Damien Sojoyner: “Trouble Man: The Limitations of Policy Oriented Black Masculinity”
CLAREMONT, California - March 11, 2014
In the current political and social moment, the construction of Black masculinity in the United States has been interpolated within a very narrow realm of possibility. Given the high rates of incarceration, abysmal health statistics, and overall lack of formal education, there has been an intense focus on locating the “solution” for the “Black male.” Specifically, over the past ten years there has been a litany of research projects, policy proposals, and foundation initiatives that allude to a proper and respectable heteronormative masculine performance as the key to assist the Black male “contribute to society.” The result of these works has led to a set of very limited parameters to discuss issues of Blackness and gender outside of a framework that does not re-affirm problematic understandings of masculinity.
Throughout his presentation Sojoyner, assistant professor of Africana Studies at Scripps College, juxtaposes the development of the current imposition of Black masculinity against the “on-the-ground” reality of structural and interpersonal violence that is caused by formal state entities (i.e. non-profits, state agencies, foundations, and academic institutions) that are recognized as legitimate and necessary.