Can we talk about black men being a fetish?

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So I’ve already hinted in previous posts that I find the way that non-whites are often objectified, even in relationships where their partner should see them as equal, scary. The idea of Asian women being fetishised by white men is nothing new (the stereotype of the submissive Asian woman lives on), and some Black women are also wary of being an exotic thrill for a White man who wants to journey into a moving, breathing African jungle, but we don’t seem to like to talk about the objectification of black men by white women. It’s awkward, isn’t it? Because the majority of interracial couplings we see are black male- white female pairings, and you’re supposed to not speak about it unless your commentary is wholly positive, otherwise you are labelled as a black racist, a bitter, manless, hating black women, an enemy of societal progress. But if we are going to move in any way towards some type of real progressive healing of the wounds of racism, we have to do better than these superficial conversations where we ignore widespread discrimination, structural racism, and deep seated stereotyping and objectification because “la la la people are having mixed race babies so obviously they are not racist”. (See Donald Sterling and the Clippers fiasco as a textbook example of why romantic and sexual relations with a black person tell me absolutely nothing about your level of racism).

Anyway. 

It’s always interesting to me look at the way black men as a group are often perceived by general society, and the impact it has on romantic and other personal relationships. There are a few major themes when we look at how society perceives black men. The first and most obvious theme is that of the violent, aggressive and angry black man. That’s the media’s favourite. It’s why Mark Duggan’s picture was cropped so that you didn’t see him holding a heart with an inscription about his dead daughter, but instead were only shown an apparently menacing and angry face glowering at you. Closely linked to that is the theme of the hyper physical black man – all running, all dancing, all boxing, leaping over walls and gates as he runs from detectives – natural physical prowess seems to exude from his very pores. Also closely connected to physical prowess is the idea of the hyper sexual black man. The mystical large penis, and the ability to please sexually in a way white men can’t. Black men are perceived by some with a mixture of fear and curiosity.

Now I know we all want to believe that everyone lives in a bubble where their romantic and sexual inclinations are uninfluenced by media branding and historical stereotyping…well tell a lie, we’re happy to admit that people are influenced by these things, except for when it comes to race. Any suggestion that someone of another race is interested in someone of another race for reasons other than love, is frowned upon. It’s a taboo topic.

Unfortunately, from conversations I’ve heard and from experiences relayed to me by others, it’s quite obvious that for some white women, a part of their desire to be in a relationship with a black man is based on an level of intrigue which is rooted in the stereotypes I noted above. Black men are somewhat of an illicit thrill, the man that at 17 your parents would be be a bit unhappy about, the resident new ‘cool kid’, the epitome of a bad boy – complete with this mythical sexual prowess. For some women, sleeping or having a relationship with a black man is something to tick off their bucket list. 

But you already knew that. You think it’s a small but unfortunate minority of women who think like this, and they’re easily avoided by asking a few simple questions.

I’m arguing that it’s not so much a minority, but a level of sub-concious thinking that a lot of us, black, white or other have absorbed. In fact, some of the major proponents of the black male hypersexualisation theme have been black men themselves. There are quite a few black men who enjoy the idea of having larger members, being physically stronger, and having more finesse than white men and use it to their advantage on a night out on the pull. There are a few who don’t really mind being objectified or treated as a fetish by white women as long as it means they get some sexual favours. They will happily sit there as women wax lyrical about their ‘chocolate skin’ or sexual ability. In fact, more frightening to me is the fact that the stereotype of the hyper sexualised black male is being pushed via some elements of black media and promoted by some black men. A historical stereotype is somewhat out of your control, but your promotion and embodiment of it is up to you, and if you are content for someone to objectify you, then don’t be surprised when in a  moment of anger that objectification morphs into overt racism.

One very mistaken idea that has managed to seep into our thinking is that if someone objectifies or fetishises you, they will never marry you or date you long term. Therefore, people who are looking for a quickie or a short term relationship are the ones to look out for, but if someone loves you and enters into a long term relationship with you, then by virtue of that fact, they see you as equal, they are not stereotyping and will not stereotype you, and they’ve completely deconstructed any underlying racial prejudices they might have. With all due respect, that is utter rubbish. In the same way that it is very possible for a man who loves a woman to be sexist, to objectify her, and to stereotype her, it is very possible for a white woman who loves a black man to be racist, to objectify him, and to stereotype him. Anyone who suggests the contrary is just being disingenuous.

