“8 ways black men can fight rape.”

That’s the title of a very interesting article at Colorlines, by Akibo Solomon.   She is responding to coverage of the Cleveland case. Let me stresss that no one on this blog accepts that rape is just a black problem. See also commenys 4 & 6.

Solomon is largely reporting the ideas of “Dr. R. L’Heureux Lewis, a sociology professor at the City University of New York who frequently writes and speaks about black masculinity and sexual violence”. The eight way particularly interested me, and I wish I had tried it with my own  son. This is in part because it seems to me a good idea to talk about the ideas being picked up in the culture on this very topic. It is also, however, because he is gay and so he might have been puzzled in adolescence about where he fit it, to put it mildly.

Before I repeat the advice, let me ask you whether you think the advice is principally for boys who do not fit easily into the dominant white male world of power, or whether all boys are apt to feel lost in adolescence.

Here it is, from Colorlines:

“One easy exercise you can try with boys or even among your friends: Ask them to describe a ‘real man.’ You’ll likely get a laundry list like, ‘A real man is strong! A real man has all the money! A real man has the power!’ Next, ask, ‘Of all of those things, which do you have?’ In answering this question, boys realize how unreal it is to be a baller-slash-star-athlete-slash-rocket scientist. They begin to see how anybody can question their manhood because they don’t have all of these qualities. Finally, ask, ‘Of the men you know in your community, name the ones you respect and what you respect about them.’ This exercise helps boys create an alternate view of masculinity. That’s the first step in forming a model for healthy black male sexuality.”

8 thoughts on ““8 ways black men can fight rape.”

  1. the part about the infantilizing of black boys seems out of relation to not really addressing black men or boys at all, or men of any ‘kind’. perhaps you would like to GROUND the relation between black men and rape – if it is information.

  2. James, you remind me that we are proceeding with the assumption that there is some connection. So let me be clear that this is about the gang rape (alleged?) in Texas, and so in this context about black boys and men. But no one on this blog – and surely no aware person – thinks that rape is somehow just a black problem.

    What might be true is that the story/myths/pressures that support rape in the black community are different from those in other communities, which may indeed all be different.

  3. I would encourage you to read through Dr. R. L’Heureux Lewis’ bio and research interests, if you have any doubts about the tone of jj’s post.

    Also, what did you mean by “not really addressing…men of any ‘kind'”?

  4. i think this story/blog post is about growing, and i recognize Xena’s comments as being in that ‘spirit’. men of ‘kind’, or ethnic characteristic or the ‘race characteristic’.

    i think i got jj’s comment. it’s tone wasn’t very pronounced.

  5. You know, the intentions behind the article are clearly good, and so is the content. But I am bothered by the framing of rape as esp. an issue for black men. I cringed when I saw the title.

  6. Yeah, the title is whack to say the least. And as long as the majority of woman look for men with financial stability and social status, that is what men will see as masculinity.

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