Boys in general, and Black boys in particular, are being excluded from school in ever increasing and disproportionate numbers, drawing attention to the need for a closer examination of the interrelationship between ‘race’ and gender. Clearly, young Black masculinities are not expressed in isolation, but are, amongst other influences, informed and shaped by school processes. Within schools, the ... [Show full abstract] ways in which masculinities are portrayed plays a major part in the relationships that exist between Black males and their peers and teachers. Thus, the experiences of Black pupils in school are mediated through their gendered identities. This paper discusses such experiences through the findings of a recently completed study of school exclusions and educational performance, in which young excludees have been interviewed and ethnographic school research conducted. The study explores the nature of ‘excluded’ identities by looking at how processes of exclusion act to position young Black males within discourses of conflict, alienation and cultural misunderstanding. The findings suggest that: (i) young Black men are positioned ambivalently by White teachers and male peers resulting in less positive perceptions of their masculinities; (ii) expressions of Black masculinity should not be interpreted as misdirected responses to an inability to attain specific White masculinities; (iii) the views of the young male excludees challenge differential treatment and damaging stereotypes and warn against ‘over masculinising’ the identities of young Black boys; and (iv) restricting discussion of the problematic nature of relationships between Black males and White teachers and male peers, with respect to expressions of masculinity, can act to pathologise Black identities and suggest that Black youth are themselves responsible for their own positioning.