Through Our Eyes
African American Men's Experiences of Race, Gender, and Violence
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Rutgers University Press
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There are times when a simple thank you seems an inadequate response to the gifts that others have so generously bestowed upon me. This is one of those times. But it is my sincerest hope that all who have contributed to this book will accept my warmest and deepest gratitude.
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“WHEN WE THINK about the violence that we commit against ourselves in different forms and the violence against other people that we commit, we must forgive ourselves for what we do to other people, but we need to forgive ourselves for what we do to ourselves. That’s something that we often don’t have the opportunity to do. We often don’t realize that it’s something we even should do.
Introduction: "I am a Man"
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THROUGH OUR EYES is a continuation of my search to understand the importance of violence in the lived experiences of African American women, men, and children. The physical, personal, and social violence that enter their lives comes from some place. My search is to identify those locations, their impacts, and the implications they hold for understanding not only how African Americans experience violence...
1. Little Men
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During the 1940s, the profundity of race, gender, and violence occupied a worldwide stage as man’s inhumanity to man was once again on full display. The world was in the grips of the Greatest War: The contested terrain was no less than global domination, for ideas of racial superiority and hegemonic manhood were vested in the strength of nation-states to employ ruthless and murderous violence.
2. The Souls of Black Boys
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In the aftermath of World War II, the genocidal atrocities that shocked the world led the Allied Powers of Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States to form the United Nations (UN), a new organization dedicated to international freedom, justice, and peace. To represent U.S. interests, the Truman administration appointed Eleanor Roosevelt as UN delegate.
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By the 1950s, much of the postwar world was divided among the former Allied Powers. Despite enormous death tolls, human suffering, and infrastructural devastation experienced on the home front, in the aftermath of World War II, England and France were again firmly committed to maintaining an economic grip on their African and Asian colonies, through violence if necessary.
4. Imprisoned Manhood
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During the Cold War, the United States sought to halt communist expansion by imposing democracy on Vietnam through violence. For many Americans, the loss of that war represented a crushing military defeat to U.S. stature as moral leader of the free world. To regain its prestige, in 1977 the Carter administration set a new course for America’s foreign policy.
5. Manhood Rearticulated
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During the 1960s, as governor Ronald Reagan vowed to end student protests erupting on college campuses throughout the University of California system. Following his order to “clean up the mess at Berkeley,” the National Guard with bayonets drawn occupied the campus for seventeen days. Reagan’s hard lined approach drew national attention that not only helped to positioned him as a future presidential candidate,...
Conclusion: Post-Race and Post-Gender Fiction in a Violent World
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The men were born during or in the immediate aftermath of World War II. In the postwar world that lay before them, they lived through enormous social and cultural transformations. Lingering on or just beneath the surface those changes announced the complex interplay of race and gender. In many notable historical moments men’s decisions and actions offered competing visions of humanity:...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2010