Calling all white people, part 17: POC are not sex objects

Calling All White People, Part 17

(A periodic attempt to mobilize white people for something other than supporting just other melanin-deficient folks and maintaining a status quo of a nation geared toward whiteness as the baseline and the norm)

By An Average White Guy

TODAY’S EPISODE: Do not treat POC like sexual paraphernalia  

[To find other installments of “Calling All White People,” click here]

Good God, y’all, BGIM had some things to say (and said them well) in her recent post “Black pu**y, or Sexual racism…What we don’t talk about” and whether this is laziness or moral support, I’m going to jump right off from that post with my own post here. Consider it part two, I guess (and damn, I hope the people who inspired that post read it, see themselves in it, and do some heavy thinking about their approach to people of color).

Now, while I hope the people noted in BGIM’s post read it and learn, I hope some of you in our white-skinned circles did as well. Because chances are that many of you (no matter how much you yearn for racial justice) have been, still are, or will be guilty of fetishizing people of color or treating them as a casual sex object in a way you wouldn’t with a white man or woman.

Note I said “you” and not “us.” This is intentional. I have biases, I have racist stereotype  leftovers in my head, I make racial/ethnic/cultural missteps. But for those of you guilty of seeing exotic hunks of passionate hot chocolate when you should see a thinking, feeling human being worthy of respect, I ain’t one of you. Never have been. And not gonna start any time in the future.

I wish I could say this is just some huge moral quality of mine, but I doubt it. Dumb luck, really. It’s one of the few areas I didn’t have to learn racial sensitivity and respect about. My parents didn’t go for racist tropes hardly at all (though they held a few less than stellar stereotypes and biases toward Asian immigrants which I am sad to say I held myself for a number of years) so that probably helped. Hell, even my white-privilege-cushioned, racially uneducated 10- or 11-year-old self knew there was something very tremendously awfully wrong with my favorite uncle calling Arab people “sand n*****s.” I’m well into middle age now and that memory is still burned deep and uncomfortably into my psyche.

Anyway, I’m getting off track. Point is, at least where romance and sex are concerned, I don’t have a racist bone in my body. Maybe one or two sexist bones at times, but never racist. To me, a woman is a woman (and if I were ever to have a less-than-straight urge, a man is a man). There are cultural differences, religious differences, political differences and personal differences aplenty (and they need to be recognized and respected), but in the end, it comes down to one thing with dating and sex: Do I like this woman intellectually and am I attracted to her? I have a slight preference for brunettes, sure. Gigantic chests aren’t really my thing. But other than that, I don’t categorize women and even those two previously mentioned items aren’t absolutes.

That’s a whole lot of rambling. But I just want to ask of any of you, my fellow white people: Why on earth would you objectify a man or woman based on race? Especially if you read this blog and often nod your head to any of the thoughts shared in it. It’s actually pretty heinous. I mean, it’s not *the* most heinous racist thing you can do, but it’s pretty damn bad. Much the same way the N-word is used to try to slice away a Black person’s dignity and personhood, so too does the sexual objectification of people of color dehumanize them.

Yes, it dehumanizes them.

You make them into nothing more than a fantasy. Nothing more than an object. Nothing more than a goal to attain or a bucket-list item to cross off. You make them a fetish.

I have nothing against fetishes. Kink can be fun. But as something for people to do, not something to make people into. To make a person or a group of people into a fetish is to not see them as actual people. And how can you respect someone you don’t see as human?

And even if you don’t see people of color or some specific segment of them (like Black people) as being exotic fetish objects, you also shouldn’t approach relationships or sex with them casually. I mean, not with especially high levels of casualness. Some of y’all are into casual sex all the time or some of the time and God knows the popularity of Tinder is proof enough we’ve decided that pick-up bars weren’t casual *enough* for our modern society. But the point is that too many white people want to “try out” a Black person or some other non-white person. Maybe it’s because they think they’ll be more sexually wild (or more passive) or for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because they want to feel more enlightened and open-minded or think it will help purge them of racism or teach them something about race.

But regardless, it’s wrong.

Again, people are not objects. They are not tools. They are not toys. They are people. No matter what their race or ethnicity.

Don’t treat them as a means to your end.
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