Soul Hunger
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 time?

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."
"Why?" The 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.
The End

Copyright © 2001. Used by permission of author. All Rights Reserved.

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