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Caught in the Act of Appropriation

Caught in the Act of Appropriation

(p.74) 2 Caught in the Act of Appropriation
American Allegory
Black Hawk Hancock
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the dynamics of the white cross-cultural engagement with the Lindy Hop, which is at times a conscious intention and at other times something that goes on without any awareness at all. It considers these engagements through three dominant modalities: minstrelsy, whitewashing, and commodification. These modes of engagement show how the negotiation of everyday cultural practices often leads to a complex and contradictory set of positions that serves as mechanisms of racial domination. In order to draw out the “in the moment” dynamics of dancing, the notions of expression and skill are foregrounded, as well as the tensions and contradictions that emerge in direct relation to the general unawareness of the racial origins and associations of the Lindy Hop.

Keywords:   Lindy Hop, dance, dancing, minstrelsy, whitewashing, commodification, cultural practices, racial domination

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