The Chauvinistic Nation: A Critique of U.S. Exclusionary Politics through Audre Lorde’s Biomythography

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The Chauvinistic Nation: A Critique of U.S. Exclusionary Politics through Audre Lorde’s Biomythography
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Paoloemilio, Amber
Anita Anantharam
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Nationalism influences the lives of every individual within both its imagined and geographic boundaries. Through a critique of hyper-racialized and hyper-sexualized surveillance as a modality of state control, this analysis utilizes both auto-ethnographic experiences and Audre Lorde’s biomythography, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, to deepen the understanding of the effects of the exclusionary politics on American nationalism and its populace. Drawing on historical and literary readings of nationalism and Afro-pessim’s insights into racism and state violence, this thesis uncovers the required relationship between nationalism and exclusion. Finally, in recognizing that the nation loses coherence without the exclusion of the hyper-racialized, hyper-sexualized “other,” I propose ways in which the nation can move forward, in a more humanistic, egalitarian manner.

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1 Biomythography By: Amber Paoloemilio


2 Abstract Nationalism influences the lives of every individual within both its imagined and geographic boundaries. Through a critique of hyper racialized and hyper sexualized surveillance as a modality of state control, this analysis utilizes both auto ethnographic experiences and Zami: A New Spelling of My Name to d eepen the understanding of the e ffects of the exclusionary politics on American nationalism and its populace Drawing on historical and literary readings of nationa lism and Afro into racism and state violence, this thesis uncovers the required relationship between nationalism and exclusion. Finally, in recognizing that t he nation loses coherence without the exclusion of the hyper racialized, hyper I propose ways in which the nation can mov e forward, in a more humanistic, egalitarian manner.


3 Introduction Franz Fanon I am not philosophizing about destiny when I hear Someone needs to move their car from the barista behind the counter. I glance outside and see the area. Sitting behind my car, I see a police officer, parked just close enough to make me uncomfortable. Slightly embarrassed I make the short trip out of the coffee shop and to my car. I back it out of the parallel spot and dri ve away. One minute goes by before the cop blasts his lights and follows close behind. R olling down my window, and glancing back at the shop, the police officer comes up to me sporting a small smile. We exchange pleasantries; I smile too behind you, make sure you always come up to him and ask if he i Always? Before I had time to muse over the possibility of approaching every cop car that was near to me on a daily basis, I quickly respond reacts with a With a hasty exhale, I drive away were my hands shaking this whole time? Backing into my new parallel spot, I mull over the last five minutes. Why do I feel so negatively affected? I was innocent after all. Recognizing the experience today, I realize the encounter frightened me, for the day, or maybe a few hours. But, coming into direct contact with the state, through this police officer a medium of state power a few questions came to mind. If I felt terrorized in that moment, how does someone who is constantly under state surveillance navigate their lives? Do they try and contain their hands shaking perpetually, or does it become normal for the m?


4 P eople in prisons immigrants, a nd individuals with low incomes face perpetual surveillance daily. Most importantly, I began to question why this m an, the enforcer of the state, needed me purpose or ticket, that he is an officer ? He used the moment as a pedagogical tool for me, a nation has certain customs rules, and ways of living. In that moment, I was a disrupter of those terms, and he made it clear that my actions, my way of living, stood counter to the standards of the state civil society. I n this work, I will observe how the supremacy of cisgender, white, male, bourgeois bodies is the prevailing logic of the U.S. nation. Since sexuality and race are mutually constituted, there is no logic of American nation alism that operates without white heteronormativity and its attendant exclusionary authority. I felt excluded in that moment, but the nation could not exist without my exclusion. The moment was harmful to my boy, my mind, but it was necessary for the nation, in that moment, to maintain power of its rules and authority If I wanted to fight to beco me a part of the nation, I could not do it there, or ever, in the current context of U.S. nationalism. A fter encountering the state directly, in this context, I realized that to fight to become a part of this is to pass on the exclusion to another racializ ed of sexualized group. For, if the nation does not employ exclusion, it will not remain a nation I smiled, I answered quickly, and I years of informal and formal schooling have taught me to do. But, there is no nation without proper surveillance; and encounters like mine, are just one medium to achieve its desired cohesion


