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Black Culture and Experience

Contemporary Issues


Venise T. Berry, Anita Fleming-Rife and Ayo Dayo

Black Culture and Experience: Contemporary Issues offers a holistic look at Black culture in the twenty-first century. It is a collection of work that creates a synergy among authors and leads to a valuable resource on contemporary issues. Part One examines institutional, societal, and political issues like identity politics; the Rooney Rule; prosperity gospel; inequality in the criminal justice system; the American dream; the future of Black and Africana studies; and President Obama’s double consciousness. Part Two investigates social, cultural, and community issues such as the Affordable Care Act; Black women and obesity; Black men’s experience in marriage and relationships; sexual decision making; interracial relationships; and cultural racism. Part Three explores media, pop culture, and technology issues including the rise of urban fiction; hip hop and feminism; race in Super Bowl commercials; the construction of Black Diasporic identities; Whiteness in Black-oriented films; Black masculinity in Django Unchained; and the power of Black Twitter. This anthology contains work from leading scholars, authors, and other specialists who have been brought together to highlight key issues in black culture and experience today. The goal is to help readers understand where we are and where we still need to go, what is working and what we still need to work on, what is right and what is still wrong.
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Chapter Six: Learning from History: Contemporary Issues in Black and Africana Studies


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Learning from History: Contemporary Issues in Black and Africana Studies


After five decades of hammering the insensate walls of the “White Ivory Tower,” Black Studies has enabled a whole new generation of Americans to develop a neoconsciousness, making them less false and less racist than their parents and grandparents. One could argue that Black Studies generates a new type of antiracist thinking and that thinking aided in the election of President Barack Obama. Yes, we believe this has been a goal achieved indirectly, but with good fortune for the nation. Over the decades, Black Studies programs and departments have matriculated thousands of White students who understand, in the words of one such “White” Fresno State student, “the more we know, the less we fear” (Webb, 2014). There are a significant number of diverse students who matriculate through courses in Africana, African American, and Black Studies and their thinking often moves from fear to acceptance. President Obama needed this type of enlightened thinking to reach a turning point percentage in the electorate and attain the White House. In other words, the matriculation of tens of thousands of American students via required courses in either explicitly Black Studies or multiculturalism (MI GE req.) has led to a less racist America and reduced the fear of the “black planet.”1

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