethnoracial inequality cannot be overstated. It is, in fact, the basic mechanism whereby the social iniquity of segregation is achieved. The systematic separation of blacks from the social life of whites, especially middle-�class and more successful whites, amounted to a sustained, centuries-�long deprivation of the acquisition of all the fundamental procedural knowledge required for successful functioning in mainstream American society.

The third process concerns the applicability of cultural knowledge. Even if available and accessible, a particular knowledge structure may not be appropriate for a given situation. Take the schema of making eye contact. Among most ethnicities, and in most contexts, this is considered appropriate behavior. However, on many streets of the inner cities, returning another person’s glance too directly could be taken as an affront and sign of disrespect and invite a violent response, if the person making the eye contact is male, and will almost certainly lead to sexual harassment if the contact is made by a female (see the chapters by Krupnick and Winship; Miller; and Patterson and Rivers in this volume).

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