5 It is not important how many times I tried to convince the cop I that was not a law breaker. LGBT activists ga ining the freedom to marry will not translate into autonomous freedom and rights Prison guards being puni shed for mistreating inmates will not change an Surface level activism can lead people in the U.S. to believe that the c oncept of Americanis m, nationhood, and citizenship will be equally claimed by all. The reality is, the American nation was never constructed for anyone other than the white, hetero, wealthy man. There is no destiny, no citizenship to ob tain for those who do not fit the mold. The only avenue to true liberation, is space extricated from such chauvinistic forms of nationalism. Evolving in ideology and practice constantly, nationalism affirms and reaffirms itself through surveillance and th e controlling of bodies. While the terms nation and nationalism date back to the late 19 th century, the concept itself has expanded, grown, and created a foundation of power dynamics that define current modern ideas about the governance, justice, and natur e of reality. The nation changed greatly in definition and practice. The modern construction of the term enforces more than just the explicitly terrorist bodies; it regulates culture, race, e thnicity, and political mobilization In order to more deeply understand the nation, before reconstructin g the formalist conceptions of it, it is important to look at the creation of the nation from a variety of lenses, namely the racial, the sexual and the political in order to de construct the boundaries of its formation


6 In practical terms, the nation includes a population within a geographic or political boundary; but, scholars have expanded this meaning to consider culture and political econom y Benedict Anderson, most widely known for his book, Imagined Communities a historical approach that accounts for the major factors contributing to the emergence of nationalism. In it, he fellow nationalism. The vitality of nationalism relies on seemingly artificial boundaries bet ween people and lived experience s meaning to war, killing, and sacr ifice in the name of community (49). argument, is that although the nation is a sociopolitical construct, it is not false or invalid. Anderson proposes that the in itial fostering of national consciousness in Europe relied on the creation of the printed word a s a commodity (in the form of newspapers, books, etc). Anderson analyzes the developments of these new advancements to outline the ways that modern nationalism depends on capitalism for its vitality. He asserts that nationalism is a direct material consequence of capitalism, rather than nationalism as being a creation of modernist political necessity. To expand on the conceptualization of nationalism in racial terms, Frantz Fanon a physiatrist, political radical, and humanist, focuses on the cultural consequences of decolonization, from his perspective as a M artinique born Afro Frenchman. Written while he was in France, Black Skin, White Masks takes an orientalist approach to t he nation He defines


7 the nation and its We s tern European, specifically French, self formation. His work illuminates the colonial racialization of the black male and the self division within the blac k psyche that results from this psychological violence. This determination makes his work integral in understanding how nationalism not only governs the creation of communities, as Anderson clarifies, but has the dominion over identity. He speak s to the relationship between colonized people and their European colonizer by exploring the ubiquitous yet being the living foil to s self construction remaining separate d from the respect and human dignity guaranteed to the European subject in civil society. His discussion of this stress is vital to words, Fanon sees the European nation conception of humanity as becoming coherent through the exclusion of the black man, in order to construct what is civilized in the mother country; which eventually disallows the black man any self identification, despite his understanding of this binary. His work creates an important framework to understand the binary distinctions of human/non human, savage/civilized, that undergrid much of post Enlightenment modernity For the purpose of this paper, nationalism will be engaged tions: the nation here will be an imagined, created space and identity that does not rely on geographic boundaries ; and through Fanon s understandings : the nation, in this sense, is an assemblage of binaries, primar il y between the subject and other Concurrently, when considering these theories of nationalism, i t is important to understand how a specific, exclusive form nationalism sustains the coherence of American civil society. T. Denean Sharpley Whiting, a feminist scholar, in Frantz Fanon: Con flicts & Feminism s


