Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism

By Patricia Hill Collins | Go to book overview

NINE

WHY WE CAN'T WAIT

Black Sexual Politics and the Challenge of HIV/AIDS

On May 3, 2002, a group of South African citizens, international reporters, dignitaries, and common folk assembled in South Africa for a memorial service. Normally, such a ceremony would have attracted little attention. But this event was different because it marked the return of the remains of Sarah Bartmann, the so-called Hottentot Venus, to South Africa. Bartmann's homecoming had not been easy. After years of repeated requests by Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first postapartheid president, France finally agreed to release her remains. Greeting Bartmann as a forgotten ancestor 192 years after she left Capetown, the Khoi people placed her remains in a wooden coffin, the first ever to hold them. Commenting on the meaning of the memorial service, one sixty-three-year-old Khoisan woman remarked, “It is important for her to come back. She is one of ours.” 1

It was a bittersweet return, filled with the contradictions that confront people throughout the African Diaspora. Sarah Bartmann returned to a South Africa that bore little resemblance to the one that she left almost 200 years earlier. This South Africa was filled with immense promise and momentous problems. On the one hand, her remains arrived in a nation whose former policies of racial apartheid had come to symbolize the last vestige of a 500-year-old system of racial oppression. A democratically elected government now ran postapartheid South Africa, with Black Africans at the helm. Aspiring for a

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Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - African Americans and the New Racism 23
  • One - Why Black Sexual Politics? 25
  • Two - The Past is Ever Present 53
  • Three - Prisons for Our Bodies, Closets for Our Minds 87
  • Part II - Rethinking Black Gender Ideology 117
  • Four - Get Your Freak On 119
  • Five - Booty Call 149
  • Six - Very Necessary 181
  • Part III - Toward a Progressive Black Sexual Politics 213
  • Seven - Assume the Position 215
  • Eight - No Storybook Romance 247
  • Nine - Why We Can't Wait 279
  • Notes 309
  • Glossary 349
  • Bibliography 353
  • Index 367
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