Michael Taylor’s book, Shattering Black Male Stereotypes: Eradicating the Ten Most Destructive Media-Generated Illusions About Black Men is a non-fiction work that opens up dialogue about ten of the most common myths of black men that the media portrays. Taylor offers some scientific studies to demonstrate the inaccuracy of these myths, but also relies heavily on his own experience as well as other current events that are not featured or as featured by the media. He also draws from social media and media articles to discuss aspects of each one of the myths. This is a book that acknowledges the basis in fact that perpetuates the myths of black men while also showing the inaccuracy of the myth and offering up a dialogue to help end the myths.
There is no doubt to me that the author is optimistic and sincere in his approach to discussing these myths. He is familiar with the struggles of being a black male in our current society and is ready to embrace what is needed to eradicate those struggles. This is a hot issue right now with the actions of our current President and several groups that promote human rights such as Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and All Lives Matter. We won’t even get started on the “Take A Knee” hot topic debate, although the book does address it. The sources the author draws from, especially the media sources that most people won’t see, is helpful to the topic and is almost like meeting the stereotypes on their own turf. There are a lot of helpful insights in this book, but perhaps my favorite part of this book is that they open the topic up for discussion which is sorely needed in the current state of affairs in our nation.
I originally thought, as I began reading the chapters, that there is a need for more research in this book. There’s probably countless research papers available that look at some of the stereotypes that are discussed here and I was sad to not see them brought into the mix. As I read further, I thought perhaps I was wrong and they didn’t need brought in because it occurred to me that the author is acknowledging the basis in fact that each stereotype started with as well as the media’s impact on what black males do and how they act because of the stereotype. It is an interesting dynamic and one that rather just simply stating that the myth isn’t true, opens the doors for discussion and how each side of this dynamic is impacted. I like that very much, but I still think it would be more encouraging to look at real studies that are done in psychology to address these issues and if there isn’t one, perhaps the author should add this as his seventh book he is gathering research for.
This was a very eye-opening read that really made me think as a reader, which was the author’s intent. Anyone interested in what all the fuss is over these human rights groups or the whole NFL “scandal” should give this book a try. These are the things we need to be discussing and looking into right now. There are various voices that need to be examined. I appreciate the author’s approach to this subject and I think most readers will agree. This is not just a book for black males; this is a book we all need to take a look at.