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Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch

Essays On Race and Sexuality

Dwight McBride

Publication Year: 2005

Why hate Abercrombie? In a world rife with human cruelty and oppression, why waste your scorn on a popular clothing retailer? The rationale, Dwight A. McBride argues, lies in “the banality of evil,” or the quiet way discriminatory hiring practices and racist ad campaigns seep into and reflect malevolent undertones in American culture.

McBride maintains that issues of race and sexuality are often subtle and always messy, and his compelling new book does not offer simple answers. Instead, in a collection of essays about such diverse topics as biased marketing strategies, black gay media representations, the role of African American studies in higher education, gay personal ads, and pornography, he offers the evolving insights of one black gay male scholar.

As adept at analyzing affirmative action as dissecting Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, McBride employs a range of academic, journalistic, and autobiographical writing styles. Each chapter speaks a version of the truth about black gay male life, African American studies, and the black community. Original and astute, Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch is a powerful vision of a rapidly changing social landscape.

Published by: NYU Press

TItle Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xvi

Authors of scholarly endeavors inevitably incur many debts during the production of their work. Impossible Witnesses: Truth, Abolitionism, and Slave Testimony certainly represents no exception in this regard. I thank the staffs of the British Library in London, ...

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1. Introduction
Bearing Witness: Memory, Theatricality,the Body, and Slave Testimony

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pp. 1-15

The chief concern of this book is mapping the rhetorical markers that constitute the terrain of abolitionist discourse. Recasting the abolition debate in terms of a discourse usefully places central significance on the issues of language, rhetorical strategy, audience, and the status and/or production of the ...

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2. Abolitionist Discourse
A Transatlantic Context

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pp. 16-84

Simply stated, the fundamental intellectual question that animates this project is: What does it mean for a slave to bear witness to, or to tell the “truth” about, slavery? Perhaps at first glance a deceptively modest query, the question raises four primary concerns of this book. First, through the analysis of representative ...

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3. “I Know What a Slave Knows”
Mary Prince as Witness, or the Rhetorical Uses of Experience

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pp. 85-103

The above epigraph is arguably the most interesting and important passage in The History of Mary Prince. It points out Prince’s need to position herself as an “authentic” eyewitness to slavery, even as her contemporary audience wants to read her as such. This passage thematizes the fact that, for Prince, the experience ...

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4. Appropriating the Word
Phillis Wheatley, Religious Rhetoric, and the Poetics of Liberation

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pp. 103-119

This chapter is an investigation of the function and circulation of religious rhetoric in the poetry and letters of Phillis Wheatley. It is particularly concerned with the rhetorical strategies that she employed to bear witness to slavery in the late eighteenth century (the earliest context for institutional abolitionism)....

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5. Speaking as “the African”
Olaudah Equiano’s Moral Argument against Slavery

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pp. 120-150

While engaged with many of the same Enlightenment discourses as Wheatley’s poems, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself 1 makes use of a significantly different politics. Equiano marshals the army of contemporary metaphors at his disposal to make a ...

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6. Consider the Audience
Witnessing to the Discursive Reader in Douglass’s Narrative

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pp. 151-172

This chapter brings together some of the concerns discussed in the preceding ones by recasting, in terms that are most familiar to my readers, the discursive terrain into which the slave narrator enters to give his or her testimony. That is, I consider who is the intended reader of the slave’s testimony. The search ...

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pp. 173-176

The work of Impossible Witnesses has interested me in its specificity, but it has also fascinated me for the paradigmatic possibilities it offers up. The suggestions in this book for understanding slave testimony may also be paradigmatically helpful in our efforts to appreciate more fully our contemporary political ...


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pp. 177-190


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pp. 191-200


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pp. 201-206

About the Author

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pp. 207-208

E-ISBN-13: 9780814759950
E-ISBN-10: 0814759955
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814756850
Print-ISBN-10: 0814756859

Page Count: 267
Publication Year: 2005

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Racism -- United States.
  • Sex role -- United States.
  • Sexual orientation -- United States.
  • United States -- Race relations.
  • African Americans -- Social conditions -- 1975-.
  • African Americans -- Intellectual life.
  • African Americans -- Study and teaching.
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