Black looks race and representation father

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Get Information. The symbolic consumption of both the adoptee and the first mother enable the adopter to imagine internalising a spirit of primordial Otherness, which can fundamentally change them and enable them to step outside the confines of Swedish whiteness. It also gives them a claim to a connection with the adoptee that goes beyond biology. While the desire to consume the adoptee-Other body is imagined as progressive and anti-racist, this paper argues that such fantasies are dependent on maintaining and reinforcing the status quo of the white supremacist patriarchal structures that enable international adoption in the first place.

While Sweden has seen a significant downturn in the number of adoptions in line with other demand countries, adoption remains something above criticism, and adoptees have found that to challenge the adoption programme on a structural level is taboo see, for example, Dahlberg ; Rooth The use of adoption and adoptee bodies in commercial and political advertising indicate the continued celebration of the practice, and the passing of policies such as a greatly increased tax-free grant for adopters to encourage more middle income Swedes to adopt internationally demonstrate that the pro-adoption discourse is reflected both in practice as well as in the national imagination SVT Nyheter These metaphors function as coded racial markers that, in signifying desire and affection, are accepted as being positive race language, safe to use in a colour-blind discourse.

Addressing such food metaphors as a starting point, this article will explore white adopter desires and fantasies that descriptions of transracial adoptee bodies can conceal and reveal. Finally, I discuss how such fantasies are dependent on maintaining the status quo of white supremacist patriarchal structures. The narratives honed in on from the texts are used as a means of accessing the wider adoption discourse, and the texts were chosen on the basis of their visibility and accessibility, as well as their nature of capturing a range of adoption voices, particularly those of white Swedish adopters of children of colour, over a timeline of almost two decades.

Throughout the essay is the question of whether a contemporary open and commodified desire for Other bodies offers scope for resistance, or whether it merely perpetuates and strengthens the status quo of racist domination and white supremacist patriarchal structures.

White desiring subjects see themselves as transgressing cultural taboos about sex and desire for the Other, and transcending racist boundaries of desire: they do not see themselves as perpetuating racism at all, but instead believe that their desire represents a progressive change in attitudes towards people of colour, and a break with a white supremacist past where such desires would be secret and shameful hooks , p. In fact, hooks argues that this contact with the Other is a fantasy of the white desiring subject becoming the Other themselves, through their consumption of the Other body hooks , p.

To consume the Other is to consume the spirit of primordialism imagined to reside in the body of the Other, a consumer cannibalism that will enable the white consumer to take on elements of the Other themselves. To demonstrate this, hooks uses the example of the film Heart Condition , where a racist white cop is saved from death by a heart transplant; the new heart is that of his late love rival, a young black man.

It also represents a fantasy of Other bodies dying so that white bodies can live. Fantasies of black bodies being closer to death and the ultimate unexplored sensations that that could entail adds to the thrill of consumer cannibalism hooks , p. The consumption of the Other is entirely safe for the white desiring subject, however.

It does not involve permanently leaving their subject position behind, or any loss of power and privilege. It does not require any structural change, and its promised break with a racist past is ultimately no more than a silencing of on-going racist oppression, and a denial of history and accountability hooks , p.

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Representation and Stereotypes of Black Women in Brazilian Film

Needless to say, hooks is working in a different context and discursive setting, but the parallels with Swedish transracial adoption desires, and adopter fantasies of anti-racism are clear. I use deconstructive narrative analysis techniques to guide my reading and explore meanings and power relations beneath narratives, while interrogating the narratives with my reading of hooks. Such a technique of analysis unearths hidden meanings and structures behind and beyond texts, and has a focus on uncovering and analysing power imbalances and their underlying mechanisms. It can also be effective in linking narratives presented as individual stories to wider structural societal narratives and discourses, which is my aim here.

A major question in narrative analysis concerns the extent to which individuals can control the production of their own narratives Czarniawska , p. This is particularly relevant when examining Swedish adoption stories, which are likely to follow strict narrative guidelines within the confines of the pro-adoption and colour-blind discourse. In the highly emotive world of Swedish adoption, it is also important to reiterate that my critique of adoption is at a structural level, and use of narratives that have been written by individuals is a way of accessing the wider discourse and uncovering hidden power relations.

I selected the texts for their availability and popularity, and as texts that contained descriptions of adopter and adoptee bodies. The first text is by white adoptive parent and award-winning journalist Kerstin Weigl Something of an adoption classic, it is often to be found on adoption course reading lists, is visible and readily available in Swedish public and university libraries and is recommended reading on the website of MFoF, the authority that oversees international adoptions in Sweden.

Published by Norstedts and reprinted twice, this oft-cited text should be treated as a very much well respected, mainstream and hugely influential adoption publication. The author, a Swedish South Korean adoptee, interviews 18 adoptees who arrived in Sweden in the s and s, and as a ground-breaking work, it is widely cited. Finally, for a contemporary example, I selected a recent article in parenting magazine Mama, by Maria Lanner, a white Swedish adoptive mother of a black daughter from Nigeria Lanner To identify desire narratives and interconnectivity between texts, I used a systematic coding technique developed from guidelines presented by Berg and Lune and Payne and Payne A careful coding process can act as both a link between data collection analysis, and can help avoid what Berg and Lune describe as exampling Berg and Lune , pp.