8 and Jasbir Puar, a queer theorist, in Terrorist Assemblage: Homonationalism in Queer Times explore the nuanced ways that nationalism injects itself into to the construction of identities, affects relationships between the individual and the state and self identity in relation to civil society theoretical contributions while continuing to shape our understanding of how nationalism operates in the West Puar and Sharpley Whiting problematize nationalism, and begin to demonstrate not only how it complicates identities, but why its very existence demands the exclusion of problematic identities In Conflicts & Feminisms, Sharpley Whiting points to Algeria n veiled women as an important focal point for re considering nationalism. Like Fanon, Sharpley Whiting sees nationalism as an instrument for political mobilization and a way to invoke a sense of strategic a nd pushing back against colonial force s. Specifically, she complicates nationalism in her discussion of the reclamation of the veil during the French Algerian War. Because the colonizer denounced the use of veil, calling it harmful to women, g the conflict, t he veil began to serve as a Algerian led symbolic push to take back culture from the French colonizer and dismantle the Euro centric ideas surrounding gender freedoms and norms. Women began using the veil to fight the war, both practically through hi ding weapons and politically by refusing the Sharpley Whiting is essential here because while Fanon analyzes the symbiotic colonial relationships through psychoanalyses in Black Skin, White Masks, Sharpley Whiting shows ho w nationalism can be both a strength and a weakness to a nation Nationalism bolsters a perceived strength through its invocation of strategic essentialism,


9 especially in terms of political mobilization towards de colonization. A significant pitfall of nationalism lie s in its ability to invoke dangerous identity and Her piece, especially its discussions of political mobilization, will be discussed later with an evaluation of w hether this strength reinforces or erodes egalitarianism within the nation ( Sharpley Whitin 53 65). In an important parallel, Jasbir Puar, in Terrorist Assemblage: Homonationalism in Queer Times speaks extensively on the reclamation of the turban by Middle Eastern men in order to contest American constructions of terrorist bodies following the 9/11 attacks. S he discusses the dual construction of identity between the person of identification and t he i dentifier, where the identifier (the subject) both constructs the identity of the other and consumes that very classification. In other terms, the identifier (we can read this here as consumes All of the above c onstructions share an important feature : each identity that the other is given emerges within a matrix of white, bour geois, heteronormative society. from excluding institutions and pr actice, can nationalism remain a real and imaginative part of life? infiltration on the lives of individuals, to illuminate its terrorizing exclusionary practices, and to provide an ethnographic look into the realities of a que er woman of color, whose life is directly affected by the state I will use these scholarly Zami: A New Spelling of My Name By focusing on how queer women of color negotiate their ide ntities and interact with the state and civil society, I argue that the modernist, Western construction of nationalism


10 only applies to white, heteronormative bourgeois, bodies ; and, leaves no space of life for those that do not fit this typology of existe nce, while simultaneously using these bodies to generate capital (from slavery to mass incarceration). This contradiction ultimately traps human beings into unrealistic, exclusively Western European connot ations of identity, safety, liberation and manners of living. Surveillance and political mobilization Through an analysis of the state surveillance tactics, I will demonstrate the constant policing of hyper sexualized and hyper racialized individuals which the nation uses to create a space that only includes white, heteronormative bourgeois, male bodies. In earlier sections, I outlined a few seminal configurations of nationalism, some of which take sexuality and into consideration and others that do not Further analyses of sexuality and race can nuance the less critical interpretations of nationalism, encouraging a more acute discussion of the exclusions necess ary to retain the coherence by the nation state. Both Puar and Michel Foucault a French philosopher known widely in queer studies for The History of Sexuality, present the policing of sexuality and race, through surveillance methods, a s a process to facilitate the coherence of the Western nation. Through surveillance the state works to construct and define sexualities according to the prerogatives of the white, bourgeois, heteronormativ e, civil society, and capital. Traditional discussions of surveillance focus on internet use, the N ational S ecurity A ssociation surveillance in prisons, banks, and other highly secured areas, many of which claim to work to combat terrorism and terrorist


