Class Status and the Construction of Black Masculinity

Trevor B. Milton


Black Masculinity—as a subfield of Gender Studies—is tailored to study the typical behaviors of African American males. Literature on this subject claims that stereotypical characteristics of Black men have been shaped by centuries of racial subjugation and response to economic oppression. I contend in this article that Black Masculinity and its attributes are decreasingly influenced by one’s racial designation and are more influenced by class status. Entering the twenty-first century, behavioral attributes typically associated with Black Masculinity—such as violent compulsion and criminality, frequent womanizing, and homophobia—are more closely linked to class than to race. Growing racial tolerance and media access to Black culture has allowed for the spread of these attributes across racial boundaries. Considered intolerable to progressive American society, these behaviors tend to surface when poor opportunity structure limits the expression of patriarchal male power.

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Copyright (c) 2012 Trevor B. Milton