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Carl E. James

Oakville (Ont.), Mosaic Press, 1990. 136pp, paper, ISBN 0-88962-468-2 (paper) $12.95, ISBN 0-88962-469-0 (cloth) $24.95. CIP

Grades 12 and up/Ages 17 and up
Reviewed by Ellen Robson.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

Carl James is a sociologist and youth worker in Toronto who interviewed sixty young blacks from ages seventeen to twenty-two in 1985-86. He reports on the career goals of these youth as well as how they understand their situation. He looks at such concerns as social class, racism, economic conditions, access to opportunities, and self-concept of his subjects.

In the first chapter he concludes that being a "visible minority" means being discriminated against but the black youth accepts that and looks for coping strategies. Whatever those strategies, these youths believe that with the right contacts, hard work and self-confidence they will achieve their career goals. Dr. James comments that Toronto black youths may not recognize racism and may become angry youth when their coping strategies fail, although nothing in the interviews leads to this conclu­sion.

Reading this study requires effort since it consists of many bits of quotes interspersed with comments. There is a lot of repetition as the preface, introduc­tion and chapter summaries repeat the same facts. It is necessary to read only the short chapter summaries to get the point. Quotes appear to be edited as they are not typical of youth, especially recent immigrants. This research is not scientifically conducted and the appen­dix of demographics raises many queries. It is hard to imagine that 48 per cent of the subjects lived with both parents but 36 per cent did not know what their father did. In the analysis of career aspirations "low blue collar" careers included singers and musicians but "white collar" careers included theatre artists. There is no explanation of the determination of career catego­ries.

This book has not been carefully edited as there are eight spelling and grammar errors in the five end-notes of chapter one alone. An extensive reference list is included but much of the material is dated and not valid now. The table of contents is extremely detailed and the two appendices state the assumptions made in the study as well as the demographics of the subjects interviewed. There is nothing in this book to inspire readers or meet curricular needs. Although little has been written on the topic, this study is not recommended for purchase.

Ellen Robson, Winston Churchill Collegiate, Scarborough, Ont.
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