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Gender and Sexualities in Education

A Reader

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Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Dennis Carlson

This volume is about the education of gender and sexualities, which is to say it explores how gender and sexuality identities and differences get constructed through the process of education and «schooling». Wittingly or not, educational institutions and educators play an important role in «normalizing» gender and sexuality differences by disciplining, regulating, and producing differences in ways that are «intelligible» within the dominant or hegemonic culture. To make gender and sexuality identities and differences intelligible through education is to understand them through the logic of separable binary oppositions (man-woman, straight-gay), and to valorize and privilege one normalized identity within each binary (man, straight) and simultaneously stigmatize and marginalize the «other» identity (woman, gay). Educational institutions have been set up to normalize the construction of gender and sexual identities in these ways, and this is both the overt and the «hidden» curriculum of schooling. At the same time, the «postmodern» times in which we live are characterized by a proliferating of differences so that the binary oppositional borders that have been maintained and policed through schooling, and that are central to maintaining highly inequitable power relations and rigid gender roles, are being challenged, resisted, and in other ways profoundly destabilized by young people today.
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3. Schooling the Gendered Politics of Masculine Scripts in Black Popular Culture

Theorizing the Intersectional and Historical Context of Black Masculinities

Extract

Chapter 3

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)

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