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PhallaciesHistorical Intersections of Disability and Masculinity$
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Kathleen M. Brian and James W. Trent, Jr.

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190458997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190458997.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 October 2020

Black and Crazy

Black and Crazy

The Antinomian Black Male in North American Consciousness

(p.65) 3 Black and Crazy

Lawrence E. Holcomb

Oxford University Press

The lawless, antinomian black male is an image cultivated in North American media since the last quarter of the nineteenth century. This version of the “bad guy” black man represents a response to the futility of black male achievement of dominant white social norms. By focusing on the aftershocks of the Black Codes, this chapter shows how particular social circumstances were ripe for the production of anti-heroes. Incapable of appealing to societal institutions, black male attempts to protect his person, his family, or his property against violation could result in his death. In a world where the established laws were rigged against them, this particular subaltern group began to revere the lawless. Faced with the impossibility of normative achievement, some African American men fulfilled the “black” stereotype prescribed by white culture. In doing so, the men became “crazy” in both a psychological and sociological sense.

Keywords:   black male, normative, subaltern, social norms, Black Codes, crazy, black culture

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