The Black male scholars within this important book are painfully aware that the brutal murder of George Floyd was not due to a few "bad apples." They understand that they are perceived as "threats" and "criminals" within a distorted white imaginary that is embedded with processes of mythopoetic construction, racial capitalism, and a deep anti-Black male social ontology. Edited by prominent philosopher George Yancy, Black Men from behind the Veil: Ontological Interrogations emphasizes the importance of Black male epistemic agency and the courage to speak the truth regarding an America that values Black male life on the cheap and that attempts to control the movement of Black men, their capacity to breathe, and their being through anti-Black technologies of surveillance, confinement, policing, and white nation-building. There is no single monolithic Black male voice that dominates this crucial and necessary text. Each voice speaks of pain behind the Veil, revealing narrative specificity and an important recursive truth: Black men, within the white American psyche, are both necessary and yet disposable. The existential and sociohistorical weight of this truth is made painfully clear through the voices of these Black men.
George Yancy is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy at Emory University.
Introduction: Speaking Behind and To the Veil
William David Hart
A. Todd Franklin
Arnold L. Farr
Houston A. Baker, Jr.
Tommy J. Curry
Timothy J. Golden
Josiah Ulysses Young III
Linden F. Lewis
Floyd W. Hayes III
Philosophical Considerations on Ideological and Political Economic Contradictions
John H. McClendon III
When the World is a Witness to Murder
Aaron X. Smith
About the Contributors
"A masterful anthology that reveals the absolute evil of racial misandry. Voices that live the experience of anti-Black misandry that scream the utter sadness expressed by W.E.B. DuBois at the death of his son in 'Of the Passing of the First-Born.' By death, his son escaped the terror of life as a Black man. A life that would be constantly on a tightrope, trapped in a fixed identity of demeaning stereotypes that would portray him as the embodiment of laziness, hyper-masculinity, and hyper-patriarchy: a predator, failed parent, and useless husband. Black Men from Behind the Veil: Ontological Interrogations gives us new theories, tools, concepts, and terms that are not trapped in a world that treats the ontological being—the collective population of Black men—as an undifferentiated debased essence. Black men tell their story."
"In a characterstically brilliant, relevant, and prophetic series of books edited by George Yancy, we are treated to a series of well-crafted essays that carefully examine the interiors of human pain embedded in blackness. This book should be mandatory reading in schools and universities where critical race theory is being fought against. Here is a book that could respond to that resistance with scholarly rigor and high intelligence by leading scholars at the top of their fields. I am much impressed by this long-awaited book."
"Black Men from behind the Veil collects essays from a diverse and vibrant cross-section of contemporary philosophers of race and black male studies. This text stands out as both an elegy for those who still can't breathe and a future of that philosophical logos that starts, with a gasp, in the grasping of that which is disclosed and concealed in those black bodies behind the veil, and the continuance of the violence that enshrouds them/us. The authors in this collection focus our attention on anti-black violence and its traditions and stands out as a challenge for its readers to take up this thinking, this situation, this relation to being, and think them anew without apologetics and excuses."
11/16/21, Truthout: George Yancy wrote an article about what it means to be black within a “post-George Floyd” moment, drawing points from the book.
2/5/22, Truthout: George Yancy wrote a philosophical op-ed on death in the context of racism and violence.