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Making Space for Diverse Masculinities

Difference, Intersectionality, and Engagement in an Urban High School


Lance T. McCready

What’s it like for Black male students who are openly gay or «gender non-conforming» to navigate the social geography of urban schools? In the tradition of critical ethnographies of schooling, Lance T. McCready mobilizes feminist theories of intersectionality to explore the voices of Black gay male students and their teachers in a Northern California comprehensive high school. He analyzes the brave and often hilarious ways students «make space» by challenging conventional notions of Black masculinity and gay identity in educational spaces, such as an African dance program and the Gay-Straight Alliance. McCready challenges the dominance of race-class analyses in the field of urban education that fail to critically account for the relevance of gender and sexuality in school reform. The book will be of interest to anyone seeking to gain a better understanding of the lives of queer youth of color in urban communities. Their experiences open up new ways of viewing the troubles of Black boys and the interventions meant to address those troubles.


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Acknowledgments vii CHAPTER 1: Theorizing the Pink Ballet Tutu Incident 1 CHAPTER 2: The Social Geography of Parkwood High School: “Two schools under one roof” 19 CHAPTER 3: Project 10: “It’s just tea time for a few [white] lesbians and their friends” 41 CHAPTER 4: The African Dance Program: “Where is the love?” 63 CHAPTER 5: Making Space for Diverse Masculinities in Boys’ Education and Black Education 85 CHAPTER 6: Implications for Urban Educators 109 Notes 119 Bibliography 123 Appendix A: Taking Stock Survey 131 Appendix B: Taking Stock Directory of PHS Extracurricular Activities 132 Appendix C: Extracurricular Activities Organized by Type, Race, and Gender Composition 134 Appendix D: Ethnographic Research Narrative: Programs, Contexts, Methods 137 VI CONTENTS Warning: These acknowledgments are lengthy! Learning is a socio-cultural process and frankly this book culminates the end of a long educational journey through numerous different relationships in and out two graduate schools, two places of employment, and numerous community-based organizations. I feel so blessed to have encountered a multitude of friends, colleagues, lovers and supporters along this journey, some of whom are still living, others who have transitioned. I am very conscious that I stand on the shoulders of those who have come before me, as well as those who are with me. One day I’d like to write a memoir about these travels, but for the purposes of the present book, I’d like to acknowledge a few groups and individuals that have contributed to its fruition. Let me begin by thanking...

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