By Dwight McBride

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Extra resources for Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays On Race and Sexuality (Sexual Cultures Series)

Sample text

The essays in this book—at times occasional, sometimes theoretical, and at still other times deeply personal—taken together, I hope, will not only carry us further toward complicating and politicizing our thinking about race and sexuality, but also their deployment in our communities; our political lives; and our public, personal, and sexual lives. Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica July 31, 2003 15 Introduction The New Black Studies, or beyond the Old “Race Man” I can recall with alarming clarity the moment I first cast eyes on the cover of the March 3, 2003, issue of Newsweek, which sported a picture of pop music icon Beyoncé Knowles, talk show host Star Jones, and president of Chicagobased Ariel Mutual Funds Mellody Hobson.

You didn’t tell me, I told you. ] This is not the same, of course, as saying that Baldwin embraced gay sexuality as associated with the gay liberation movement, to which he had a rather complicated relationship. Still his public “outing” of himself we regard as significant not only to the development of this particularized tradition of queer African American fiction, but also as posing a challenge to dominant, respectable, sanitized narratives of the African American literary tradition and what it can include.

To characterize it one way: the former can afford to discuss the importance of combating homophobia in black communities and the psychic cost they pay for such homophobia, while the latter is left to negotiate the perils of everyday life in those same communities. In this way, black middle-class gay men’s access to greater resources also gives them greater choice, and relative security and flexibility about where and how they live, struggle, and love. So, once again, where in the popular or cultural imagination is the bourgeois, well-educated, fairly cosmopolitan black gay man?

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