Black Cowboys and Black Masculinity African American Ranchers, Rodeo Cowboys and Trailriders



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In this ethnographic study I use queer theory to consider how black cowboys interact with each other to produce counter or micro-narratives about Black male pathologies and socialization in multiple masculinities. Queer theory provides a model to analyze the socialcultural significance of considering the intersection of race and gender as constructed binaries without focusing on sexuality. The lack of information about Black cowboys from other disciplines creates a peculiar position regarding notions, representations, and understandings about the racially signified cowboys in three ways. First, Black cowboys? relegation to the past leaves contemporary Black cowboys nearly invisible. Second, dominant narratives about notable Black cowboys are written from a particular historical perspective. This perspective suggests that Black cowboys are a ?thing of the past? and extinct figures in American society who were largely absent in the American west except as they proved to possess exceptional ?cowboying? abilities. Finally, Black cowboys? roles and positionality within American history and sport, via rodeo, performs a limited function towards inserting and increasing awareness of alternative representations of (Black) cowboys and their masculinities in the contemporary moment.