So, you want to frame that picture of Mahershala but you didn’t care when Philando Castile was murdered in front of his family? You want to sleep with Trevante but you stayed silent when your friend said “all lives matter?”
At this point, it’s almost impossible to have not heard of the Oscar-winning film Moonlight. Perhaps you’re even familiar with the names of the actors — Mahershala Ali, Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes — who all star in Barry Jenkins’ film. The actors are featured in Calvin Klein’s newest men’s underwear campaign, called Revelation.
The campaign itself is elegant, beautiful and a lovely way of portraying each actor’s quiet power and personality. The widely shared images from the campaign have been predictably drooled over and praised; however, what made me supremely uncomfortable was seeing white women engage with the images without ever saying a peep for black lives or systemic racism within their own communities.
So, you want to frame that picture of Mahershala but you didn’t care when Philando Castile was murdered in front of his family? You want to sleep with Trevante but you stayed silent when your friend said “all lives matter?” You think it’s OK to talk about how you want little mixed babies with either of them when you can’t even confront your co-worker saying racist shit?
The objectification of black men by white women leaves such a lingering stench. I certainly can’t ignore it and find it appalling to hear white women dehumanize and lust after black dick and black bodies without ever seeing the irony of their justified demands for their own right to agency and lack of objectification by all men, but especially white men.
To ignore the violence, especially the sexual violence that white people used against black people from the time of chattel slavery and onwards, is irresponsible and racist. To ignore how white women weaponized their femininity and perceived vulnerability to harm black men in unconscionable ways is racist.
When talking about sex and sexuality within an interracial relationship, there is a responsibility of the person holding more privilege to unpack their own internalized biases and racism. You, as a white woman, may not think that you are racist, but racism is more than macro-aggressions, and it takes life-long effort to work through the racial biases you have been absorbing for years.
To say that you want to have sex with a black person, or marry a black man or woman, doesn’t make you not racist. I speak from personal experience within my own family when I say that racism can affect interracial relationships and marriages. Don’t share these pictures of Trevante and Mahershala when you tried looking for justifications for Mike Brown’s murder by Darren Wilson.
Unless you are ready to be an accomplice in the fight against white supremacy, unless you are actively challenging your racist friends, families and communities, I have no interest in hearing you say how much you love Idris Elba. I have no room for your barely appropriate lusting and objectification of black men if you don’t even try to take the time to show up to our protests.
That is not how love works.
Love is the most brilliant human emotion we have, and it has no room for your racism.