From headlines to street corners, the message resounds: Black men are in crisis. Politicians, preachers, and pundits routinely cast blame on those already ostracized within African American communities. But the crisis of black masculinity does not rest with "at-risk" youth of the hip-hop generation or men "on the down low" alone. In this provocative new book, acclaimed cultural critic Mark Anthony Neal argues that the "Strong Black Man"-an ideal championed by generations of African American civic leaders-may be at the heart of problems facing black men today.
New Black Man puts forth a revolutionary model of black masculinity for the twenty-first century-one that moves beyond patriarchy to embrace feminism and combat homophobia. Neal begins by tracing the origins of the Strong Black Man, an empowering figure called forth by Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois at a time when black men were resisting enslavement, economic exploitation, and violence. Despite the good intentions of its creation, he argues, this rigid model has been used too often as justification for the oppression and mistreatment of black women and children. Neal urges us to imagine instead a New Black Man whose strength resides in family, community, and diversity.
Part memoir, part manifesto, this book celebrates the black man of our times in all his vibrancy and virility. This impassioned tribute to a new face on the horizon of black America is not to be missed.
One of the most brilliant cultural critics of his generation...Neal writes gracefully, thinks sharply, speaks cogently and is old school and new school at once. He's my favorite cultural critic and one hip brother.