A Talk: The Man-Not by Tommy J. Curry, Ph.D.

September 24, 2019 - Africana Studies


"Tommy Curry has written a cool, brilliant defense of the men who are the pariahs of American society: the ones who, regardless of class, find themselves at the bottom of every hierarchy; the ones whose demographics and statistics in terms of the criminal justice, health care, and other systems are abysmal. Countless billions have been made from the portrayal of Black males as Boogeymen. The Man-Not is heavy work, but the general reader will find its arguments well worth the time and effort. This book is controversial. Those who've dogged and stalked Black men in the academy and popular culture for the past few decades are sure to have their critical knives out. I know. But it's rare for an American intellectual to step up, regardless of the fallout. This book is the one that I've been waiting for. Curry has taken a bullet for the brothers."

Ishmael Reed, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, and Visiting Scholar at the California College of the Arts

Theorizing the Man-Not: Conceptualizing Black Male Studies as a Genre Study of Black Male Death and Dying

America makes corpses of young Black males. We gaze upon these corpses outraged by yet another death, but when Black men suffer—when they are dying—do we hear their voices or demand their silence? When Black men are sodomized by police, or raped by men and women in their own communities as young boys, do we refuse them an audience for their pain?
In The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood, Dr. Curry insists that “Black male studies begins with…this declaring of Black male life as worthy of study that arrests/suspends the caricatures of current research…and refuses the pathologization of Black men and boys as theoretical advance.” Black males are often framed within gender theory as patriarchs, deviants, and perpetrators of sexual violence. As such they are often erased as victims of such violence, and denied vulnerability. Utilizing insights from social dominance theory and genocide studies, Dr. Curry will explain how the concept of The Man-Not explains why the low-level warfare of patriarchal regimes and genocidal logics of white supremacism specifically target Black men and boys in the United States. Dr. Curry will discuss why academics and activists alike have great difficulty in imagining Black males as victims of racist and sexual violence in America, and how this neglect demonstrates the need for a Black Male Studies that analyzes the racist dehumanization of Black males as the pretext to the various sexual violence imposed upon Black males since slavery.