Brand Rihanna Meets Brand Barbados
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 text—globalizing 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.
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