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Hybrid: Bisexuals, Multiracials, and Other Misfits Under American Law (Critical America)by Ruth Colker
Synopses & Reviews
2006 American Book Award, presented by the Before Columbus Foundation
Southern Italian emigration to the United States peaked a full century ago—;descendents are now fourth and fifth generation, dispersed from their old industrial neighborhoods, professionalized, and fully integrated into the “melting pot.” Surely the social historians are right: Italian Americans are fading into the twilight of their ethnicity. So, why is the American imagination enthralled by The Sopranos, and other portraits of Italian-ness?
Italian American identity, now a mix of history and fantasy, flesh-and-bone people and all-too-familiar caricature, still has something to teach us, including why each of us, as citizens of the U.S. twentieth century and its persisting cultures, are to some extent already Italian. Contending that the media has become the primary vehicle of Italian sensibilities, Ferraro explores a series of books, movies, paintings, and records in ten dramatic vignettes. Featured cultural artifacts run the gamut, from the paintings of Joseph Stella and the music of Frank Sinatra to The Godfathers enduring popularity and Madonnas Italian background. In a prose style as vivid as his subjects, Ferraro fashions a sardonic love song to the art and iconography of Italian America.
The United States, and the West in general, has always organized society along bipolar lines. We are either gay or straight, male or female, white or not, disabled or not.
In recent years, however, America seems increasingly aware of those who defy such easy categorization. Yet, rather than being welcomed for the challenges that they offer, people living the gap are often ostracized by all the communities to which they might belong. Bisexuals, for instance, are often blamed for spreading AIDS to the heterosexual community and are regarded with suspicion by gays and lesbians. Interracial couples are rendered invisible through monoracial recordkeeping that confronts them at school, at work, and on official documents. In Hybrid, Ruth Colker argues that our bipolar classification system obscures a genuine understanding of the very nature of subordination. Acknowledging that categorization is crucial and unavoidable in a world of practical problems and day-to-day conflicts, Ruth Colker shows how categories can and must be improved for the good of all.
About the Author
Ruth Colker is a Distinguished University Professor and the Heck-Faust Memorial Chair in Constitutional Law at the Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University. She is the author of Hybrid, The Disability Pendulum, and American Law in the Age of Hypercapitalism, all available from NYU Press.
Table of Contents
Introduction : living the gap — A bi jurisprudence — Sexual orientation — Gender — Race — Disability — Bipolar injustice : the moral code — Invisible hybrids under the U.S. census.
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