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Black Sexualities

Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies

Edited and with an Introduction by Juan Battle and Sandra L. Barnes

Publication Year: 2010

From questioning forces that have constrained sexual choices to examining how Blacks have forged healthy sexual identities in an oppressive environment, Black Sexualities acknowledges the diversity of the Black experience and the shared legacy of racism. Contributors seek resolution to Blacks' understanding of their lives as sexual beings through stories of empowerment, healing, self-awareness, victories, and other historic and contemporary life-course panoramas and provide practical information to foster more culturally relative research, tolerance, and acceptance.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page

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pp. v-vii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. 1-12

"The 'love-hate' relationship Americans have with Black sexuality represents one negative repercussion of historically confl icted race relations in the United States that have shaped sentiments, images, and behavior about Black sexualities.1 Society’s obsession with sex means a preoccupation with sexuality, specifically sexual behavior, despite a prevailing Puritan posture. Fear of Black..."

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pp. 13-16

"Theory testing is an integral part of robust academic research. Similarly, theory development helps ensure continued academic inquiry as scholars formulate new models to describe, explain, and predict social phenomena; question prevailing paradigms; and introduce new discourses for consideration. The four chapters in part I reflect theories or theoretical frameworks concerning Black sexualities broadly defined. Each moves beyond use of existing paradigms by considering..."

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1 Nontraditional, Nonconforming,and Transgressive Gender Expression and Relationship Modalities in Black Communities

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pp. 17-36

"Diverse sexual and gender identities have received increasing attention in both mainstream and academic discourses over the last two and a half decades with the growth and visibility of both the lesbian and gay rights movement and queer theory. The lesbian and gay rights movement has fought for the legal and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex..."

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2 Creation Out of Bounds

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pp. 37-56

"Mary McLeod Bethune’s recipe for sweet potato pie filling, found in the Black Family Reunion Cookbook, represents one of many that validates Black women’s self-image and resists 'dominant cultural memory' (Eves, 2005, p. 280). According to Eves, cookbooks function as 'memory texts: to memorialize both individuals and community, to invoke ‘memory beyond mind,’ and to generate a..."

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3 On the Fear of Small Numbers

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pp. 57-81

"Grateful for an opportunity to frame the debate on Black trans (i.e., transgender and transsexual) challenges, we reject the idea that U.S. Black trans subjects should be observed and studied in isolation. Millions of Blacks share experiences of the African Diaspora and their consequential concerns about sexually racist and gendered practices of oppression. These oppressive practices, to which all Blacks generally are subjected, cause us concern because they worsen..."

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4 Blackness, Sexuality, andTransnational Desire

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pp. 82-96

"The space economy of capitalism that exploits natural resources of poorer nations to maintain rich ones, rendering poor nations and their people both consumers and 'the consumed' is not new, but it certainly has exploded in recent years in a process of multiple ruptures, ripples, and other movement that has come to be called globalization. Globalization and the movement and..."

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pp. 97-100

"How have Black sexualities been historically described in academic and nonacademic arenas? How are they depicted today? Are there common profi les from the past that continue to manifest and impact how Blacks as well as non-Blacks view Black sexualities? What have been some of the responses to prevalent presentations of Blacks as sexual beings? These types of questions are raised and answered..."

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5 Pathologizing Black Sexuality

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pp. 101-118

"The era of racialized science is typically assumed to be in the past. Now often referred to as 'pseudoscience,' various European studies dating back at least to the sixteenth century sought to explain racial diff erences, usually of non-Europeans, but were also used to establish the inferiority of Asians, Native Americans, and people of African descent (Jordan, 1968). As a corollary to these studies, theories on matters related to the sexual activity of these 'inferior' groups were..."

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6 Dangerous Profiling

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pp. 119-37

"Representations of Black male sexuality in recent print and television media record a shift in focus away from the demonization of Black women’s sexual practices and toward new forms of Black male sexuality considered deviant. The campaigns considered in this chapter demonstrate that despite new forms of..."

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7 Revisiting Black Sexualities in Families

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pp. 138-154

"Black sexualities within the context of families and relationships span many different fronts. Their significance and meanings defy any simple definition. Researchers, policymakers, and practitioners have focused on Black families, particularly in relation to Black sexualities, yet the attention that different issues receive varies greatly. While there have been groundbreaking works, such as..."

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8 To Be Fluent in Each Other’s Narratives

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pp. 155-168

"In 2003, a little book was published concerning queer activism. About seventy-seven pages in length, it brought together fourteen contributors to express, in a poem, a short story, personal narratives, or art piece, various aspects of Black queer male sexuality. The name of the book is both a title and an admonition—..."

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pp. 169-172

"Part III focuses on some of the political and legal ramifications of Black sexualities, particularly their implications for nonconforming groups. Each work emphasizes how issues of sexual citizenship and systemic injustice can fuel activism among sexually and economically marginalized groups as they strive for complete inclusion..."

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9 Prison, Crime, and Sexual Health in the United States

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pp. 173-189

"The sexual and reproductive health of inmate populations is an important area of study given that this population is at high risk for infectious disease, including HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (Kahn et al., 2004; Kingree & Betz, 2003; Stephens et al., 2003; Stephens, Braithwaite & Tiggs, 2004; Voisin et al., 2004). This is a direct consequence of many factors, namely the relationship..."

