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Praise. “A collection of essays straight out of Dante’s Inferno. The hell is there, and its name is America as with Malcolm X, Cleaver’s book is a. PDF | Despite its limitations, “Soul on Ice” is not only the closest and most influential Eldridge Cleaver’s efforts at sexual myth-making and analysis of black. Written by Erin Morris Eldridge Cleaver was a well-known leader of the Black In , Cleaver published his memoir Soul on Ice, which he wrote while.

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The Black Power movement was about racial pride, maintaining black culture, community organizing, and achieving self-determination for all people of African descent.

He went to prison for sexual assault, which he ixe to and analyzes in Soul on Ice. His narrative is one of the only popular writings on the topic of interracial sex also known as miscegenation within the context of the black power movement. As a spokesperson for the Black Panther Party, it is important to realize the intentions of his memoir as a type of public manifesto.

It is not solely an act of self-reflection. Eldridge Cleaver serves as an example of the different perspectives on sexual relations between blacks and whites within the Black Power movement and the Black Panther Party in particular. The Black Power movement differs from what is known as the earlier Civil Rights Movement in a couple of ways.

Soul on Ice (book) – Wikipedia

The Civil Rights Movement supported nonviolence, whereas the Black Panther Party was more radical in its acceptance of violence as an equally valid form of resistance. Furthermore, the Civil Rights Movement accepted white allies while Black Power concentrated on black empowerment.

In this way, Black Panther elrridge seems less suited to supporting interracial relationships.

For some interracial intimacy amounted to an attempt to reject Black culture and assimilate into Whiteness. First, he declares his rage at how black men are indoctrinated into preferring whiteness to blackness. He understands his lust for white women to be part of the historical context he grew up in. Next, he explains how he sought to resist this desire with violent attitudes and actions.


Lastly, he presents the possibility of interracial sexual relationships to become romantic relationships. Desiring Whiteness In the beginning of Soul on IceCleaver recounts an instance in prison where he had a photo of a white pin up girl on the wall of his cell. A guard tore it down, telling Cleaver that he would only allow him to keep up a picture of a black women.

Once Cleaver recounts the story for his readers, he proceeds to analyze the historical and social reasons for his desire for white women. He quotes another inmate to suggest that his opinion tells the story of many black men.

Next he discusses the case of Emmett Till.

Emmett Till was a 14 year old black boy who was viciously murdered for allegedly flirting with a white women. His murder was an act of racist violence against the idea that a black man could desire a white women, and further, the threat that he would defile her purity through miscegenation. Cleaver describes seeing the photo of the white women Till allegedly whistled at. Resistance Through Violence In jail, Cleaver reveals how he changed his feelings towards white women in order to resist his desires for them.

He sees his desire for white women as a betrayal of his community and race. He also connects this resistance to a form of self-determination, a central tenant of Black Power ideology. I became a law unto myself — my own legislature, my own supreme court, my own executive. It is important to consider how Cleaver benefits from presenting his heinous crimes in this way. He asserts a difference between sex and rape in order to make his desire a meaningful act of resistance, rather than a betrayal of his community.

It is no longer that he desires white over black, it is that he is using rape to gain liberation. Resistance through Romance Finally, Cleaver presents a third analysis on interracial sex. He sees the possibility of interracial relationships to supercede racist cultural attitudes and point towards a racially integrated future.


He presents the concept of a colorblind, racially-just future. In this utopia, miscegenation is not miscegenation, it is faultless and pure heterosexual love. Cleaver does not feel self-loathing at his desire for Axelrod because their relationship is built on more than than sexual desire or resistance to white supremacy.

Their love is tied to the political statement that their relationship makes.

It is really a complex movement taking place of which we are mere parts. We represent historical forces and it is really these forces that are coalescing and moving toward each other. His analysis is fraught with problems as he tries to use this public platform to deny his crimes and publicize Black Power ideology at the same time.

Soul on Ice

It is critical to keep in mind the homophobia and unforgivable misogyny that run rampant throughout his book. However, he does present an important viewpoint on the seldom considered issue of interracial sex. Footnotes vleaver Steinbugler, Amy C.

Oxford University Press, Routledge, Race, Sexuality, and Political Struggle: Eldrifge on Ice Your whiteness Is a silky thread Snaking through my thoughts In redhot patterns Of lust and desire.

Your white meat Is nightmare food.

White is The skin of Evil. Loving you thus And hating you so, My heart is torn in two. Tuesdays and Thursdays 9: This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here:


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