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Boyhood to Manhood

Deconstructing Black Masculinity through a Life Span Continuum

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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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Introduction

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SPENCER PLATT, DARRYL B. HOLLOMAN, AND LEMUEL W. WATSON

Black people have unique stories that beg to be told in numerous ways and from multiple perspectives. However, to date, an understanding of the Black experience within contemporary American society has largely been communicated by the visual imagery promulgated by popular media. These often fictionalized images are generally negative and disturbing, but what is more disturbing is how the depictions are internalized by some Black men and then used as the measure by which they view and define themselves. Consequently, the multidimensionality of the Black male experience must continuously be shared in order to provide a more accurate and positive representation of how Black men develop throughout the course of their lives.

The overarching goal of this book is to examine the multiple dimensions and perspectives regarding the roles that Black men occupy within our contemporary society. A secondary goal is to broaden how Black males view their own multiple identities. These diverse personal and professional identities impact the political, social, and economic climate in many ways in the United States. The book is meant to highlight a number of topics relevant to the experiences of Black males and to reflect on the diversity and depth of what it means to be American, international, Black, and male—in essence, a critical lifespan approach to how Black men perceive and relate to masculinity. Understanding Black men from such a holistic viewpoint is essential to the continued...

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