The Problem of the Color[blind]
Racial Transgression and the Politics of Black Performance
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Series: Theater: Theory/Text/Performance
Title Page, Copyright
I am very honored to have been the beneficiary of all of the support that has led to the publication of this book. Friends and family, mentors, colleagues, and students have all shaped this book, and in the process, have shaped me as well. It is a humbling privilege to begin the act of thanking them with this list of acknowledgments...
1. Bad Manners: Talking about Race
Let me begin by burnishing what has become, in fairly short critical order, an old chestnut: within the United States, blackness and performance are ineluctably linked. Some of the nodes of this linkage are already quite obvious within black cultural and performance studies: from the ignoble tradition of...
2. The End of Race or the End of Blackness? August Wilson, Robert Brustein, and Color-Blind Casting
When August Wilson passed away in October 2005, a major voice in American culture and dramatic literature was silenced. Lionized for his project of creating a play for each decade of the twentieth century—an ambitious feat unequaled by peers of any race—Wilson had two public personae, one developed through his...
3. The Limits of Color Blindness: Interracial Sexuality, Denzel Washington, and Hollywood Film
As of the second decade of twenty-first century, Denzel Washington is arguably the most successful black actor in Hollywood history. Popular with black and white audiences alike, his movies routinely succeed at the box office as well as with critics, and he has been nominated for five Academy Awards, two of which...
4. Transgressing Tradition: Suzan-Lori Parks and Black Performance (as) Theory
If Denzel Washington’s filmography demonstrates the impossibility of transcending race in and through performance by simply ignoring the cultural histories within which performance practices are located, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks moves in the opposite direction. Rather than transcendence, she works...
5. Are We There Yet? Race, Redemption, and Black. White.
The majority of this book has looked back at the 1990s to understand how the culture wars’ vocabulary and ideals affected black performance during that decade. The twenty-first century, however, has forged its own relationship to the still-unresolved controversies over race, culture, and national character, as...