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Patriarchy Blues: Reflections on Manhood

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"[A] scorching treatise on toxic masculinity. Joseph’s critiques of “the patriarchy... both overt and ingrained” are razor-sharp, but it’s the clear-eyed reckoning of his own place within it that tethers the soul of his book." —Publishers Weekly

"Joseph has learned a great deal from bell hooks here, and I think she would be proud because Patriarchy Blues is such a moving, inspiring, rigorous vision for living.” —Robert Jones, Jr., New York Times bestselling author of The Prophets

In this personal and poignant collection, the author of the New York Times bestseller The Black Friend examines the culture of masculinity through the lens of a Black man.

What does it mean to be a man today? How does the pervasive yet elusive idea of “toxic masculinity” actually reflect men’s experiences—particularly those of color—and how they navigate the world?

In this thought-provoking collection of essays, poems, and short reflections, Frederick Joseph contemplates these questions and more as he explores issues of masculinity and patriarchy from both a personal and cultural standpoint. From fatherhood, and “manning up” to abuse and therapy, he fearlessly and thoughtfully tackles the complex realities of men’s lives today and their significance for society, lending his insights as a Black man.

Written in Joseph’s unique voice, with an intelligence and raw honesty that demonstrates both his vulnerability and compassion, Patriarchy Blues forces us to consider the joys, pains, and destructive nature of manhood and the stereotypes it engenders.

ISBN-13: 9780063138322

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: 05-17-2022

Pages: 272

Product Dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)

Frederick Joseph is the New York Times bestselling author of The Black Friend and an award-winning marketing professional, activist, and educator. He was recently featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List. He lives in Long Island City, New York.

Table of Contents

Mercy, Mercy Me ix

Introduction: A Legacy of Anti-Patriarchy xi

Lay of the Land 1

The Shore 3

Patriarchy Is … 9

On the Eighth Day the Lord Made Oppression 13

The First Colossus 21

False Binary 23

Generational Curses 33

Green Prisons 40

The Rot in the Garden 42

Gaslighting Culture 53

If These Hands Could Talk 57

Impact or (The Unbelievable Pain Caused) 73

The Blood of Forty-Four 75

Of Monsters and Men 82

The Hypocrisy of Hoteps and the Bourgeoisie 84

Expectations and Shadows 90

A Case for Decriminalizing Sex Work 102

View (By Novell Jordan) 109

Who Carries the Hatred 115

As They Rampage 121

The Epidemic of Rape Culture 123

Womanizer 132

I Come Apart 133

Purity and Grace 140

Accountability in Caste and Intersectionality 148

On Patriarchal Violence 155

In Defense of Black Women 161

Black Women Are Not Your Mules 163

Dear Oluwatoyin 174

Black Body Politics 181

My Mother's Son 182

Notes from a King 184

What Does a Black Person Owe This Country? 193

The Oppressed May Also Be the Oppressors 208

A Good White Woman (I'm an Ally) 211

What White Feminism Has Taken; Part 1: The Shield 214

What White Feminism Has Taken; Part 2: The Sword 226

Building Anew 237

Therapy (How Do You Feel?) 239

What Was Made, May Be Broken 242

In That Dirty Mirror 245

In the End (Letting Go of Our Fathers) 247

Acknowledgments 251

Bibliography 253