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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 4: Amalgamating Theories, Constructing a Conceptual Lens to Study Black Bermudian Identity Development


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In general, identity construction is a complex and contested process (Gause, 2008; Giroux, 2005; Johnson, 2006; Schwalbe, 2005) that includes, but is not limited to, an amalgamation of difference across and within a continuum of races, genders, social classes, sexual orientations, religions, (dis)abilities, languages, political allegiances, and other culturally and historically contextualized markers (Bettie, 2003; Butler, 1999; Delpit, 1995, 1998; Fanon, 1967; Kimmel, 2006a, 2006b; Schwalbe, 2005). At times, identity markers can function somewhat separately from and in concert (or conflict) with other identity markers, as borders are encroached, pushed, redefined, and re-established individually, ideologically, and institutionally (Johnson, 2006). Herein lies one of the most significant benefits of using the intersections between postcolonial theory and border-crossing theory to study Black Bermudian masculine identities in this book. I will further explain and contextualize these theories and their intersections.

Before proceeding, the terms geopolitics and subalternity need to be defined and clarified, since they have ramifications for the construction of personal and collective identities, and they are significant for the theoretical amalgamation of postcolonial theory and border theory. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary (1982), geopolitics is the utilization of political power over a ← 35 | 36 → territory or the influence that geography has on politics. Another definition is offered by Osterud (1988), who asserts,

[G]eopolitics traditionally indicates the links and causal relationships between political power and...

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