The Erotic Life of Racism

Sharon Patricia Holland

Holland, associate professor of English, challenges cultural theory as she considers how racism invades our everyday lives, remaining a powerful, yet masked force.

A major intervention in the fields of critical race theory, black feminism, and queer theory, The Erotic Life of Racism contends that theoretical and political analyses of race have largely failed to understand and describe the profound ordinariness of racism and the ways that it operates as a quotidian practice. If racism has an everyday life, how does it remain so powerful and yet mask its very presence? To answer this question, Holland moves into the territory of the erotic, understanding racism's practice as constitutive to the practice of racial being and erotic choice.

Reemphasizing the black/white binary, Holland reinvigorates critical engagement with race and racism. She argues that only by bringing critical race theory, queer theory, and black feminist thought into conversation with each other can we fully envision the relationship between racism and the personal and political dimensions of our desire. The Erotic Life of Racism provocatively redirects our attention to a desire no longer independent of racism but rather embedded within it.