Compulsory “White” Heterosexuality: The Politics of Racial and Sexual Loyalty.

  • Katerina Deliovsky McMaster University


I argue that compulsory “white” heterosexuality, the highly regulated and ritualized practice of channelling European women’s sexuality toward monogamous unions with men of the same race2, is one of the primary ways they are compelled to perform “white” feminine sexuality. Consistent with gender, ethnic and race expectations, and at times across class divisions, European women are expected to demonstrate their loyalty to whiteness and patriarchy. Animus toward interracial unions, particularly between European women and African men, reveal the hidden heteronormative expectations of compulsory “white” heterosexuality. If European women are perceived to challenge these expectations and are therefore seen as disloyal to whiteness and patriarchy, disciplinary regimes are employed to elicit and even coerce compliance. I do not argue that all European women in interracial unions are actively challenging European patriarchal power. Rather, their actions are perceived as a violation of whiteness regardless of the women’s intention or level of politicized consciousness.