What role do prejudice and discrimination play in the lives of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people

I want 5 paragraphs well written, Argumentative, and using quotes from the file attached. You have to base the whole paragraphs on this question. What role do prejudice and discrimination play in the lives of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people?You have to be in favor of the question. So try to back it up with quotes and arguments.I have attached 3 files 2 files on the instructions and 1 the article which you have to use to get the quotes. NO PLAGIARISM NO PLAGIARISM NO PLAGIARISM the prof will check for PLAGIARISM
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Temple University Press
Chapter Title: The Dark Continent of Our Bodies: Constructing Science, Race, and
Womanhood in the Nineteenth Century
Book Title: Dark Continent Of Our Bodies
Book Subtitle: Black Feminism & Politics Of Respectability
Book Author(s): E. Frances White
Published by: Temple University Press. (2001)
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt14bt2jx.6
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2
The Dark Continent
of Our Bodies
Constructing Science, Race,
and Womanhood in the
Nineteenth Century
We know less about the sexual life of little girls than of boys. But we
need not feel ashamed of this distinction; after all, the sexual life of adult
women is the “dark continent” for psychology.
—Freud, The Question of Lay Analysis
In
the “scientific mind” no less than in the “popular
imagination” of the nineteenth century, Africa represented
an unknown and frightening place. It was a continent that
needed exploring and controlling. So, too, was the psychology and biology of women. Through the privileged discourse
of social evolution, these concerns came together. The
acknowledged great thinkers, increasingly scientifically
trained men, developed a discourse that simultaneously
helped place women and people of color at the bottom of
social hierarchies. Indeed, ideas about women and people of
color were interdependent.
In this chapter I explore the ways nineteenth-century scientists used intertwined concepts of race and gender to build
81
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82
Chapter Two
a hegemonic worldview. My arguments depend on the view
that race and gender are human inventions or social constructions that exaggerate minor differences among
humans. Further, these social constructions are neither separate nor parallel concepts; rather, the concepts are constructed in relationship to each other. In other words, we
cannot understand race without reference to gender, and we
cannot understand gender without reference to race (see
Spillers 1984).
On the surface, the relationship between race and gender
may seem natural or forever linked in the same way. But it is
possible to expose the construction of these human inventions,
however unconscious this construction might have been. Kathleen Brown (1996), for example, demonstrates how earlymodern Europeans used gender relations as an analogy to help
them understand race. Because elite men of this era thought
they understood gender relations, they created their knowledge
and understanding of unfamiliar peoples of non-European
backgrounds with reference to those social relations.
Today we debate whether it is appropriate to compare the
situation of blacks to that of women or gays. When secondwave feminism emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, feminists
used analogies between race and gender to clarify the “position of women.” Many African Americans complained that
such arguments demonstrated callous disregard for the impact
of white racism on black lives. More recently, the debate over
gays in the military included concerns about whether it was
appropriate to turn to race to understand the exclusion and
repression of gays and lesbians in the armed forces.
Our society is structured hierarchically by race; gender;
sexuality; and, of course, class. Clearly, some analogies
between these categories make sense. As Henry Louis Gates
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The Dark Continent of Our Bodies
83
(1999) shows, however, analogies can take us a long way in
understanding prejudice, but they are not without limitations. He reminds us, for example, that both blacks and gays
have been represented as sexually uncontrollable and predatory but that gay men and lesbians do not suffer transgenerational oppression as a category the way that blacks do. As
Gates and others have also pointed out, analogies often suppress knowledge about the intersections of structures of
dominance and lead to the invisibility of, for example, black
women (see Wiegman 1995).
In this chapter, I argue that many of the analogies
between race and gender make sense to us because of a
specific history in which concepts of race and gender came
to depend on each other. The rise of racial science in the
nineteenth century began to set up a way of seeing social
relations that assumed that race and gender had biological
roots. (Sexuality did not emerge as a major focus until the
end of the century.) Since both race and gender were biological realities and sex between genders was necessary to
create race, the two categories seemed naturally linked in
the nineteenth-century mind.
During the 1800s, scientists working in such emerging
branches of fields as comparative anatomy, physiology, histology, and paleontology took the lead in explaining the naturalness of social relations. Many considered themselves progressive thinkers who wanted to use natural laws to reform
society. In an effort to undermine what they considered to be
outdated superstitions and religious beliefs, these progressives attempted to abstract and classify the flood of information about the world that the sciences were producing.
Indeed, many progressives engaged in a crusade against
superstition or prescientific thinking. To help popularize
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84
Chapter Two
science, these scientists set out to prove that superstition was
a deviant practice followed only by primitive, childish, and
lower-class people. Their writings appealed to a literate middle class, especially those with an upwardly mobile drive and
a desire to be distinguished by acquiring high culture. Scientific knowledge increasingly became a part of this culture, and scientists stood out as models for those interested
in exhibiting their access to that culture. As professionals
concerned with diffusing and popularizing knowledge that
was meant to explain the natural world objectively, their
prestige as morally superior men grew. In turn, their prejudices gained hegemonic power and further influenced the
development of science itself.
