The statistics about young black men are familiar; homicide is their #1 killer, one fourth are in jail, on parole or probation, and theirs rates of unemployment, teen fatherhood, educational drop-out-and death-exceed those of any other demographic group. Moreover, in the public mind, even those who don’t bear out the grim statistics have come to embody society’s worst pathologies. When given the opportunity to speak for themselves, they report feeling as fearful of mere survival as they are feared, as threatened as they are threatening.
Living to Tell About It is the first book to look beyond the statistics and perceptions at the real lives and experiences of most young black men in America today. Over the course of a year, journalist Darrell Dawsey traveled across the country, listening to a mosaic of young men talk about their childhoods, relationships with parents and women, sexuality, self-respect, spirituality, ambitions, the race that binds them and the diversity of class, education and geography that distinguishes them. Interweaving interview material with powerful reflections on his own background as a single-parent child of the inner city and a young father, Dawsey portrays the trials, tragedies, and triumphs of young black men in a society where they have been the targets of disenfranchisement, neglect, racism, and hostility.
The result is a compelling portrait of a generation facing the manifold challenges and dilemmas of black manhood-and living to tell about it."