America the Beautiful and Violent

Black Youth and Neighborhood Trauma in Chicago

Dexter R. Voisin

Columbia University Press

America the Beautiful and Violent

Pub Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9780231184410

312 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£25.00

Pub Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9780231184403

312 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£74.00

Pub Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9780231545471

312 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£25.00

America the Beautiful and Violent

Black Youth and Neighborhood Trauma in Chicago

Dexter R. Voisin

Columbia University Press

Widespread media narratives portray an epidemic of neighborhood violence in urban areas—often ignoring the structural explanations advanced by community organizers fighting violence and activists such as those in the Movement for Black Lives. In this book, Dexter R. Voisin provides a compelling and social-justice-oriented analysis of current trends in neighborhood violence in light of the historical and structural factors that have reproduced entrenched patterns of racial and economic inequality.

America the Beautiful and Violent is built around the powerful voices and insights of black youth in Chicago and their parents and communities. Voisin interweaves their narratives with data, research findings, and historical accounts that provide context for their experiences. He highlights the broad historical, political, economic, and racial factors that shape the construction, concentration, and narratives of violence in black neighborhoods. Voisin explores these forces and the violence they produce; the behavioral health consequences of repeated exposures to neighborhood violence; and the ways youth, families, and communities cope with such traumas. America the Beautiful and Violent offers a set of practice and policy recommendations to address the patchwork inequality that leads to concentrated violence and to support children and adolescents struggling with the precarious conditions and threat of violence in their daily lives.
Based on years of study, Dexter Voisin has written an unusually thoughtful, sensitive, and astute meditation on violence—what it means, how it comes about, how it affects people, and how the media choose to write about it. The book’s critical yet sober stance means the author’s clear and unmistakable sense of urgency is coupled with a subtle, sophisticated sense of the many-faceted consequences of violence. A consistently enlightening work. Mario L. Small, author of Someone to Talk To
Voisin powerfully shows that the violence that Chicago’s black youth experience is rooted in the nation as a whole. He untangles these complex systems and offers clear and effective solutions. This book will be illuminating for scholars, policy makers, and practitioners alike. Mary Pattillo, author of Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City
Dexter Voisin writes with conviction, clarity, and conscience in connecting the dots between big ideas (racism, violence, resilience) and daily life through his personal story and those of the folks he has interviewed. America the Beautiful and Violent will help you understand how African American youth can not only survive, but thrive. Lois Takahashi, University of Southern California
Most discussions of violence focus on its horrors and have the tendency to portray perpetrators in a stereotypical manner. This book, on the other hand, has the potential to deepen our understanding of violence and shed light on solutions. Pedro Noguera, University of California, Los Angeles
1. The Beginning
2. The Tale of Two Americas
3. Not All Violence Is the Same: Race- and Place-Based Violence
4. The Road to Concentrated Poverty and Neighborhood Violence
5. The Scars of Violence
6. When Violence and Sex Are Entangled
7. Living and Parenting in the Presence of Everyday Dangers
8. Joining the Broken Pieces: Practice and Policy Solutions and Systems Integration
9. Making a Difference: Rebuilding the Village
Notes
Index

About the Author

Dexter R. Voisin is dean of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and the Sandra Rotman Chair in Social Work at the University of Toronto. He is also a psychotherapist and social worker.