“Black Boys Like Me ignited parts of me I honestly didn’t believe any book could ever know. . . . Seldom do incredibly titled books earn their titles. Matthew R. Morris earns this classic title with a classic book about our insides.” —Kiese Laymon, author of HeavyStartlingly honest, bracing personal essays from a perceptive educator that bring us into the world of Black masculinity, hip-hop culture, and learning.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.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.With the wide-reaching scope of Desmond Cole’s The Skin We’re In and the introspective snapshot of life in Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Black Boys Like Me is an unflinching debut that invites readers to create braver spaces and engage in crucial conversations around race and belonging.
Hardcover, 224 pages.