Educating Black Males in the 21st Century South: Tunnel Vision? offers rich accounts of the lived experiences of Black men in the South, spanning from childhood to adulthood. Backed by historical accounts and research, the authors provide a comprehensive perspective of challenges that have led to a persistent educational and societal crisis. This book illuminates systems of past oppression, unveils the truths of Black boys and men whose lives have been overshadowed by stereotypes and biases, and shares breakthrough strategies for countering such challenges and effectively reaching Black males as students to empower them to achieve more than society has allowed them to visualize for themselves.
Jo Hawkins-Jones is professor of literacy education and service-learning faculty at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Myron B. Labat is associate professor at Mississippi State University.
Part I: Window Seat
I. Misunderstood and Invisible: Black Male Identity
II. Same Ole South
III. The Black Family
IV. Hard Knock Life
V. “Too Many Negative Experiences”
VI. How Violence Enters the School House
Part II: Opening Doors for Change
VII. Subconscious Lower Expectations: “I Was Just Young and Didn’t Care”
VIII. Changing the Trajectory
About the Authors
As an activist turned educator, I aimed to be a Black man behind a blackboard, and continue to strive to bring more Black men to the classroom. Jo Hawkins-Jones and Myron Labat’s work, Educating Black Males in the 21st Century South: Tunnel Vision?, exemplifies the systematic challenges and disruptive narratives that surround Black men and make this aspiration not just radical, but life-saving. Their work encourages us all to invest in the educational experiences of Black men as well as a clear path to advocate for Black men. Equitable school funding, social-emotional learning curriculum, or higher teacher salaries are in vain if it’s not accompanied by the dismantlement of racist policies and narratives, especially towards Black men and boys. This book deftly interrogates the social policy and narratives that impact the educational experiences of Black men. If we want to truly educate Black boys and men, to achieve educational justice, we must rely on the recommendations of the authors to radically change our classroom communities and educational policy.
Educating Black Males weaves the stories of black men in rural Mississippi with the historical oppression they have faced to make a strong case that educators adopt a more understanding commitment to boys’ potential and success. Drawing on a range of social science research, the authors show why young black males struggle to believe in themselves, and, importantly, that engaged, sympathetic mentorship can help them avoid gangs and incarceration, finish school and gain employment.