The Boundaries Of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byCathy J. Cohen

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Last year, more African Americans were reported with AIDS than any other racial or ethnic group. And while African Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for more than 55 percent of all newly diagnosed HIV infections. These alarming developments have caused reactions ranging from profound grief to extreme anger in African-American communities, yet the organized political reaction has remained remarkably restrained.

The Boundaries of Blackness is the first full-scale exploration of the social, political, and cultural impact of AIDS on the African-American community. Informed by interviews with activists, ministers, public officials, and people with AIDS, Cathy Cohen unflinchingly brings to light how the epidemic fractured, rather than united, the black community. She traces how the disease separated blacks along different fault lines and analyzes the ensuing struggles and debates.

More broadly, Cohen analyzes how other cross-cutting issues—of class, gender, and sexuality—challenge accepted ideas of who belongs in the community. Such issues, she predicts, will increasingly occupy the political agendas of black organizations and institutions and can lead to either greater inclusiveness or further divisiveness.

The Boundaries of Blackness, by examining the response of a changing community to an issue laced with stigma, has much to teach us about oppression, resistance, and marginalization. It also offers valuable insight into how the politics of the African-American community—and other marginal groups—will evolve in the twenty-first century.

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From Our Editors

AIDS is growing at an alarming rate in the African-American community. Even though African-Americans account for only 13 per cent of the United States’ population, they also accounted for 55 per cent of all HIV-positive patients diagnosed in recent years. This is the first comprehensive look at this largely ignored political and health...

From the Publisher

Last year, more African Americans were reported with AIDS than any other racial or ethnic group. And while African Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for more than 55 percent of all newly diagnosed HIV infections. These alarming developments have caused reactions ranging from profound grief to extrem...

Cathy J. Cohen is professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago. She is the coeditor of Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:410 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226112896

ISBN - 13:9780226112893

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1. The Boundaries of Black Politics
2. Marginalization: Power, Identity, and Membership
3. Enter AIDS: Context and Confrontation
4. Invisible to the Centers for Disease Control
5. All the Black People Fit to Print
6. Conspiracies and Controversies
7. Unsuspecting Women and the Dreaded Bisexual
8. Willing to Serve, but Not to Lead
9. Women, Children, and Funding
10. AIDS and Beyond
Notes
Bibliography
Index

From Our Editors

AIDS is growing at an alarming rate in the African-American community. Even though African-Americans account for only 13 per cent of the United States’ population, they also accounted for 55 per cent of all HIV-positive patients diagnosed in recent years. This is the first comprehensive look at this largely ignored political and health issue. Cathy J. Cohen brings together research and interviews with politicians, activists, ministers and people living with HIV and AIDS, showing how the problem has divided the black community. The Boundaries of Blackness is a sociological study which explores the roles of class, gender and sexuality in the worst epidemic of the 20th century. Cohen sheds light on how politics among the African-American community might evolve in the future.