Working with Black young people
Edited by Momodou Sallah & Carlton Howson

To see sections of this book in a PDF, please click here.

Bringing together different dimensions and perspectives on such work, this book seeks to challenge both the accepted status quo of Black young people's negative overrepresentation in most aspects of life - including education, criminal justice, housing and health - and their under-representation in empiric literature. It seeks to help find ways forward.

Herman Ouseley, writing in this book, sets the tone. "What is most heart warming today, is how many Black young people survive and thrive, in spite of the struggles and obstacles… The insights in this book about working with Black young people are based on real life experiences. There are many people, working at a local level with young people from all backgrounds with a view to helping them realise their aspirations, hopes and dreams."

Offering insights into issues that confront Black young people - and presenting strategies for change - the chapters in this book chart the shifts in British social policy - recruitment, restriction, repatriation, multiculturalism, and mainly now integration. It shows how, before meaningful work around integration and cohesion can begin, there must be greater understanding of the "realities" Black young people face, and of the various contexts for work with them. It characterises effective work as that which:
  • takes into account a range of perspectives on these "realities": the geography, the politics, the economics, the faith, the desire, the determination, the racism and the triumphs, as well as perspectives from Black youth subculture
  • has at its core a strategy that seeks to emancipate Black young people both at a physical and mental level.

  • Contributions from a wide range of practitioners, academics, and students all draw on personal experiences and explore a wide range of important issues. Offering opportunities to gain a deeper insight into issues that confront Black young people - and consider strategies for change - the chapters in this book are sometimes about specific sections of the community but often, and collectively, about the lives of many different people with shared experiences of oppression, immigration history and discrimination.

    Paperback. 256 pages. 978-1-905541-14-0. Published 2007. £24.95.


    Practitioners and managers in social work, youth and community work, education, youth offending, police and probation. Lecturers, students and policy makers in these areas as well as politics and sociology.


    Momodou Sallah
    and Carlton Howson have many years' experience in youth and community work in the UK and internationally. They have also been involved in research around Black young people. Both are senior lecturers at De Montfort University.


    Foreword: Learning from the past: work with Black young people
    Herman Ouseley

    Momodou Sallah & Carlton Howson

    Development of Black consciousness in an oppressive climate
    Carlton Howson

    Service provision for Black young people: linking the historical policy response to praxis
    Momodou Sallah

    Identity and Black young people: theoretical and practice considerations
    Alice Sawyerr

    Challenging the stereotypes: reaching the hard to reach, young Black men
    Jennifer Izekor

    The voluntary sector and young Black people
    Rod Dacombe, Manuel Souto Otero and Adam Whitworth

    Racial harassment, Black young people and schools
    Mandeep Rupra

    Anti-oppressive work in an oppressive state
    Dawn Summers

    Working with young refugees and asylum seekers through participatory action research in health promotion
    Raksha Pandya

    Uprisings, community cohesion and Muslim youth
    Shahid Ashrif

    Can white youth workers effectively meet the needs of Black young people?
    Ann Marie Lawson

    Forced marriages: is Britain doing enough to protect Asian young people?
    Harjeet Chakira

    Do Black young people matter? Universal differentiated services for Black young people
    Tony Graham

    Youth services and how they work with Black young people
    Chester Morrison

    The impact of formal education on African Caribbean young people
    Richard Kennedy and Leona White-Simmonds

    The school mentoring project
    Diane Watt

    Black young people in the youth justice system
    Darren Johnson


    "This book tackles head on the all too common idea of black men as troublesome criminals participating in criminal activities, yobbish behaviour, and unable to obtain academic distinction. In a series of essays by leading researchers and academics, this book examines why black boys are repeatedly over represented in the criminal justice system but under represented as successful achievers. Interestingly, this book has at its core the determination that any effective strategy to better black young people must be part of a wider black liberation effort, and not simply be seen through a non black specific system... the book calls for an effective challenge to the stereotypes of black youths that is so often presented." ChildRIGHT.

    "This long-awaited book encapsulates not only working with young black people but also understanding the culture milieu in which they live. It furnishes readers with insights into stereotypical notions which have led, in part, to what the book describes as "negative overrepresentation of black young people in most aspects of life, including education, criminal justice and housing and health care". These concepts are challenged and new ideas are presented for discussion. Through 16 chapters, written by as many noted authors, the book unfolds and discusses historical and contemporary thoughts which provoke readers into becoming aware of issues affecting young black people… the book is a worthwhile investment." Addiction Today.

    "At a time when issues of 'race' are being subsumed under the umbrella of diversity, and risk becoming invisible, it is good to see a publication that addresses relevant topics with academic rigour and passion. A publication such as this has been long over due; we would have to go some way back in social work research to find one of similar depth and quality... rich in information and research, and tackles many issues (e.g. race, identity, practice, role of voluntary sector organisations, forced marriages, education, community cohesion, etc.) with clarity and commitment to addressing racism in its various guises... a pleasure to read... presents debates from historical and contemporary perspectives in a forceful manner with great heart... a key text for social, youth and community work students." The British Journal of Social Work.

    "Carlton Howson sets the scene for this collection of essays on the issues black young people face in an uncompromising manner by charting the development of black consciousness in an oppressive climate. Fellow contributor and Editor Momodou Sallah continue the passion that comes across forcibly by providing an analysis of the term 'black'. He also provides appropriate facts and figures to highlight current issues, concerns and events... There is a clear acknowledgement in some of the chapters that racist attitudes, behaviours and practices adopted by those in power are a major influence on the lives of young people... practitioners, students and trainers should all find something useful in it for their purposes." Baljeet Singh Gill in Youth Work Now.

    "Not withstanding the variety of accounts, they all point towards a common concern regarding the marginalised position of the needs of black young people in service provision and delivery. In various ways, the chapters offer a range of recommendations for policy and practice. The book is informative and raises illuminating and critical policy and practice questions for policy makers, practitioners and academics alike." The Howard Journal.

    "Educators, youth workers, juvenile justice officials, psychologists and researchers call for 'greater understanding' of black youths' viewpoints." Youth Today.