Black Masculinity: Behaviors, Boundaries and Biology
What is an ethnic group? An ethnic group is a human population whose members identify with each other, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry . These ethnic groups are usually united by shared cultural values, common fields of communication, or religious practices. So perhaps the theory of Black masculinity can be considered an ethnic group. There is the obvious factors of being ‘Black’ and ‘male’ that connects these members in this group; they have skin color and gender in common. Perhaps this cultural group has come together to be more then just a group who have race and gender in common. It goes beyond that and Black masculinity has members who are not ‘Black’. Perhaps this questions if history, ancestry, and genealogy are factored in when becoming a members of a group. But will these members be truly accepted in the cult of Black masculinity. Within the dominant culture African American men have developed their own sense of identity. These men have integrated themselves into American society creating a culture of their own. They have established a language, a sense of dress, and behaviors. These protocols help this group of men emphasize their ethnicity and gender. Members of this group who follow these traits are considered to be part of the cult of Black masculinity. What is happening is that white men, because of the influence of pop culture, are permeating the boundaries of the Black masculine cult. This is an experience of somewhat reverse assimilation. At first it was the assimilation of the Black man into the white man’s world and now it is as if roles are reversed. How the white men see the Black masculinity portrayed through the media and want to be part of it. Anthropologist Fredrik Barth specifies three conditions under which ethnic groups develop and define themselves: (a) a dominant culture is present with the power to maintain conditions whereby other groups of people, (b) are stereotyped, and (c) are constrained to certain roles that function complementarily in the general culture. Barth argues that ethnic distinctions are born out of conflict . The above conditions are necessary for the maintenance of ethnic distinctions. So, the maintenance of ethnic diversity requires domination by one group of the rest. Using Barth’s definition of what an ethnic group is and which boundaries are defined by these rules this paper will prove how Black masculinity conforms to these guidelines establishing them as an ethnic group within the dominant culture. This paper will also explore the difference that is expressed by black males in American culture through the use of language, dress and behavior. The cult of Black masculinity will prove that ethnic groups can create something of their own while inventing a new culture in which they can partake in and be control of. Black Masculinity
“A particular type of black masculinity--one defined mainly by an urban aesthetic, a nihilistic attitude, and an aggressive posturing--has made its way into the cultural mainstream in the last two decades.” There are many contributing factors but the image of Black masculinity has come about due to the popularization of hip-hop culture and the prominence of rap music and the "videomercials" that sell it. More specifically, it is the result of the popularity of the urban "gangsta" and his embodiment in the "gangsta" rap of artists such as Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Tupak Shakur. Black masculinity is the attempt for black males to incorporate what the dominant culture believes to be masculine. Most studies have, however regarded Black Masculinity as an alternative to social status, rather than as an extension of it. ‘Black Macho’ has been portrayed, therefore, as differing in kind rather than degree from the wider gendered power relations within Society at large… It is however; only within the context of wider power relations -- and as an...
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