by Christopher Doyle
Roderick Ferguson graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology before attending the University of California, San Diego to earn his Masters of Art and PhD in sociology, and is currently the Chair of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at Yale University. His 2004 publication, Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique, challenges the assumption that questions of racial structures are exclusive to matters of history, economics, and skin color. He not only adds the importance of sexuality to the conversation, but he rejects they are not intertwined. Ferguson coined Queer of Color Critique/Queer of Color Analysis in his book, which defines a space of convergence for those that identify in certain racial, gender, class, and sexual categories, and how these different identities are capable of forming “unlikely and unprecedented coalitions” (Ferguson, 29). Breaking down safeguards between different classifications of personhood rejects the notion of both Marxist equality and neoliberal respect of differences; rather it is the recognition that a contradictory opaque created by the intersections of people is what makes up the nation-state.
Ferguson consolidates the works of Audre Lorde, Jimmy Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Richard Write, and Toni Morrison in formulating his definition and understanding of Queer of Color Critique/Analysis. For example, he uses Audre Lorde’s observation of the working class, people of color, women, and immigrants as the “surplus” in a space of indignity that is left behind in a society that sees material wealth as an ultimate goal (Ferguson, 110). The grander perspective of this area is the site that Ferguson accords his analysis to in order to break down barriers and ally with different people.
Ferguson, Roderick A. Aberrations in Black: toward a Queer of Color Critique. University of Minnesota Press, 2004.
“Roderick Ferguson.” Roderick Ferguson | Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, wgss.yale.edu/people/roderick-ferguson. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.
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Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. Brantford, Ontario: W. Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library, 2018.
Wright, Richard. “I Tried to Be a Communist.” Atlantic Monthly, 1944.