Two years ago a young African American writer Scott Poulson-Bryant wrote an explosive book called “Hung”. It is also excellent that a young black man wrote this book because I can relate to the material he writes about. The title of the book “Hung” has a double meaning it refers to black men being lynched in the south for daring to look or date white women. The word “hung” also refers to the size of a man’s penis.
Poulson-Bryant’s book is brave and bold it opens with a letter to Emmett Till. Emmett Till was a young black boy that was brutally murdered by white Southern men in the year 1955 in the American South. Till was only fourteen years old when he died he was accused by some white Southern men for “whistling” at a white woman. During America’s racial apartheid one of the ways in which white males attempted to control black male sexuality was through killing innocent young black men by lynching them and hanging them in trees. Lynching was also a method in which white males had an affirmation of their male dominance and their own sexuality. White men did not want white women to date or have children with black men.
The white males in the South controlled the white females, black males, and black women sexuality. The hypocrisy here is that it is well known white men brutally raped black women and exploited black female sexuality. The white males were able to assert their male dominance over all women. However, the white males did not want the black men to also have sexual relations with white women.
Black women were also vulnerable because the laws did not protect black women from rape just white women. Black men were emasculated because the legal system did not even allow black men to protect black women from being raped by white men. The legal system discriminated against black men and black women.
During the days of slavery and even into the 20th century it is well known that white men in the American South raped black women and got away with it. Often young black female domestics were raped by their white male employers in the employer’s residence. Black women were treated as inferior to white women since white female sexuality was placed on a pedestal.
Sometimes the penises of young black men were cut off by the lynch mob to symbolize the fear white men had of black male sexuality. Often white Southern people treated lynching black men as a town event. A white mob would cheer and laugh at these hangings some people even brought their children to a lynching. And if you don’t know pick up a history book and learn about the history of lynching and this disgraceful disgusting period in American history.
Poulson-Bryant discuses the sexism of women and the prejudices women also have about the “myth” of the black penis. Poulson-Bryant explores an incident from his own life experience. One year in college Poulson-Bryant met a white girl at a bar and later on they had sex. The white girl was not thrilled that Poulson-Bryant’s penis wasn’t “large” enough. Poulson-Bryant was shocked at the attitude of the white girl and began questioning himself and his manhood.
One of the strongest parts of the book “Hung” is when Poulson-Bryant explores the sexual racism of the gay community and the racist damaging stereotypes of black gay male sexuality. I know from my personal experiences that some white gay men do indeed view black men as sexual fetishes for sex. All you got to do is watch a DVD of “Queer As Folk” or “Six Feet Under” to understand what I am saying. Black men on these white gay TV shows were treated as window dressing characters that could be sexually exploited and placed back into the shadows. And there is more to black gay male sexuality then being a sideshow for white gays that’s for sure.
I remember a white guy I went out with ten years ago when I was barely out of my teens. One day I was over at the ex boyfriend’s apartment and he went to the bathroom. I don’t know why I did it but I saw his diary by his bed and I opened it. I was so disgusted in the diary entry of the former boyfriend of mine he wrote that he loved my “black penis.” Feelings of anger and disgust just washed over me. Am I not a complete person? Or was was this ex boyfriend of mine just interested in me because of a part of my anatomy? Well lets just put it this way the relationship ended very quickly after that. And I am glad it did.
Have I ever had sex with white guys before? Of course I have I’m not going to lie. Have I had sex with black men before? Of course I have. The difference is when I was intimate with black men I didn’t have this “myth” of the “black penis” and I definitely didn’t treat other black men as sex objects. Has the sex sometimes been good and pleasurable? Sure it has. I know men and women are different because I can separate between love and sex. Love is one thing and sex is a totally different issue. Some white gay guys will chase black gay men and vise versa for sex.
I will explain for the straight people that read my blog this next issue. In the gay male community there are “tops” and “bottoms”. If you ever go to a gay dating website the issue of “tops” and “bottoms” is the main issue. Everybody wants to know what “position” you play. Often when I am on gay dating websites I will receive messages from white gay men and sometimes from Asian gay men if I am a “top”. Sometimes I choose not to answer these questions because I find them not only annoying but it also verges on racism. In the gay male community the stereotype is that all black gay men are aggressive, Asian gay men are stereotyped as submissive and yet white gay men don’t get stereotyped because they are the majority.
