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Black Sexual EconomiesRace and Sex in a Culture of Capital$
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Adrienne D. Davis and BSE Collective

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042645

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042645.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 05 March 2021

Branded Beautiful

Branded Beautiful

Brand Rihanna Meets Brand Barbados

(p.151) Chapter 9 Branded Beautiful
Black Sexual Economies

Lia T. Bascomb

University of Illinois Press

This chapter investigates how white homonormative narratives perform tyrannous acts that distort understandings of queerness for people of color. As white queerness romanticizes and celebrates “coming out”—becoming the universal marker of liberation—these fascinations forge a space where other, discrete ways of being in the world appear anachronistic, backwards, or rare. McCune re-opens the case of “white men on the Down Low (DL),” if you will—to elucidate how the larger discourse of the queer triumphant, or queer progress, activates an erasure of all queers (white included) who do not fit the mold of the “out and proud” gay subject. This elision constructs a cultural amnesia around other ways of knowing sexuality outside of coming out—which enables a mis-remembering of a white queer past and present, devoid of discretion. Secondly, these constructions of a white queer past sanitize white queerness and enable a discourse that not only impacts how white queers perpetually privilege progress narratives, but potentially demonizes or distorts queers of color who perform often more illegible enactments of queerness. Bringing back the film Brokeback Mountain as a shape-shifting cultural textglobalizing an understanding of the foregone closet—the chapter forces an interracial non-romance between discretion in whiteface and blackface. Brokeback Mountain and other resonant texts perform a popular queer historiography, which misreads or under-reads the broader histories and social realities of queer people within and outside of the U.S.

Keywords:   Brokeback Mountain, closet, queer, white queerness, sexual discretion, down low

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