Black Women and Sexuality in U.S. Popular Culture Pt. 2

A 57 Second Lecture

Lecture Transcript

This is a #57SecondLecture. I’m Nikki Lane, and I’m going to be your professor.

**Sing lyrics to Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble”**

So the second concept that I want you to understand is politics of respectability. What we see at the turn of the 20th century is African Americans really attempting to their full rights as American citizens. The way, black people are told, they have to do this is by being “respectable.” Now what “respectable” means is going to shift depending on context. So black women are told they have to be presented and present themselves as “lady like.” And yet, even though you can be, and look, and act respectable as a black woman, you can still be open to disrespect based on the way that your body, who you are, and your sexuality have been warped in a racist American imagination.

Suggested Reading

Collins, Patricia Hill. 2009. “The Social Construction of Black Feminist Thought.” Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment. Routledge.

Hine, Darlene Clark. 1989 Rape and the inner lives of Black women in the Middle West. Signs 14(4):912-920.

Pickens, Therí A. 2014 Shoving aside the politics of respectability: black women, reality TV, and the ratchet performance. Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory:1-18.