Many people aren’t taking about Michael Sam having a white partner. Indeed, we should be happy for him no matter if he chooses a white, black, pink, or blue man. But we shouldn’t ignore the uncomfortable facts about interracial dating between black and white gay men. We might use this as a way to return to that old conversation. Not to judge Michael, our goal would be to shed light on the demons in the gay community.
Fact is—the gay community isn’t one big happy family. When people talk about a supposed “gay agenda,” it often bothers me. It bundles gay people as having the same goals. White gay men and women dominate in wealth ownership. They decide what makes gay news. They run the gay lobbies. Usually, though, they insert an Asian, Latino, or black face here-and-there to camouflage the racialized decision-making process.
From the 1980s to the 1990s, white gay-male issues dominated the gay community. Gay men, on a whole, were the most affected population during the emergence of the HIV/AIDS crisis. As a result, HIV/AIDS funding went mostly to white male-dominated organizations. This meant that white male issues took the center of discourse.
In the 1990s, black, white, and Latino women groups said, “Enough is enough, We have issues too.” The white male power structure, however, only heard the white women. White sisters then got funding to address their varied advocacy needs. This allowed white women issues to take the stage alongside the issues of white gay men. Currently, white women seem to have as much say as white men in the gay power politics. They help to decide gay talk, which, in many ways, is white talk.
White funding allowed white homosexuals and lesbians the opportunity to give their histories and stories visibility in the media of current affairs, literature, and scholarship production. They ignored other racial groups that demanded a piece of the visibility pie. People sometimes ask—Why are black gay men so closeted? I believe it relates to the white structure denying them opportunities and funding to give their stories and histories visibility.
With media, literature, and scholarship visibility, people can look at their histories and images. People can then engage debate, and reject, accept, or modify what they desire as their own narrative. But ultimately, they will become more confident persons after witnessing and debating their strengths and weaknesses through visibility platforms.
This very reason is why many African American students do not perform on par with their white counterparts. African Americans have multiple roles in the education system. They have to learn about themselves by locating images and histories of themselves from missing curriculum. They have to convince themselves of their humanity by imagining their human histories resemble those of white human beings. And they have to rediscover themselves by denying validity to the false histories they are still told to write about as fact in school testing frameworks.
Denial of visibility affects intimacy relations between black and white men. Some black men seek white men to acquire class visibility. That is, some black men believe that having a white partner makes them look progressive. Many times these white men are broke. Yet the black man believes he has a good investment in the white man’s status. The black man thinks the presence of the white man softens his blackness beneath the white gaze and makes his blackness more high profile beneath the gazes of people of color. He believes this blackness reduction gives him access to white communities. As he sees it, the white man is his ticket to the big party of economic opportunities.
On the other, it is a well-known secret that many white men seek black men because of their perceived notion that black men have big dicks and bedroom aggressiveness. Visit any gay dating site! You will notice the language difference when white men hunt black men. There is usually an emphasis on the “big black dick for the white ass.” Black men serve as white men’s entry into territories of soft sadomasochism.
The penis paired with aggression are violence upon white submission. The eroticness of black gay bodies, therefore, resembles the history of house slaves and field hands. This happens when plantation histories are woven into the plans that cultivate present-day fantasies. As the white man sees it, the black skin, the big black cock, and the black aggressiveness are the hands needed to feed his ego and till his erotic landscape.
Very often, the man is an older white man. He has already lived all his fantasies. He has been to all the bath houses and the sex shops. He has graduated from the tradition of cock rings, piss parties, and the likes thereof. Wrinkled and tired of patrolling the erotic territories where young white men ignore him, the old white man sees the black man. It is a case as Psalm 118: 22 puts it, “the stone that the builder refused will become the chief corner stone of the house.”
Used up, whiteness makes itself available to blackness. But still feeling superior to the black presence, the white figure seeks out the cream of the black crop. He seeks out black men with the gift of youth, the gift of penis size, the gift of education. He clings to this black man. But at all times, he indirectly reminds the black object that he is a privileged black object within his black race.
Many of these white men also seek black men because they want to unsettle the white gaze. They want their white community to think they are progressive. They have no stake in racist productions. In a day when everybody wants to have some exoticness in their presence, a black man as an accessory does well for white self-esteem and public presence.
We must note, however, that in many ways, the interracial partnership isn’t one sided. (I didn’t talk about Asians and Latinos because I wanted to focus on black and white men.) Both the black man and the white man use each other’s presence. And let me emphasize that I am not putting forward an observation that typifies the relationship of all interracial couples; neither am I making judgment. But only a fool or a dishonest person would deny my observations exist widely in the gay-male community.