Black Boys Like Me
Black Boys Like Me
Confrontations with Race, Identity, and Belonging
What does it mean to be a young Black man with an immigrant father and a white mother, teaching in a school system that historically has held an exclusionary definition of success?
In eight illuminating essays, Matthew R. Morris grapples with this question, and others related to identity and perception. After graduating high school in Scarborough, Morris spent four years in the U.S. on multiple football scholarships and, having spent that time in the States experiencing “the Mecca of hip-hop and Black culture,” returned home with a newfound perspective.
Now an elementary school teacher himself in Toronto, Morris explores the tension between his consumption of Black culture as a child, his teenage performances of the ideas and values of the culture that often betrayed his identity, and the ways society and the people guiding him—his parents, coaches, and teachers—received those performances. What emerges is a painful journey toward transcending performance altogether, toward true knowledge of the self.
Raw and Authentic Storytelling
Startlingly honest, bracing personal essays from a perceptive educator that bring us into the world of Black masculinity, hip-hop culture, and learning.
“Black Boys Like Me is a wonder. It manages to evoke the realness of growing up Black and male in Toronto while stoking a profound discussion of the ways in which we Black boys ‘perform’ our Blackness to navigate an often hostile society. It is by turns insightful, revealing, and funny, but its greatest strength is that it is always real—authentic, brave, and vulnerable. Matthew is unflinching in showing us the boy he was and the man he has become. This is a book with powerful ramifications that go beyond race and masculinity and touch the humanity of all our becomings.” —Antonio Michael Downing, author of Saga Boy
This is an examination of the parts that construct my Black character; from how public schooling shapes our ideas about ourselves to how hip-hop and sports are simultaneously the conduit for both Black abundance and Black boundaries. This book is a meditation on the influences that have shaped Black boys like me.