Racialized Disgust




As Herring discusses in  “A Brief History of Hoarding”, disorganization, social decay and dirt are some negative connotations have been formed around black communities in the slums of cities. Harlem provides an example of these connotations and the way that a story is created around two brothers due to the area that they live in. Hoarding moved from a term associated with a buildup of wealth to a build up of trash and the Collyer brothers were a large reason for this change. The fact that they were found dead in their house filled with goods in the black community of Harlem, created the view that they were disorganized and dirty. As Herring says, as the migration of black people into Harlem, it “began to carry a negative connotations applied to urban abnormalities,” and the hoarding behavior of the Collyer brothers matched this new understanding of Harlem. This example of hoarding shows the impact that race has in the perspectives formed about someone. Even though the brothers were white, since they lived in a black community, they were immediately seen as disorganized and messy which is linked to the view of modern urban culture. How is this idea of disorganization, disgust and coming from the site of black communities affect the way that black athletes are seen? The quote, “the hoarder, disorder and mess, these facets of modern urban culture are inextricably linked”  shows the way that this idea of social disorganization associated with black culture is shown in athletics as well even though athletics has been an area where black athletes often succeed. Shown in the video dated back from 1992 where basketball players were assumed to be from prison or straight out of a crime-filled neighborhood that serve as a “breeding place for vice, criminalization and demoralization.” Today, we still see these assumptions and discrimination against black athletes shown through Serena Williams. When she tried to ask for a celebrity discount on a pair of shoes from a New York boutique, the manager responded that she didn’t want African American women wearing her shoes and referred to Williams as “disgusting” and eventually only offered her a fraction of the discount that white celebrities received. Ngai talks about the idea of disgust in her article and the way that we focus on attraction more than disgust. She terms the word disgusting as “perceived as gangrenous and contaminating” that disgust says no while desire says yes. This formation as black people as “disgusting” and socially disorganized from the assumption of them coming from areas like Harlem, are the reason that the term hoarding changes its meaning, the skillful basketball players are only seen as criminals and Serena Williams is denied a white-privileged resource.

I got this video of the 1992 Texas basketball team from an article written on  The State Press written in 2017. After uploading it to Imovie, I cut out the areas that I thought were important for my video. This part of the video shows the discrimination against black athletes in the 90s and their association with crime due to the site of black communities. I added text over the video to connect it with two different quotes from the Hoarding paper. The second half of the video shows how this discrimination still exists in black athletes, focusing on the way that Serena Williams is said to be “disgusting”, connecting this idea to the After Disgust paper. I added words over the picture of Serena to tell them story of her walking into the shoe store.