“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audre Lorde
When we allow eurocentrism to assign hyper-sexuality to our cultures we allow our cultures to be defined by those who do not seek to understand us. Who gave whiteness the authority to decide for me that I can not be multifaceted? My blackness is the embodiment of all forms of the human existence. My culture is a reflection of the human experience. Yes, it can be sexual, at times, but is it not limited by it’s expression of sexuality and therefore neither am I. You do not get to deem my culture primal, hyper-sexual, and promiscuous. Attitudes create behaviors. Nothing lives forever in the mind. If you believe that Black people are inherently driven by lust then it will become easy for you to objectify us. Once we have become objects people believe that they can do with us as they please.
According to the RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), on average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. For adult women, recent data from the CDC report lifetime prevalence of rape as about 1 in 5 for African Americans or 22% compared to whites at 18.8%, and 1 in 7 for Hispanics at 14.6%.
Sexual stereotypes have shaped how people formulate beliefs and interactions regarding Black sexuality. These scripts often informed by socio-historical context and sexualized images from pop culture lead people to view Blackness as one dimensional. When WAP was released conservatives the world over sprinted to their screens to dish out how Cardi B and Meg Thee Stallion were the problem with today’s generation, and it didn’t just come from outside of the culture. Black folks joined the bandwagon and dumped all of the consequences of racial stratification and colonialism on the rhythmic cheeks of these women.
This isn’t a new phenomenon. The dehumanization of Black people has a long, sordid history here in the States. With the creation of the “Jezebel”, the racialized characterization of Black women as promiscuous, came harmful attitudes towards Black survivors of abuse. During slavery this narrative was used to excuse the sexual violence perpetrated against Black women because we were seen as inherently sexual. This still rings true today. The same can be said for Black men just in a different regards. Men are less likely to report instances of sexual abuse; however, this does not mean they aren’t experiencing it. When you think something is here for your sexual gratification (even though they’re people not objects) you become entitled. People push sexual limits with Black people they wouldn’t dare push with our white counterparts. We are people NOT play things. The over-sexualization of Black men also leads to the assumption of guilt. If a Black man is accused of sexual misconduct, assault, and/or violence he comes from the perspective of guilty until proven innocent. Think about Emmett Till, The Exonerated Five, Pervis Payne, Ronnie Long, and the list goes on and on and on and fucking on.
It’s not always punitive after the fact either. In 2015, convicted murderer Dylann Roof fatally shot nine parishioners at a South Carolina church because blacks were “raping our women.”
In an already sex negative culture that seeks to demonize the eroticism of Blackness being openly sexual is the greatest sin. You’re attacked on all sides. God forbid something happen to you and they will use your sexual history as a means to justify the abuse. If I’m upside down throwing ass in a handstand (which I currently don’t have the upper body strength to do but here’s to goals) that doesn’t grant anyone the right to touch me inappropriately. Consent isn’t a given. It comes after a request for permission.
Explicit lyrics, twerking, whining/wining, seductive clothing, naturally voluptuous bodies, etc doesn’t translate into asking for it. Open attitudes about sex don’t translate into asking for it. We can’t help being God’s favorite lol. The ass always does what it needs to do. It is always giving what was supposed to be gave. Stop calling us fast for what was divinely bestowed upon us. It is more our responsibility to get the abusers up out of here than constantly change ourselves to protect us from people who wish to do us harm regardless. The goal post is always moving, so I just decided to stop playing the game. I won’t limit aspects of myself so that I can be more palatable to those who either can’t or are too afraid to shake what they mama’s gave them.
Abuse happens because someone chooses to be abusive. Not because I worship at the House of Lil Kim. Quite frankly, I’m fed up with having to defend my choices of embracing to my sexuality. I’m over trying to convince people who are intent on misunderstanding my culture that it doesn’t make us objects. They don’t want understanding. They want excuses for their bad behavior. My body is not up for grabs. My culture is NOT consent.