Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Dennis Carlson
3. Schooling the Gendered Politics of Masculine Scripts in Black Popular Culture
Theorizing the Intersectional and Historical Context of Black Masculinities
Schooling the Gendered Politics of Masculine Scripts in Black Popular Culture
Darius D. Prier
African American males have always been viewed as “problems” in urban schools through the prism of racial, gendered, and sexual optics of the White, racist imagination. The cultural dimensions across and between race, gender, and sexuality have been indispensable to the existential predicament for Black folk in U.S. society. For example, after the integration of public schools, the assault on the Black male image was cultivated through distorted narratives around White fear of Black miscegenation with their daughters who would be in close contact with African American males (hooks, 2004; Kharem, 2006; Prier, 2012). During the institution of slavery, the preoccupation of the Black male with asserting and protecting his manhood can be traced back to the public spectacle of lynching—punishment practices where one’s genitalia were often removed if one was deemed a physical threat to authority—a symbolic and material gesture of emasculation. Subsequently,
It is no coincidence that at that very point in history where Black men were being set on fire and castrated for recreation, Black culture created the myth of Stag-o-Lee, the violent, invulnerable Black bad man who was immune to danger and endowed with superheroic sexual abilities. (Cobb, 2008, p. 185)
In the contemporary moment of Black popular culture, stylization of the Black male body politic asserts resistance to a hostile, racist culture; evokes fear of disciplinary authorities;...
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