Deconstructing Black Masculinity through a Life Span Continuum
Chapter Four: Brothers Gonna Work It Out: Black Male Academics Negotiating Mentorship, Fatherhood, and Partnerhood in a Community Context
RICHARD J. REDDICK AND JAMES THOMAS
How might one assess the status of the Black male in America in the year 2014? In many arenas, there is a considerable amount of good news to convey. For six years, the chief executive of the United States has been a Black man, Barack H. Obama. Performers such as Jay-Z, Tyler Perry, and Forest Whitaker dominate the world of entertainment. On many statistical indexes of educational attainment, we can see increases in high school diplomas or equivalents, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s and higher degrees (U.S. Census and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). On the other hand, vivid examples of social inequities exist. One of 2013’s most critically acclaimed films, Fruitvale Station (Whitaker, Bongiovi, & Coogler, 2014), chronicles the last day of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, murdered by police officers at a train station. The nation is still reeling from the aftermath of the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder despite shooting an unarmed teenager who was simply walking home from a convenience store (Robertson & Schwartz, 2012). Tragically, yet perhaps unsurprisingly, another case of an unarmed Black youth’s death at the hands of a White police officer—18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri—at ← 69 | 70 → the time of this writing, presently occupies the news cycle (Reddick & Vincent, 2014).
Recently, another high-achieving, college-aspiring young Black male, Jordan Davis, was labelled a “thug” when a...
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