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Black Masculinity

Malcolm's punch-like response is 'Nothing' (Lee, 1992). Yet, instead of leaving us with this visceral image, Lee shows us the hurt on the girl's face as the final image. It is a harbinger that in future Malcolm will feel differently and will have an answer for her.

Such a shift occurred in society toward African Americans by the time of Denzel Washington and his film Antwone Fisher. As the film begins, Fisher is originally violent and hostile, similar to the behaviors of Malcolm X in many ways. However, such expressions of black masculinity are no longer acceptable and only undermine black development and expression. These self-destructive expressions of masculinity change once Antwone realizes this. Still, Antwone cannot cope with anger or stress. When he is confronted with them he resorts to violent outbursts and fistfights. Ordered to see a navy psychiatrist due to this problem of coping, Antwone tells him he fights because that's the only way some people learn. Dr. Davenport tells him, 'But you pay the price for teaching them' (Washington, 2002).

Antwone had a variety of risk factors in his life, including abandonment by his mother, the death of his father, and the death of his closest friend who resorted to crime. Antwone also suffered from an abusive culture in a foster home. However, despite all these risk factors that put him more at risk for developing developmental issues, Antwone eventually gravitated to more protective factors that helped him develop resiliency. One of these factors was joining the Navy, which gave him a culture of discipline and reliability as well as opening up opportunities for him to express masculinity in non-destructive ways. Further, in the person of Dr. Davenport, Antwone comes to understand what unconditional positive regard and support means, as well as their value. As Werner maintains about children who were able to overcome risk


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Black Masculinity. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:47, August 21, 2017, from
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