Maria K-“Aberrations in Black” by Ferguson
In researching and analyzing “significance of other women of color feminists” Ferguson begins with a historic analysis of the American political systems and expand to national and global politics of discourse and heteronormative practices. The history of the formation of Black Panthers as a group had found fault in the ways the civil rights movement addressed the issues of equality while using the white patriarchal, racial, and exploitive liberation as they acted against the Voting Rights Act of 1966-to represent a fundamentally racist legal and economic system which for the BP needed to be abolished before negotiated and reconstructed.
Ferguson argues that the national liberation struggles promoted the “gendered and sexual regulations of liberal ideology by looking at how those struggles theorized culture.” With national liberation the oppositional bears the stamp of normative. He uses Wallerstein’s argument that we can denote that “the triumph of liberal ideology is through racial and class exclusion and thorough expansion of normative gender and sexual regimes; the civil rights movement compiled with liberal exclusions through its sexist ideologies and practices normalized heteropatriarchal culture and revolutionary agency.”
Within the contradistinction of liberation movements US women of color feminism helped designate the imagining as a social practice under contemporary globalization. Culture became the field which imagination was promoted in order to work against nationalism and global capital.
Ferguson argues that “Locating women of color feminism within the contradictions of contemporary globalization means that we must position its oppositional properties within and outside global parameters…and its normalization of gender and sexual regulations.” Here Ferguson examines the ways in which black feminists tried to negate the position of difference, queer identity and coalition.
His close analysis of the Moynihan report shows a development and changes in the family structure within black communities and in the establishment of matriarchal nonheteronormative relations. He discusses the “equality for opportunity but not for equality for outcome” as it inheres into ambiguity and violates distinctions between equality and liberty.
In his analysis of Sula he suggests that Morrison’s questioning of the heteronormative in creating a character who is the outsider and whose sexual practices suggest homosexuality and whose sexual difference within relations represents a “process of negation in which apparently nonpolitical literary texts about two black women became a resource of epistemological and political practices that could express alternatives to existing social movements.”
How do you think that Ferguson’s work might give us new ways of engaging with the project(s) of queer theory? His book is subtitled “Towards a Queer of Color Critique”; did this chapter give you a sense of what a queer of color critique might look like?
I also wonder what your perspective is on why Sula, in particular, becomes the literary text that frames this analysis.
Ferguson introduces a historiography of women of color feminism and queer of color subjects, (culture) and how these relations were underlining contradictions in relation to power. Queer of color critique is related to how women of color negated the queer identity politics, as presented in Sula, black “lesbians seized to contruct a politics that was feminist, queer, antiracist and coalitional”.