Jacked Up and Unjust
Pacific Islander Teens Confront Violent Legacies
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In the context of two hundred years of American colonial control in the Pacific, Katherine Irwin and Karen Umemoto shed light on the experiences of today’s inner city and rural girls and boys in Hawai‘i who face racism, sexism, poverty, and political neglect. Basing their book on nine years of ethnographic research, the authors highlight how legacies of injustice endure, prompting teens to fight for dignity and the chance to thrive in America, a nation that the youth describe as inherently “jacked up”—rigged—and “unjust.” While the story begins with the youth battling multiple contingencies, it ends on a hopeful note with many of the teens overcoming numerous hardships, often with the guidance of steadfast, caring adults.
Praise For Jacked Up and Unjust: Pacific Islander Teens Confront Violent Legacies…
"Irwin and Umemoto skillfully emphasize how racial inequalities have developed in a context that supports the oppression of persons of color. . . The book is based on extensive ethnographic research, and Irwin and Umemoto approached it in an innovative way, defining themselves as supportive adults rather than as shadowing or participating in the youths’ lives."
— Journal of Children and Poverty
"Katherine Irwin and Karen Umemoto paint a vivid portrait of the penetration of this racist and gendered penal state into the life fabric of Pacific Islander youth. . . . this is an important book that brings a much-needed contribution to scholarship on Hawai‘i as a critical site for the study of colonialism and violence while foregrounding gender oppression."
— Punishment and Society
University of California Press, 9780520283022, 232pp.
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
About the Author
Katherine Irwin is Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa. She is the coauthor with Meda Chesney-Lind of Beyond Bad Girls: Gender, Violence, and Hype.
Karen Umemoto is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa. She is the author of The Truce: Lessons from an L.A. Gang War.