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Coding also has a vital role in exposing the researcher to unexpected patterns, which would be missed by exampling. Beginning with an inductive reading of the texts, using colour-coding I identified and noted themes and narratives of desire and descriptions of adoptee bodies both inter- and intra-textually a step Payne and Payne , p.

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The next step was to carry out a closer deductive reading of the narratives identified, before analysing specific sections of texts with a critical close reading using deconstructive narrative analysis techniques. In this article I aim to contribute to an emerging literature of critical adoption studies that endeavours to challenge unquestionable positive adoption narratives, and address not so much the problems that arise within adoptions, but the problem with adoption itself.

While there are significant arguments against colour-blind ideologies, and their silencing of oppression and voices and experiences of people of colour see, for example, Bonilla-Silva , the colour-blind ideology is also fundamentally flawed, in that not seeing skin colour does not mean that race thinking has disappeared; often racial markers just move to other parts of the body. Her hyper-visibility as an isolated body of colour saw her standing out, yet her colour-blind parents claim to not even notice.

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It is a declaration of a desire and love that transcends racial boundaries but is also imagined as a special anti-racist desire that is distinct from the secretive desires for bodies of Otherness that fuel racism, exploitation and oppression. Such descriptions declare difference in a positive way: the difference that the bodies carry is desired, and as race is not directly mentioned, it even becomes acceptable within the colour-blind discourse.

Indeed, I would suggest that it also challenges the repressive boundaries of that discourse, and is part of a trend of moving away from pretending not to see difference, or pretending to the adoptee that their body is the same as that of their white peers. Such descriptive declarations of desire are even presented as something non-racist and progressive in terms of adoption politics: the adopter-desirer breaks with the silencing past of supressed racist desires, breaks with adoption as a project of assimilation and breaks with the pretence that the adoptee body is not a commodity.

A truly radical counterhegemony can only be realized by disassociating both blackness and manhood from capitalist registers of worth. Reproduced under fair use copyright. The man is branded. The portrait is a searing critique of what its creator, artist Hank Willis Thomas, calls a commodifiable blackness. Branded, he becomes recognizable—yet in a way that accepts commodification as the source of his identity.

Through brands and branding, black men paradoxically are transformed into iconic figures of success within the fantasy of late capitalism. Now branding—commodification—ironically restores value, in a postindustrial era that so often construes the black body as lacking any intrinsic value. Nonetheless there is something unique about how black men participate in it, and that speaks to their location within the structure of racial capitalism. This legacy of entitlement persists in the inequalities we see today, which so often render black and male as inherently contradictory, the fact of black abjection set irreconcilably against the anticipation of male privilege.

But as Branded Head implies, hegemony is in effect: even for men inhibited from achieving normative masculinities rooted in work, economic agency remains integral to their identities. Consumerism and commodification—brands and branding—thus become occult expressions of capitalist success that emerge as alternatives to conventional success within the labor economy. Through them, black men paradoxically are transformed into iconic figures of success within the fantasy of late capitalism.

Black Panther and the Power of Representation

Black masculinity is situated at the intersection of masculine entitlement and devalued blackness. But while capitalism defined the laboring body as male, race placed black men at the intersection of male privilege and racial exclusion. Within the world capitalist system, then, black men were cast in three distinct but imbricated roles: as commodified bodies, as devalued laborers, and as fraught consumers. In the slave economy, the black body was commodified both as labor to produce value and as capital property itself.

Blackness, in other words, was valued both as capital and subhuman capital-generator. Upon manumission, the symbolic weight of blackness did not just evaporate: black bodies continued to be subjected to the exploitations of the most degraded forms of capitalist labor, while the status of their humanity remained, for their white employers and coworkers, a question mark.

Instead, as Robin D. Within the world capitalist system, black men were cast in three distinct but imbricated roles: as commodified bodies, as devalued laborers, and as fraught consumers. Opposition to economic and racial oppression on the job, in other words, centered performative expressions of black masculinity, and positioned black cultural forms such as music and style as important arenas of protest. Naturalizing the masculine, and by extension white , character of virtuous labor was a hegemonic project, the ideological axis of economic domination.

The theory of hegemony, developed by twentieth-century Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci, explained how dominant group ideology transcends class to appear as common-sense understandings of the world and thus generate consent to domination. Striving to achieve economic value presents the aforementioned alternatives to labor: commodification and consumerism, branding and brands. Blackness, with its legacy of double commodification, is particularly susceptible to disembodied market value. Tokenism and cultural appropriation—valuable blackness coupled with the near or total absence of black people—exemplify the marginal position occupied by blacks in the marketplace.

This commodification of Jordan dramatizes the degree to which black manhood, so far as the market is concerned, has value mainly as a trope. Tropes, in this sense, are not only personifications of a stereotype. They are performing commodities that embody extreme expressions of livelihoods—whether celebrity or criminal—that are outside of wage labor and that are rooted in conspicuous consumption.

For black men excluded from the labor market, such tropes stand in as promises of success in the capitalist world system.