Tag Archives: academia

The Mandingo Manifesto: Branding The Black Sex Master

You probably don’t know this, but The Black Sex Master is actually the fourth iteration of my online personal blog/journal.

The first one I started right after high school when I attended Penn State. It was the first time I lived outside of New York and I needed a space to jot down my culture shock. The second version was called De Los Otros (From The Others) after the book of the same title. It’s probably the most important book regarding changing my career trajectory from journalist to sexuality scholar. I was also embracing my weirdness and thought it fit. This is also where The Quotes of the Week were born!

The third was named after my AOL hookup screename, but it was private and didn’t last too long.

When I returned from my Master’s program I had so much to say, so much on my mind. But I didn’t just want to write another blog. I also wanted to conduct an experiment.

At orientation, the former director of my program (a White man) warned us of what was to come (paraphrasing):

“You will be ostracized for studying sexuality. The legitimacy of your scholarship will always be in question. Other social sciences will look down on you…”

And he wasn’t wrong. In my day job I’m surrounded by MPH’s, MS’ and social workers who often not only think they’re better than me, but think their skill set is better (it never is).

This stigma is also internalized in the field and intersects with my other identities. I originally wanted to do my thesis interviewing porn stars. I was working in the business for a few years at that point and wanted to formally document what I was experiencing. But several of my teachers encouraged me to do a more “formal” thesis…especially if I wanted to subsequently get into a distinguished PhD program. Funny enough, they “let” a White gay man in my cohort do his thesis on porn. And I get it. Their goal was to get me prepared to be a professional gay. Black gay men need all the help we can get in the “good Negro” visibility department.

Speaking of the politics of respectability, did you know there’s this Asian professor who made his own straight porn to show Asian men are desexualized in media representation? Think a Black man could do that and still have an academic career? I doubt it. Especially ten/twenty years ago.

And then there was that defining moment second year. I was in the waiting room of our program staring at a wall of pamphlets. I realized our program’s tri-fold brochure had a Black women on it. And I thought to myself, “Wait, how many Black students have actually been in this program?!” Come to find out there were only four (out of roughly 40): two gay boys (one of which was in my cohort), a woman a few years before and myself. Pathetic.

And clearly there are other Black academics who have expertise in sexuality but have a “generic” degree, but I think my point still stands. They may market themselves as having an expertise in sexual orientation/gender (read LGBT), but not broader sexuality. The oversexed stereotype of Black folk is so powerful it was covertly eroding my ability to chart my career the way I wanted to. Ironically, the Mandingo effect: that Black men have big dicks and can’t stop fucking was preventing me from studying dicks and fucking for a living. Ain’t that some shit?

So I thought to myself, “If I’m going to always be more valued for my body than my mind, how the hell do I market myself as an intellectual and remain true to myself and my ideals.

Well, I didn’t have the answer to that question, but I figured out a fun way to proceed on my journey.

Looking at other blogs I enjoyed surrounding race and stereotypes, I realized some people were having fun with their branding. There’s Angry Asian Man; get it? He’s Asian, and angry, but no one cares because Asian men are feminine and non-threatening. Anti-Intellect, The Uppity Negro Network, the Field Negro, etc. But all the Black ones I read didn’t explicitly deal with sex (some LGBT, but that’s different).

At some point during the program, we started calling each other “sex masters.” And sure enough this URL was available. So I wanted to test a hypothesis: what if I have this crazy URL, but fill it just with words? Little to no crazy images, just the best writing on sexuality I could produce. What would it look like? How would people respond? Would that garner me the respect I so eagerly craved?

Four years later, I can answer that question; it’s a resounding NO.

Black man grinding

Black sex master

Black man rent

The Mandingo effect is so durable, I’m continually amazed. You wouldn’t believe how many people find this site googling for Black men to degrade, humiliate and fuck the shit out of them. I expected that in the beginning, and many of the earlier posts were designed to get these page views back when I expected to put advertising on the site.

Bitchtouse

It’s the same with the Facebook page. There’s no smut on it whatsoever, however not a week goes by without someone hitting me up out of pocket (as Joaquin would say) looking to be used and abused. Although, the about page isn’t really filled out (on purpose) If you click on the links, follow me on Twitter and read the posts you get of sense of what I do and why I named this site the way I did. The joke’s not that hard to get.

