Freeden Blume Oeur, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Tufts University
Black Feminism has been variously described as thriving, dying, and on the defensive. With some Black feminists themselves skeptical of its future, critics of all stripes and political affiliations have swarmed to attack its legitimacy, and particularly intersectionality, the field’s most important contribution. Perhaps the strangest of these strange bedfellows is a “New Black Masculinities” (NBM) an emergent field of study that intentionally rejects Black feminism. This talk draws on a chapter in the forthcoming volume Black Feminist Sociology (coauthored with Saida Grundy of Boston University). I demonstrate how NBM promotes "Black male aggrievement," a conservative gender politics anchored in an explicitly anti-racist agenda, and that claims injury at the hands of Black women. Black male aggrievement feeds off a post-feminist neoliberal agenda and serves the zero sum politics of the neoliberal academy. I next show how a regressive neoliberal social justice ideology has infiltrated K-12 U.S. education and initiatives aimed at young Black men, with similar programs targeted to at-risk youth in Canadian schools. I end with a call for an allyship of Black feminism and NMB that promotes a praxis of caring and reparations for all Black youth.
Freeden Blume Oeur is Associate Professor of sociology and education at Tufts University. He also serves as senior co-chair for the Boston Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality. His research examines the interplay of gender and masculinity, feminist theory, and Black politics. Blume Oeur is the author of the award-winning book Black Boys Apart: Racial Uplift and Respectability in All-Male Public Schools (2018) and co-editor of Unmasking Masculinities: Men and Society (2017). His new book project, The Sociological Dream, compares the Cold War intellectual itineraries of W. E. B. Du Bois and C. Wright Mills in order to reassess the politics, the promise, and the propaganda of contemporary sociology.