Monday, October 10, 2005

Black Men Need New Model of Masculinity


A new model of black masculinity is needed, one that prizes "softer" virtues of nurturing and negotiation and renounces misogyny and homophobia, says Duke University professor Mark Anthony Neal in his new book, "New Black Man."
Neal, a self-described "hip-hop intellectual" and "male feminist," is a scholar of popular culture. "New Black Man" is his fourth sole-author book.
"It's really trying to redefine the contours specifically of black masculinity, but really more broadly of masculinity in general in this country," Neal said in an interview. "I think the issue that complicates it for black men is racism and race in general."

A paradigm of the "strong black man" began to develop in the last century as a counter to prevailing stereotypes of black men as irresponsible or dangerous. It has emphasized family provision and defense of children and women -- all good and necessary, Neal says.
"I think there is this kind of stereotype, that if black men aren't this model of strength and vitality and hardness, then their masculinity is suspect," Neal said.

But, as enunciated during the civil-rights movement by Eldridge Cleaver in his influential autobiography "Soul on Ice," it also can carry side effects of homophobia, evident in Cleaver's disparagement of gay black author James Baldwin.

"Homophobia is seen as an issue that most affects gay folks," Neal said. "If gay folks don't speak out about it, there's never a conversation when it occurs," he said. "I'd like to think that homophobia is another attack on black humanity," he said. (Read more....)

6 comments:

Clay said...

this seems interesting - i will have to check it out

Kenneth Winfrey said...

I am so glad to see that men are starting to pay attention to our souls. With the overdue rise of feminism, women have learned to support and encourage each other to take care of themselves, and their spirit.

An unexpected ally of ours on the matter is Barbara Bush, who has often stated that boys are now being neglected in an increasingly "girl-power" culture.

Frank León Roberts said...

Wow, this book is really gettign a lot of play. This one and Scott Poulson-Bryant's "HUNG."

Rashid @ Old Gold Soul said...

I just passed this along to my APO Brother who works on black male isses at my alma mater. My school has really done a lot to bridge women's issues with men's issues to people of color issues.

Anonymous said...

This is definitely a discourse that we need for the evolution of black men in particular and black people in general.

D. Sacks said...

Hi, I am a student studying the 'Crisis of the African-American Man'

My thesis is: From plantation to penatentury: Dubois to West


I am doing an inquiry into the nature of institutional and social
racial oppression.

I wanted to survey some black men in America, on their views on the current
situation in America [i.e. the prison industrial complex, black
unemployment at record highs]


This is a completely anonymous survey, for research purposes, to contribute the voice of the black american male...which is so often ignored by the mainstream,...

Please add your views.

Please include some information about employment, education, marital,
father status.

The Crisis Of the Black Man in America

Questions:

1. Is there such thing as black masculinity in America?

2. Where do you, as a black man, fit into 'black masculinity'?

3. What are some of the ways in which black masculinity differs from
white masculinity?

4. How has racism, sexism, homophobia and the threat of violence helped
shape black masculine identity in America Culture?

5. Are the popular portrayals of Black men in America, representative
of this population?

6. Which famous black men do you most identify with, and in what ways?

7. What are the first five famous black American men, that come to mind
off the top of your head?

8. How do you feel about the black body in visual media?

9. Do you feel that your body is like these?


10. Is their a pronounced voice for the real black man in this
country?

11. What can be done about the disproportionate numbers of young
incarcerated black men in america?

12. Håve you served prison time?

13. Please expand on this discussion, what are your thoughts: