Chapter 7: I am afraid the Answer is No!

Ain’t no Black or White

…Many of the boys in this group were disruptive, argumentative, and aggressive. Most of them had to be sent to a naughty corner at one stage or the other during the week. Nevertheless, we were firm; they loved it, and stayed the course of the journey.

Remarkably, after a week of exploring all the issues that could be responsible for the disadvantage they believed they were experiencing, race was not considered to be a major cause of their disadvantage. Most of the issues they highlighted related to a lack of social and other skills. Peer pressure, lack of confidence, lack of communication skills, qualifications and employment were identified by them as the key influencers of ‘black’ boys’ underachievement. In fact, many of them had not experienced racism, as in racial abuse; because they did not come across people from other races, apart from some of their teachers and the Asian men who followed them around in the local corner shops.

Even more remarkable were the people and things they considered to be most important to their lives. They proved to be an especially conservative group of young people, valuing God, family and education, in that order, as their most important priorities. Later on, when we went on to ask them to draw or paint a picture of their lives now and the lives they wanted to live, their dreams were based around the famous two-point-five children family, a house, a good job, a secure life…

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