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The White African American Body Charles D.   Martin

The White African American Body

Published March 1st 2002
ISBN : 9780813530314
Hardcover
240 pages
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 About the Book 

Blacks with white skin. Since colonial times, showmen have exhibited the bodies of African Americans with white or gradually whitening skin in taverns, dime museums, and circus sideshows. The term white Negro has served to describe an individualMoreBlacks with white skin. Since colonial times, showmen have exhibited the bodies of African Americans with white or gradually whitening skin in taverns, dime museums, and circus sideshows. The term white Negro has served to describe an individual born with albinism as well as those who have vitiligo, a disorder that robs the skin of its pigment in evergrowing patches. (Performer Michael Jackson was a victim of this disease.) In The White African American Body, Charles D. Martin examines the proliferation of the image of the white Negro in American popular culture, from the late eighteenth century through to the present day. This enigmatic figure highlights the folly of the belief in immutable racial differences. If skin is a race marker, what does it mean for blacks literally to be white? What does this say not only about blacks but also about whites? Scientists have probed this mystery, philosophers and a president (Thomas Jefferson) pondered what it all meant, and painters and photographers have profited from distributing images of these disturbing figures. Martin devotes a chapter to Michael Jackson and to our societys reaction to the transformation of his body. Lavishly illustrated - with many rarely seen images - The White African American Body shows how the white Negro occupied, and still occupies, the precarious position between white and black, and how this figure remains resilient in American culture.