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Border Crossing «Brothas»

Black Males Navigating Race, Place, and Complex Space


Ty-Ron M. O. Douglas

Winner of the 2017 Society of Professors of Education Book Award

Winner of the 2017 American Educational Studies Association Critics' Choice Award

Border Crossing «Brothas» examines how Black males form identities, define success, and utilize community-based pedagogical spaces to cross literal and figurative borders. The tragic deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, and numerous others from Brooklyn, Britain, and Bermuda whose lives have been taken prematurely suggest that negotiating race, place, and complex space is a matter of life and death for Black males. In jurisdictions such as the U.S. and Bermuda, racial tensions are the palpable and obvious reality, yet the average citizen has no idea how to sensibly react. This book offers a reasonable response that pushes readers to account for and draw on the best of what we know, the core of who we are, and the needs and histories of those we serve.
Drawing on the educational and socializing experiences of Black males in Bermuda – a beautiful yet complex island with strong connections to the U.S., England, and the Caribbean – this book offers educators and leaders new language for postcolonial possibilities and emancipatory epistemologies related to Black male identities and success in a global context. Intriguing findings and fresh frameworks grounded in understandings of race, class, ability, transnationalism, culture, colonialism, and the construction/performance of gendered identity emerge in this book.

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Chapter 2: Race, Place, and Space: Transmitting Black Masculinities


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Transmitting Black Masculinities

Chapter 2 is meant to serve multiple functions. First, I draw on relevant literature to further explain a few key terms and ideas that undergird this study. I highlight common characteristics of Westernized masculinity, explore the contours of Black masculinities, and discuss how these particular brands of masculinity are transmitted in social institutions. By establishing that masculinities are transmitted in social institutions such as schools, I prepared the terrain for my investigation into how social institutions outside of the schoolhouse can also be spaces where educative exchanges take place. Additionally, I challenge some of the historical constructs and literature that privilege particular brands of masculinity and threaten to reinscribe deficit-based models of Black masculinity. I conclude the chapter by overviewing the salient literature on the history of two non-school–based educative spaces, the Black church and the Black barbershop, before providing a succinct outline of Bermuda’s educational context.

Defining “Man”

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines man as a “human being” or “the human race,” and male as “the sex [of humans, animals, and/or plants] that can beget offspring by performing the fertilizing function.” In sharing these admittedly ← 9 | 10 → concise definitions, I do not seek to establish a unified or universally accepted understanding of these terms, nor do I fully exhaust all of the definitions and contexts of these terms—that undertaking would be beyond the scope of this...

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