Give It To Me Baby
Debunking the myth of the hypersexual black woman
By Anonymous : Illustrations by James Stevens
It was our first time.
It was the first time his rose-colored penis entered a brown vagina. And it was the first time I learned that I was supposed to possess an arsenal of wild sexual skills, all because of my mahogany skin.
According to Jason*, I was theoretically supposed to be a master of deeds such as: performing oral sex (due to the whole “big-lips” thing) and rocking doggy style (big asses must be able to hit it from the back perfectly). Jason, a nice, intelligent junior at a New Jersey college, said that porn proved that black women were “freaks.” In black pornos, there’s never dialogue; they get right to the fun. And the black woman just takes the pounding.
Now, I enjoy sex as much as the next college kid, but it never once crossed my mind that I should like it even more because I am black. So, I initially took his statements as compliments. Who wants to be called lame in bed?
Then, last fall, I took an African American Studies class entitled Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the African Diaspora (AAS 309) with professor Linda Carty. I began to realize that Jason was not the only white guy to view black women in such a light. The idea of the “hypersexual” black woman is historically constructed, originating with slavery.
We read a few selections from the book Becoming Black by Michelle Wright, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota. She analyzed 19th-century influential research by white theorists, who all came to the same conclusion: black identity is defined as the opposite of whiteness. While white women were wholesome and pure, black women were dirty and always horny. Whites distanced themselves from blacks by hypersexualizing them. Labeling black women as sexually deviant made it easy for white slave owners to rape, sexually abuse, and objectify black women.
Ingrid Butler, a second-year graduate student in the Pan-African Studies Master’s program and teaching assistant for AAS 309, summed it up best. “I think white people are fascinated by black people,” she said. “So it makes sense that they think, ‘Oh, I wonder what their sex is like.’ I’m sure white men are not walking around all day thinking about this stuff, but I do think white men are obsessed with the exotic…the whole ‘she’s different from what I’m used to.’”
But this mindset goes beyond pornos, and, of course, rap videos. Even black women use their bodies to de¬fine themselves. Songs like Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” may seem harmless, but are actually problematic. What is this “it” that Beyoncé refers to while wearing a skin-tight leotard? I don’t think it’s her finger.
While I’m sure Jason has no plans to become a slavemaster, his method of thinking still contributes to the oppression of black women and racism. Perpetuating this hypersexualized racist image is so ingrained that we barely notice we’re doing it. Despite 50 Cent’s videos, not every black girl can make her butt do amazing things. And I’m sure every white guy doesn’t reach his landing in two minutes —- although Jason did.