Recent Books That May Be of Interest to African American Scholars

books-pileThe Journal of Blacks in Higher Education regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. The books included are on a wide variety of subjects and present many different points of view. The opinions expressed in these books do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board of JBHE. Here are the latest selections.

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Spectrality in the Novels of Toni Morrison
by Melanie R. Anderson
(University of Tennessee Press)

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  1. (In response to the poll of the week asking the reason behind the drop of Black players in baseball.)

    I do not think that there is a growing perception that baseball is a “White” or “Latino” sport. There is the thought among the black male community that basketball is a hyper-masculine sport and that if a male plays, he will receive more positive attention from females and respect from male counterparts.

    The disparity in the number of athletes include the speed of the sport, the peer pressures and desire to fit in the male urban culture, and the medias portrayal of the sports. (When I say urban this includes blacks that live in the suburbs. Many suburban black males may be removed from the city’s physical boundaries, however, they are still conflicted by the expectations of the urban lifestyle confronting them through the media and other blacks feeling the need to make sure everybody “keeps it real.”)
    1. The fast paced action of basketball appeals to the youth’s need for instant gratification. I think the media’s portrayal of the lifestyles of basketball athletes appeals to the urban youth.
    2. The media (broadcasting of games, reality shows) portrays the sport as glitz, glamour, flashing lights, and a part of the hip hop-urban culture. The males are seen as hyper-masculine men performing “superhuman” feats. The NBA and March Madness get more publicity than the World Series.
    3. Hyper-masculine men get all the attention from ladies as proven by the music videos and music. (Not my reality, but the reality of many urban youth.) The NBA and March Madness get more publicity than the World Series.

    Though the youth consider many of these superstar basketball athletes their heroes. A more accurate description should be “their favorite superhero.” Are the athletes their hero because he defeated the odds and made an honest place for himself in the world? Or is it because the superstar athlete is portrayed as being larger than life? The youth’s brains are still developing therefore I understand the confusion and their distorted view of reality.

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