Why I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays On Race and Sexuality / Edition 1

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Where does the black gay man go where he can see himself reflected back to himself in all the complex ways in which he exists in the world?" asks the chair of the African American Studies department at Northwestern University. In this collection of 10 smart, provocative essays, McBride explores, from varying vantage points (interracial gay male porn; the essays of Cornel West; the racial implications of Ellen DeGeneres's coming-out show; the way the hair and clothing guidelines for Abercrombie & Fitch employees ensure an almost all-white staff), the tenuous position of a clear, distinct, gay black male presence and voice in cultural discourse and argues for an end to the relative silence. Some of McBride's analysis is perceptive but unsurprising (e.g., his short piece on the role of rage and frustration in the 1995 Los Angeles riots), and his focus on the "bourgeois, well-educated, fairly cosmopolitan gay man" largely shrugs off discussions of class. But much of this collection breaks new ground for contemporary cultural criticism. McBride's look at homophobia in traditional African-American studies is an empathetic but penetrating critique of the discipline, and his explication of the ghettoization of black men in gay male porn (which moves into a more complicated discussion of online sex sites) is truly original work with ramifications well outside of queer studies. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“McBride’s heady collection is an accessible think piece, starting with its agreeable title and its pointed essay of the same name.”
-Time Out New York

“McBride has emerged as one of the most eloquent public voices in both queer studies and black studies. In this wide-ranging book—written with intelligence, passion, and humor—he brings the insights of each field to the blind spots of the other. We all have something to learn from him.”
-Michael Warner,Rutgers University

“Possibly the best title of the season.”
-Books to Watch out For

“A fair warning from an intelligent, well-informed writer.”
-Alter Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814756867
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2005
  • Series: Sexual Cultures Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 251
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Dwight A. McBride is Daniel Hale Williams Professor of African American Studies, English, & Performance Studies at Northwestern University where he also serves as Dean of The Graduate School and Associate Provost for Graduate Education. He is the author of several groundbreaking works in African American Studies, including Impossible Witnesses and Why I Hate Abercrombie and Fitch.
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Table of Contents

Introduction : the new black studies, or beyond the old "race man" 17
Pt. I Queer black thought
1 Straight black studies 35
2 Why I hate Abercrombie & Fitch 59
3 It's a white man's world : race in the gay marketplace of desire 88
Pt. II Race and sexuality on occasion
4 On race, gender, and power : the case of Anita Hill 135
5 Feel the rage : a personal remembrance of the 1992 Los Angeles uprising 143
6 Ellen's coming out : media and public hype 149
7 Affirmative action and white rage 154
Pt. III Straight black talk
8 Speaking the unspeakable : on Toni Morrison, African American intellectuals, and the uses of essentialist rhetoric 163
9 Cornel West and the rhetoric of race-transcending 185
10 Can the queen speak? : sexuality, racial essentialism, and the problem of authority 203
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