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In this autobiography Washington Post reporter McCall looks back on his journey from troubled youth to professional journalist and shows that the easy answers to why kids go wrong--poverty, terrible home life, lack of education--do not always apply. "The problems among us," he writes of acquaintances who ended up addicted, imprisoned, or dead, "are more complex than something we can throw jobs, recreation centers, social problems, or more policemen at." In recounting his story, McCall makes clear how young black men, feeling they have no options in a society that devalues them, try to maintain self-respect by going against everything the white "system" stands for, adopting the pose of the outlaw and a code of macho violence. With a new Preface by the author.
From Makes Me Wanna Holler:
"For those who'd like answers, I have no pithy social formulas to end black-on-black violence. But I do know that I see a younger, meaner generation out there now--more lost and alienated than we were, and placing even less value on life. We were at least touched by role models; this new bunch is totally estranged from the black mainstream. Crack has taken the drug game to a more lethal level and given young blacks far more economic incentive to opt for the streets. I've come to fear that of the many things a black man can die from, the first may be rage--his own or someone else's. For that reason, I seldom stick around when I stop on the block. One day not long ago, I spotted a few familiar faces hanging out at the old haunt, the 7-Eleven. I wheeled into the parking lot, strode over, and high-fived the guys I knew. Within moments, I sensed that I was in danger. I felt hostile stares from those I didn't know. I was frightened by these younger guys, who now controlled my former turf. I eased back to my car and left, because I knew this: that if they saw the world as I once did, they believed they had nothing to lose, including life itself. It made me wanna holler and throw up my hands."
Praise for Makes Me Wanna Holler:
"Not since Claude Brown's Manchild in the Promised Land has there been such an honest and searching look at the perils of growing up a black male in urban America....[It is] a compelling depiction of the toll that racism and misguided notions of manhood have taken in the life of one black man--and, by implication, many others."--San Francisco Chronicle
Also by Nathan McCall: What's Going On.