Race and sex in the USA

I have a piece at CiF poking fun at Bob Allen, a Republican politician in Florida, keen on family values and locking up perverts who was — but you guessed — busted cottaging in a park in the fine city of Titusville. If you’re going to offer someone $20 for the privilege of giving them a blowjob, make sure he’s not an undercover policeman.

What makes it more illuminating, though, is his excuse, captured on tape when he went back to the police station: that he was the only white guy in the place, and, seeing all these blacks, he was afraid he “would become a statistic”.

In other words, he was prepared to admit to finding black men so frightening that it made some kind of sense to offer the nearest large one $20 and a blowjob in exchange for free passage out of the area. (He never explained how he had got there in the first place.) Obviously, this isn’t really true, in the sense that he is not offering an accurate account of his motives. But the fact that he felt on some level tht it was plausible is very much more illuminating about his beliefs on race, and the fact that he expects them to be something that “everyone knows” than most lies or even wholly true statements.

After finishing that piece, I stumbled across this long piece in the Boston Review which argues — from a rather different angle — that after the Civil Rights movement crime became a proxy for race in American poilitics after the Civil Rights movement. This would mean that Rep. Allen, in his rather confused way, was only articulating party policy. (the story is also discussed on metafilter)

It’s worth thinking about. I wonder if we are approaching the same condition here. I have interviewed a social worker from California who thought we very well might be, after visiting Feltham Young Offenders institution.

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One Response to Race and sex in the USA

  1. Er, Andrew “after the Civil Rights movement crime became a proxy for race in American poilitics after the Civil Rights movement” involves a bit of tautology.

    Americans, white and black, have never truly come to grips with what race means to them. The result is, at best, miccommunication and at worst people dying.

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