chapter  11
34 Pages

The Crisis of the Black Male: A New Ideology in Black Politics

WithWillie M. Legette

This chapter argues that the crisis-of-the-black-male thesis is an ideology in black politics. It is an interpretation placed on black life that serves the political interests of black men. The chapter conceptualizes this ideology as black manhood ideology, which refers to the emerging consensus that social and economic problems in the black community are the result of black men not being able to perform the roles expected of men in a patriarchal society. The issue of black manhood was articulated in the 1960s by Black Power advocates and black nationalists. The call for all black male schools or classes to address exclusively the social and academic needs of black male youths is a concrete public policy consequence of the crisis-of-the-black-male thesis. The focus on the behavior and attributes of black males reinforces racist stereotypes and feeds popular misconceptions about poor people.