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Getting Angry to Get Ahead: Black College Men, Emotional Performance, and Encouraging Respectable Masculinity


Symbolic Interaction

Published online on


This article draws on two years of ethnographic fieldwork to explore how a group of black men on a college campus displayed anger in order to encourage other black men to adopt a respectable form of masculinity. Although prior research suggests that black men may work to avoid public displays of anger to evade negative stereotypes of black men, we uncover the contexts in which black men were comfortable expressing feelings of anger, frustration, annoyance, and irritation. Specifically, group leaders displayed these emotions when they observed recruits to their group engaging in actions or behaviors that threatened to reinforce certain stereotypes about black men.