Traps: African American Men on Gender and Sexuality

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"This is a valuable project. The editors are excellent, well-known scholars, and activists in the academy." —Darlene Clark Hine

"After looking carefully at Traps’ selections, I have to confess that I’m both excited and satisfied by what Rudolph Byrd and Beverly Guy-Sheftall have assembled here from the 19th century to the present. Educators genuinely need a text like this for opening their classroom to critical discussions on the well-worn subjects of race and gender."
—Charles Johnson

Traps is the first anthology of writings by 19th- and 20th-century African American men on the overlapping categories of race, gender, and sexuality. The selections on gender in Sections I and II reveal what some may view as the unexpected commitment of African American men to feminism. Included here are critiques of the subordinate social, economic, and political position of black women. Sections III and IV analyze the taboos and myths in which black sexuality is enmeshed. These essays also stress the importance of rejecting homophobia and the need to contest the predominance of a heterosexual paradigm. Monolithic constructions of gender and sexuality, reinforced by sexism and historically sanctioned homophobia, are the "traps" that give this book its focus and its title.

Indiana University Press

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What People Are Saying

Darlene Clark Hine
This is a valuable project. The editors are excellent, well-known scholars, and activists in the academy.
Charles Johnson
After looking carefully at Traps' selections, I have to confess that I'm both excited and satisfied by what Rudolph Byrd and Beverly Guy-Sheftall have assembled here from the 19th century to the present. Educators genuinely need a text like this for opening their classroom to critical discussions on the well-worn subjects of race and gender.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253339010
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 11.50 (w) x 14.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rudolph P. Byrd (1953-2011) was Associate Professor of American Studies and Director of the Program of African American Studies at Emory University. He is author of Jean Toomer's Years with Gurdjieff and editor of I Call Myself an Artist: Writings by and about Charles Johnson.

Beverly Guy-Sheftall is founding director of the Women's Research and Resource Center at Spelman College and the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women's Studies. Her previous publications include Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought and Daughters of Sorrow: Attitudes Toward Black Women, 1880-1920.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Preliminary Table of Contents:


Prologue: Rudolph P. Byrd, "The Tradition of John: A Mode of Black Masculinity"

Part I: Remembering Our Forefathers: Pioneering Perspectives on the Rights and Education of Womenv

Frederick Douglass, "The Rights of Women"
Frederick Douglass, "Give Women Fair Play"
Frederick Douglass, "I Am a Radical Woman Suffrage Man"
Alexander Crummell, "The Black Woman of the South: Her Neglects and Her Needs"
William E.B. Du Bois, "The Damnation of Women"

Part II: Disloyalty to Patriarchy: Critiques and Misogyny and Sexism

Benjamin Mays, "In the Days of My Youth"
Bayard Rustin, "Feminism and Equality"
Kalamu ya Salaam, "Women's Rights Are Human Rights"
Manning Marable, "Groundings With My Sisters: Patriarchy and the Exploitation of Black Women"
Calvin Hernton, "Breaking Silences"
Haki R. Madhubuti, "On Becoming Anti-Rapist"
Derrick Bell, "The Sexual Diversion: The Black Man/Black Woman Debate in Context"
Michael Awkward, "A Black Man's Place in Black Feminist Criticism"
Gary L. Lemons, "'When and Where We Enter'—Reclaiming the Legacy of Black (Male) Feminism: W.E.B. Du Bois and My Search for a Womanist Forefather"
Nathan McCall, "Men: We Just Don't Get It"
Mission Statement of Black Men for the Eradication of Sexism, Morehouse College

Part III: Meditations from the Heart: Making Meaning Out of Masculinity

James Baldwin, "Here Be Dragons"
Arthur J. Robinson, Jr., "In the Limelight"
Kevin Powell, "The Sexist in Me"
Charles Johnson, "A Phenomenology of the Black Body"
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man"
Gerald Early, "Mike's Brilliant Careet"
Robert Reid-Pharr, "It's Raintin Men"
"Dear Minister Farrahkan," A Letter from Men Stopping Violence
Edward Guerreo, "Black Men in the Movies: How Does It Feel to be a Problem (and an Answer)?"

Part IV: Brother to Brother: The Politics of Desire, Sexuality, and Homophobia

Huey P. Newton, "A letter from Huey to the Revolutionary Brothers and Sisters About the Women's Liberation and Gay Liberation Movements"
Joseph Beam, "Brother to Brother: Words from the Heart"
Marlon Riggs, "Reflections of a SNAP Queen"
Essex Hemphill, "Does Your Mama Know About Me?"
Cornel West, "Black Sexuality: The Taboo Subject"
Michael Eric Dyson: "When you Divide Body and Soul, Problems Multiply"
Kendall Thomas, "'Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing': Black Masculinity, Gay Sexuality, and the Jargon of Authenticity"

Epilogue: Beverly Guy-Sheftall, "Reflections on Black Manhood"


Indiana University Press

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