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The Beautiful Resistance: Black Humanity and Black Boy Joy

by Mike Browne and Amir Asim Gilmore
September/October 2021
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/the-beautiful-resistance-black-humanity-and-black-boy-joy/5026162/

What makes Black boys joyful? That is a question that white educators typically do not center. All Black boys need childhoods. In many ways, U.S. society and education have continually failed Black boys in this endeavor—through investments in and commitments to anti-Black male social imagery. Within contemporary and historical contexts, Black boys’ pathologization has been predicated on the public’s assumptions that they are a danger to society (e.g., Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice). This pathologization heavily affects their abilities to define their futures and joy, as Black boys are surveilled by disciplinary practices that mitigate their childhood.

What does a Black boy explicitly and implicitly learn about their role within society when they are perceived as criminals? As two Black male educators deeply invested in Black boys’ brilliance, resilience, and educational well-being, we understand how precarious their joy is and how crucial it is to their livelihood. Our conversation is not simply a call for a critical reimagining of Black boyhoods, but also an invitation to center Black Boy Joy.

Black Boy Joy is a spiritual life force and a liberatory emotional expression that satisfies Black boys’ humanity and desires by refusing anti-Black pathologies. 

Thisrefusal is the continuance ...

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