In recent years, the media has been saturated with stories of black men losing their lives at the hands of law enforcement officials. These tragedies have spurred countless debates and discussions, many of which almost always offer an imperfect picture of the men being discussed.
The virtual exchange on Meet the Press between former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Professor Michael Eric Dyson in November of 2014 is a prime example. They were discussing the recently decided grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri’s Michael Brown case.
“We are talking about the exception here…we are talking about the significant
Giuliani's use of "exception" to describe and explain the lives lost at the hands of law enforcement officials is troubling, to say the least. The men who have been murdered without cause or due process were no "exception" to the mothers that bore them for nine months, the significant others they chose to journey with through life, the children who now live life with no father, and certainly no exception to the countless friends and loved ones who mourn them daily.
ExceptionAL: Black Men Leading, Living, and Loving (due out in August) is an earnest attempt to alter or at least counter the perspective shared by Giuliani. It aims to add depth and dimension to the narrow narrative that currently exists concerning Black men in America, challenging us to see past the stereotypical representations that are often depicted in the media and freeing us to see the Black men portrayed in the book as they see themselves.
It is simultaneously about the deeply important work of redefining oneself and ones possibilities, particularly when society’s definitions and ascriptions can be limiting. Where Giuliani sees an “exception”, we can see the ExceptionAL…
ExceptionAL: Black Men Leading, Living, and Loving is an encouraging, empowering, and timely text, one with the potential to deepen the current discussion on the state of affairs for Black men in America.