So what I am I suggesting? That every white woman who dates a black man is using him as an object for her fetish of a physically adept, sexually skilled ebony Adonis? No, of course not. 

 I am suggesting though that the media, historical and cultural stereotypes mean that there will be an element of that as the driving force as to why black men are being increasingly seen as so universally attractive (I mean, I think they’re great, but the hype is intense right now…). Black men in particular need to be aware of that, and instead of encouraging these negative and animalistic stereotypes, be more discerning with who they allow into their emotional and sexual spaces.

Thoughts?

 

19 Comments

  1. June 16, 2014 / 9:34 am

    Fully agree with this. A lot of black men foolishly play into this stereotype because it’s the only one that we can use to our advantage…the sadness!

  2. SF
    January 11, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    I agree with you that stereotypes are detrimental in any context. These type of stereotypes can provide men an alpha male facade. They can also preemtively damage a man’s reputation as a legitmate potential family man. Granted, all some people want is hookups and sex, and as long as they are finding others who want the same thing, that’s fine. You don’t have to be a specific race seeking another specific race to play that game. All you have to be is attractive and not be socially awkward.

  3. S Flaherty
    January 11, 2015 / 9:41 pm

    I agree with you that stereotypes are detrimental in any context. These type of stereotypes can provide men an alpha male facade. They can also preemtively damage a man’s reputation as a legitmate potential family man. Granted, all some people want is hookups and sex, and as long as they are finding others who want the same thing, that’s fine. You don’t have to be a specific race seeking another specific race to play that game. All you have to be is attractive and not socially awkward.

  4. Mike
    March 8, 2015 / 11:44 am

    Interesting. The author of this article is very right on a lot of points. I know as a black male who also happens to be gay how objectification works because you perceive it from both men and women most of whom are white but also may be Asian or other. I indeed have a lot of experience being used for a thrill, a cheap one expected to fullfill and satisfy sexual needs of someone who is not of my race. In fact, I found the article looking for information on the subject after a white male told me online he was looking for a horny black man with a large penis because his boyfriend does not like sex so much and he did not believe how marginalising, objectifying, fetishisizing and therefor racist he was. Of course he went into a state of denial but I don care as the article states “A historical stereotype is somewhat out of your control, but your promotion and embodiment of it is up to you, and if you are content for someone to objectify you, then don’t be surprised when in a moment of anger that objectification morphs into overt racism.” I marinaded in that knowledge and live in it now.
    I surely hope more black men will be more aware.. both gay and straight. I think however that a white person long term dating and marriage decreases the level of objectification especially in white women who are to have children and will have to deal with the actual day to day racism more than other white women or men. However, you are right: I had a white friend (just a friend) who lived with a black man for years and still felt uncomfortable being in a space where he was the only white person.

    • March 18, 2015 / 12:05 pm

      Thanks for your comments – I think it’s true that this is present regardless of sexuality. I agree, I hope that more men will be aware of this and be more cautious about who they let into their spaces.. I’m sorry you had to experience that, but at least it’s now something you can be wary of.

  5. JDavid
    March 15, 2015 / 3:39 am

    I agree whole heartedly with this blog.. It’s great really.. While being a fetish may feel good in a moment of insecurity.. Once you get to know who you are, then you figure out that all you are is just a piece of new meat being tried out.. And once they get tired of the meat then…. You’re gone..

    • March 18, 2015 / 12:07 pm

      Exactly!A tool instead of a man. It’s so dehumanising. Thanks for commenting.

  6. March 15, 2015 / 3:42 am

    I agree.. This is great.. While it may feel good to be a fetish in the moment of insecurity.. It won’t feel good to be seen like a piece of meat, and thrown out like a piece of meat.. I notice the saying” I’ve tried dating a Black man”.. Like we’re a new tool to try and handle, and not a man to connect with.. Lol..

  7. BBCFetish
    June 4, 2015 / 2:30 am

    Well, as a Norwegian women with the typical blonde hair blue eye features who has been objectified by men and women who like that sort of thing, I am very comfortable objectifying black skinned men; I lust over them and they are the only men that I bed. I don’t see this as being a problem because all races objectify the other; they do so because difference is sexy and when we are brought together by exploring our sexual curiosities then we bridge gaps and help us reach for unity rather than separation. Praise for Black Men.

