Who Dat?: Race and Its Conspicuous Consumption in Post-Katrina New Orleans

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Abstract

This article explores the fraught neoliberal refashioning of post-Katrina New Orleans in relation to concurrent modes of racialized inclusion and exclusion. I suggest an intensification of market forces during this period has hastened a privileging of certain acceptable, often gendered forms of blackness tied to their performance-centered market consumption while simultaneously rendering others criminal and/or violently disposable. Such racial regulation, it is argued, is tantamount to a kind of “contractual blackness” within New Orleans' neoliberalized landscape that delineates commercially assimilable and therefore “good” black subjects from deviantly “bad” and hence expendable ones. The article follows with explorations of how some African American working class men mediate these duel economies of consumption/disposability through varying performative strategies of black possibility and alterity.

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