The “top” is viewed as the more “masculine” male he is the one that penetrates the other male in his anus. The “bottom” is the more submissive male during gay sex that receives the penetration. If you’ve ever watch gay porn you will notice black gay males are often always tall, dark skinned to symbolize the “exotic” factor but also be extremely well “hung.” The white gay males in gay male pornography will be smaller have a smaller penis and will be the “submissive.” The gay male pornography acts out the whole master and slave complex but with a twist. The black gay male is depicted as the sexual “aggressor sexual master” and the white gay male is viewed as the “victim” or “passive” role. The black gay male will always have a deep voice in these gay porn movies and the white gay male will be meek and timid.
Also in the gay community it is well known that some white gay men chase black gay guys because they think all black men have large penises. If you take a look at the glossy mainstream white gay magazines often you will see half naked black men in advertisements for pornography or for contests at gay bars.
However, take a look at the masthead of these same white gay magazines you will never see a black gay man as the editor in chief or a top editor at these publications. Once again white gay males have the economic, gender, racial, and political power. Even gay porn skin mags that feature black gay men are run by white gay males.
A few years ago when I was younger I used to write for a Toronto gay publication Xtra! It had taken me a while to realize that the so called Toronto gay community was not “my community” it still was a “white” community although gay. The only reason the editor wanted me to write for Xtra! was because he wanted me to write about the “black gay” experience.
Xtra! wasn’t interested in my writings about other issues I was interested in. And my life is more then just my sexuality. I found the gay media limiting to me as a writer. Also in Xtra! you are never going to read many articles about the hypocrisy, double standards, and entrenched racism of the Canadian white gay community that’s for sure.
Scott Poulson-Bryant’s book struck a chord with me because I know how dehumanizing sexual racism in the gay community is. For some reason in the gay male community the subject of sexual racism is taboo and off limits?
Also when I was younger I used to hang out with a bunch of Asian gay males. Often these Asian gay males would complain to me and whine that white gay men weren’t giving them the “attention” they so desperately craved. Now of course, not all Asian gay men want white boyfriends and that’s not what this blog entry is about.
I am writing about a specific experience that I know about. One Asian gay male friend who is now a former friend of mine he also was very upset whenever we went to gay bars that the white gay men would ignore him. I told my so called friend that everyone has a sexual attraction and that there were white gay males interested in Asian gay men. Yet I question why my Asian gay male friend was so upset about “specifically” seeking out white gay guys. Poulson-Bryant effectively writes about the sexual organization of the gay male community is not only Eurocentric its also very racist as well.
In the gay community it is well known that men of colour and especially black gay men are depicted as just sexual objects for white homosexual male desire. Poulson-Bryant discusses a story about a friend of his that went to a gay party that was basically a sex orgy. Poulson-Bryant’s gay friend told him how some white gay men were so excited to perform oral sex on a black man’s penis simply because of the “color”. Bryant crafted the message that the “color is the size and the size is the color.” The only thing that was important to the white gay men at the sexual orgy was that Scott Poulson-Bryant’s friend’s penis was black.
The most important section of “Hung” is when Poulson-Bryant also explores the racism of the pornography industry. I found this section of the book to be one of the most honest readings I’ve ever had about the porn industry. Poulson-Bryant shatters the mystique and the silence about racism in pornography. The racist stereotypes about black male sexuality these manifestations not only exist but are mass produced on DVDs and easy for the eyes to see. I am not saying people should not enjoy porn and I am not a prude. I watch porn like every other gay guy.
I just want people to be more “cognizant” about what they are watching. Some porn I definitely stay clear of if I find it to be dehumanizing and racist. The racist beliefs about black men penises and depicting black men as ” sexual beasts” and “savages” that seek to “conquer”, “rape”, and “ravage” white women is definitely takes place I feel more in “heterosexual interracial porn.”
