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Queer in Black and White

Interraciality, Same Sex Desire, and Contemporary African American Culture

Stefanie K. Dunning

Publication Year: 2009

This book analyzes representative works of African American fiction, film, and music in which interracial desire appears in the context of same sex desire. In close readings of these "texts," Stefanie K. Dunning explores the ways in which the interracial intersects with queerness, blackness, whiteness, class, and black national identity. She shows that representations of interracial desire do not follow the logic of racial exclusion. Instead they are metaphorical and anti-biological. Rather than diluting race, interracial desire makes race visible. By invoking the interracial, black gay and lesbian artists can remake our conception of blackness.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

The players on the stage of the psychic drama that this book has been are many, and all were important in its becoming. I thank you all. This book, like so many inaugural books in an academic’s career, began as a dissertation. The Ford Foundation fellowship I received as a graduate student undoubtedly helped ...

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pp. 3-22

According to the women in Spike Lee’s film Jungle Fever (1991), good black men are not gay. And being gay is akin to being a drug addict, a criminal, and a rolling stone. The other problem these women are discussing is black men dating white women. ...

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1 “Ironic Soil”: Recuperative Rhythms and Negotiated Nationalism

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pp. 23-42

In “It’s Raining Men: Notes on the Million Man March,” Robert Reid-Pharr eloquently describes the difficulty of relating black nationalist discourse to homosexuality. This difficulty is founded on the assumption that blackness and homosexuality are mutually exclusive, that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people are the nation’s antagonists.1 ...

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2 “No Tender Mercy”: Same-Sex Desire, Interraciality, and the Black Nation

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pp. 43-60

In 1997, Eddie Murphy was videotaped by Los Angeles sheriff deputies at 4:45 AM picking up Atisone Seiuli, a “beautiful Hawaiian-looking woman,” and a known transsexual prostitute with a warrant out for her arrest. He would later explain that he was just “helping” the prostitute, ...

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3 (Not) Loving Her: A Locus of Contradictions

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pp. 61-83

The introduction to Afrekete: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing (1995) highlights the importance of race in the lives of black lesbians. The editors, Catherine E. McKinley and L. Joyce DeLaney, define Afrekete as “a perfect creation of the Black lesbian feminist imagination.”1 ...

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4 “She’s a B*(u)tch”: Centering Blackness in The Watermelon Woman

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pp. 84-105

In 1999, Missy Elliott released her album Da Real World, and on it was a single titled “She’s a B*tch.” While the explicit version of the song spoke the word “bitch,” the clean version was released with the second letter of the word replaced with an asterisk on the cover for the single. ...

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Epilogue: Reading Robert Reid-Pharr

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pp. 106-112

It was James Baldwin who led me to Robert Reid-Pharr. I took a single-author class in graduate school on Baldwin, and he occupied my mind, my dreams, and my feelings for weeks. Reading Another Country was fascinating to me because it got to my belief in the interconnectedness of our various desires and oppressions. ...


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pp. 113-128


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pp. 129-136

E-ISBN-13: 9780253002990
E-ISBN-10: 0253002990
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253353504

Page Count: 152
Illustrations: 5 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2009