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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 Six: Everyday Struggle: Critical Race Theory and Black Male Doctoral Student Experience




Although Black males receive a great deal of attention in the popular media, much of it is negative, as images of drug dealers, gangsters, players, “baby boys,” and underachievers dominate the dialogue. For many, these depictions of Black men shape their entire understanding of the lives and lifestyles of Black men. However, this chapter will examine the experiences of Black male doctoral students (BMDS), a group that seldom receives attention in the popular media and does not receive much more attention in the academic literature. Nonetheless, it is important to examine the experiences of Black male doctoral students with regard to masculinity because it expands our conception of what it means to be a Black male in important ways: 1) they are a model of academic achievement and success as highly educated students en route to earning the highest academic degree available; 2) this chapter underscores the challenges these students encounter with regard to maintaining their cultural identity; and 3) understanding the experiences of BMDS at a predominantly White research university may provide insight on how students of color may be able to navigate their educational experiences at earlier educational levels. ← 107 | 108 →

Black students rank at or near the bottom on nearly every quantifiable measure of scholastic achievement in grade school, high school, and in college (Feagin & Sikes, 1995; Jencks & Phillips, 1998; Tierney, 1999; Porter, 2006; Harris, 2006; Cuyjet, 2006). Measures include grade point average, graduation...

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