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Boyhood to Manhood

Deconstructing Black Masculinity through a Life Span Continuum


Edited By C. Spencer Platt, Darryl B. Holloman and Lemuel W. Watson

Boyhood to Manhood: Deconstructing Black Masculinity through a Life Span Continuum seeks to foster an open and honest discussion about the intersection of multiple identities found among Black males. The book explores topics such as what it means to be a Black male; race and ethnicity; health; [dis]ability; athletics; socioeconomic status; historical accounts; employment; religion and sexual identity. Many Black men share the experience of being members of cultures that are guided by strict gendered norms. These norms often require men to conform to «masculine» behaviors, which may increase their levels of risk-taking behavior, anxiety and fear of being ostracized should they fail to display the appropriate «male» skill sets. The ability to explore and embrace other possibilities for the ways that men can construct their personal and professional realities helps to enhance and broaden the ways in which men live their lives and seek opportunities. The qualitative, quantitative and historical data presented in this book provide new understandings of the experiences, roles and perspectives of Black men.
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Chapter One: First-Year Experience: Engaging and Supporting Millennial Black Males During the First Year of College




A persisting challenge facing many postsecondary institutions in the United States is the retention of Millennial Black males during their first year of college. Millennials are categorized as those individuals born between the years of 1982 and 2002 (Rickes, 2009). In 2003–2004, 16% of freshman students that enrolled in a U.S. postsecondary education institution in 2003 left the institution without completing a degree or certificate by 2004 (Ross et al., 2012). Black males accounted for a quarter of that percentage. Additionally, less than a third of freshman Black males enrolled in a four-year college will graduate with a degree within six years (Schmidt, 2008). Though Black males enter postsecondary institutions with higher aspirations and initial engagement, when compared to other races and ethnic groups, this population of students is less likely to academically persist or reach their goals (Mangan, 2014). Unfortunately, Black males lose that initial excitement about the educational experience and eventually become unmotivated, disengaged, and discouraged (Mangan, 2014). The motivation or lack thereof to persist academically directly impacts retention, degree obtainment, future career opportunities, income earning potential, and marketability (Palmer & Young, 2009).

Since the 1980s, research data has indicated a marginal increase in the college enrollment of Millennial Black males but the data can be misleading without a broader and expansive understanding (Frierson, Pearson, & Wyche, 2009; Palmer, 2009). There is reason to applaud the slight increase in college enrollment, yet Black ← 5 | 6 → males...

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