The Facebook page is also interesting because many of the people I know in real life (and who read and love this blog on a regular basis) refuse to interact with it because they don’t want their friends/family asking why they “associate with a Black Sex Master.” They’ll go straight to the site, refuse to like the page or share the posts. Even other sex masters! But I get feedback privately all the time. The number of FB fans is probably around half of those who read this blog on a regular basis.

But in the end, none of that matters. To many people, I’m nothing more than my genitalia. And that makes me sad. To paraphrase India.Arie, I am not my dick. I’m much more than that:

I’m a video game lover, especially Halo
I’m a loving uncle and brother
I’m a tech enthusiast and Apple fanboy
I’m probably the biggest Christina Aguilera fan you’ll ever meet

I should be able to talk about all these things and more. I should be able to be proud of all these facets of my life/personality. I should be able to name a site The Black Sex Master and not be blocked by spam filters when there’s no porn on the site.

My full humanity should be recognized and honored; personally and professionally.

It is my belief that as long as Black men (gay, straight or otherwise) are put in this box of hyper masculinity, we will never be free.

This blog is my resistance. And to be honest, it’s the only sanctuary I have left.

Quotes of the Week – Ending 8.22.10

We need an open source project to reboot this whole fucking mess. Call it “Humanity 2.0.”
Shoq Value via Twitter

Michelle Obama and Sigourney Weaver are the same person.
hallehberreh via Twitter

I wish Whitney Houston was tweeting during the hardcore crack days.
RexHennessey via Twitter

My asshole is tired of being raped by white privilege!

To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it. They just scroll to the bottom and click “I agree.”
almightygod via Twitter

Are you gonna control that boyfriend of yours so he doesn’t cum in my hair again?
He’s been saving his load.
Brent Everett shenanigans

I don’t have a passcode on my iPhone, because if someone else has it, they took it from my cold dead hands.
Mark Dagon Hughes via Twitter

If only the [Project Runway] designers were as good with sewing as they are reading each other.
Karsh via Twitter

I’m walking to go get lunch and this random guy asked me if I watch straight porn. WTF kinda society we living in?
Queer Kid of Color via Twitter

Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?
Amber Rose via Twitter

In America, sex is an obsession. In other parts of the world, it’s a fact.
Marlene Dietrich

In 2004, Republicans ran against gays getting married. Now it seems they’ve moved on. The new scare tactics focus on Muslims and Mexicans.
Keith Boykin via Twitter

American democracy can’t afford to lose another generation.
Cornel West via Twitter

The greatest public health threat for many American women is the men they live with.
Anna Quindlen

It’s the idea of you that I miss. Not you as the person you really are.
alcoholharmony via Twitter

As the bumper sticker says, if I’m not part of the solution, I’m part of the problem. I don’t want to be part of the problem any more, and I think I will sleep better knowing that I am no longer contributing to an academic job market that bears an uncomfortable resemblance to a Ponzi scheme on the verge of falling apart.
Monica J. Harris – Stop Admitting Ph.D. Students (Inside Higher Ed)

Writing, like crying, is a great way to acknowledge and face pain, and not just yours.
Terry McMillan via Twitter

An injustice to one is an injustice to all. And it isn’t about “tolerance.” People are not to be tolerated, people are to be accepted.
Amerie via Twitter

I’ve never noticed how beautiful silence can be.
Ryan Drake via Twitter

Rediscovering music is giving me my life back.
Trent Jackson via Twitter

You’ve got to love the actual sweat, more than the lights and the glamor.
Bette Davis

Brick walls are there for a reason. They let you know how badly you want things.
Randy Pausch

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships we were afraid to have and the decisions we waited too long to make.
JuztDevious via Twitter

The answers are inside, if you’re not afraid to look.
C. Jay Conrod via Twitter

You can’t make someone give a fuck.
Urban Prince via Twitter

How Russell Simmons Changed My Life

One reason I love New York City so much is the random celebrity sightings. You get to see stars in their natural habitat, which to me is a lot more interesting than when you see them at an event/overt stalking. I also have channeling powers, so I tend to meet people at really interesting moments. Enter Russell Simmons. Continue reading How Russell Simmons Changed My Life