Masculinity, James Baldwin, and the Unexpected Insurgent | Dr. Marlon Ross #38

Masculinity, James Baldwin, and the Unexpected Insurgent | Dr. Marlon Ross #38

Masculinity, James Baldwin, and the Unexpected Insurgent | Dr. Marlon Ross #38 

How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man? This question remains at the heart of societies and cultures everywhere. Rituals, rites of passages, and cultural norms all attempt to answer this difficult question. In this episode of The Neutral Ground Podcast, my guest (Dr. Marlon Ross) and I talk about the spectrum of masculinity, especially within the African American community, through Dr. Ross' book: Sissy Insurgencies: a Racial Anatomy of Unfit Manliness. We discuss the natural broadening of the spectrum of manliness; James Baldwin's amazing speech at Cambridge during his debate with William F. Buckley Jr.; we talk about the history of gendering black speakers as a means of suppression; Frederick Douglass' powerful message on knowledge; Lil Nas X; the Fab Five from the University of Michigan and their competition with Duke University. It's quite a packed episode. As always, I appreciate your time in listening. If you want to support the podcast, make sure to hit the subscribe/follow button, give it a thumb's up/like, and leave a kind comment or rating where applicable. It is very much appreciated. 


Dr. Ross' Book:

Faculty profile:


00:00 Intro

02:26 Beginning of conversation (what prompted you to want to study this?)

08:25 You begin with a difficult/odd question: can the sissy be insurgent? Can you elaborate?

12:34 What is the functional difference between conduct and habit?

21:20 I ask Dr. Ross to explicate a quotation from the book on gender conduct

29:49 12 Angry Men and James Baldwin's speech at Cambridge

34:30 Is there something to be said for the act of great speech?

43:37 A great story on James Baldwin's debate at Cambridge

48:33 Reading learning to read and write by Frederick Douglass

53:15 Black masculinities at odds through college basketball

1:03:09 It's not just about the shorts. The Fab Five at Michigan changed cultures

1:06:00 Do you see hope in the broadening of the spectrum of masculinity? 

1:12:41 We both admit to a guilty pleasure of watching reaction videos on YouTube

1:14:28 Natural broadening, not forced broadening of masculinity

1:15:07 Thank you and tell us more about your work

1:17:32 Closing thoughts


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