From Library Journal
Because what it means to be a man has been central to much of the struggle for prideful black self-respect, being a black man has carried a special sexuality burden. So posits Harvard English professor Harper. In eight essays, some previously published, ranging from analysis of court cases in the 1800s to musings on yesterday's MTV, Harper argues that conformist demands for so-called proper gender identities for the race have limited cultural images and life itself. Harper investigates assorted events and productions in a cultural critique of how traditional definitions of race, gender, and class have provoked what he describes as masculinist anxiety. His deft interpretive interweavings offer suggestive analysis of how prescribed authenticity has confined not only black identity but the broader U.S. culture. His work effectively complements that of such writers as bell hooks, Michelle Wallace, and Patricia Williams. Recommended for collections on blacks, gender, race, and U.S. society.?Thomas Davis, Univ. at Buffalo, N.Y.