As Black male educators deeply committed to Black boys’ joy, brilliance, resilience, and educational well-being, we have spent an abundance of time working with, speaking on, and theorizing about boys.

Boy. While it is one word, its fluidity and signification vary depending upon its context. At times, using “boy” can be polarizing because, on one hand, it can signify a term of endearment in male nonfamilial relationships (e.g., ‘that’s my boy’) and on the other hand, it can be jarring because of its historical connotations of Black male subordination. Speaking about boys is not the same as speaking about the social phenomenon of boyhood. Within many educational contexts, boyhood embodies a way of being in the world—a developmental life phase before manhood—encapsulated by joy, leisure, inquiry, creativity, and innocence.

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