Monday, December 9, 2013
Eroticization of People of Color
Read this and more on SexualityReclaimed :)
This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a while. It’s such a huge topic and I am aware, that as a white woman, I can never do it justice. This also isn’t an exhaustive or academic-type post. This post includes only my personal reflections and perspective.
While I grew up in a pretty white town, it also had a sizable Hispanic and Hmong population. My first, longest, and most serious relationship in high school was with a guy who was of mixed race (Mexican and Filipino). I found our color difference sexy, appealing, intriguing, erotic, exotic. I was attracted to him for many reasons, and I know that his skin color, the shape of his eyes, his hair were all attractive to me because they were different that mine. I am sure that larger cultural messages surrounding the eroticization of people of color had impacted what I found sexy and desirable. There are so many examples of this, they are too many to count and name. And these messages have a long history, from colonization and the white people conquering “exotic” lands. (Black men are dangerous to white women, Black women are either the mammy or Jezebel, Asian women are frequently infantilized and sexualized, etc.) In any case, those attractions have not gone away for me.
I find many Black men (and women) attractive (let’s just stop me there for a minute. Because given where I grew up and where I live now, it’s not like I have large numbers of Black people in my social network. I don’t have a large number to go off of.) Because of our involvement in swinging and hotwifing, I have frequently thought about my personal eroticization of men of color in particular. I don’t know if I have any specific thoughts, except that I find myself wanting to make sure that I am still engaging in the same level of communication with my partners who are of color; I want to make sure I am not treating anyone differently because of their skin color. Because I have frequently lusted after Black men, I am hyper-aware of how I interact with my partners of color versus white partners: how much time do I want to spend talking versus fucking, and am I able to be communicative about my desires? I don’t want to become a white woman who only seeks “big, black cocks” (BBC). (For the record, BBC doesn’t seem to play into my attraction to Black men. It’s the skin color contrast. And, if I’m being totally honest, it also has to do with the fact that Black men are exotic to me in my white bread life.) I don’t want to disregard any potential for more-than-a-fuck-buddy type relationship simply because this partner is Black, and while he is sexy as hell and perfect for my sexual fantasies and desires, I’m not so sure I want more than that with him.
I remember reading this article about a year ago about cuckolding culture, and this piece is relevant to my post:
“Other sites feature images ranging from semen dripping over wedding bands to ethereal caucasian goddesses standing next to black men in mirrored shades. The race thing is one of cuckolding’s more uncomfortable aspects. On most cuckolding sites, such as blacksonwives.com and myslutwife.com, there is an overwhelming preoccupation with “Mandingos,” or well-endowed black men. Similar racial parameters exist in the swinging community, as highlighted in Details magazine’s March article on “Mandingo parties” — interracial orgies arranged for single black men to have sex with white wives in front of their white husbands. The popularity of the orgies is buttressed by a two-prong fantasy: the white couple’s fetish for a “BBC” (big, black cock), and the Mandingo’s fetish for having sex with rich, white wives. All participants get something out of it, and a Mandingo even argues that interracial orgies are a by-product of multiculturalism and tolerance. But bigotry — and a dose of white guilt — lie at the heart of any racialized fetish: black men, despite their “superior” sexual prowess, are debased and eroticized, and believed to pose less of a threat because the wives would supposedly never date them.
The cucks I interviewed denied having a preference for Mandingos, but would eventually admit some sort of racialized, if not racist, baggage. Bob, a forty-seven-year-old caucasian male, says he found a relationship through an online ad posted by a woman pursuing black bulls. “I emailed her because I was hoping to fall in love with a sexual white woman who does black guys,” he says. “We hooked up and it was really wild.”
“In American cuckold culture,” he adds, “it’s the white couple that has black bulls. There’s a notion that black men are better-endowed, and the whole idea of white men getting off on feeling sexually inferior to black men.”
A Black-Puerto Rican bull I interviewed does not answer white couples’ ads because “they tend to be more rigid in terms of what they look for in a bull,” he says. “If you’re a black bull, you’d better fit the mold of what the stereotypical black guy is. To them, he’s a cornrow-wearing thug or basketball player. They’re more into the fantasy — the big, black Mandingo.”
“Most black men are not offended by the stereotype that they’re well-hung,” he continues. “But what gets on my nerves is when the ad says, ‘We want a gold-toothed, baggy-pants type,’ or, ‘We want you to look like Allen Iverson or Usher.’ You know what? The typical bull on Craigslist is not going to look like Usher, so get over your stereotype and deal with it.”
My most recent encounter with this topic, in the reverse, went along the lines of:
I was giving a private dance to a Hispanic man from CA, who happens to be from the same area I am from. “White women are the best.”
“Yeah. Black women, Hispanic women- they don’t even come close. White women- they’re the sexiest.”
I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. It was my first intimate sexual encounter with racism. (that I can remember)
It’s one thing to me to notice particular attractions and erotic fantasies based on race. It’s another to classify entire groups of people as “sexy” and “not sexy” based on their race. But then I ask myself: is that what I have done? Can I help it? How do I ensure that I have equitable intimate relationships informed both by a sense of desire and lust and fantasy, and by a sense of social justice and explicit communication?
PS: I am nervous writing and publishing this post. I am aware that this topic (racism, sexualization of people of color) is deep and sensitive. I also think I will never get it quite right. So if you read something that offended you or struck a nerve, please let me know as I want to continue to learn and right my mistakes.