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Article Contents
·Not Freud Again!
·Questing for the Question
·What Gave You the Right?
·Quotidian Thesis
·Fill in the Blank
·Space and Place
·Works Cited

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Sharon Holland, "The Question of Normal" (page 2 of 6)

Questing for the Question

You might be asking what this scenario has to do with the question or questions at hand. You might be wondering what it has to do with the title of this piece. As scholars, we are often asked to consider the same set of questions when speaking to the intersection of Race, Ethnicity, and Queer Studies. One of the entry points into that discussion begins with the question "what is normal?" The question demands a response - it is both a challenge to convention, and a re-institution of it. For the respondent is asked to consider the issue as well as defend and/or attack its veracity depending upon his or her political predilections. The next question quite possibly follows the logic of the first, "How are cultural norms produced and maintained?" And it is precisely to this question that my primal scene refers. The statement, "to think I marched for you," and all of the violence that it enjoins, gets to the heart of what it means to be normal, what it means to sustain "normal" and ultimately what "normal" does to an ever-increasing idea of what I am calling "the perpetual outside." For the question on the lips of the woman in that SAFEWAY (and I will never think of a SAFEWAY store as a s a f e w a y) is ultimately one about belonging. Her challenge chases after an ideal of and for blackness - for a norm of blackness - that sits alongside, but perpetually outside the everyday blackness that she encounters, the normative whiteness that she perhaps inhabits.

S&F Online - Issue 2.1, Public Sentiments - Ann Cvetkovich and Ann Pellegrini, Guest Editors - ©2003.