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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 7: Exposure to Life Options: Seeing Is Believing


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Seeing is Believing

In this chapter, the final three narrative portraits are situated within the third of the four main themes: exposure to life options. What and who participants were able to see or not see, and what participants were able to do or not do, greatly impacted the men they have become and their expectations and life outcomes as they transitioned from boyhood to manhood. These dynamics have also impacted the expectations they have met and the outcomes they continue to pursue presently as men. Through the global impact of the media, Black Bermudian males are exposed to typical notions of Western and Black masculinities. These non-Bermudian lenses have the capacity to influence the identity development and definitions of success that Black Bermudian males embrace. By beholding these images, Black Bermudian male identities are exposed to limited constructs of who other Black males are across the Diaspora and, in turn, who they can be as Black males on the island of Bermuda. These intersections reveal potential dangers of a colonial mindset, dominant ideologies importation, and the capacity for non-Bermudian identities to border cross and infringe on the masculinities of Black Bermudian males and their notions of success. In exploring the life options that the participants were exposed to, this chapter also begins to address the third and final research question undertaken in this study: How do Black Bermudian ← 115 | 116 → males define success given their...

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