Like all Black people of a certain age, I am keenly aware of the way that many of my movements can be felt and seen in any given space, at any given moment. I have to know this. I have to be aware of how I am being read in order to constantly be ready to respond to any type of reaction to my Blackness.
Being a BlaQueer—simultaneous, uncompromisingly, and openly Black and Queer—I must be doubly aware of how my body is being desired, feared, and chosen for discipline by all genders, Black or White, straight or otherwise. However, white women are perhaps my most frequent assailants.
One could be forgiven for thinking that the unbridled spectacle and performance of white women’s desire for my body would be less than that of white men’s open desire and contempt for them. One could be forgiven for this notion, but one would be catastrophically wrong.
White women sexually assault Black men every damn day and I’m tired as hell. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m tired of trying to spot oncoming white women in the club, knowing that I have only a few moments to two-step out of her reach and communicate an “I will kill you glare” while managing not to miss a beat or spill my drink, while also hoping that the bartender doesn’t kick me out for being out of line in defense of myself.
I’m tired of white women touching my hair and chest at the club; as if I’m their newest push-up bra and wig combination. I’m tired of white women thinking it’s cool to grab my arms or my waist, ever. I’m tired of white women dancing on me and loudly slapping and grabbing my ass; loudly and dramatically enough for all to see what she has in possession, a blatant demonstration racial-sexual power. I’m tired of white women cupping a feel of my dick; whether straight to the bulge or sliding their hands in my pockets or jeans.
I have this screaming voice in my head that wants to unleash, “He doesn’t want you, I sure as hell don’t want you, and you’re only still alive because the way whiteness works in Amerikkka, the way gender works in Amerikkka, the way sexuality works in Amerikkka and the way Blackness is consumed, targeted, fucked and disposed of in Amerikkka.”
I’m tired of white women being the face of sexual assault survival when white women have been my most consistent and unrepentant racial-sexual terrorists; whether at work, in the classroom, or in BlaQueer spaces.
And let me be clear, white gay men—and many straight men—treat us the same way. Using the Black body, particularly the BlaQueer body, as a sort of life-sized sexual property, that type you just don’t have to pay for, is as American as Apple Pie or Thanksgiving.
Many have asked what I propose white women do. The answer is simple, one that they’ve repeated over and over and over: Believe us. Believe BlaQueers. Believe Black men. Believe Black trans folks. Believe that yes, and only yes, means yes. Silence doesn’t mean yes.
Surprising us with your physical greetings or sexual commentary is not a compliment, a gift, or an end-run around consent. Believe that we will not be mystifying in becoming your sexual muse. Our sexual orientation will not change via contact with white flesh. We are not interested in your race-play masked as sexual progressiveness. We are interested, however, in garnering the same respect, autonomy, and boundaries around our bodies and reproductive organs that you have long advocated for, for yourself.
It is time for our erogenous zones to finally be demilitarized, flowering without the threat of your constant bombardment.
I understand that you were raised this way—many folks were. This shit is endemic. This is because none of us have lived in a world, loved in a world, fucked in a world where consent was more than a buzzword and (sexual) violence was anything short of the cream in Amerikkka’s coffee.
But now that you have been warned, told—this time publicly—we expect you to act accordingly, or prepared to be properly dealt with, as you enter these militarized erogenous zones.
This post is in partnership with BlackYouthProject.com