This piece was written a few years ago, but I felt compelled to unearth it due to the recent (alleged) sexual assaults and rapes of many young black boys at Penn State.
In my experience, it’s been one of the most unspoken taboos in both gay and African American communities: White men’s consumption and fascination with black male bodies.
My first real experience with this was when I was at Arby’s in Midtown, years ago, after I had just moved to Atlanta. I was sitting in Arby’s eating a grilled cheese, and from nowhere this middle aged white man, maybe in his 50-60’s, comes and stands above me, lurking down upon me a like a parasite longing for new blood. His behavior initially puzzled me. I asked “Can I help you?” and he just stared at me and licked his lips, then he flashed me several dollar bills. Recognizing this was some sort of sexual innuendo that I had no interest in, I grabbed my food and walked out of there.
At this point, I did not know that the Spring Street Arby’s and the subsequent area around the club 708 is a space where many sex workers, most of them African American boys & trans women, are solicited. I had no idea as I would learn later through my work in HIV & AIDS prevention & education, that most of those young African American boys and trans-women would report that the majority of their clients are middle aged white men. At first I thought little of it. I mean, why wouldn’t the majority of them be middle aged white men, who in this country would be more likely to have the disposable income? As I continued my studies in African American literature and history I found a few things that took me somewhere else. Where to you might ask? Why to Slavery my dear friend.
You see, when reading over various slave narratives in undergrad and beyond, their is evidence to suggest that young black boys, and black men of all ages, were often forced to have sexual relations with their white male slave owners.
While the innuendos are mild, and likely doctored by both historians and African American studies professors who fear exposing such a history that they perceive would further “shame” black men, the likelihood of such things happening doesn’t at all seem far fetched.
Because same sex desire is an expression of humanity that conforms itself to the structural social hierarchy of the day, it would make sense that many white male slave owners, corrupted by racism and bigotry, would use black male bodies, of which they had authority and control, as a site to express their same sex desire. It would also make sense that, like most of the social patterns from that not too long ago period, those patterns persist in dynamics today. This has hardly ever been spoken of but as James Baldwin would say: The consumption of young black male bodies by white men, is “The Evidence of Things Unseen.”
This is not just in the gay community, oh no. I think about the porn industry, of which I’ve been doing a lot of research on, and the very famous series “My Wife Likes Black Dick”.
In this porn series, which is not the only of it’s kind, white men look on as their white wives are penetrated, often aggressively by black men. The white men are present in the space when this happens, and in some clips, the white male looks on with fascination saying : “That’s right, take that Black dick/you like that black dick don’t you?”. Fawning over the male’s performance and focusing on that “big black dick”.
In other scenarios, the white male is seen crying or sobbing as he witnesses his white wife penetrated;and while she makes comments on how his “little white dick” is nothing like this. So why would white men want to consume a product of a conjured storyline of having their wives penetrated by a “black dick?” How is this not projected homo-erotic desire?
Let me make this clear, because unfortunately, many of us may be going there already-this is not some diatribe to suggest that white men should not date black men. What it is, is an invitation for both white men and black men, to further explore our relationships with each other and the the historic social, spiritual pain and eroticization that exists between us.
What it is, is an opportunity for us to understand that patterns of sexual exploitation are not so rapidly dissolved, and maybe ponder, that the consumption of black male bodies by white men and white culture is not only almost always exploitative, it is, in a male context, almost always homo-erotic; it is an expression of the white male unconscious desire for the black male body, a body which has had a construct of “raw masculinity” projected upon it; a masculinity that in America, is deemed highly desirable no matter what your sexual orientation.
There is a lot more to be explored here, this doesn’t even scratch the surface.
But I think this maybe might open up a chapter…Much more to come…but for now..
What do you feel?
Copryight Yolo Akili 2011. All Rights Reserved.