11 bodies. But, from the extensive writings of Foucault and Puar on surveillance, it is clear that surveillance spans more than just physical policing. It works to maintain a specific creation of what it means to be human. Surveillance helps to direct bodies on how to act, feel, and survive. As we surveil each other, surveillance enforces a baseline of normatively, respectability, and legitimac y by negating bodies that do fit the mold of white, heteronormative upper class, and male, as Foucault will demonstra te in his discussion of letting bodies live and a critical discussion of private and public spaces through the Lawrence versus Texas court case. problem that infiltrates into the landscapes of life (Foucault 22). Many of his most powerful multiplicity can and must be dissolved into individual bodies that can be kept under surveillance, its mediums of use and the implications of its force onto the life and death of b odies (more on this later), I would like to intersect his work on surveillance by analyzing the public and private placing him in conversation with Puar expand ing his ideas using A fro pessimistic interventions in to race and sexuality via Saidi ya Hartman, and Frank B. differences in experiences with public and private space, both racially and sexually. In traditio nal liberal feminism, extreme focus is placed on the binary between the public and


12 private. Liberal, literary critic feminists have gone into detail about the private being a sphere for the realities of their oppressions as well as a space for social chang e. While historically, the private sphere of the home has been attributed to those who identify as women, it has not been a space fo r solidarity with women of color. Sharpley Whiting d emonstrates this inconsistency by quoting Linda La Rue, one of the signa tories of the who states The struggles women face are particular, and depend of the race, sexuality, and class of each individual. Many women of color face oppression every day, buttressed by a nation that perpetuates discrimination comprising a constant brea ch of the private, through the surveillance of their bodies. Bourgeois White women face a similar, but different experience of suppression, experiences that are bound solely to her private world, which are not constantly surveiled and watched by the nation state In other words, it is futile to assume that bourgeois e driven institutionalized oppression. To expand on this discussion of surveil lance in relationship to the public and private the hi storical Lawrence v. Texas case is fundamental. Puar discusses in he r critical analysis at the Lawrence v. Texas case (which challenged the U.S. law banning sodomy), surveillance itself is not defined by the distinction of public v ersus private, but rather by the racial and sexual implications that influence the two sphere s. She displays this effectively when she states that all people have equal access to the private. We know and have been exposed to multiple


13 instances where this is not the case. For people of color, the private is eliminated through the constant surveillance of immigrant status to the scrutiny of Black and Latino wome the state. The pu blic and private are not equally available for all bodies. This relationship, the racialized line between public and private, depending on the individual, i s the nucleus and foundation of surveillance. The Lawrence versus Texas case illustrates the importance of considering the differences in public and private spaces, when discussing surveillance and regulation by the state. Current s urveillance in the U.S. includes an overarching assumption of the lives of people, without taking into consideration their particular race, sexuality, or identity In order to surveil a body, one must presume a baseline understanding o f what is normal for that body. As I discussed previously, this assumption by the favors dichotomies between civilized/ uncivilized which requires terrorizing exclusions Why is surveillance important to the state in the first place? Dating back to Max Weber and the cre ation of bureaucratic reporting processes, most would say it serves as a way to the reality is more nuanced than that. If the state was an individualistic format ion that took into account the particularity of every human being who lived within its geographic or imagined boundaries, then pure surveillance for the reasons above would be plausible. This of course is not the case. It is vital to realize it surveils pe ople to regulate an ideology, concerning the right way to live and exist. Surveillance serves as the medium to transport a white patriarchal


14 construction that ultimately takes capital as its highest consideration at all costs, which becomes clearer throug h a deeper analysis of Lawrence v. Texas case "What Gay Studies Taught the Court": The Historians' Amicus court. If sodomy and homosex uality had existed as labels for centuries, it would be futile to create an argument that the state has a role in policing bodies only for capital and its well being. But, as Chauncey points out: concept of the the American lexicon only in 1892. As Michel Foucault has famously described this evo In the 1970s as homosexu pressured the police to fight back against its formations (Chauncey 14). As a result police began th to harass Furthermor fewer procedural protections, allowed further harassment of individuals engaged in same sex homosexuality was defined and more largely policed