  8. bilal bepo
    June 25, 2015 / 12:05 pm

    Absolutely an exceptional way of breaking down the very basic but real form of subtle racism that has becoming some what of a blinding fact in recent years. I myself have always wondered why black men have subjected themselves to being treated as evidencial breeding prospects solely based on a misconstrued teenage fantasy white women have formulated to defy their parents in most cases. The black man is good enough to bed but hardly ever good enough to wed , which in return resonates within the black man as him being no more than an animal to be mated with, which does nothing but subject the black man into believing his own stereotypes therefore contributing to his own self fulfilling prophecy of being a ‘baby daddy’.

  9. December 25, 2015 / 8:44 pm

    Why do you or anyone else even care?. Mind your business and stay out of other people’s relationships…. If they get off on their partner as a sexual fetish does that some how represent they are not respected as a human being? thats so one dimensional and people are always trying to find a reason to be offended… It’s insane… you think you can evaluate the entire dynamic of someone else’s relationship just by what you see on the surface? That’s such vanilla thinking.

    • December 25, 2015 / 9:17 pm

      Why would I care if my brother, Dad, future son etc were entering relationships with women who subscribed to demeaning and racist stereotypes about black men historically and presently used to justify abuses against them? Yes, why would I as a black woman care? Come on. It’s kinda obvious. If you don’t care, that’s ok. You don’t have to.

    • Jwebb
      December 25, 2016 / 7:27 pm

      You mean to tell me that some men don’t appreciate being used?? Shame on them for wanting more respect. Shame I tell you.

  10. Rick
    January 8, 2016 / 5:35 pm

    White male here. Thoughtful, transparently honest post–and right on. I’m happily married to a white woman who loves me for who I truly am–not just because of my physical looks, or sexual attraction, although she and I are attracted to each other in those areas, too. If, before we were married, I thought she wanted to get in bed with me for a one-night stand, or saw me as some exotic fantasy fetish, we wouldn’t be together today. Too shallow, and a total turn off for me–I wouldn’t want to be with her. Well, okay, maybe when I was younger, I might have caved if I thought it meant easy sex, but those one night stands always leave you alone the next day–they’re not for me. I want true love that lasts.

    How does this relate to the white-girl-black-guy issue? Back men represent for some white women (maybe a minority–don’t really know) a fun fantasy ride into the taboo. They probably comprise the mindset of most white women traveling abroad to use local men for fetish-seeking relationships and sexual adventures (I.e.: participating in the sex tourism industry). It may satisfy their fantasy quest, but it demeans the local people and culture they use for their own personal gratification. Let’s not white wash this issue. Racism bleeds from such attitudes and practices, although I acknowledge most white women probably don’t know just how racist they are being in such situations. And black males who pump-up-for-all-its-worth the fantasy image of being a white woman’s ideal relationship and sex partner, might get easy sex from those air-head, shallow white girls, but always at the expense of furthering such racist attitudes. Black males should openly speak out against untrue black male myths and refuse to participate in this ruse if they want the racist behavior to stop. Don’t get sucked into the hype–it drags down a whole race.

  11. rivkele
    February 21, 2016 / 11:26 pm

    I remember reading a piece on unpacking the invisible knap sack of white privilege back in my BAC program. While I think it very much applies here, it almost seems like a whole other element is needed.

  12. eminenceofiyanola
    April 10, 2016 / 1:09 am

    This article is quite accurate and, as a bi black male, reflects part of my own fears. I already have self-confidence issues and I’ll be hesitant to enter into relationships, especially with white men, because I feel like I’ll only be wanted for sex. I have sexted before and typically the first thing you get when you say you’re black is “show me that big black c*ck” or something similar. I get this the most from white men who want to be dominated and used. Those people turn me off.

    Obviously there are decent people about, but it takes a lot of searching…

    • December 2, 2016 / 4:30 am

      I love that picture of trusting Daddy. True freedom does come from abiding in Him. I just wished I had learned that sooner. Great post!love and hugsT~ammy

  13. Kwame
    October 12, 2016 / 5:58 am

    I almost became a victim. She(a white lady) was a foreign exchange student in Ghana, West Africa. She was the only one I got to know to BBC (i thought its a news broadcasting network) not knowing she’s referring to Big Black Cock hmmm. She was at University level and I was just completing Senior High (secondary school). She promised me a whole lot, will marry me so we can both leave for US (I was VERY BROKE back then which most African men do to escape “poverty in Africa”), she will provide me all material thing in exchange for sex. Never said “i love u” unless she’s trying to into my pants, me being a “lucky African”. As an African guy I wasn’t interested in a different race of women unless the woman is mixed with Black.

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