Author Frederick Joseph examines modern masculinity in 'Patriarchy Blues'

A photo of a man and a book cover.
Frederick Joseph is an activist, a philanthropist and the New York Times bestselling author of “The Black Friend.” His new book is “Patriarchy Blues."
Photo courtesy of Julian Ali. Book cover courtesy of Harper Collins.

From a young age, Frederick Joseph recognized that violence is often demanded of men.

“We collectively teach our boys that winning, surviving, things of that nature, always demands beating someone,” he told host Kerri Miller, “whether that means beating them in competition, beating them mentally, beating them emotionally, beating them physically.”

But an exchange he had at a young friend’s funeral pointed to a different path.

As he stood in his grief, his friend’s mother hugged him and said: “A bunch of angry boys who don’t know how to cry are the reason my son is dead. Cry for my son. You both deserve it.”

Joseph realized he didn’t know how to cry, how to be tender, how to allow himself to be fully alive in a world built by patriarchy and white supremacy. So he began a journey.

He shares that journey with the world in his new book, “Patriarchy Blues.” On this week’s Big Books and Bold Ideas, Miller and Joseph talk about this his reflections on the culture of modern masculinity through the lens of a Black man.

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