15 during th e 20 th century. Modernization of the industry began, material commodities were at an all time high, and capitalism became an integra l part of everyday life as technological, scientific, and societal progress increased at an rapid rate. The global economy w as booming and the U.S. had more power than ever. Homosexuality controlled and policed in order to maintain order The private space of homosexuals was breached, policed, and us ed based off a modernist ideal of the term. As Chauncey and the Lawrence v Texas case illuminate the nuanced relationship between racial ly and sexually charged private and public spaces, Puar also expounds on the difference in public space among immigrants, people of color, women, queer folk, and anyone that does not fall into the white bourgeois, heteronormative context. She discusses, what she spaces from air tr release, money or information to the home country is seen as a threat to the nation. Wh ile many parts of the U.S. have areas dominated by immigrant communities, nationalism insists that these communities must consume with the confines of the U.S., only sustain heteronormative spaces, and remain within the confines of the classification and c ategorization (such as the registration of all men 14 and older from 24 predominately Muslim countries) that the U nites States deems appropriate (Puar 149).


16 Further, Puar discusses the three dimensional aspect s of surveillance that contribute to the public and private. She says spaces intimate: unlike the apartheid, invented for domination her this discussion of the important of the permanence, infiltration, and internalization of the three dimensional aspects of surveillance and the ways that three dimensionality contribute to the breech of private space in communities of color. In Saidiya Hartman and Frank B. work they discuss sexuality as a mode of existence that does not apply to the othered community, but is rather reserved for white civil society. White civil definitions of sexuality along onto black male bodies in all aspects of their lives and race, and its disproportionate relationship wit h the public and private They show the realities of a constant white, heteronormative white dominant framework that shapes the reali ty of the United States. Hartman explains a desire to obtain sexuality that is pleasing to a white society and the rea lity that this sexuality does not apply to the bility for


17 for if a n space that is not seen as truly human or livable by the dominant white civil society. In this space the community cannot obtai n autonomy or identity, in terms of the nation, for their entire existence relies on pre conceived dominant frame. conversation with the public and private, t meaning that the neutral state of beings. But rather, the state gives life or death to its subjects, who begin as neutral beings without life or death. He coins this new understandi ng as the right t His reading of biopolitics comes into direct contact with Hartman a live, the politics of exclusion involved will constantly other those bodies that do not contribute


18 what is understood as necessary, good, or important for capital. Where can society use queer women who decide not to procreate, to increase the workforce? The nation fears a state that does not keep capitalism as its most important endeavor. A nation ruled by white, bourgeouis that does not see obtaining money as the vital focal point for living. Puar furthers this discus s ion and speaks of a perception of inclusion that people of color feel. She says the right into the white, heternormative, civil society is a ly perm boundary perception of an all encompassing, impenetrable, and infallible Just as Hartman and Wilderson discuss that sexuality is selectively applica ble to one type of body, the white, cis individual, Puar illustrates that civil society itself is a perception of inclusion, one that ultimately breeds fear and terror, denying any bodies entrance that do not fit the mold. Finally, to conclude my discuss ion of surveillance, through multiple assemblages of racialized and sexualized spaces, Black Skin, White Masks basic personality is a constant or a v absence of the phobic and full of paradise, intelligence, and acceptance. The black woman wa nts inclusion into white civil society, without realizing that ultimately her body must be nationalism continues to exist (52) In Sharpley C onflicts and Feminisms she


