Let's interrogate the politic of comparing Aziz Ansari to Emmett Till.A storm of articles has appeared over the last 48 hours regarding the account published by Babe magazine on the disturbing encounter between Aziz Ansari and a young woman who, in the account, is simply called "Grace." A large majority of these articles, particularly the ones published in mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times and the Atlantic, have rushed to Ansari's defense, accusing "Grace" of enacting "revenge porn," and merely "exaggerating" an episode of "bad sex," which, they claim, she should have had the foresight and/or common sense to resist. Among the arguments put forth in defense of Ansari — surprisingly by many whites, perhaps in an eager bid to prove themselves NotRacist™ — is the one that claims Grace used her status as a white woman to damage and discredit the career of a man of color (Ansari is a Brown south Asian man). Although no reference to Grace's racial identity was given in the original account, many subsequent articles have assumed Grace to be white because of Ansari's history of dating mostly white women. Regardless, though no facts are known for sure about Grace's racial identity, this has been the narrative: a white woman played up her helplessness in order to disempower a man of color. So let's begin with the phrase "man of color." This encompasses a rather large and diverse category of people who, at least in the United States, have historically had quite distinct relationships to both masculinity and whiteness as such. It is true that there has been a long and painful history of white women wielding their whiteness in violent ways against Black men and boys specifically. Throughout the history of the American south, there were countless documented cases of white women fabricating or exaggerating stories about being assaulted or harassed by Black men or boys, which resulted in tragic and fatal consequences for the latter. The case of Emmett Till is perhaps the most well-known and egregious example of this phenomenon, in which a white woman lied about a 14-year old Black boy whistling at her in public. As a consequence, Till was murdered by two white men in the most brutal way imaginable. Because Blackness as such is hyper-masculinized within the U.S. racial order, Black boys and men have historically been portrayed by white people as dangerous, violent, or criminal, and white women have capitalized on this trope by exaggerating their own "innocence" and "helplessness" in order to skew the balance of power further in their favor. Meanwhile, Asian American men have had a different relationship to masculinity. If Black men have been hyper-masculinized in our culture, Asian American men have been hypo-masculinized—that is, feminized or seen as less masculine than the desirable (i.e. white) standard. Constructions of Black and Asian men's masculinity as either "too masculine" (i.e. dangerous/violent/criminal) or "not masculine enough" (i.e. unthreatening/weak/compliant) are both racist because they are framed only in reference to white masculinity as the middle standard. Not surprisingly, Asian American men's critiques of racism have often amounted to protesting the way in which they are constantly "emasculated" under white supremacy. The problem with this appeal is that it still frames white masculinity as the desirable standard into which they (Asian American men) should be rightfully included.
Violence is so normalized that we often don't even recognize sexual abuses in the moment.[TW/CW: discussion of sexual violence.] I recently realized that sex is unhealthy for me. Not sex in theory. No, of course not. Sex is healthy for our bodies and even our hearts and minds.When I say that sex is unhealthy for me, I mean the kind of sex that I have experienced — an experience that I share with many women, femmes, and bottoms. The sex where my needs are neglected and my boundaries are ignored in favor of whatever desires my partner may have. Not everyone experiences sex and the things surrounding it in the same way, for various reasons. Some of those reasons might include gender cultivation, (a)sexuality, choice of sexual expression, knowledge of self/knowledge one's own (a)sexuality, or relationship with one's own body. Some of those reasons might include how certain body types are deemed "normal" and acceptable while others are only ever fetishized or demonized. Some of those reasons might include the fact certain folks are told that they should be grateful that anyone would even be willing to look at them, let alone touch or love them, while others are expected to always be available for sexual contact. Some of those reasons might include the fact that some people are afforded certain permissions to make decisions about their sex and love life without being eternally scrutinized, while others are nearly always assumed to be sexually irresponsible. Some of those reasons might include past or current trauma and abuse. And a host of other reasons not mentioned here, or reasons that you or I have never even considered because they're not a factor in our personal story. I'm not straight. I'm just an asexual with a libido—infrequent as it may be—and a preference for masculine aesthetic and certain genitalia. Most of the sex that I have had is what we would consider to be “straight” sex, and I am fairly certain that I would enjoy the act more and have a healthier relationship with it if more sexual partners were willing to make the experience comfortable and safe for me. Instead, men seem to want to make sex as uncomfortable and painful as possible for their partners, whether consciously or unconsciously, regardless of whether or not that is what we want. Many men seem to judge their sexual partners abilities the same way that they gauge how much we love them and how deep our loyalty goes — by how much pain we can endure. I say this based on my personal experience, as well as the experiences of many of the people around me who have been gracious and trusting enough to share with me their testimony. Many of us have been conditioned to measure ourselves in the same way, using our ability to endure pain as a barometer for our worth.
We support and we march in support of black men, but we can't get to work or home without fighting through dick offers and bitch insults from them.By M. Shelly Conner Let’s be clear: I paid three dollars and a hug for street harassment. Or assault. I still don’t know what to call it. I do know that I didn’t want it and felt forced to consent to it. As a genderqueer woman, I’m often taken by surprise by the unsolicited interest of men. As a black, cis-gender woman, I am surprised by my surprise. In his 1999 comedy special Bigger and Blacker, Chris Rock joked (because men are privileged to joke about rape and hebephilia) that, “every woman [in here] since [they] were thirteen, every man they met has been trying to fuck [them].” Of course most women know, depending on their development the depravity of their assailant, that age can go much lower. Rock goes on to posit that it is easy for women (and let’s include girls, since he opened that can of hebephilia with his 13-year-old starter age) to turn down sex because it is in constant supply for them. Ignoring: 1) the heterosexist framing, and 2) the assumption that women/girls are in equal positions to decline sexual advances from men as men are to decline them from women, we are still left with the idea that because “it is damn near impossible for men to turn down sex,” it is socially acceptable for men to “[offer women] dick three times a day.” Rock insists, “Every time a man’s being nice, he’s offering dick.” I don’t believe that and, of course, the joke is that neither does Rock. Far less humorous is the necessity for women to make this joke into a safe assumption. To act as if every kind offer from a man comes with an unwritten sexual addendum. To question intentions and weigh consent. In accepting a greeting of hello or a gesture of holding open a door, am I consenting to the unvocalized “offer” of sex? Although Rock uses the word offering as if it is merely a cup of tea, unsolicited dick offers in all of their myriad forms are more akin to scalping another’s head and calling it a haircut.
Sally Hemings deserves so much more than to be inextricably linked to her abuser. She deserves more than ‘Thomas and Sally.’ Apparently 2017 is the year of reimaging and sanitizing slavery. First, HBO announced Confederate, a show from the creators of