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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 9: Moving Forward: Freesearch, Freeach, Freedership


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Freesearch, Freeach, Freedership

I’d like to conclude this book by returning to where I started, with the mesearch–research–wesearch paradigm, in order to offer tools that can be used to activate these approaches in your own praxis—particularly for teachers and leaders inside and outside of traditional classrooms. Certainly, this paradigm is not static, but ever developing as I actively engage my work as a border-crossing brotha scholar.

Teaching and leading at the University of Missouri in the months during the campus uprisings in the fall of 2015 is important and intricate work. I have served as a border crosser and bridge builder at a crucial time in the university’s history. Being in this space has allowed me to operationalize aspects of the mesearch-research-wesearch paradigm: I was engaging in a NCAA-funded research study of our Black male student-athletes at Mizzou in 2015; many of the student leaders of the campus uprisings are students in my department, and some are mentees of mine; I have also served as a consultant to system- and campus-level administrators as we all sought to navigate race, place, and complex space on this campus and in the city of Columbia, Missouri. For me, tension has begotten innovation.

It was the tension in the opening class of my recent educational leadership course that helped crystallize the final pieces of my emerging framework. ← 165 | 166 → I had the privilege of teaching...

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