What’s race got to do with it (got to do with it)?
I have only slept with one black man in my life. He was 14 years older than me, and it only took months of innuendo-ridden flirting and one stiff amaretto coke before I found myself on my back in his bedroom in Villeray. On one side of me, there was a tropical beach scene tackily painted onto the wall. On the other side, there was a dresser with about 40 cologne bottles spread upon its surface. On the whole, it was deliciously taboo. I told my mom we were on a serious date at the jazz fest. The only music I heard was the soft chiding of Trey Songz and the enthusiastic groans of a first interracial love affair.
In the days that followed, he would show up at my work. We would dirty text around my colleagues and he implied that he wanted to do some very questionable things to me on the surface of my work desk. My own passion and heated sexual inclination gradually faded. I saw him in a different light: wearing shirts three times bigger than they should be, the swagger-stride inappropriate for anyone over 30, the diamond earrings that rivalled my own. Everything glittered with the brilliance of tackiness.
When my mom found out, she thought that sleeping with a black guy was something I just “had to get out of my system.” My friends commended me, yet ultimately questioned my motives. I slept with someone I knew I’d never commit to just because I wanted to know what it was like. I wanted to debunk the myth, the expectations that preface a sexual relationship with a black man. I was an equal sexual opportunist, a racial trailblazer, any number of euphemisms that I’ll make up to deviate from the perhaps nearsighted motives that compelled me to put out on a first “date” and never pick it up again.
Why in this day and age is a sexual attraction between white women and black men partially rooted in stereotypes and stigma?
I remember as far back as high school, thin white girls who hid gangsta rap from their fathers announced publicly—or as far as the realm of social media reaches—that they would only ever date black men. Why? Was it the implication that they’d be bad boys who’d call you baby, would defend your honour and sweep you up, rocking you against an overwhelming appendage? Is it the implication that they’d be fast smokers and slow lovers with pillowy lips and loose morals? I mean, any somewhat-cultured or aware individual could tell you immediately that stereotypes are over-generalizations that are more often than not politically and factually incorrect.
In retrospect, I look at my own reasoning. Was it about a tangible physical attraction? I mean in part, yes. But it was also rooted in my own repressed need to do something “bad,” as a white girl raised in a fairly conservative household.
There was definitely an element of curiosity, a carpe-dick situation that I felt that I’d regret if I didn’t seize. If we’re being honest, I mean, these we not the explicit thoughts running through my head at the moment, but this is almost a disturbing sexual connect-the-dots that only becomes obvious in retrospect. Generally speaking, sexual curiosity is a normal and healthy thing. However, there is some acknowledgement that needs to be made about stereotyping and fetishizing people of different ethnic groups or minorities.
There are moments where I question whether I’m so colour-blind that it actually—and unintentionally—comes off as being racist.