Black Perspectives: The Education of Black Boys

By Nadrea Njoku
Black Perspectives

Black Boys Apart (Freeden Blume Oeur)Blume Oeur (2018) utilizes an ethnographic approach to examine the societal significance of single-sex education. Through extended case method the author studied two predominately Black all-male public schools, which included observations inside and outside of class over eleven months and one hundred fifty  interviews (students, parents, teachers, administrators, and school district officials). Drawing on Michel Foucault’s notion of governmentality, this work draws connections between the goals of all Black male schooling and traditional notions of Black manhood—W.E.B. Du Bois’s ideas of the “Talented Tenth” and respectability politics specifically. The text outlines that while proponents sketch all Black single-sex schools as innovative, they “revise old notions about Black male reform” (15), and “freeze” early Du Boisian theory for their gain. The author’s observations and interviews reveal that building the foundation of Black all boy schools on the respectability and racial uplift through resilience lacks consideration of Du Bois’s later work.  In turn, the school environments institutionalize respectability, promote hegemonic masculinity, and poses harm through intra-racial division across class and gender.

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