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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 8: Layered Identities


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Bermudian culture and identities are layered. As subcategories of identity, masculinities are as unique as they are complex. The profiles describing the identities and nuanced journeys of the twelve participants in this study suggest that Black Bermudian masculinities are no exception. As the title of this book asserts, each participant is a border-crossing brotha in his own way. The maturation process from birth to boyhood to manhood is a border-crossing experience that each participant engaged in during his journey. By utilizing an amalgamation of border-crossing theory and postcolonial theory, this study offers new lenses and language for understanding the multiple layers and tensions that impact how Black males are educated and socialized in various learning spaces, across geopolitical paradigms and sociocultural borders. Moreover, if Dantley’s (2005) assertion is true that “what happens in the schoolhouse is inextricably linked to what is going on in the local and wider community” (p. 653), then this study is significant for all school stakeholders because it uses the lenses of border-crossing and postcolonial theories to refract and re-examine the roles of significant educative spaces in the lives of Black males in Bermuda. Specifically, I set out to learn how Black Bermudian males form personal identities as they journey from boyhood to manhood, how the identities that Black Bermudian males form during their journeys to ← 139 | 140 → manhood are influenced by community-based pedagogical spaces (i.e., those outside of the schoolhouse), and how Black Bermudian males...

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