The Art of Being Black

Claire E. Alexander · ISBN 9780198279822
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Publisher Oxford University Press UK
Author(s) Claire E. Alexander
Subtitle The Creation of Black British Youth Identities
Published 2nd May 1996
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The Creation of Black British Youth Identities

The Art of Being Black explores how young black Britons create their cultural identities. Claire Alexander rejects the common tendency to view black communities in terms of conflict, or as the focus of a problem; she offers a fresh exploration of the strengths and ambiguities of black youth representations as they are imagined and lived through, focusing in particular on community, `class', social life, and masculinity. Young black
men have been typecast as hostile and culturally confused, alienated from their parents and from society; as `folk devils' (the stock images of the black mugger, the Rastafarian drug dealer, the rioter, the
Yardie), creating problems for society in general. To get a truer view, Dr Alexander spent twelve months as `one of the boys' in a group of young black Londoners; the resulting highly personal, in-depth, and very readable study counters the usual image of ethnic identity as fixed and immutable. Drawing on contemporary debates about culture and ethnicity, this book offers the close observation and informed analysis needed to bring to life theories of black cultural
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