Get Your Learn On

Black sexuality is a taboo subject in American principally because it is a form of black power over which whites have little control — yet its visible manifestations evoke the most visceral of white responses, be it one of seductive obsession or downright disgust. On the one hand, black sexuality among blacks simply does not include whites, nor does it make them a central point of reference. It proceeds as if whites do not exist, as if whites are invisible and simply don’t matter. This form of black sexuality puts black agency center stage with no white presence at all. This can be uncomfortable for white people accustomed to being the custodians of power.

On the other hand, black sexuality between blacks and whites proceeds based on underground desires that Americans deny or ignore in public and over which laws have no effective control. In fact, the dominant sexual myths of black women and men portray whites as being “out of control” — seduced, tempted, overcome, over-powered by black bodies. This form of black sexuality makes white passivity the norm — hardly and acceptable self-image for a white-run society

Cornel West

excerpt from “Black Sexuality: The Taboo Subject” in Race Matters,

Second Vintage Books Edition. Boston: Beacon Press (1993): p. 119-131.

Excerpt from p. 125-126

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    — Cornel West excerpt from “Black Sexuality: The Taboo Subject” in Race Matters, Second Vintage Books Edition. Boston:...
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