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10 Black Sexual Citizenship

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pp. 190-212

"Heterosexist, homophobic, sexist, and ethnocentric public policies regulating family, sex education, and sexual abuse in prison provide arenas in which the intersection of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity combine to disenfranchise and harm marginalized groups in the United States. These..."

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11 Racialized Justice Spreads HIV/AIDS among Blacks

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pp. 213-242

"There are two discourses—political and sociological—to investigate how HIV/ AIDS has spread among Blacks while it simultaneously has declined among Whites in the 'greatest democracy in the world.' In this study, I use reflexive sociology (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992)1 to understand policy and society and its relationship to the spread of HIV/AIDS among Blacks.2 To do so, I follow the..."

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12 Black and Latino Same-Sex Couple Households and the Racial Dynamics of Antigay Activism

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pp. 243-268

"For two decades the antigay movement has portrayed sexual orientation nondiscrimination laws as special rights that threaten the civil rights of people of color, especially Black people. They have portrayed the gay and Black communities as mutually exclusive and pointed out the obvious difference between race..."

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pp. 269-272

"Part IV considers how members of the Black community make sense of and negotiate varying degrees of stress. Many of the groups depicted are sexual minorities, some are impoverished, and others are Blacks involved in marginalized occupations. All have experienced trauma that can directly or indirectly be associated with..."

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13 Blacks and Racial Appraisals

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pp. 273-298

"Still bright-eyed and sanguine, I was just twenty-one years old when I met Tamaria, who had been raped two years prior to our interview in the fall of 1996.1 Although I was a young and relatively inexperienced interviewer, I had become accustomed to the varied responses of sexual assault victims. Some survivors appeared stoic and wise, as if all life’s secrets had been revealed in the..."

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14 When Secrets Hurt

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pp. 299-310

"Research suggests that stress concepts can be uniquely beneficial for understanding the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the event of an HIVpositive diagnosis, one can expect an individual to experience several stressors that contribute to their overall levels of stress. Common stressors among persons experiencing HIV have been associated with experiences and perceptions..."

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15 Black Female Sex Workers

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pp. 311-326

"The global sex work industry has annual earnings of approximately $33.9 billion; of that amount, industrial countries earn $15.4 billion (Belser, 2005). Sex work is defi ned here as generating revenue for one’s livelihood through prostitution, stripping, performing as a dominatrix, exotic dancing, pimping, pandering, sex tourism, commercial sex trafficking, pornography, phone sex, ..."

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16 Yes, Jesus Loves Me

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pp. 327-352

"Many Black children learn the song 'Jesus Loves Me' at a young age, and it continues to shape their experiences into adulthood.1 When all else fails, they know, if no one else does, God, through Jesus, loves them. This sense of acceptance by God and the church is critical as a stabilizing force in the life of many..."

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pp. 353-356

"This section is unique because it references age as a central ascriptive feature in understanding Black sexualities. It is also singular in its emphasis on understudied groups within the Black community—the middle class, youth in general and LGBT youth in particular, and senior women. Who are these groups as sexual beings? How do their experiences differ from their counterparts who are more often studied in..."

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17 Black Mother-Daughter Narratives about Sexuality

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pp. 357-376

"Literature correlates Black religious, familial, and cultural influences with sexual conservatism in the Black community (Billingsley, 1992; Hogan & Kitagawa, 1985; Murry, 1994; Sterk-Elifson, 1994). However, studies on Black female adolescent sexual behavior suggest greater sexual behavior and earlier onset of such behavior as compared to their White and Hispanic counterparts..."

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18 Black Youth Sexuality

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pp. 377-400

"More than a century after W.E.B. Du Bois (1899/1999) asserted that Blacks are not a social problem and that their condition and behaviors are, instead, symptomatic of a larger system of oppression, researchers are still articulating pathological notions regarding the social outcomes of Blacks, particularly Black..."

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19 “I’ll Be Forever Mackin’ ”

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pp. 401-422

"In the wake of Bill Cosby’s infamous 'Pound Cake' speech on May 17, 2004, it is now fashionable for Black activists and intellectuals of a certain age to join their White conservative and reactionary counterparts in blaming the hip hop subculture for any and all shortcomings in the Black community.1 This is particularly true with regard to the problematic behavior of young Black men who..."

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20 Black Senior Women and Sexuality

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pp. 423-442

"The growth of the elderly population—that is, sixty-five years and older—in the United States is expected to reach dramatic proportions over the next decade. The number of people aged sixty-five and older is projected to double and those aged eighty-five and older is expected to triple. Although the older population is predominantly non-Hispanic White, it is becoming increasingly more ..."

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pp. 443-444

"This volume has presented new research models, findings, and ideas as a means to forward the discourse and inquiry surrounding Black sexualities. Many questions have been posed and answered; many more will emerge. One objective of this endeavor has been to provide readers with access to research that..." centers the Black experience and specifi cally sheds light on understudied or


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pp. 445-446


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pp. 447-462

E-ISBN-13: 9780813548166
E-ISBN-10: 0813548160
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813546018
Print-ISBN-10: 081354601X

Page Count: 474
Illustrations: 2 tables, 4 graphs
Publication Year: 2010