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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 9 Black Males, Crime, and Justice


Chapter 9

Black Males, Crime, and Justice

Black community safety and advancement can be achieved through strict adherence to the rule of American law. Belief in this false statement (among other racist and anti-Black male notions) may lie at the root of a great variety of misguided approaches to solving the problem of criminal behavior among some Black males. Approaches rooted in the cultures and agency of people of African descent may be the pathway to freedom and equitable treatment of Black males. Societies around the world have created legal systems to protect their safety and progress. To secure their well-being, various pre-colonial African peoples (first generation in America) created structures of laws which were extensions of their value systems. The legal systems that people of African descent were exposed to in the early American colonies were not extensions of their values; instead, Africans were defined by Whites as outside of humanity. The current criminal justice system bears the marks of its original presumptions of Black males’ inhumanity. Accordingly, Black male self-determination and collective Black survival have been and continue to be not fully compatible with the American criminal justice system. This chapter explores the history of Black males in relation to law enforcement. It describes the causes of Black male engagement in crime, overrepresentation in prisons, and anti-Black-male racist targeting. Emphasis is placed on approaches to curbing Black male engagement in self-destructive behaviors and challenging the systematic targeting and abuse of Black males by law...

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