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Black Men’s Studies

Black Manhood and Masculinities in the U.S. Context


Serie McDougal III

Black Men's Studies offers an approach to understanding the lives and the self determination of men of African descent in the U.S. context. It not only frames their experiences, it also explores the multidimensional approaches to advancing the lives of Black men. Particular attention is given to placing Black men in their own unique historical, cultural, and socio-political contexts.

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Chapter 1 Black Male Culture


Chapter 1

Black Male Culture

The earth is blanked by a multilayered atmosphere. Each layer contains a unique mix of gaseous elements and compounds. Thousands of years ago, humans migrated from the African continent to different parts of the world, all with the same basic DNA structure, and meeting the same basic human challenges: giving birth, raising and protecting children, preparing food, loving, and dealing with death—to name a few (Davis et al., 2006). Yet, they developed unique ways of meeting those challenges and addressing those needs. The human species’ diverse efforts to address common needs has resulted in a vast tapestry of languages, spiritual systems, systems of governance, family structures, artistic products, rituals, and other cultural products. The resulting collage of cultures blankets the earth’s surface like the atmosphere. Davis et al. (2006) calls this the ethnosphere. The purpose of this chapter is to describe Black males’ relationships with the ethnosphere, exploring the meaning of culture and the ways in which it is often misunderstood. Both deep and surface levels of Black male culture will be explored as situated within the context of African American and pre-colonial African cultures.

The Meaning of Culture

Culture takes us beyond the generic notion of human nature, toward the unique peoples and people we are. There are no hard lines separating cultures; they clearly overlap due to people generally having the same basic needs and experiencing many of the same human drives and life...

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