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Berkeley High Conference Focuses on Issues Faced by Black Youth

Berkeley High Conference Focuses on Issues Faced by Black Youth
Jeffrey Butterfield, The Daily Californian | February 9, 2011

Weekends are not typically the busiest of times at the Berkeley High School second-floor library, yet the room’s reading tables were filled last Saturday morning with over 70 students, parents and community members focused on one topic: the challenges faced today by Berkeley’s black youth.

Attendees of the “Black Youth in Crisis” conference discussed ways to address the general difficulties black youth may face and pinpointed areas where Berkeley High School can better support its black student population as it overcomes those adversities.

“Our young people don’t have enough people who speak up for them,” said Jason Seals, a professor of African American Studies at Merritt College. “When you talk about young black males (nationwide) graduating high school at 46 percent, you can’t just say they didn’t try. You need someone to ask why.”

Seals, the event’s keynote speaker, spoke after the assembly viewed a 2010 documentary titled “Fair Game?” that broached racism’s continued prevalence in the United States and explored the future of today’s black youth. In the film, black celebrities like Sean “Diddy” Combs warned that the glamor of becoming a rap artist or NBA athlete often causes black youth to direct their attention away from education and to set unrealistic and narrow targets for their futures.  (Read more)