The Assassination Of The Black Male Image

The Assassination Of The Black Male Image

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by Earl Ofari Hutchinson
     
 

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In Assassination of the Black Male Image, Hutchinson counters the popular racial and sexual stereotypes of black men. He argues that the black male image has been maligned and assaulted by academics, the press, and Hollywood, as well as some black rappers, comedians, feminists, filmmakers, and novelists. He accuses them of reinforcing and profiting from the…  See more details below

Overview

In Assassination of the Black Male Image, Hutchinson counters the popular racial and sexual stereotypes of black men. He argues that the black male image has been maligned and assaulted by academics, the press, and Hollywood, as well as some black rappers, comedians, feminists, filmmakers, and novelists. He accuses them of reinforcing and profiting from the stereotypes. Hutchinson traces the racial and sexual typecasting of African-American men during the past century, demonstrating that the perpetual crime-drugs-violence-dereliction image of African-American men has deep historic roots in America's racial past. He contends that racial and sexual stereotypes have frequently been skillfully minipulated by America's political and economic power brokers to deny rights and opportunities to African Americans.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"The myth of the malevolent black male is based on a durable and time-resistant bedrock of myths, half-truths and lies," declares Hutchinson (The Presidential Betrayal of African-Americans). He criticizes media portrayals of black men, derisive code words used about black athletes and the media buzz over Waiting to Exhale's nasty portrayal of black men. Perhaps because the author is also a columnist and radio commentator, he skates briefly through his arguments; a few of his chapters (on Tina Turner, for example), stray from his thesis, and others include errors (The End of Racism did not become a bestseller). Hutchinson criticizes black males for using the word nigger. However, though he argues credibly that black violence is the product of a violent and poverty-ridden society, Hutchinson doesn't acknowledge that the problem of the underclass is both an economic and a spiritual/behavioral issue. Still, his advice is helpful. He suggests that readers persuade the media to cover the full spectrum of black life, not merely crime/violence/"hood" stories; he urges them to boycott music, videos and comedians, etc. who demean black images and to buy "positive black-oriented products" from black-owned stores and organizations. Author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Hutchinson, a Los Angeles-based lecturer and commentator, shows that slanted standards manipulate how the world views black men and how black men view themselves. (LJ 10/1/96)
Kirkus Reviews
An African-American lecturer and commentator demands a more balanced portrayal of black men.

An earlier self-published version of this book by Hutchinson, who commented on the O.J. Simpson trial for CBS News, sold 30,000 copies, perhaps accounting for this breakthrough into a major publishing house (his previous books came out from small presses). But the first few chapters, each of which is really an independent essay, offer few clues to the volume's popularity. In a style reminiscent of the same Rush Limbaugh patter that he trashes in one of his essays, Hutchinson rails and hectors, ignores sources that do not support his theories, and interjects snide italicized asides. There is, however, a powerful cumulative effect to Hutchinson's writing that makes his central thesis difficult to dismiss. He argues that the overwhelming mass media image of black men is of evil incarnate, and that Americans—including many black women—are ready to pounce any time a black man slips up, from O.J. Simpson to Michael Jackson to Clarence Thomas to Louis Farrakhan. The vast majority of black men, who do not deal drugs, beat women, abandon their families, or evade employment, are virtually ignored. The scapegoating of black men for society's ills lets the government off the hook for economic policies destructive of blue- collar jobs; it also leads to disproportionate punishment of black lawbreakers, distorts public policy, deepens racial divides, and worst of all, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Americans think that all black men are stupid, he writes, "there's no need to build more schools." If all black men are seen as lazy, "there's no need to spend more on job and skills training and entrepreneurial programs."

Hutchinson demands that black men be transformed from the "universal bogeyman" to "human beings." His case is sometimes overstated but cannot easily be overlooked.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684836577
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
09/28/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

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The Assassination of the Black Male Image 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is obvious when reading Hutchinson that he wants us to see that the negative, tabloid-like images given to black males in America has become the sole point of reference for this select group. Numerous 'pop-social analysts' have described the black male as a dangerous species. Many Blacks have also bought into these negative stereotypes and this in my mind, signals that the oppression is complete. You see the oppressors have so effectively defined the oppressed that even the oppressed are held captive by those definitions. To illustrate this the author launches a stinging attack on Black females who decry Black males, and on Black males who describe themselves using the 'N' word. Hutchinson does a great and careful job to educate us about the ways and means employed by racists social architects and the misguided media to assasinate the Black Male Image. His detox for those addicted to Black male image assasination includes a steady diet of learning of and highlighting Black male achievements. The vast majority of Black Males are positive and successful individuals. Black America generates billions of dollars annually and continues to be on the cutting edge of scientific discoveries, medical research and procedures, inventions, sports and entertainment. Black Males have many images but the negative ones, though they are the images of a minority of Black males, are the ones the media chooses to highlight because lies sell easier than the truth.