Details Magazine earlier this year publsihed an article about an interracial sex orgy that had taken place in suburbia at a residence of a white middle class couple. The white wife had a “hunger” for the black penis and the husband “allowed” black men to come into his house and screw his wife. The white husband claimed he didn’t mind his wife “screwing” black men because he knew she would “never” leave him for a black guy. When I read the Details article the writer didn’t even question the underlining homoerotic element. Why would a husband be “cool” with his wife screwing a whole bunch of young black men? I think the white husband got “off” and he was “turned on” by seeing black men have sex with white women. And I think a lot of heterosexual “interracial porn” has a kind of voyeuristic feel to it. You don’t see the white heterosexual men but they are the ones pulling the strings in the background. I also believe some white heterosexual men are “turned on” by black men.
Perhaps the fact that gay porn is between white gay men and black gay men both are male and it cancels out the “intimidation factor” and the “submission factor” is much less. Since gay male interracial porn is male on male I think racism definitely exists but not to the extreme as in heterosexual interracial pornography.
However, the straight interracial porn I have viewed between black men and white women I must admit I find some of it incredibly racist and very offensive. I wonder if the black men that make straight porn with white women understand they are being “used” and I feel in some ways “exploited”. In some interracial porn its all about the black straight men being depicted as a “rapist” or as “marauder” invading white heterosexual male territory and taking “advantage” of their women. The white women in interracial porn are depicted as “sluts” and “whores” that crave the “black penis.” So white women in heterosexual interracial porn don’t come off looking “good” either. I wonder if these young black men and white female entertainers in straight interracial porn understand what the porn video directors are “really” trying to say with the imagery? The porn industry is white male dominated a lot of the “interracial porn” between black men and white women is actually made for white heterosexual men and I find this to be homoerotic and perplexing. It appears to me some white heterosexual men have fascination with the black male penis and black male sexuality although they won’t admit it.
Everyone has seen a porn movie but have you ever paid attention to why there is so much interracial porn films between white women and black men? If you ever visit your local adult video store take a look. In the porn movies black men are of course depicted as sexual monsters with extremely large python like penises. Poulson Bryant asks the question who is this porn really for? I believe there is a homoerotic element to this kind of pornography and that some so called white straight guys are actually sexually attracted to black men. I mean why would a white heterosexual male want to see a black man have sex with a white woman? You can argue the white guy is just staring at the woman but I doubt it. I think some white men have an attraction but also a repulsion to black male sexuality.
Poulson-Bryant interviews the famous black porn star Lexington Steele. Steele is well known in the porn world for his enormous penis and his good looks. However, unlike most porn stars Steele doesn’t feel he is being exploited. Steele has managed to maintain control over his image and his product unlike many other people in the porn industry. Poulson-Bryant examines the reason interracial porn is popular but it is also taboo. Interracial porn porn is still considered “forbidden” and “salacious” and “dirty”.
Poulson-Bryant points out the large number of porn DVDs that are available for purchase at your local video store and the lack of mainstream movies with black heterosexual men having white female love interests. Remember the Super Bowl controversy over the commerical with the white actress Nicolette Sheridan from “Desperate Housewives” and the African American football player Terell Owens? White America had a heart attack. In the commerical Sheridan is in the men’s change room she takes off her towel and leaps into Owens arms. The controversy over the commerical was incredible because whites feared seeing black men and white women together.
If you’ve noticed these movies are rare for a variety of reasons. Poulson-Bryant also investigates another issue and that is the fear the white heterosexual male has of black male sexuality. Interracial marriage in some American states was illegal up to 1967 when the Supreme Court in the famous Loving Vs Virgina stuck down the racist law.
Poulson Bryant also explores the stereotypes that exist about black male sexuality in the media and pop culture especially with hip hop. In many hip hop music videos the black heterosexual rappers have to boast about their sexuality and masculinity because that’s the only power they have in society. In North America white men have political and economic power. I remember in a Caribbean Studies class during my undergraduate days my professor Andrea Davis said at York University black men only have two social markers one is physical strength and the other is sexual prowess. If you notice heterosexual black male rappers such as P Diddy and 50 Cent have to boast about how many women they sleep with because they don’t have any cultural signifiers of power.