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‘If a Muslim says homo, nothing gets done’: Racist discourse and homonormativity in an LGBT youth group Lucy Jones IGALA8, June 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "‘If a Muslim says homo, nothing gets done’: Racist discourse and homonormativity in an LGBT youth group Lucy Jones IGALA8, June 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘If a Muslim says homo, nothing gets done’: Racist discourse and homonormativity in an LGBT youth group Lucy Jones IGALA8, June 2014

2 Identity construction ‘In-group’ and ‘out-group’ identity construction – Oppositional identity construction Sociocultural linguistics (Bucholtz and Hall 2005) – Construction of out-group facilitated by broader cultural discourses and ideologies – Stance (Jaffe 2009) Speakers position themselves in response to concepts, ideals, social groups, personas, etc

3 Ethnographic context Population 100,000 – On the outskirts of a large, Northern English city Working-class town with moderate social deprivation 94% white; majority of minority ethnic population of Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi descent

4 Ethnographic context LGBT youth group – Meet once a week for three hours Safe space Paige15, white cis lesbian girl Ryan16, white cis gay boy Emma16, white cis lesbian girl Kyle18, white trans straight man Josh22, white cis gay man

5 Ethnographic context Concern to be ‘normal’ – “I’m normal…the same as everybody else” (Paige) – “Being gay does not define me” (Ryan) Homonormativity (Duggan 2002) – Conflicts with previous language and sexuality research (e.g. Barrett 1998, Jones 2012, Queen 2005, Morrish & Sauntson 2007)

6 Constructing a ‘normal’ identity Othering people of South Asian descent – Themselves as comparatively more authentic

7 Asians = other/homophobic Yeah like I went in the changing room and there’d be a few Asian girls and a few other British girls who would give me some real dirty looks. (Emma)

8 Asians = other/homophobic Yeah like I went in the changing room and there’d be a few Asian girls and a few other British girls who would give me some real dirty looks. (Emma)

9 Asians = other/homophobic I’ve not come across one Asian – well, I have tell a lie - but I did not come across one Asian in my school that did not give me abuse for being gay. Half-Asians, correct, they were nice to me, ‘cause they don’t strictly follow their religion. (Ryan)

10 Asians = other/homophobic I’ve not come across one Asian – well, I have tell a lie - but I did not come across one Asian in my school that did not give me abuse for being gay. Half-Asians, correct, they were nice to me, ‘cause they don’t strictly follow their religion. (Ryan)

11 Asians = other/homophobic The thing that I think with religion and different people coming over from different countries and making it the way that it is, is if they want to follow their religion that’s fine but they need to adhere by our culture and if gays are allowed in this country then they shouldn’t say anything about it. (Josh)

12 Asians = other/homophobic The thing that I think with religion and different people coming over from different countries and making it the way that it is, is if they want to follow their religion that’s fine but they need to adhere by our culture and if gays are allowed in this country then they shouldn’t say anything about it. (Josh)

13 Asians as ‘other’ Muslims as fundamentally different and ‘other’ due to ‘war against terror’ (Puar 2007) British National Party (BNP) – Asian people are a threat to Western culture

14 Asians as homophobic English Defence League (EDL) links with anti- homophobia protests (Haritaworn 2012)

15 Binary opposition: racism/homophobia If I walked up to an Asian person and said ‘you Paki’, right, I would probably get arrested. Then if me and Josh had fell out I said ‘you fucking faggot’ I’d get told off and that were it. It’s apparently on the same borderline but it’s not tret that way. (Ryan)

16 Binary opposition: racism/homophobia If I walked up to an Asian person and said ‘you Paki’, right, I would probably get arrested. Then if me and Josh had fell out I said ‘you fucking faggot’ I’d get told off and that were it. It’s apparently on the same borderline but it’s not tret that way. (Ryan)

17 Binary opposition: racism/homophobia If you actually went up to a Muslim person and actually said Paki you’d get into trouble straight away but if it were a Muslim to a gay person and says homo nothing gets done. (Kyle)

18 Binary opposition: racism/homophobia If you actually went up to a Muslim person and actually said Paki you’d get into trouble straight away but if it were a Muslim to a gay person and says homo nothing gets done. (Kyle)

19 Oppositional identity construction Out-group In-group Asian/Muslim British/LGBT Only when identities are in opposition to something else do they tend to have meaning (Baker 2008: 121) Othering: negative identity practice (Bucholtz 1999) – Out-group = the homophobic Muslim

20 Homonationalism “the emergence of national homosexuality” and global dominance of whiteness (Puar 2007) – One may be Muslim or gay, but never both (El- Tayeb 2012) – ‘State-sanctioned’ queer persona (Johnson and Henderson 2005) – ‘Ideal queer citizen’ (Agathangelou et al 2008)

21 Summary Oppositional identity construction – Contrasted with ideological category of ‘homophobic Muslim’ LGBT youth comparatively more ‘normal’ – Legitimate citizens Sociocultural linguistics – Social positioning of the self and other

22 References Agathangelou, A. M., Bassichis, M. D. and Spira, T. L. (2008) ‘Intimate investments: Homonormativity, global lockdown, and the seductions of empire’ Radical History Review 100, Baker, P. (2008) Sexed Texts: Language, gender and sexuality. London: Equinox Bucholtz, M. (1999) ‘Why be normal?’: Language and identity practices in a community of nerd girls. Language in Society, 28(02), 203–23 Bucholtz, M. and Hall, K. (2005) Identity and interaction: a sociocultural linguistic approach. Discourse Studies, 7 (4–5), 585–614. Duggan, L. (2002) ‘The new homonormativity: The sexual politics of neoliberalism’ In Castronuevo, R. and Nelson, D. (Eds.) Materializing Democracy Durham: Duke University Press, El-Tayeb, F. (2012) ‘Gays who cannot properly be gay’: Queer Muslims in the neoliberal European city. European Journal of Women’s Studies 19(1), Haritiworn, J. (2012) Women’s rights, gay rights and anti-Muslim racism in Europe: Introduction European Journal of Women’s Studies 19(1): 73–78 Jaffe, A. (2009) Stance: Sociolinguistic perspectives Oxford: Oxford University Press Johnson, E. P. and Henderson, M. G. (Eds.) (2005) Black Queer Studies London: Duke University Press Jones, L. (2012) Dyke/Girl: Language and Identities in a Lesbian Group Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Puar, J, (2007) Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in queer times Durham and London: Duke

23 ‘If a Muslim says homo, nothing gets done’: Racist discourse and homonationalism in an LGBT youth group IGALA8, June


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