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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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Introduction: Context Matters


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Context Matters

The lyrics to a popular Bermudian song, “Bermuda is another world, 700 miles at sea; and the way that people greet you is like a friendly melody,” tagged with images of the beautiful beaches and crystal-clear water, make for a compelling marketing package for tourists looking for an escape into paradise. And yet, while Bermuda is stunningly beautiful, there are some lived realities for Black Bermudian families that ask more nuanced questions about the breadth of White supremacy and barriers of systematic oppression. Mincy, Jethwani-Keyser, and Haldane (2009), in their Bermuda government–sponsored report, “A Study of Employment, Earnings, and Educational Gaps Between Young Black Bermudian Males and Their Same-Age Peers,” found that the prevalence of academic underachievement and the overrepresentation of Black Bermudian males in the penal system mirror findings on Black males across the African Diaspora (p. 2). The work of Mincy et al. (2009) is significant to this book project because their work documents key insights on the educational experiences of Black Bermudian males, such as the disturbing finding that over 50% of Black Bermudian males fail to graduate from the public school system.

Notably, the Bermuda Department of Statistics’s Report on the 2000 Census of Population and Housing (2000) reveals that despite the fact that Black males account for 12,434 (25%) of the 49,465 “population aged 16 years and older,” ← xix | xx → only 2,412 of Black males (19%) hold a technical,...

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