In The Color of Sex Mason Stokes offers new ways of thinking about whiteness by exploring its surprisingly ambivalent partnership with heterosexuality. Eschewing the canonical for the popular, Stokes examines white-supremacist American texts written and produced between 1852 and 1915 - literary romances, dime novels, religious and scientific tracts, film - and exposes the perverse infrastructure of whiteness, its tangled network of racial and sexual desire. Stokes locates these white-supremacist texts amid the anti-racist efforts of African American writers and activists, deepening our understanding of both American and African American literary and cultural history. The Color of Sex reveals what happens when race and sexuality meet, when white desire encounters its own ambivalence. As Stokes argues, whiteness and heterosexuality exist in anxious relation to one another. They support each other in their desperate insistence on the cultural logic of exclusion, but, given the slippery pathways of race and reproduction, threaten one another in their attempt to create and sustain a white future.
Charting the curious movements of this "white heterosexuality," The Color of Sex inaugurates a new moment in our ongoing attempt to understand the frenzied interplay of race and sexuality in America.
Publisher: Duke University Press