Between Races and Generations: Materializing Race and Kinship in Moraga and Irigaray


  • Sabrina L. Hom


Juxtaposing Cherríe Moraga's Loving in the War Years and Luce Irigaray's Speculum of the Other Woman, I explore the ways that sex and race intersect to complicate an Irigarayan account of the relations between mother and daughter. Irigaray's work is an effective tool for understanding the disruptive and potentially healing desire between mothers and daughters, but her insistence on sex as primary difference must be challenged in order to acknowledge the intersectionality of sex and race. Working from recent work on the psychoanalysis of race, I argue that whiteness functions as a master signifier in its own right, and as a means of differentiation between the light-skinned Moraga and her brown-skinned mother. Irigaray's concept of blood deepens Moraga's account of her healing and subversive return to her mother. The juxtaposition of Moraga, Irigaray, and contemporary psychoanalysis of race can allow for a necessary revision of Irigaray's psychoanalysis that acknowledges the ways in which sexual difference is indexed by race and sheds new light on her account of the mother–daughter relation.