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Body Aesthetics$
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Sherri Irvin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716778

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716778.001.0001

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White Embodied Gazing, the Black Body as Disgust, and the Aesthetics of Un-Suturing

White Embodied Gazing, the Black Body as Disgust, and the Aesthetics of Un-Suturing

(p.243) 13 White Embodied Gazing, the Black Body as Disgust, and the Aesthetics of Un-Suturing
Body Aesthetics

George Yancy

Oxford University Press

This chapter theorizes Black body aesthetics through the lens of the white gaze, which is parasitic upon the construction of the Black body as ersatz, disgusting, and ontologically problematic. The white gaze is an historical achievement, a site of lived sedimentation of white power and privilege that perpetuates violence upon Black bodies. As such, the white gaze is contingent, and the relational ontology it assumes is not historically inexorable, but undoable. Through contemporary incidents of violence by white police (and their proxies), this chapter shows that white gazing presupposes a fundamental site of what is called “suturing,” an embodied white practice that involves fleeing the ways in which we are, in these terms, un-sutured: an important ontological claim about human persons. It argues that white people must develop specific socio-ontological un-suturing practices, ones that refuse to cover over the festering reality of white lies and white attempts at self-mastery.

Keywords:   suture, un-suture, whiteness, white gaze, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Eric Harris

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