Noelle L. Williams
The fantasy begins immediately. There we are -- she a
white woman, me a Black man and we overwhelmingly desire each other. Enough so that she, the
mistress, and I, the slave, have met each other in a barn and in the darkness amongst the hay find
each other. We begin to fuck, unrelenting, all consuming.
This image, my fantasy, is drawn from the depictions of
slavery in the movies, television and romance novels. Many times, its a common notion that the
Black man desired the prohibited, coveted flesh of the white woman and she the unrestricted
sexuality of the Black man. The dynamics of their sex, gender and color is an interplay of power
and restriction and that makes the image compelling. The myth/image of the overtaken Black
man and white woman is the image of our hungriest, raw selves because its desire that does not
care about punishment, death or social disenfranchisement. While much of it is predicated on the
myth of Black male as rapist and white woman as victim, the impetus behind these portrayals
embrace these beliefs and then, supersede them. In the course of their time together, in my
fantasy, in our fantasies, Black man and White woman, only seeks to satiate the immediate
yearning, a yearning that's indefinable and comes from within, almost soul directed---in its divorce
from social reprobation, identity constraints or censure.
She whispered into his ear, "But what if we get caught,
they will have us."
He passionately whispered back, "I need you I want you."
"I need you too," she said as she hungrily kissed him ... I need you too..."
However, once we switch the dynamics to a Black woman
and a white man the reasons for connection are clear and always the same: functional by default or
utilitarian- not desirous as coming from an indefinable space, or compelling. The white man in
search of relief since the "chaste" white woman will not have sex with him and the "propertied"
Black woman the victim of his rape and oppression. Interestingly, up to the last decade
homosexual and bisexual sex in popular culture was seen in a similar vein, as a result of social
disease \function or dysfunction. Rarely, is it imagined in the popular media as coming from a
space of unrelenting desire, a yearning for connection, completion. However where is the hunger,
for the rest of us? And what happens when I a 21st century, Black dyke most easily fantasizes a
mythical Black man and white woman, in 19th century antebellum society.
So I look at you and wonder can I be quiet. Can I rest
in your arms and know. Or will our time be one of exchange. Both of us hungrily trying to
consume what the other can give. Believing that perhaps this time we might come out ahead
with less of the other, more of our selves.
The centuries long Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson
debate has struck me. Perhaps, because as I walk the streets, read the books, watch the television
shows and see the angry white and black faces, I begin to wonder what is this debate about. It's
not solely about Hemings or Jefferson. Not by the way some people still in 2001 show
displeasure when a multi-racial/culture couple walks by. Over and over again I hear proponents
of the Sally Hemings -Thomas Jefferson affair demand that this desire to know is about objectivity
- verifying historical truth. They explain the need to verify that a white man, one of the former
Presidents of the United States had indeed participated in consensual or\and abusive sex, repeated
times with a slave ---his slave or his companion, the mother of his children, the half-sister of one
of his wives or his lover depending on which perspective one has. Angry proponents explain that
this legacy needs to be acknowledged. Some explain that he held her so dear that he kept her by
his side at home and overseas when he did not need to. Others believe that it shows how even the
most respected, prominent of white people oppressed and raped Blacks. Many, usually whites
argue that its not true, that their forefather did not commit this atrocity and if so what is the
significance since the role of Black women was simply that of chattel? What relevance is sexual
encounter, they wonder, when it's not relevant and with someone classified as property at that
She sat on the couch beside her and whispered: "So I
heard you were messing with girls?"
The younger one looked up and said, "Yes."
older one thought out loud, "Why if you are pretty? Why would you want to do that?"
The voices go back and forth, demonstrating their point
with whatever proof they may have available. DNA, historical records, family narratives are
dragged out, arguments and counterarguments are made. In 1967, Loving vs. Virginia, the
Supreme Court upheld that it was a violation of national law for states to prohibit marriage based
on race. In the decision the courts wrote: "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as
one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage
is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival." When
anti-miscegenation laws were overturned in the United States it was more than about social
equality, it spoke to a larger desire. By saying that whites and blacks could get married, one had
to acknowledge that there was a yearning a soul yearning for one and another. A yearning that
speaks to the very essence of desire, the perception of home, peace, heaven with another.
And so they climbed into the bed. He reached over and
caressed her cheek, she held his elbow and as they sunk to the bed, they touched some more. He
moved closer to her gently feeling his white body against her brown one, looking deeply into
her eyes he said, "You are my love." He closed the window, blocking out the jeers and laughs in
the far distance as the crowd tied the noose around a woman's neck.
" I love you," she said gently
looking deeply in his eyes as she cried.
When I hear the burning debates on multi-racial couples or
gay and lesbian folk, including the Hemings -Jefferson debate.. I know that there is a hunger. It
is an unacknowledged hunger for all of us to accept the ability of the soul, the desire to exist and
manifest within and beyond our social reality. Whether it's the Blacks asserting the possibility of
a white man seeing more than chattel, or perhaps experiencing love or communion when he
looked at a Black woman. The debate questions the "naturalness" of our pre-conceived notions of
what's natural and appropriate of whom we are to yearn for, of home or whom we can share
heaven with. In turn I think the debate opens up the possibilities for all of us to understand and
expand our notions of what human souls can desire and do find in each other.
In the midst of the debate, I began to imagine a new
fantasy. So she moved closer to her. Breast to breast, knee to knee, groping desiring for more.
At once a shock went through then both. I recognize you; they said simultaneously, you are my
dream, my longing kissing my soul.
Copyright © 2001. Used by permission of author. All Rights Reserved.
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