Race, Rubbish, and Resistance: Empowering Difference in Community Politics

Essay Excerpt

In this article, I examine how African-American women in Lefrak City, a black apartment complex in Queens County, New York, contested racialized images of their housing complex and its residents held by white activists in the surrounding area. Through the organization of activities for black youth, these women disrupted the image of Lefrak City as a "welfare haven" infested with crime, poverty, and drugs. I argue that this image, invested in local ideology and power relations, denied Lefrak City residents a positive role in political discourse and thereby set limits on their access to political power and resources. By analyzing the activism of these women, I direct attention to how racialized groups contest and rearticulate racial ideologies and meanings and in the process construct new, potentially empowering political subjectivities and alignments (24).

Gregory, Steven. "Race, Rubbish, and Resistance: Empowering Difference in Community Politics." Cultural Anthropology 8.1(1993): 24–48.

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