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Dangerous or Endangered?Race and the Politics of Youth in Urban America$
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Jennifer Tilton

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814783115

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814783115.001.0001

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What Is “the Power of the Youth”?

What Is “the Power of the Youth”?

(p.191) 5 What Is “the Power of the Youth”?
Dangerous or Endangered?

Jennifer Tilton

NYU Press

This chapter examines race and the politics of youth in Oakland, with particular emphasis on youth activists' alternative vision of the politics of childhood and the place of young people in the city. It begins with an overview of the campaign launched by a multiracial group of teenagers and young adults against California's “Super Jail for Kids” plan and the ballot initiative called Proposition 21. The Super Jail campaign was part of a rising tide of youth activism in California and across the nation that challenged what activists call “the criminalization of a generation,” whereas Proposition 21 increased penalties for a wide range of juvenile offenses and made it far easier to try juveniles as young as fourteen as adults. The chapter also considers how the youth, as a political identity, provided activists with the material and symbolic space to craft a new counterpublic. Finally, it explores how youth activists in the Bay Area developed a distinctive form of hip hop politics that blurred the boundaries between hip hop parties and political protests.

Keywords:   race, politics of youth, Oakland, youth activists, politics of childhood, young people, California, youth activism, counterpublic, hip hop politics

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