19 (40). Similarly, Capecia demonstrat es what Hartman and Wilderson discuss in their piece namely, no matter how hard this specific black body seeks to become white, strip off blackness, and delve into white sexuality, she herself does not fit the mold of nationalistic sexuality in the first place. Capecia demonstrates what Puar says in her work, that the boundary into white society is selectively permeable, breeding a faade of acceptance but a reality of exclusion. The mold is created for a white, bourgeois, heterosexual identity, and it is futile to try and become an image of an imagined identity, that does not apply to black or brown bodies. If all human beings were represented equally in terms of power, then ra ce and sex would be observed and controlled in equal ways. But, since I have established here that surveillance marks and delineates normativity, it cannot be denied that surveillance infiltrates lives not as an objective force, but as a biased, white hete ro normative creation of control. Remaining included in the nation means a separation of public and private, the ability to live not in the space of death but the space of life, and living without attempting to become anything imagined or different. Survei llance buttresses nationalism, creating a strong foundation for the state, through a white normative lens. In conjunction with the theoretical, this assemblage of white surveillance that rules over most bodies despite the public or private affects each in dividual in the practical through race mobilization through strategic essentialism, or mimesis, presents a dichotomy between safety


20 and liberation. It propose s that minority groups can use a form of nationalism, usually imagined without geographic but with cultural, racial, or gendered borders, to bring forth a group identity that can achieve a certain aim in their society. Most recently this can be seen throug h bridge the above discussion of surveillance as a mode of presenting nationalism to the next discussion of nationalistic loss. While objectively, the nation is const ructed through cis whiteness, we cannot disregard the fact that bodies of different races and sexualities exist currently in the same geographic borders of the United States. Essentialism protects those bodies for the time being, but at what cost? If natio nalism is constantly imagined, filtered through race and sexuality, how can the individual ever take part in the creation of arbitrary ties among people? In other words, political mobilization at many times does not queer spaces or make white spaces more e galitarian but instead it whitens sexuality and race, to a space that negates the important of particularity and individuality. As Foucault would argue these bodies are not that will u ltimately remain unchanged, despite any progress to become part of the white, h eternormative, bourgeois society. It forgets that the end goal is not liberation, but to become acceptable to the w hite nationalist project of U.S. civil society. Human liberat ion and autonomy is not possible. If nationalism is exclusionary, then how does it help the state function cehesively ? If not to protect its inhabitants and create solidarity, then what does the state lay its foundation on? In this next section, I will o bserve why certain bodies are deemed threats to the natio n, what


21 type of exclusions are necessary, and what beings can lose by ascribing to a national identity ? I pose these questions in an effort to determine why, ultimately, the state exists. Then, I wil l through her semi autobiographical account as a queer woman of color. Threatening the nation, imagined identities If all bodies that do not fit the mold of whiteness are excluded from the state, then why must nationalism exist to uphold the state to promote freedom, equality, and justice. Yet, the state continues to exclude and create illegitimate bodies through surveillance, feigning acceptance when political mobilization arises. As I alluded to earlier, some bodies are deemed illegitimate by ci vil society an d thus to capital. Here I will delve more thoroughly into the reasons for which certain constructions of identity are not pleasing to the state expanding on my ideas of capit alism and legitimacy While there are countless nationalism, I will use immigration, space, and the right to live to understand what the state deems important, in creating and s ustaining legitimate, successful bodies. Then, I will continue by providing evidence that the state has no true purpose in existing, besides accruing capital and enterprise.


22 One dimension of personhood in the U.S. persists in the form of the naturalizatio n test the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services paces its focus Then, I will put this piece on militarized bodies. This connection between citizenship and her work will provide a deeper understanding of American ness, whiteness, and identity. U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions in an If you decide to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you will be showing your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution. In return, you are rewarded with al To divulge into exactly the United State is saying that citizenship means. First, citizenship and belonging are im portant; arguably, according to the bureau, one of the most important life. Next, citizenship is about faithfulness and obligation to the Constitution. Finally, with loyalty and commitment, there comes a reward: the rights and privil eges that are part of being a U.S. citizen. From this statement alone, it would seem that no one citizen is a threat to the nation, unless he or she does not ascribe loyally to the Constitution, in which case there will not be any rewards or privileges. When non native born Americans become citizens, they are detached from their home country and promise to promote the C onstitution, participate in the democratic process,