Although science did not create racism, it legitimated
and helped solidify a new kind of racism for the industrial
age. At the same time and in a dialectical fashion, racism
contributed to the growth of science as a privileged worldview because scientists’ beliefs were largely congruent with
the dominant ideology (see Stepan 1993). The same can be
said of the relationship between science and sexism. Clearly,
asymmetrical gender relations and many of the ideologies
that supported these relations preceded the rise of science as
an authoritative voice on the subject of women. But science
legitimated these views, and its own importance increased
partly because it seemed to offer useful explanations about
women’s position in a changing and increasingly industrialized and colonized world.
Biology played a key role in the rise of science and the
solidifying of racism and sexism, as biological models
became paramount in explaining most social relations. As
Sander Gilman has argued, “After Darwin the description of
the biological world became what . . . the psychoanalytical
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The Dark Continent of Our Bodies
85
model would be for the twentieth century—the source of
universal explanation of causality through analogy”
(1985b:70). As people sought to understand the world, they
used biological models to move from the known (biology) to
the unknown (social relations). They saw not only an analogy but also a causal connection between the two.
Playing the role of the central explanatory model, biology
helped establish evolutionary theory as a seemingly valuefree and unassailable view of the world. At the same time,
evolutionary theory helped establish biology’s position as
the central explanatory model. As Martin Fichmann comments, “That it should have been evolutionary biology, literally the most human of sciences—and one with a great
bearing on general culture—that contributed to the triumph
of the concept of science as a value-neutral but inherently
progressive enterprise . . . is a paradox worth exploring”
(1984:471). Evolutionary biology was, in fact, far from a
value-neutral and disinterested discipline; it depended on
social prejudices to make itself understood. At the same
time, it helped to firmly entrench these prejudices in the
prevailing ideology of the day. Evolutionary theory both
made sense of and justified the enormous expansion of
Western power and the internal changes being wrought in
gender relations.
Unlike most contemporary scientists, whose ideas tend to
be expressed in a highly specialized vocabulary, the evolutionary theorists of the nineteenth century shared a common language with the literate people of their time. As
Gillian Beer (1983) points out, this shared discourse allowed
scientists to make use of familiar analogies, metaphors, and
narrative patterns in communicating their ideas to nonscientists. Metaphors are essential to the scientific enterprise,
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Chapter Two
as Sander Gilman (1985c) and Nancy Stepan (1993) have
shown; in the sciences of human difference, especially, these
metaphors can have normative repercussions. By bringing
to these shared metaphors of inequality new, “scientific”
methods and technologies, “the analogies became ‘naturalized’ in the language of sciences and their metaphorical
nature was disguised” (Stepan 1993:363). In other words,
these analogies and metaphors “revealed” the truths of
nature and were, in turn, seen as the truth itself.
By the early twentieth century, Sigmund Freud’s statement, that “the sexual life of adult women is the ‘dark continent’ for psychology” (1953:34–35), undoubtedly could be
made with the confidence that (1) his readers shared the
belief that too little was known about Africa and (2) his analogy—drawing as it does on images of the exotic, the frightening, and the primitive—would make sense to them. Ironically, the women he had in mind at the time were almost
certainly white women—black women seem strangely
absent from this reference to our homeland. Nonetheless, the
images of black women—from Africa and its diaspora—
played a formative role in the representation of European
and Euro-American women whose psychology Freud went
on to describe (see Brown 1996; Carby 1985; Stoler 1996).
This use of “the Other” to define the self took place during an era of heightened white supremacy at home and
imperialism abroad. A number of nineteenth-century developments that we tend to think of as unrelated combined to
produce a deluge of material on people of color. In the
United States, the ruling classes imposed segregation on
blacks in the South, on Chicanos in the Southwest, and on
Asians in the West. In addition, the state completed its project of forcing Native Americans onto segregated reserva-
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The Dark Continent of Our Bodies
87
tions. At the same time, the United States was expanding its
power into Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.1 And the
country was participating in a broader international phenomenon, as the West came to dominate 80 percent of the
world’s people by the end of the century (see Said 1978).
As Edward Said points out in Orientalism (1978), the
nineteenth century witnessed a flood of written material
and an explosion of discourses on race and people of color.
Said notes that these expanding discourses paralleled and
assisted imperialism. His analyses and much of the work
that has been influenced by his thinking help explain the
intensity with which nineteenth-century scholars worked to
construct a worldview that justified and interpreted the
enormous expansion of Western power and the internal
changes in political economy and gender relations. Of
course, these scholars did not all agree on how the world
should be understood. Some defended the working classes
against the bosses, others supported feminist movements,
and some even exhibited anti-imperialist sentiments. But a
surprising number fell prey to racist evolutionary beliefs.
