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The power structures surrounding racialized and gendered desires

April 3, 2012

Kumiko Memoto asserts that “desire and passion for other people is shaped socially and culturally, and often reflects a person’s desire for self-realization and a social identity, and by extension a person’s cravings for certain social and cultural powers.”[1]  “Intimacy,” she writes, “is a cultural and social device of self-making. One’s views of oneself transform through the exchange and confirmation of one’s recognition. Intimacy allows us to fashion ourselves and determine our futures through identification with others, and these others’ powers and identity are constituted by race, class, and gender.”[2]

Kumiko Memoto’s book attempts to make “sense of power structures surrounding racialized and gendered desires, and about the current cultural milieu that regulates and disciplines the exchange of desires in interracial relationships.” [by interviewing interracial couples] The questions she poses are worth considering – for example:

“How do gender, race, and class form the shape of love relationships, and how do the discourses of nation, family, and multiculturalism also constitute the patterns of gender and race?”[3]

Elsewhere, she writes: “intimate relationships do not consist only of racialized images – they also have their own gender dynamics, which differ in accord with generation, education, social class, and even national immigration discourse.” (p.4)

“Asian American– white intimacy shares more commonalities than differences with same-race relationships. It is similar to same-race intimacy in that is shaped by ideologies of gender, marriage, and family more than by race. But it is also different, and not because of essential racial and ethnic differences but because of the continuing impact of historically produced discourses and images of race, compounded by discourses of nation, citizenship, and immigration.” (p.155)

 


[1]1 Kumiko Nemoto (2009) Racing Romance: Love, power, and desire among Asian American/White couples. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press

[2]1 Kumiko Nemoto (2009) Racing Romance: Love, power, and desire among Asian American/White couples. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press

[3]2 Kumiko Nemoto (2009) Racing Romance: Love, power, and desire among Asian American/White couples. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press

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