Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

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

  • Brandon A. Jackson (a1)

Abstract

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.

Copyright

Corresponding author

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

References

Hide All
Anderson, Elijah (1999). Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and Moral Life of the Inner City. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Bell, Ella L. J. Edmondson, and Nkomo, Stella M. (2001). Our Separate Ways: Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional Identity . Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018). Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers Fourth Quarter 2017. Washington, DC. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/wkyeng.pdf (accessed January 20, 2018).
Carter, Prudence L. (2005). Keepin’ It Real: School Success Beyond Black and White. New York: Oxford University Press.
Charmaz, Kathy (2006). Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide through Qualitative Analysis. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.
Collins, Patricia Hill (2000). Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge.
Collins, Patricia Hill (2004). Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism. New York: Routledge.
Evans, Louwanda, and Moore, Wendy Leo (2015). Impossible Burdens: White Institutions, Emotional Labor, and Micro-Resistance. Social Problems, 62(3): 439454.
Feagin, Joe R. (2006). Systemic Racism. London: Oxford University Press.
Feagin, Joe R. (2013). The White Racial Frame: Centuries of Racial Framing and Counter-Framing. New York: Routledge.
Feagin, Joe R., and McKinney, Karyn D. (2003). The Many Costs of Racism. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Feagin, Joe R., and Sikes, Melvin P. (1994). Living with Racism: The Black Middle Class Experience. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Feagin, Joe R., and Sikes, Melvin P. (1995). How Black Students Cope with Racism on White Campuses. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, (8): 9197.
Ferguson, Ann Arnett (2001). Bad Boys: Public School in the Making of Black Masculinity. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.
Fleming, Crystal M., Lamont, Michèle, and Welburn, Jessica S. (2012) African Americans Respond to Stigmatization: The Meanings and Salience of Confronting, Deflecting Conflict, Educating the Ignorant and ‘Managing the Self.’ Ethnic and Racial Studies 35(3): 400417.
Ford, Kristie A. (2011). Doing Fake Masculinity, Being Real Men: Present and Future Constructions of Self among Black College Men. Symbolic Interaction, 34(1): 3862.
Granfield, Robert (1991). Making It by Faking It: Working-Class Students in an Elite Academic Environment. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 20(3): 331351.
Harlow, Roxanna (2003). Race Doesn’t Matter But…: The Effect of Race on Professors’ Experiences and Emotion Management in the Undergraduate College Classroom. Social Psychology Quarterly, 66(4): 348363.
Harper, Shaun R. (2004). The Measure of a Man: Conceptualizations of Masculinity among High-Achieving African American Male College Students. Berkeley Journal of Sociology, (48): 89107.
Harris, Frank III, Palmer, Robert T., and Struve, Laura E. (2011). ‘Cool Posing’ on Campus: A Qualitative Study of Masculinities and Gender Expression among Black Men at a Private Research Institution. The Journal of Negro Education, 80(1): 4762.
Harris, Paisley Jane (2003). Gatekeeping and Remaking: The Politics of Respectability in African American Women’s History and Black Feminism. Journal of Women’s History. 15(1): 212220.
Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks (1993). Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880–1920. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Hughey, Matthew W. (2008). Brotherhood or Brothers in the Hood?: Debunking the ‘Educated Gang’ Thesis as Black Fraternity and Sorority Slander. Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 11(4): 443463.
Jack, Anthony Abraham (2014). Culture Shock Revisited: The Social and Cultural Contingencies to Class Marginality. Sociological Forum, 29(2): 453475.
Kanter, Rosabeth Moss (1977). Men and Women of the Corporation. New York: Basic Books.
Karp, David A. (1986). You Can Take the Boy Out of Dorchester, But You Can’t Take Dorchester Out of the Boy: Toward a Social Psychology of Social Mobility. Symbolic Interaction, 9(1): 1936.
Kirschenman, Joleen, and Neckerman, Kathryn (1991). We’d Love to Hire Them, But … The Meaning of Race for Employers. In The Urban Underclass, Eds. Jenks, Christopher and Peterson, Paul, pp. 203232. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Khan, Shamus Rahman (2011). Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Lacy, Karyn (2007). Blue-Chip Black: Race, Class, and Status in the New Black Middle Class. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Lamont, Michèle, Silva, Graziella Moraes, Welburn, Jessica, Guetzkow, Joshua, Mizrachi, Nissim, Herzog, Hanna, and Reis, Elisa (2016). Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Livingston, Robert W., and Pearce, Nicholas A. (2009). The Teddy-Bear Effect: Does Having a Baby Face Benefit Black Chief Executive Officers? Psychological Science, 20(10): 12291236.
Lofland, John, Snow, David, Anderson, Leon, and Lofland, Lyn H. (2006). Analyzing Social Settings: A Guide to Qualitative Observation and Analysis. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
MacLeod, Jay (1995). Ain’t No Making It: Aspirations & Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Majors, Richard, and Billson, Janet Mancini (1992). Cool Pose: The Dilemmas of Black Manhood in America. New York: Lexington Books.
McCabe, Janice (2009). Racial and Gender Microagressions on a Predominantly White Campus: Experiences of Black, Latina/o and White Undergraduates. Race, Gender, and Class, 16(1/2): 133151.
Mong, Sherry N., and Roscigno, Vincent J. (2010). African American Men and the Experience of Employment Discrimination. Qualitative Sociology, 33(1): 121
Moore, Wendy Leo (2007). Reproducing Racism; White Space, Elite Law Schools and Racial Inequality. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Patillo-McCoy, Mary (1999). Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press
Rios, Victor M. (2011). Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys. New York: New York University Press.
Roscigno, Vincent J., Williams, Lisa M., and Byron, Reginald A. (2012). Workplace Racial Discrimination and Middle Class Vulnerability. American Behavioral Scientist, 56(5): 696710.
School Website (2013). Institutional Research: Student Indicators. Accessed Feb. 16, 2013.
Smith, William A., Allen, Walter R., and Danley, Lynette L. (2007). Assume the Position…You Fit the Description: Psychosocial Experiences and Racial Battle Fatigue Among African American Male College Students. American Behavioral Scientist, 51(4): 551578.
Solorzano, Daniel, Ceja, Miguel, and Yosso, Tara (2000). Critical Race Theory, Racial Microagressions, and Campus Racial Climate: The Experiences of African American Students. The Journal of Negro Education, 69(1/2): 6073.
Waldinger, Roger, and Lichter, Michael I. (2003). How the Other Half Works: Immigration and the Social Organization of Labor. Berkeley, CA: University of California.
Wilkins, Amy C. (2012). Not Out to Start a Revolution: Race, Gender, and Emotional Restraint among Black University Men. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 41(1): 3465.
Wingfield, Adia Harvey (2007). The Modern Mammy and the Angry Black Man: African American Professionals’ Experiences with Gendered Racism in the Workplace. Race, Gender, & Class, 14(1/2): 196212.
Wingfield, Adia Harvey (2010). Are Some Emotions Marked ‘Whites Only?’: Racialized Feeling Rules in Professional Workplaces. Social Problems, 57(2): 251268.
Wingfield, Adia Harvey (2013). No More Invisible Man: Race and Gender in Men’s Work. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

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
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed