Op-Ed: If You’re Black and ‘Prefer’ Not to Date Black Men, That’s Internalized Racism
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Guitarist for trip-hop band The Internet and buzz-heavy producer Steve Lacy recently came out as bisexual — and full of shit. The 19-year-old Compton-based musician pissed off many of his #woke fans of color when he ignorantly announced on social media that his “human” defined sexuality doesn’t include Black men.
When asked by a Tumblr user to “break down the dynamics that led you to have a blatantly anti-black preference in partners,” Lacy replied:
The reason for it isn’t anti-black at all. Growing up around black males, they were always my competitors, ya know? I never viewed or saw myself doing anything sexual with my neighbors. I literally, like I said, see them as brothers.
As much as you or whoever thinks this sounds like B.S., it’s from a real place. I’m a nigga from Compton, I don’t dislike black people, I prefer to live here and be around POC (people of color) because I love black people. I’m just not attracted to black boys, that is it. I still love them and want them to do well in life, we just won’t date. Sorry.
The issue is not only that anti-Black sexual and romantic preferences are racist — manufactured by a white supremacist media environment that fetishizes whiteness as the most desirable — but also that Lacy, a young Black man boundless in talent, is so tied up in the stereotypes of Black male identity he has internalized.
Lacy’s excuses for internalized racism make no sense
In a world of hundreds of millions of Black men, Lacy has decided that skin color is more important than the character of his partner. And in the world of employment, education and friendship there is a name for that: racism. This is especially true when the individual being excluded for their skin color is a member of a historically marginalized group such as Black people.
Lacy’s argument that he sees Black men as “competition” and “brothers” rather than potential romantic partners makes no sense. His own band is a Black queer banner of glory in an indie rock scene constantly waving the pale flag of whiteness, yet somehow Lacy does not see whiteness as competition in the highly competitive white-male-dominated genre of rock music. He manages to see the humanity of white men just fine.
As for the idea that the brotherhood of Black men is somehow incestuous, all queer men are my “brothers” and yet that has never stopped me from putting a penis in my mouth. The fraternity of our community would be an absurd excuse for excluding people from my bedroom.
How internalized racism justifies itself in the bedroom
I have had my own experiences in the romance department by fetishizing white gay men and internalized racism. I wrote an article about it, and I understand the origin of the sorts of preferences that artists like Lacy flaunt. I understand the inner justifications an individual can use to mask their desire for approval and “love” in a sea of white faces. I’ve also heard a lot of them from other Black gay and bi men.
I’ve heard everything from pseudo-incest as inherent in intra-racial Black romantic relationships (i.e. “Black men are like my brothers”) to “I only date girls who like anime,” basically choosing a subculture that is largely non-inclusive of Black people.
There is also “snowflake syndrome,” where many people of color consider themselves to be inexplicably different, even superior, to the rest of their racial group, and who can find no other member of their community to whom they can relate.
I know this especially for Black creatives who have too often encountered the isolation of eccentricity from Black communities. It can be hard being the Black queer kid. I’ve sat in groups of other weird Black kids in recovery, and a common theme is how we’ve made various illogical excuses for why we behaved in atrocious ways towards other Black people and our lack of desire to partner ourselves to them.
People on social media are calling out Lacy’s internalized racism
I can never claim to read the mind of another human being, but I’m not buying Lacy’s excuses for rejecting Black men whose bodies and lives so mirror his own. Quite simply — and this shouldn’t have to be said — in a world of hundreds of millions of Black men, Lacy couldn’t get a hard-on or give his heart to one? The “incest” of Black men loving other Black men — sexually and romantically — is natural. Steve Lacy’s racist dating preferences are the true perversion here.
The best thing coming out of this situation is that Tumblr’s and Twitter’s ever-present squad of social justice savants swiftly challenged Lacy’s white supremacist dating preferences. His fandom is full of Black queer people who see Lacy as an emergent musical icon and an object of their desire. He would do best to not further break Black queer hearts and keep his anti-Black lusts and bedroom pathologies off social media.
Featured image by LeoPatrizi via iStock