23 defend the country, and respect all laws, among other rights and responsibilities. At this understanding, there is only equality under American nationalism, a nationalism that seeks to uphold individual freedoms, rights, and responsibilities. But, the U.S. takes strong measures to re terrorize, re militarize, and exclude certain ra cialized and sexualized bodies that a re through concrete mechanisms of power such as incarceration, as Puar illustrates. Just as Wilderson, Hartman a nd Foucault focus on the spaces of death where bodies are forced to live, Puar sees this regaining of control over In other words, even though immigrant, racialized, sexualized, and other to live and become citizens of the U.S., they are controlled and surveilled at an unequal rate to other races. In terms of incarceration, for example, according to the U.S. 2010 Census, black Americans comprise 13.6% of the U.S. population but 39.4% of all incarcerated individuals. Just as the idea of homosexuality in the U.S. has a clear starting point, as Chauncey pointed out, minorities and women being subjected to harsh surveillance levels while in prison began a steep increase in the 1970s. To fur ther this understanding : according to the bureau, becoming American is the most important about faithfulness and obligation to the Constitution, a constitution that has its basis in one race and sexuality. Where does a person who is not white, or heterosexual, or a founding father themselves become loyal to a set of rules that are arbitrary to their uniqueness and particularities? With loyalty and commitment, there co mes a reward of U.S. citizenship: the


24 rights and privileges that are part of being a U.S. citizen. This last part biopolitically ties it all together. How can a pers on have rights and privileges to an identity that was created without every considering the ir racial and sexual particularities? Thus, the naturalization process can never give a person, who is not white, cisgendered, and of the upper class the ability to become American. If sexual and racial minorities and women have been subjected to re terror ization by In this next section, s biomythmogrophy, Zami : A New Spelling of My Name will demonstrate the undeniable stake that bodies take in th e nation, but the futility of this identity construction because of the state s irrefutable exclusionary practices. Two highlighted themes in her book aggravate, re evaluate, and engage nationalism. Here, I will look at her discussions of home and her unique relationship with lesbianism, and their relation to her life, her mother, and her identity, as mediums to comprehend nationalism, or the lack of it, for a queer woman of color. 19). Specifically,


25 a means of remains as she speaks o f Grenada and mumbles in patoi s. She resides in the U.S. but constantly connects with an identity that she has not encountered emigration resides firmly in her memory. Her inventive imaginary continues throughout her life. She embraces partners, experiences, and possibilities (209). Her creation of reality, sel f, and identity is entirely her own. She does not ascribe to solidarity with one nation, one idea, or one way of being; she embraces her particularities and organizing them into a whole creation of herself. She entices the reader with her own creation and journey, and she hand picks each fiber of her being. She mind (248 ). Her work itself could be just an autobiography but she chooses to write a biomythography to combine autobiography, cultural history, and myth into one space that Her ideology of self critiques any idea of nationalism especially that of the United States. She sees her identity as an every changing, mythological, creation of being that grows


26 and moves to reevaluation constantly. Nationalism does not work for her. No matter the naturalization, or the citizenship, she fe els both torn between and comprised of her identities. Nationalism insists on a required allegiance to an identity that only acknowledges mono cultural, heteronormative, cis people, only excludes and denies those who do not fall under that category (and ev en shows Further, her experiences as a black woma n and her encounters with the state, let her ederal Bureau of Investigation invasion of her privat e space, she feels confused with their presence; but, she recognizes the seemingly arbitrary relationship between the treatment she encounters and the actual as s (121). Despite her manner of living, social evil were not theoretical, not long distance or solely bureaucra surveillance in her private life at all times, she l earns that pain is a normal part of her life as she other other existence. It is the power


27 penetrates her life, without concern of her identity, specificity, or individuality. The nation a of what it means to be a reliable, good citizen. In addition, her experience as a lesbian, and her perspective of the world, illustrates the body. Specifi cally, her first encounter in calling herself a lesbian and her internal monologue demonstrates her tepid relationship with identifying as anything, for fear of the consequences. t they usually did When her first lov f loving were hip gives her, but realizes it is d never regard their relationship as ins titutional legitimization of the state (and even with it), the two fall in love, but refuse to acknowledge the relationship as anything more than friendship. Audre