And they often turned to these beliefs about race, by way of
analogy, to understand the rest of the world.
By the late eighteenth century, with the early stages of
exploration and imperialism having created the conditions
for it, a racist science of human differences had already been
well established. Over the course of the nineteenth century,
scientists also turned their attention to gender, expanding
their concerns beyond women’s reproductive difference
from men. To understand gender differences, they depended
on their system for understanding race. In a complicated use
of metaphors, racial difference could be used to explain gender difference and vice versa. Stepan explains:
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Chapter Two
Once “woman” had been shown to be indeed analogous to
lower races by the new science of anthropometry and had
become, in essence, a racialized category, the traits and
qualities special to woman could be in turn used in an analogical understanding of lower races. These analogies now
had the weight of empirical reality and scientific theory.
The similarities between a Negro and a white woman, or
between a criminal and a Negro, were realities of nature,
somehow “in” the individuals studied. (1993:614)
Again, we see this analogy at work in Freud’s remark about
the sexual life of adult women. His readers could understand what he had to say about white women because he
compared them to the so-called savages of Africa. Women
are the savages of Western civilization, and savages are
the women of the human race. Seemingly obvious inferiority was thus used to explain less-apparent inferiority.
These analogies also worked because they were allied with
a common system of beliefs. Stepan points out that ideas
and anxieties about disease, sexual behavior, and moral
development were all expressed in terms of race, gender,
and class—the central human differences of the nineteenth
century.
To understand how these interdependent ideas of race
and gender worked in practice, it is useful to take a closer
look at primary sources. Particularly useful are Darwin’s The
Descent of Man ([1871] n.d.) and Popular Science Monthly
(1872–1999), the latter being one of the journals that helped
spread Darwinism in the United States. I have chosen these
two sources because, as John C. Burnham (1982) suggests,
they played central roles in disseminating scientific ideas
about human differences throughout the educated classes.
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The Dark Continent of Our Bodies
89
The Uncivilized Darwin
I, probably along with most people who had not studied the
history of science, once believed that Charles Darwin was a
“pure” scientist who was unencumbered by social prejudice. I
thought it was social Darwinists, such as Herbert Spencer, who
were the true racists and sexists and who had distorted Darwin’s theories. This implication is found in works as diverse as
Johannes Fabian’s Time and the Other (1983) and Dale
Spender’s Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them
(1983). But upon reading Darwin’s work itself, I discovered
that it took very little to distort his thinking into social Darwinism or even into the more conservative elements of today’s
sociobiology. It is unclear to me why Darwin’s more racist and
sexist ideas have gone largely unnoticed. His antislavery positions are often highlighted, but antislavery attitudes do not
necessarily reflect antiracist thinking. Perhaps it is difficult to
acknowledge the roles of racism and sexism in the success of
a major scientific figure such as Darwin. We have limited tools
of analysis that force us to dismiss everything about someone
we find to be racist or sexist. As a consequence, we limit our
understanding by ignoring the complexities of our history.
The recognition of Darwin’s own prejudices need not
deflect attention from his impressive achievements. The radical implications of his work in developing evolutionary theory remain part of the intellectual heritage of philosophical
materialism that I claim as my own. Stephen Jay Gould
(1981) tells us that the ultimate nineteenth-century materialist, Karl Marx, recognized these radical implications.
Writing to Friedrich Engels, Marx alerted his colleague to the
fact that The Origin of the Species ([1859] n.d.) contained the
basis in natural history for their views.
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Chapter Two
Astute readers, such as Marx, had to infer for themselves
the larger implications of the argument in Origin of the Species.
As early as 1838, Darwin noted in his journal that he
believed the human mind was simply brain matter on which
divine intervention had no direct impact (see Gould 1981).
Yet in his first book, he chose to leave unarticulated his evolutionary theory’s implications for humans, stating simply
that, in the future, “light will be thrown on the origin of
man and his history” ([1859] n.d.:373). It was not until
1871 that Darwin explicitly presented his heretical views, in
The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex.
In this book, Darwin asked three interrelated questions:
“firstly, whether man, like every other species, is descended
from some pre-existing form; secondly, the manner of his
development; and thirdly, the value of the differences
between the so-called races of men” ([1871] n.d.:390). Darwin’s answers to these questions were particularly important
because he was speaking into hotly contested contemporary
debates on race and gender. With The Descent of Man, he was
entering into these controversies with the authority of a
well-established scientist who would dispassionately explain
some of the central mysteries of human life. Indeed, Darwin
ended up playing a key role in fixing the boundaries of race
and gender, even as he disrupted the definitions of a species.
He believed that the only way to decide whether humans
had descended from some preexisting form—that is, apes—
was to ask whether “man” “varies himself and whether his
variation is transmitted to his offspring by the laws that animals use” (395). Thus, much of The Descent of Man was
directed at proving that all races of “mankind” are of the
same species. Although Darwin took the radical stance that
science proves we are all one species, albeit a mutable one,
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