This essay contends that José Esteban Muñoz’s article “Dead White,” published in 1998 in GLQ, holds enduring significance for critically assessing representations of race in queer cinema. Following Muñoz’s lead to focus on the visual currency of the queer Latino body, it illustrates how whiteness is regularly affirmed as common sense in contrast to racial otherness. The essay additionally insists on examining films defying the customary aesthetic expectations of film critics in order to investigate the evocative representations they proffer.
Richard T. Rodríguez is associate professor of media and cultural studies at the University of California, Riverside. The author of Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics (Duke University Press, 2009), he is at work on two projects: “Undocumented Desires: Film Fantasies of Latino Male Sexuality” and “Latino/U.K.: Postpunk’s Transatlantic Touches.”