Throughout American history, cowboys have been a cultural fascination and iconic symbol of strength and masculinity. To this day, cowboys are readily present in popular culture and imagery, but are nearly always portrayed as an exclusively white character. This paper explores the historical inaccuracies of this portrayal, while decentering the whiteness of the cowboy by discussing media, performance, and race. Through this, case studies such as the Bill Pickett Rodeo, 21st century popular images of black cowboys, and the presence of horses in recent protests come to light as alternative images for a new American cowboy emerging in American culture. These images simultaneously represent a fruitful yet rarely discussed history, as well as a changing perception of who belongs as a cowboy in America.
Blair, Louise A.
"Decentering the Gendered Whiteness of the Iconic American Cowboy: Media, Performance, and Race in the Rodeo World,"
Tapestries: Interwoven voices of local and global identities: Vol. 11:
1, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/tapestries/vol11/iss1/11
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