Ain't I a Feminist?

African American Men Speak Out on Fatherhood, Friendship, Forgiveness, and Freedom

By Aaronette M. White

Subjects: Ethnic History, Sociology, American Studies, African American Studies, Women's Studies
Paperback : 9780791475683, 286 pages, August 2008
Hardcover : 9780791475676, 286 pages, August 2008

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Table of contents

List of Tables
Preface Can Black Men Be Feminists? From Healthy Doubt to Critical Acceptance
Introduction The Patriarchal Predicament
1. Critical Black Feminist Intersections: Framing the Issues
2. Biographical Sketches: The Sons of Sojourner Truth
3. Pawns and Patriarchs: Challenging Assumptions About Power
4. Turning Points: The Need and Willingness to Change
5. Romantic Relationships with Feminist Women
6. Platonic Friendships with Feminist Women
7. Menas Friends, Brothers, and Lovers
8. Sweet Daddy: Nurturing Interactions with Children
9. Private Commitments, Public Actions
Conclusion Can Black Men Really Be Feminists?
Appendix A Methodological Intersections and Considerations
Appendix B InterviewCategories
Appendix C Historical and Contemporary Usage of the Terms "Feminist"and "Womanist"

Interview-based study of contemporary African American feminist men.


Ain't I a Feminist? presents the life stories of twenty African American men who identify themselves as feminists, centering on the turning points in their lives that shaped and strengthened their commitment to feminism, as well as the ways they practice feminism with women, children, and other men. In her analysis, Aaronette M. White highlights feminist fathering practices; how men establish egalitarian relationships with women; the variety of Black masculinities; and the interplay of race, gender, class, and sexuality politics in American society. Coming from a wide range of family backgrounds, ages, geographical locations, sexualities, and occupations, each man also shares what he experiences as the personal benefits of feminism, and how feminism contributes to his efforts towards social change. Focusing on the creative agency of Black men to redefine the assumptions and practices of manhood, the author also offers recommendations regarding the socialization of African American boys and the reeducation of African American men in the interest of strengthening their communities.

Aaronette M. White is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz.


"This book belongs on the shelf of any student, scholar, or teacher who wants to join White and her participants in constructing and living alternative masculinities for the transformation of the social order. " — Feminist Teacher

"[White's] accounts of feminist men … expose the reader to a side of African American men that is often not available in the mainstream media, or even in academic literature. " — Sex Roles: A Journal of Research

"…contains meaningful, intriguing, and eye-opening personal narratives of men largely unknown to the reading public … a powerful book and a must-read for anyone seeking to deepen his or her understanding of some of the more important social issues of our day … the narratives cum the author's analyses and commentary make it likely that readers will experience a surge in compassion, empathy, and tolerance. " — PsycCRITIQUES

"White conducted the first empirical examination of African American male feminism. " — CHOICE

"The narrative excerpts in Ain't I a Feminist? provide candid, thought-provoking, and often surprising information about how men perceive change and what pivotal experiences cultivate their respect for girls and women as well as boys and men. " — SirReadaLot. org

"This powerful book makes a unique and substantive contribution to the fields of women's studies, gender studies, ethnic studies, psychology, and sociology. It will surely garner a great deal of attention in the academy. " — Aída Hurtado, author of Voicing Chicana Feminisms: Young Women Speak Out on Sexuality and Identity