Mothers & Sons: Feminism, Masculinity, and the Struggle to Raise Our Sons

By Andrea O'Reilly | Go to book overview
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3

MASCULINITY, MATRIARCHY, AND MYTH A BLACK FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE

Claudette LeeandEthel Hill Williams

Introduction

Recent statistics indicate that nearly one-third of the African-American male population is under some form of criminal justice supervision- through incarceration, probation, or parole (Mauer and Hauling). These conditions, combined with differences associated with the African-American culture, conditions associated with class and racism, have necessitated that black women take a different approach to both feminism and the parental relationship with their sons. Myths about the black family promulgated by scholars, political analysts, and the media compound this situation. The myth that is most dominant is still that of the black matriarchal family structure famously perpetuated by D. Patrick Moynihan in 1965. These are all challenges to the black feminist mother.

The major challenge, however, to a black mother raising sons today remains the same as that of yesterday-survival. The settings and techniques may have changed, but the challenge remains the same. Racism, discrimination, and oppression define the childhood of an African-American male. Mothering for an African-American woman is defined by

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