Confronting Ambiguity: Reading the Intersection of Racial and Sexual Marginalization in Rex vs Singh and Seeking Single White Male

Yilong Liu


This paper examines how Canadian filmmakers and artists explore racial and sexual marginalisation in Canada. Two films in particular exemplify different forms of racism towards South Asian immigrants. The first, Rex vs Singh (2008), an experimental documentary produced by John Greyson, Richard Fung, and Ali Kazimi, showcases the ambiguous application of immigration policies to repress South Asian immigration. Through different reconstructed montages, the film confronts these ambiguities in relation to the court case. The second, Seeking Single White Man (2010), a performance-video work by Toronto-based artist Vivek Shraya—South Asian descent, demonstrates not only the dominant racial norms and white normativity in the queer community in Toronto, but also the ambivalence in the performance and in racial identification. I identify ambiguity as the distinct contribution to understanding first: i) how state policies are used for racial and sexual repression, ii) the ways in which identification of racial norms are unstable, iii) and how these norms have been translated into sexual (un)/desirability. The ambiguities evoked by these works provide critical insights to investigate the complexity of racial marginalisation and their intersection with gender/sex normativity.


queer; gender and sexuality; film; ethnic studies; ambiguity.

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