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Politics: Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens by Cathy J. Cohen Essay

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Updated: May 12th, 2020

Introduction

In Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens, the reader is introduced to the politics of racism in the United States. In general, the author, Cathy J. Cohen, considers the non-normative and marginalized position of the punks, bulldaggers, and welfare queens. Among other things, she looks at the concept of queer politics and how it relates to the problem of racism. To a large extent, the author is strongly opposed to the unfair treatment of others and wishes that things were different. Arguably, a new regime that is against oppression has to be established to protect the interests of the marginalized groups and to encourage diversity.

Thoughts about the Author’s Argument, Method and Evidence

According to the author, queer politics is not radical enough to address the challenge of dominance and oppression. Rather, it brings about an environment that promotes the rise of dominant institutions, which in turn hinder the creation of an all-inclusive atmosphere. Cohen examines how queer politics has failed and argues that it is important to create intersections to build an inclusive political system.

The author thinks that a queer political system can only work if it seeks to alter the dominant political system which cuts across race, sexuality, and gender, among others. As a consequence, any queer political idea that does not consider issues of race, gender, sexuality, and class must be denounced. Based on Cohen’s argument, the best radical transformation can only come about by considering how the various sources of oppression and discrimination are interconnected. Ostensibly, little can be realized without looking at how each of these issues is connected to the problem of racism in the United States.

By and large, the method used by the author involves referring to past writings of earlier authors on the subject of American politics. However, the author also points the reader to her life experiences. Evidence is thus mainly from the author’s experiences in life as well as from reviewed literature.

Quote or Passage that Seemed Significant

Even though so much emphasis has been placed on the concept of queer activism, the author is convinced that a radical and transformative approach to politics is not vested in the queer political theory. Instead, queer activism only serves to create what the author refers to as “hetero/queer” divide. The potential of queer politics lies in its ability to create a space that facilitates opposition to dominant norms. According to Cohen, the failure of queer politics to achieve the intended transformation is linked to the fact that the idea of queer activism is established around a dichotomy between the queer and individuals considered to be heterosexual.

Possible Connections to American Studies

A strong connection exists between the author’s argument and American studies. Historically, supremacy, race, and discrimination have dominated American politics for a very long time. As a result, it is the marginalized groups that are left to suffer. Minority groups have been sidelined in several areas including education, access to social amenities, employment, and election to public offices.

Conclusion

Generally, the text indicates that America needs a more radical approach to transform its politic system and create a more inclusive environment. As pointed out earlier, the ability of queer activism to bring change to American politics mainly lies in its potential to produce an enabling environment.

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"Politics: Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens by Cathy J. Cohen." IvyPanda, 12 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/politics-punks-bulldaggers-and-welfare-queens-by-cathy-j-cohen/.

1. IvyPanda. "Politics: Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens by Cathy J. Cohen." May 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/politics-punks-bulldaggers-and-welfare-queens-by-cathy-j-cohen/.


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IvyPanda. "Politics: Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens by Cathy J. Cohen." May 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/politics-punks-bulldaggers-and-welfare-queens-by-cathy-j-cohen/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Politics: Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens by Cathy J. Cohen." May 12, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/politics-punks-bulldaggers-and-welfare-queens-by-cathy-j-cohen/.

References

IvyPanda. (2020) 'Politics: Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens by Cathy J. Cohen'. 12 May.

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