Introduction to The Queer Atlantic Museum Project

The purpose of this site is to show the relationship between blackness, queerness, black queerness, and how they all tie together to the queer theory. I hope to engage the audience by posting pictures and passages from several readings that I found intriguing and thought provoking. By putting pictures, texts, and some analyses side by side, the relationship between the subjects is up to the audience’s interpretation of how the Middle Passage ties to the queer theory. Through the investigation of these relationships, I hope to give some depth and meaning to the relationships between blackness and queerness.

These will be the readings that I will include in this project. Here I have summarized why they will be applicable to this project. This will help the audience have some background information on how to navigate through the passages of the readings, the pictures I post, the articles, and some short analyses I will post to show my understanding of the relationships between blackness, queerness, black queerness, and how they all tie together to the queer theory.

In Black Atlantic, Queer Atlantic, the author, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, explains the maritime migration of blacks over the sea that is metaphoric to the queer relations of shipmates under forced brutality that resists the norms of slave trade. The same-sex eroticism symbolizes the liquidation of the social selves and resistance to global violence and inequity. This is useful to my project because it illustrates queerness being a resistance to the normative order of power against the captors. The sexual connections represent a queerness that resists the gendered and reproductive bodies that is considered as the first site of colonization.

In Kenyon Farrow’s Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black? the author describes that the “civil rights” movement of blacks was appropriated by white and privileged gays and lesbians to further their own political agenda. It shows that the American power structure has not really changed. The white organizations are inappropriately using the black movement to further their own agendas has hindered the gains that blacks have accomplished in the last few decades. These white communities that want their struggle to be seen as Black struggle actually makes no advancement of liberation for blacks and further continues racist institutions and white normative family structures. This is useful to my project because it shows the uses the institutions of marriage against Black people and illustrates that although same-sex marriage is challenging the social norms, it also creates a more problematic situation to the black communities that are trying to overcome the hypersexual stereotypes of blacks and black family values and structures. This reading shows the privilege that white people will continue to have access to more than black people and the American power structure that will persist, creating the same challenges for black communities even though these white communities are fighting to gain liberation for same-sex unions that challenges the nuclear family idea.

In Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics? Cathy J. Cohen shows that the potential movement to transform the dominant norms of sexuality and structures of hierarchies has failed to change the systems of oppression but could be use as lessons for new politics that can challenge the dominant power system. This is useful to my project because it offers an idea of how to use queer activism to construct new politics that could transform dominant power structure to one that addresses the continuing oppression of marginalized groups. Queer politics did not transform the system of oppressions but instead has reinforced the norms of dominant institutions. The author further discusses creating a space that could provide a transformational politics that can challenge this dominant structure of the social and cultural norms.

Christina Sharpe’s In The Wake: On Blackness and Being illustrates the political norms of anti-blackness and how it has continued to maintain the destruction of black people as normal. The book shows the spiritual struggle of black people and blackness as they confront this destruction of the black community in the wake of black consciousness. She shows the construction of ideas and experiences of injustices that is ongoing to show how to be in the “wake” as being politically aware of the aftermath of the transatlantic slavery. This is useful to my project because it shows a case of how white capitalist violence has constructed this anti-blackness idea and experience that is normalized in today’s society. It shows how every day terms are reinvented to discuss and confront anti-blackness as well as maintain the pattern of violence from slavery in the past.

In The Erotic Life of Racism, Sharon Patricia Holland describes the intimacy of everyday racism and how black freedom is falsely conceived. The author shows the racist practice of white supremacy as it constructs racism and how people can confront race and move beyond it. From my reading of the book, I think Holland is trying to make a claim that when one racialized themselves and others, it stops the connection between humans and reinforces the dominant hierarchal racialized system. It is useful to my project because it makes a person think of racism as erotic as one feels the intimacy of racism and how we think of our intimate relation to others when we reconsider racism. It shows the afterlife of transatlantic slavery and how today’s society is not done with slavery yet as the construction of racism is in the works as we internalize the lie of difference between others and ourselves.

In Jennifer Morgan’s Accounting for the Most Excruciating Torment, the author shows how the knowledge and importance of women transported and sold in slavery has been avoided in the discussion of the historical transatlantic slave trade. This shows the importance of how African women were disconnected to European’s ideology of normal femininity. Morgan challenges this ideology of femininity and shows the departure of the women’s reproductive capacity to see the effects of the past on today’s society. This is useful to my project because it shows that the limitation of narratives of African women being sold and transported is important to the transatlantic slave trade and how people confront the gender structures and gender reconstruction today.

Amy Stanley’s Histories of Capitalism and Sex Difference explains the narrative of neglect of the importance of women’s role in capitalism and class formation. She explains that a lot of slavery and capitalism researchers are limited to slavery and what the female body can do, and Stanley talks about the cycle of slave labor and incorporates valuation beyond the slave’s body and confronts the sex difference problem. This is useful to my project because it challenges the discussion of scholars that avoids gender when rewriting the history of capitalism and not addressing the gender difference that contributed to the economic transformation. It challenges the idea that capitalist transformation from the transatlantic slave trade had no significance to the organization of power and all social relations from the construction of sex difference.