Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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Blacked Out Dilemmas of Race, Identity and Success at Capital High The very first issue that Fordham discusses is representation and the violence of watching. Her concerns about (re) presentation are carried throughout the book and I'd like us to think about how she addresses these issues methodologically, and how these issues are reflected in her text? In what ways does she 'enter' the African-American community? What types of methodological questions does her experience raise? (for instance her "native" status?) How does her analysis about how children conceive of "success", family structures, fictive kin, etc? Hold implications for U.S. educational reform? Fordham's work represents an "applied" perspective on anthropological issues. How convincing is her message? And, what can policymakers do with this information? The first issue that Fordham addresses is the meaning of representation and how representation is suspect in the African-American community. The power implicated in representing a people holds problematic issues that are concentrated on by the anthropologist, for example, the possibility of distortion to ethnographic truths and the accuracy by which a given account is interpreted.

Representation provides the method by which we envision ourselves and those foreign to us and how others perceive and judge us. Determining the methods to be used in observing or watching by the anthropologist is an important aspect of the ethnographic analysis in conveying the subject's sociological, structural and cultural differences. The ethnographer's practice of observing or watching as one of the customs in studying takes on a personal involvement between the informant and the ethnographer. Fordham suggests a kind of violence is imposed on subjects whose lives are entered by the anthropologist, forcing the subjects to become objects rather than people. Her concerns about humanness and authenticity of presentation are paramount throughout this study of the Capital High students...