28 Without the ability to reproduce and create bodies to contribute to capital, without an institution that legitimizes And more so, if a woman is not bound by desiring a man, a man loses his power. For, even as Audre recognizing t infiltrates her life and demonstrates the danger she has faced by labels and markers on her life, her eventual acceptance of her l he would face as a black women without choice exclusionary, and essential; as first heartbreaks with no school nor office chum s to share that con fidence ov (176). In her experiences, s he not fit her. She lesbians. Her body was militarized through surveillance by the FBI, misused by companies that fired her at any moment, misunderstood by her first lesbian lover Ginger, and imagined, one that the state does not deem fit. She will never fit into white, bourgeois, civil society, because nationalism deems that her body is not meaningful, or necessary for its capital.


29 Moving Forward nationalism, the imaginative nature of nationalism, and the realities of sexualized and racialized surveillance, how can the nation move forward, in beginning to recognize the par ticularities of each individual? Simply put: it cannot. Since I provided e vidence here that the nations relies on exclusion, it will not be possible to envision a future that includes nationalism and includes the individuals it geographically contains. Jus includes bourgeois, white, homosexual men, as a means to increase the United Stat es to ultimately increase capital, any form of inclusion in relation to capital will harm the individuals in it. If capital remains the desired outcome for the nation, nationalism will only exclude all that do not explicitly produce, contribute, or take part in capitalism. When production, surveillance, and material value are the most important foundations for living, Individuals will always lose. Until the nation and its ideas of nationalism cease to exist, and instead recognize the mythological, temporal, and biologi cal factors that comprise an individual, as biomythography does human beings will not be free to truly live. Nationalism cannot exist, norms of living cannot rule the private or public, and individuals must only have solidarity with the i ndividuals they personally choose. Until then, exclus ion will remain an integral feature of nationalism. It is true I was no coffee shop. I was not analyzing m uch about the situation, until the


30 cop insisted that I pay attention to him, despite any charge. Within this experience, feeling my hands shake, sweating even after my response, coming into direct contact with the state I found it necessary to unearth if my experience was isolated, or if nationalism was a necessary step in the isolation I felt. If I felt terrorized in that moment, I knew that other bodies, queer bodies, people of color; other humans were being and are being terrorized at every moment based off an imaginative understanding of how the U.S. people should live. Why was it vital for him the police officer to remind me, with no other purpose or ticket, that he is a cop, a conduit of the state? Because without constant reminders, policing, surveil lance, and mementos of the nationalism that is integral to the U.S., people may begin to live for the sake of living, ignoring The police officer used that moment as a pedagogic tool for m e, a reminder that his nation and mine have cer tain customs and ways of living, and I better not consider anything otherwise. The existence of c is gendered white, male, bourgeois ideology is the U.S. nation. There resides no difference between the two term s. In this hyper sexualized hyper racialized nation there is no current United States nation without the idea of white heteronormativity and its powerful exclusionary authority. The exclusions are damaging to anyone who does accrue capital, existing as a white, bourgeois, heteronormative male. I cannot support the nation, I cannot fight to become a part of the nation through poli ti cal mobilization, unless I am to accept that others will feel the same or similar terror I experienced, as long as the na tion persists.


31 Works Cited t GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 10.3 (2004): 509 538. Internet Fanon Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks London: Pluto, 1986. Print. Lorde, Audre. Zami, a New Spelling of My Name Trumansburg, NY: Crossing, 1982. Print. Puar, Jasbir K. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer times Durham: Duke UP, 2007. Print Said, Edward W. Orientalism New York: Vintage, 1979. Print. Qui Parle 13. 2 (2003): 183 201. Internet. Sharpley Whiting. Frantz Fanon: Conflicts and F eminisms. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998. Print