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blackmalefeminist - neal

blackmalefeminist - neal - .cui I 30 New Black Man Fn m Po...

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that most "Strong l3lack Men" would constrlor tho politics of a "punk-ass"? Thus Neu: Black Muri draws hom Illy experiences in the classroom as a professor, as a writer who engages black popular culture, black fcminist thought, and black Ilueer stud- ies, and lastly as a Iathor and husband, who at times struggles with living up to the progressive claims that I often make in my wJitings and in my classroom. cui I Fn m, Po ea, w] th rei gE all In crl "~ b~. lei fa in tH ., ea 01 us a fo bs m Pi ee hi tr bl 30 New Black Man , ....... - Chapter 2 what the hell is a black male feminist? Sons-hoys have no role models-s-Our girls have us as positive role models- -thc hoys have nothing-they are trail blaze-rs- - they are making their own definition of self as men. Andre lorde ' There is no blueprint that exists to help produce youug black men in America who arc even remotely sensitive to the differ- ing realities of women, particularly black women, and espe- eially if those young black men are asked to venture beyond the most simplistic and obvious markers of gender difference. And of course as part of a community of folk struggling within a racist and racially defined society there was rarely an instance when we even remotely thought about how gender, or even sex- uality, complicated the experience of those of us who weren't 31 .,
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malo Because Illy bther-a strong black man in his own light- often marked his worth to me as a LII her and as a man in the larger society with the number of hours he put in at work (try ing to create some sClnblance of lower middle-class existencr. [or his Lunily), hornie was a real ghost throughout much of Illy youth. Not that I begflldged his ahsenee. I always understood he was hustling the only way he knew how amI the only way he could with a tenth-grade education. What it meant was that my mother was tlIe most imposing Jlgure in my hfe, courtesy of her constant presence in my daily life and her lorcelul personality. Thus from a young age I, on SOllie level, viewed life through the eyes of this black woman who chased bourgeois dreams, agonized over the utter inability of my fatber to ever find value in those dreams, and always tbought that it was important that she be heard. Was my mother a feminist? The thought never occurred to me, even now it doesn't, though if being the most imposing 4'11" black woman I had ever confl-onted was a crite- rion, I would have to say she was .. My mother went to work full~tillle when I began grade school, purposely taking a job as a school lunch helper (she only had two years of college at the time) so that she could be home when I got home tram school. On those days when she couldn't pick me up from school, I was picked up by "Ms. Bo," a lovely, gracious, and stylish older black woman, who owncd the beauty shop next door to the tenement bUilding I lived in. And there r sat in her beauty shop at least once a week eavesdropping on the hves, loves, dreams, I,mrs of black women of evelY hue, shape, class, hair texture, and of course soaking up all the love and affection that a room full of black
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