Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Crip Mammy

Complicating Race, Gender, and Care in The Ride Together

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2017), 11, (4), 477–493.

Abstract

The article explores the mammy stereotype in the graphic-written memoir, The Ride Together. This white American family employs an African American domestic worker, who is portrayed in stereotypical mammy fashion, to care for an autistic family member. Using crip theory, the article advances critical discussions of race, autism, and disability beyond analogy and erasure, arguing that the mammy stereotype, when examined in its historical context and the structural conditions of care, complexly straddles categories of ability and disability. The article complicates notions of dependency work with considerations of race, gender, and sexuality and points toward resistant readings of mammy.

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Wallace-Sanders, Kimberly. Mammy: A Century of Race, Gender, and Southern Memory. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008. Print. Mammy: A Century of Race, Gender, and Southern Memory Google Scholar

Wu, Cynthia. Chang and Eng Reconnected: The Original Siamese Twins in American Culture. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2012. Print. Chang and Eng Reconnected: The Original Siamese Twins in American Culture Google Scholar

B., David. Epileptic. Pantheon, 2006. Print. Epileptic Google Scholar

Baldwin, Gayle. “What a Difference a Gay Makes”: Queering the Magic Negro.” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 5 (2003). Web. 10 July 2017. What a Difference a Gay Makes Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 5 Google Scholar

Bailey, Moya. “The Illest: Disability as Metaphor in Hip Hop Music.” Blackness and Disability: Critical Examinations and Cultural Interventions. Ed. Chris Bell. LIT Verlag, 2011. Print. The Illest: Disability as Metaphor in Hip Hop Music Blackness and Disability: Critical Examinations and Cultural Interventions Google Scholar

Bell, Chris. “Introducing White Disability Studies: A Modest Proposal.” The Disability Studies Reader. 2nd ed. Ed. Lennard Davis. New York: Routledge, 2006. 275–82. Print. Introducing White Disability Studies: A Modest Proposal The Disability Studies Reader 275 82 Google Scholar

Bell, Chris, ed. Blackness and Disability: Critical Examinations and Cultural Interventions. Christopher M. Bell. Munster: LIT Verlag, 2011. Print. Blackness and Disability: Critical Examinations and Cultural Interventions Google Scholar

Boster, Dea. African-American Slavery and Disability: Bodies, Property and Power in the Antebellum South, 1800–1860. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print. African-American Slavery and Disability: Bodies, Property and Power in the Antebellum South, 1800–1860 Google Scholar

Burch, Susan and Hannah Joyner. Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2015. Print. Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson Google Scholar

Brown, Lydia, E. Ashkenazy, and Morenike Onaiwu, eds. All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism. Lincoln, Nebraska: DragonBee Press, 2017. Print. All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism Google Scholar

Chen, Mel. Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering and Queer Affect. Durhman: Duke UP, 2012. Print. Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering and Queer Affect Google Scholar

Christian, Barbara. Black Women Novelists: The Development of a Tradition, 1892–1976. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1980. Print. Black Women Novelists: The Development of a Tradition, 1892–1976 Google Scholar

Collins, Patricia Hill. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge, 1991. Print. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment Google Scholar

Crosby, Christina. A Body, Undone: Living on After Great Pain. New York: New York UP, 2016. Print. A Body, Undone: Living on After Great Pain Google Scholar

Danquah, Meri Nana-Ama. Willow Weep for Me: A Black Women’s Journey Through Depression. New York: Ballantine, 1998. Print. Willow Weep for Me: A Black Women’s Journey Through Depression Google Scholar

Davis, Lennard. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body. New York: Verso, 1995. Print. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body Google Scholar

Erevelles, Nirmala. “Race.” Keywords for Disability Studies. Ed. Rachel Adams, Benjamin Reiss, and David Serlin. New York: New York UP, 2015. 145–47. Print. Race Keywords for Disability Studies 145 47 Google Scholar

Erevelles, Nirmala and Andrea Minear. “Unspeakable Offenses: Untangling Race and Disability in Discourses of Intersectionality.” Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, 4.2 (2010): 127–45. Print. Unspeakable Offenses: Untangling Race and Disability in Discourses of Intersectionality Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 4.2 127 45 Google Scholar

Ferri, Beth. “A Dialogue We’ve Yet to Have: Race and Disability Studies.” The Myth of the Normal Curve. Eds. Curt Dudley-Marling and Alex Gurn. New York: Peter Lang, 2010. 139–50. Print. A Dialogue We’ve Yet to Have: Race and Disability Studies The Myth of the Normal Curve 139 50 Google Scholar

Foss, Chris, Zach Whalen, and Jonathan Gray, eds. Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives. New York: Palgrave, 2016. Print. Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives Google Scholar

Hardison, Ayesha K. Writing Through Jane Crow: Race and Gender Politics in African American Literature. Charlottesville: U of Virginia P, 2014. Print. Writing Through Jane Crow: Race and Gender Politics in African American Literature Google Scholar

