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Black Men’s Studies

Black Manhood and Masculinities in the U.S. Context

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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 4 Relationships and Intimacy

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Chapter 4

Relationships and Intimacy

The close relationships that Black males engage in have strong influences on their health and success. Additionally, those relationships represent Black males’ contributions to Black families and communities. Not enough is known about these relationships. Moreover, much of the research is focused on problems within intimate relationships and ignores solutions to the challenges that Black males face in their relationships. Recognizing the close and intimate relationships Black males have with one another, their environments, and other people facilitates an understanding of health and success of Black males and Black families and communities. Black male friendships and peer relationships are rooted in the legacy of pre-colonial African traditions of brotherhood and fellowship. Building on their African heritage, Black males’ social and romantic relations are also shaped by their unique cultural creations, struggles for freedom, and struggles with oppressive anti-Black male people, institutions, and ideas. The focus of this chapter is exploring Black males’ relationships including sexual identities and experiences.

The Legacy of Black Brotherhood

Many Black boys share a common heritage, lifestyles, and survival strategies that, in part, explain their references to one another using familial terms such as brotha, bruh, cuz, homie, fam, blood, folks and peoples, etc. (White & Cones, 1999). Staples (1976) observed that Black males tend to treat other unrelated Black males as kin to various degrees. This familial outlook is an extension of Black males’ traditions of brotherhood. African ethnic groups developed a...

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