I was in a taxi on the way to my Literacy class. My college is in Yonkers, 17 miles away from my apartment in the Bronx. The ride was long, costly and smelled of poorly dried clothing. It rained heavily that morning, so I could not roll down the windows. Instead, I disgruntledly endured the sour scent. But that foul odor pales in comparison to the shenanigans that ensued the moment my taxi left the Bronx and entered Caucasian Hell.
I could not see the traffic signs welcoming me to Yonkers. I didn’t need them. I knew I was there the moment I received six concurrent Grindr notifications, all sent by white guys, all asking for the same thing: photos of my “big Black cock.” Although, one guy showed a unique kind of persistence — bordering both desperate and admirable. He sent me ten messages in less than five seconds, three of which included photos of his butthole.
“Please, daddy. Show me your big black cock,” he wrote. Finally, I replied, politely declining his advances. Suddenly, his undying thirst to preview my chocolate delights transformed into racist bitterness. “Stupid fucking monkey. There are plenty more nigger boys for me!” But before I could tell him that his butthole resembled a chewed up piece of Hubba Bubba Max, he blocked me.
That guy didn’t see my humanity. He saw a challenge, an experiment — an opportunity to demonstrate how whiteness craves dominion over blackness. But I’m not the one; I’m no one’s sexual conquest, and I’m most certainly no one’s “big black cock.”
Initially, I blamed Grindr for giving me proximity to whiteness which, for me, has always been synonymous with encountering racism. However, if I blame Grindr, I would have to blame the other apps where white people have fetishized me or called me a nigger: Twitter, Facebook, and even Christian Mingle. I can’t blame Grindr any more than I could blame a waitress at Red Lobster for bringing me an undercooked steak. You don’t blame the waitress — you blame the chef.
Grindr is not the chef, its users are — what they choose to cook up is totally up to them.
Some users choose to cook up sexual discrimination — “No Blacks.” Some users choose to cook up racial fetishism — “Big Black dicks only!” Which is more harmful: being excluded or being someone’s fetish? I can’t decide that for everyone, but I’d rather be excluded. Not having sex with a racist is much better than sleeping with one who feels a sense of triumph after we have sex.
Most people don’t realize that black fetishism is about controlling black bodies. As sex and disability health educator Robin Wilson-Beattie says, “Black people’s bodies have been fetishized since slavery. We were seen as physical beings to perform a service. Not just slave labor, but sexuality too. There’s a history and culture surrounding being with a black person being seen as taboo and kinky, being looked at as bringing in a bit of ‘exoticism’ to spice up a sex life.”
How often do you hear somebody say, “Bring me that big white cock?” I have never heard anyone use that phrase before. And neither has Max Konnor, a very well-known gay porn star who works in a very white-dominated industry. Konnor tweeted, “I hate when guys refer to my dick as BBC or anything along those lines. You don’t specify the color of a white dick… I am not a fetish. I am a human being.”
I hate when guys refer to my dick as BBC or anything along those lines. You don’t specify the color of a white dick….. I am not a fetish. I am a human being.
— MAX KONNOR (@maxkonnorxxx) January 17, 2018
Sometimes, queer Black men view being fetishized as a compliment; they view racial fetishism as a privilege. For example, in a now-deleted tweet, a young, queer Black guy posted a screenshot of a conversation with a white guy on Grindr. He began the message saying, “Black okay?”
The white guy replied, “Unfortunately no. Sorry. I actually feel less of a man when I’m with someone darker than me. Don’t get me wrong, [tan] lines are sexy, but darker men make me feel inadequate for some stupid reason.”
The guy expressed that he was not interested in Black men because darker men make him feel inadequate. However, based on the Black guy’s greeting: he feels like his own Blackness is inadequate. He is the type of Black man who would find the term “big Black cock” to be a compliment.
The term “big black cock” is not a compliment. It’s a reminder that white supremacy has no sexuality, and that I’m no one’s big black cock.