Critical Race and Education for Black Males

When Pretty Boys Become Men

by Vernon C. Lindsay (Author)
©2018 Textbook XII, 122 Pages


Critical Race and Education for Black Males: When Pretty Boys Become Men is not another boring academic book full of complex theories and jargon that only people who have earned a doctoral degree can understand. It is a series of narratives based on the author’s experiences as a Black male from the third grade through earning his PhD in Policy Studies in Urban Education. Each chapter illustrates how race, racism, and gender influenced Dr. Vernon C. Lindsay’s upbringing in Chicago, Illinois, and the south suburbs. In vivid detail, he provides insight to his life as a preacher’s kid, the struggle in searching for an authentic vision of himself, and how school suspensions, detentions, and other infractions impacted the process to realize his full potential.
Critical Race and Education for Black Males: When Pretty Boys Become Men is written in a format conducive to students and teachers. It strategically uses language that makes the material relatable to Black males and practical for educators who desire to create positive relationships with their students. Critical Race and Education for Black Males is designed for courses that reflect the following themes: critical race theory in education; African Americans and education; introduction to urban education; social theory in educational foundations; critical pedagogy; gender, difference, and curriculum; and teaching and learning in the multicultural, multilingual classroom.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • A Poetic Preface
  • I am one
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Critical Race Theory
  • What can you expect?
  • In a Nutshell
  • References
  • Chapter 1. Birth of a Pretty Boy
  • Introduction
  • Birth of a Pretty Boy
  • How can we use this story to understand more about the experiences of some Black males in school as they navigate race and masculinity?
  • References
  • Chapter 2. The Girl in the Pink Bikini
  • Introduction
  • The Girl in the Pink Bikini
  • How does this story reveal pathways to systemic problems and the experiences of Black males?
  • References
  • Chapter 3. The Thug and Me
  • Introduction
  • The Thug and Me
  • What are the implications of this story and how can we redefine masculinity to encourage academic success for Black boys?
  • References
  • Chapter 4. Follow the Leader
  • Introduction
  • Follow the Leader
  • What does this story indicate is the potential for Black males to influence school culture and school policies?
  • References
  • Chapter 5. Undergrad and Underprepared
  • Introduction
  • Undergrad and Underprepared
  • What does this narrative indicate about Black males and the opportunities available in college?
  • References
  • Chapter 6. From Pretty Boy to Man
  • Introduction
  • From Pretty Boy to Man
  • What does this indicate about Black males and succeeding in graduate school?
  • References
  • Afterword
  • Bibliography
  • Index

| ix →


I am one

I am male.

I am Black.

I am a Black male and so much more,

So much more than what you are about to explore.

This work takes you on a tour from my home on Chicago’s Southside to the burbs.

Where I was the only boy, yes the one Sun, brother to five sisters, and a preacher’s kid.

Emery and Pearl Lindsay’s one.

The one who is married to one woman.

The one father to two sons and one daughter.

I am the one who fights for unity in the spirit of Marcus Garvey.

I am one with the beauty and strength of the Black community.

I am more than the tattoos that cover my body and the Black dreads that hang past my waist.

Much more than the three letters that appear behind my name.

Read on as I lift the veil to uncover the intricacies of race, racism, gender and masculinity,

With intentionality I want you to see One of many experiences of Black males born in America.

| xi →


There were some late nights and far too many early mornings in the process of creating this manuscript. I would like to first recognize The Creator for guiding and providing me with the strength, patience, and discipline to achieve this goal.

This book would not have been possible without an incredible partner and three amazing children who I am blessed to call family. You pushed me every day to strive for excellence as a husband, father, entrepreneur, and Black man. Thank you, Gabriella, Vizuri, Emery, and Mkazo for your support and presence in my life. I love you.

Thank you, David Stovall, Kerry Ann Rockquemore, Bill Ayers, Anthony Ocampo, Kendall Ficklin for offering me publishing advice, taking the time to respond to my emails, reviewing drafts of this project, and encouraging me throughout this journey. Your support meant the world to me.

Thank you to my external editors Badia Ahad and Jennifer Gavacs for reading early drafts and providing the critical feedback that was necessary to improve this book. Your feedback and recommendations were critical to the clarity I found through this work.

Thank you Peter Lang Press, for your support in this process and agreeing to publish this work.

Lastly, I would also like to acknowledge my parents and my sisters. Thank you for your consistent love, support and beliefs in me.

| 1 →


I was sitting in the car outside of the Chicago daycare my children attended when I first received the news that set me on this path to move from the United States to live in Mexico and finish this book. My queen and wife was the first person to tell me about the murder of Michael Brown at the hands of a White police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. As she described the incident to me, my heart began to race, and the blood in my body filled with rage. The video of Brown’s uncensored corpse face down in the street was all over Facebook, and as she finished explaining to me the reported details, she asked me if I had a chance to see it. My response was no, and I didn’t want to see it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to break that memory from my consciousness.

She exited the car to pick up the children, and I decided to “man-up” and log-in to Facebook to see the viral video of Brown’s fatal body in the middle of the street. Without knowing much of the details, I was infuriated, shocked, disturbed, and concerned. In the weeks and months following Brown’s murder, protests took place in every major city. I participated in and organized some of Chicago’s marches because I was outraged by the vigilante mentality reinforced through racism that penetrated law enforcement and cut the life short of another young Black (Black is used throughout the text, because I find it more inclusive of the African diaspora than African-American) male. As ← 1 | 2 → a Black male and father to two Black boys, I was also concerned about the future of our lives and felt compelled to take action against the injustice. Michael Brown’s murder hit home for several reasons.

I like Brown am a Black male who was born in the United States. Through my roles as a father and teacher of Black boys, I have a personal and professional relationship with others who are similar to Brown. I have experienced “random” traffic stops and other negative interactions with police officers, because of my physical appearance rather than the belief that I committed a crime. The young men whom I have taught and mentored have endured similar unpleasant experiences with the police. What happened to Brown could have happened to me or any of the other Black males with whom I have invested time, love, energy, and support.

The countless cases similar to Michael Brown have created anger and feelings of displacement among me and other Black males in a country we call home. In the United States, too often Black males are underserved by the public, private, and charter schools and over served by the criminal justice system. Such inequalities have led to underemployment, limited educational opportunities, false indictments, and in some cases murder by the police. This book is an intentional effort to give voice to Black males and their experiences with race, racism, and masculinity in search for an authentic self and full life.

Critical Race Theory


XII, 122
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2019 (March)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2018. XII, 122 pp.

Biographical notes

Vernon C. Lindsay (Author)

Vernon C. Lindsay, PhD, is a graduate of the Policy Studies in Urban Education program at the College of Education at the University of Illinois—Chicago. Through writing, consulting, and coaching he helps organizations and individuals achieve maximum results in personal development.


Title: Critical Race and Education for Black Males
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