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CULTIVATING A PROFESSIONAL POSE:: Collegiate Black Men and Professional Self-Presentations

  • Brandon A. Jackson (a1)


In this article I investigate how a group of Black men in college worked together to learn and practice the professional pose—professional styles and behaviors meant to navigate professional settings. I argue that these behaviors were adopted to preempt any potential discriminatory acts and would ideally disassociate them from the negative labels associated with Black men. Specifically, I examine how leaders of the group Uplift and Progress (UP) prepared other members and recruits by teaching them how to present themselves as professional Black men who were familiar with White middle-class practices. To further encourage their success, group members sought out opportunities to practice these styles in public. By cultivating this professional pose, they were able to claim their place at a White institution and distance themselves from the unfavorable stereotypes of Black men. This strategy also bolstered their reputation on campus and would ideally prepare them for the predominantly White workplace.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Assistant Professor Brandon A. Jackson, Department of Sociology & Criminology, 211 Old Main, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701. E-mail:


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Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
  • URL: /core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race
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