Intersectionality and the African American Experience
Sandra L. Barnes, Vanderbilt University
#Save (Bring Back) Our Girls: Race, Gender, Age and the Plight of African American Girls
BarBara M. Scott, Northeastern Illinois University
The invisibility of black girls (and women) in the United States provides the context for this essay and call for social activism and social change. I provide a codification of the views, perspectives, and opinions of President Barack Obama’s recent My Brother’s Keeper Initiative as well as various statistics and information offered in several forms of media that highlight the plight of many African American girls. The goal is to make lives and experiences of African American girl visible, dispel myths surrounding their lives, and appropriately include them in the many narratives about race, class, and gender inequality and oppression. I suggest that successful outcomes for Black girls and women require systemic and community change that is advocated and championed by individuals within and outside African American communities as well as social policy changes at local and national levels. This installment is part of a two part essay in a series provided by founding or long-term members of the Association of Black Sociologists.
‘Everybody Gotta Have a Dream’: Rap-centered Aspirations among Young Black Males Involved in Rap Music Production – A Qualitative Study
Brian Foster, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Youth express diverse desires for their educational and occupational futures. Sometimes these aspirations are directed towards somewhat unconventional careers such as rapping and other types of involvement in rap music production. Although many studies have examined traditional educational and occupational aspirations, less is known about the factors that give rise to rap-centered aspirations and how individuals pursue them, particularly as they transition to early adulthood. Drawing on 54 semi- and unstructured interviews with 29 black male youth involved in rap music production, I find that rap-centered aspirations are shaped by a range of factors, most notably feedback regarding one’s rap skills, access to recording and production equipment, and the financial means to maintain involvement in rap music production while also ensuring personal, family, and group economic stability. The young men in the study imbued different meanings upon their aspirations and sometimes recast their motivations for participating in rap music production in response to their status in varied domains.
Why They Do What They Do?: Political Socialization Process for Black Youth
Darwin Fishman, California State University San Marcos
The 2008 election of the first African American President of the United States (U.S.) seemed to offer some very simple answers about youth voting trends. But to what extent did the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 represent fleeting historical moments or did these elections reflect a permanent change in voting behavior for youth? This question can also be applied specifically to the political socialization process among African American youth and can complicate answers often associated with this group. Past research on youth political socialization has relied heavily upon an institutional analysis of schools, family, and peer groups based on an understanding of what youth needed to learn to become fully functional political adults in society. Yet this research was based on white male youth and relied on traditional methodological and theoretical approaches. The focus on African American youth in this essay will address gaps in scholarly work as well as shed light on how race can contribute to this larger puzzle of youth political socialization patterns. Moreover, Cohen’s work on the political socialization of black youth provides an overall analytical frame that can be utilized for the field of political socialization. The broader picture of how the political socialization process operates for racial, gender, and sexual minorities, as well as dominate groups of youth, can be developed based on this focus.
Tying the Knot across the Color Line: An Intersectional Analysis of Interracial Marriage
Loren Henderson, University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Using an intersectional framework, this paper analyzes data from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth to examine life course factors that are determinants of getting married interracially. Recent claims suggest that black women are the most “intimately segregated group.” The results from logistic regression modeling show that life course factors are related to marrying across the color line. Net of other factors, individuals that: married at an older age; had more prior sex partners; have more highly educated fathers; had previously cohabited; and resided in suburban or urban areas, are more likely to be interracially married. However, these general patterns conceal how such influence interracial marriage when the intersection of race and gender are considered. Findings here suggest that black men have odds of being interracially married that are more than twice as high as those of black women. However, the odds of black women being interracially married are not lower than those of white women or white men. The rates of interracial marriage for black women, like that of black men, are actually higher than expected and contrast with those of white women and men, whose rates are somewhat lower than expected given their other sociodemographic characteristics. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for the future of interracial marriage in the United States.
Meta-Postcolonial Subjectivity in the Poetry of Dionne Brand: Locating and Performing the ‘Selves’
Antonio Tillis, College of Charleston
Identity construction among historically oppressed groups reflects theoretical, practical and performative dimensions that are constantly under attack by hegemonic forces that attempt to constrain and undermine liberating understandings of self. The current analysis relies on contemporary theory and content analysis to examine the poetry of scholar/activist Dionne Brand as an exemplar of postcolonial identity discourse. Findings illustrate how Brand centers the processes by which people of African ancestry renegotiate their understanding of the multiple aspects influence and shape their identities. Her work suggests how the “selves” that ultimately manifest can be successfully mediated such that marginalized individuals emerge as more holistic, empowered persons.
Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex, and Security in Sixties Montreal by David Austin
Linda Carty, Syracuse University
Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene by Gerard H. Gaskin
Regina Dixon-Reeves, University of Chicago