The Boston Globe: For More Young Blacks, Its Cool to be Smart (Microtrends)

March 22, 2009

The Boston Globe

The New Cool Kids: Part of a rising counterculture, smart, black teenagers are flexing their intelligence instead of hiding it

“…Perhaps riding on the rise of prominent post-civil rights black leaders including Obama, more and more black kids are stepping up the smart quotient with a new level of pride.

Those who track youth culture are taking notice of this segment of the millennial generation – the name for today’s youths who are raised to be confident and to believe they are special, and told they have the power to change their world. These observers characterize millennials as far more engaged than their Generation X predecessors.

Author E. Kinney Zalesne calls them “black super-achievers,” teens rising under the radar and shattering stereotypes.

When it comes to indicators of good citizenship – voting, volunteering, and religious participation – many black teens are succeeding, with little notice, said Zalesne, who co-authored “Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes.”

“The notion of achievement is [more ] deeply embedded in the African-American culture than most people give it credit for,” Zalesne said in a recent phone interview….

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