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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 5 Black Men in Family and Community


Chapter 5

Black Men in Family and Community

The primary organizational unit in the Black community is the Black family. One of the most enduring elements of the Black family is its extended nature which cannot be understood removed from its pre-colonial African roots. The African family adopted new features which allowed it to survive in the American context. It is in this frame of reference that Black fatherhood must be understood. Due to both popular and professional preoccupations with real and imagined Black male problems in family life, Black fatherhood is seldom recognized for its dynamic nature, diversity, persistence, flexibility, and effectiveness. Therefore, this chapter will explore the history of Black men and boys in family life, contemporary factors which influence Black male involvement in family life, types of Black fathers and their diverse styles of fathering, the impact of general Black fathering, the experiences of Black boys in Black families, and approaches to the enhancement of Black male experiences in Black family life.

African Conceptualizations of Family

The African American family cannot be properly understood outside of the context of pre-colonial African families (Rentie, 2011). Although some scholars such as Frazier (1967) claimed that African heritage has been lost, others such as Billingsley (1988) explained that African American families continue to be defined and influenced in large part by their African heritage. One key example is their extended-family structures that cannot be accurately understood as separate nuclear families (couples and...

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