Harris, Trudier. Saints, Sinners, Saviors: Strong Black Women in African American Literature. New York: Palgrave, 2001. Print. Saints, Sinners, Saviors: Strong Black Women in African American Literature Google Scholar

Harris-Perry, Melissa. Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America. New Haven: Yale UP, 2011. Print. Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America Google Scholar

Heilker, Paul and Melanie Yergeau. “Autism and Rhetoric.” College English, 73.5 (2011): 485–97. Print. Autism and Rhetoric College English 73.5 485 97 Google Scholar

Jack, Jordynn. Autism and Gender: From Refrigerator Mothers to Computer Geeks. Champaign: U of Illinois P, 2014. Print. Autism and Gender: From Refrigerator Mothers to Computer Geeks Google Scholar

Jarman, Michelle. “Cultural Consumption and Rejection of Precious Jones: Pushing Disability into the Discussion of Sapphire’s Push and Lee Daniels’s Precious.” Feminist Formations, 24.2 (2012): 163–85. Print. Cultural Consumption and Rejection of Precious Jones: Pushing Disability into the Discussion of Sapphire’s Push and Lee Daniels’s Precious Feminist Formations 24.2 163 85 Google Scholar

Kafer, Alison. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2013. Print. Feminist, Queer, Crip Google Scholar

Karasik, Paul and Judy. The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister’s Memoir of Autism in the Family. New York: Washington Square Press, 2004. Print. The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister’s Memoir of Autism in the Family Google Scholar

Kittay, Eva Feder. Love’s Labor: Essays on Women, Equality and Dependency. New York: Routledge, 1998. Print. Love’s Labor: Essays on Women, Equality and Dependency Google Scholar

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: Harper Collins, 1994. Print. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art Google Scholar

McElya, Micki. Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth Century America. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2007. Print. Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth Century America Google Scholar

McGuire, Anne. War on Autism: On the Cultural Logic of Normative Violence. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2016. Print. War on Autism: On the Cultural Logic of Normative Violence Google Scholar

McRuer, Robert. Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. New York: New York UP, 2006. Print. Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability Google Scholar

Nadasen, Premilla. Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement. New York: Beacon, 2015. Print. Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement Google Scholar

Pickens. Therí A. “It’s a Jungle Out There:” Blackness and Disability in Monk. Disability Studies Quarterly 33.3 (2013): http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3391/3269. Web. 7 July 2017. Google Scholar

Pickens, Therí, ed. African American Review, Disability Special Issue: Blackness & Disability, 50.2 (2017). Print. African American Review Disability Special Issue: Blackness & Disability 50.2 Google Scholar

Randall, Alice. The Wind Done Gone. New York: Mariner Books, 2001. Print. The Wind Done Gone Google Scholar

Refrigerator Mothers. Directed by David Simpson. Kartemquin Films, 2003. Film. Google Scholar

Rowden, Terry. The Songs of Blind Folk: African American Musicians and the Cultures of Blindness. Jackson: U of Mississippi P, 2009. Print. The Songs of Blind Folk: African American Musicians and the Cultures of Blindness Google Scholar

Samuels, Ellen. Fantasies of Identification: Disability, Gender, Race. New York: NYU Press, 2014. Print. Fantasies of Identification: Disability, Gender, Race Google Scholar

Schalk, Sami. “Coming to Claim Crip: Dis/identification with/in Disability Studies.” Disability Studies Quarterly 33.2 (2013). Web. 7 July 2017. Coming to Claim Crip: Dis/identification with/in Disability Studies Disability Studies Quarterly 33.2 Google Scholar

Seitz, Matt Zoller. “The offensive movie cliché that won’t die.” Salon, 14 Sep. 2010. Web. 7 July 2017. The offensive movie cliché that won’t die Salon Google Scholar

Silverman, Chloe. Understanding Autism: Parents, Doctors, and the History of a Disorder. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2012. Print. Understanding Autism: Parents, Doctors, and the History of a Disorder Google Scholar

Simplican, Stacy Clifford. “Care, Disability and Violence: Theorizing Complex Dependency in Eva Kittay and Judith Butler.” Hypatia 30.1 (2015): 217–33. Print. Care, Disability and Violence: Theorizing Complex Dependency in Eva Kittay and Judith Butler Hypatia 30.1 217 33 Google Scholar

Spelman, Elizabeth V. “‘Race’ and the Labor of Identity.” The Subject of Care: Feminist Perspectives on Dependency. Eds. Eva Feder Kittay and Ellen K. Feder. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002. 334–47. Print. ‘Race’ and the Labor of Identity The Subject of Care: Feminist Perspectives on Dependency 334 47 Google Scholar

Stockett, Kathryn. The Help. New York: Berkley Books, 2009. Print. The Help Google Scholar

Wallace-Sanders, Kimberly. Mammy: A Century of Race, Gender, and Southern Memory. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008. Print. Mammy: A Century of Race, Gender, and Southern Memory Google Scholar

Wu, Cynthia. Chang and Eng Reconnected: The Original Siamese Twins in American Culture. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2012. Print. Chang and Eng Reconnected: The Original Siamese Twins in American Culture Google Scholar

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Walters, Shannon