black girl blogs · reviews · tv reviews

Blindspotting: Honey Brown Child

Since it’s first episode Blindspotting hasn’t been afraid to bring up tough, often controversial, conversations. It’s here to entertain us but the show is also here to make us think, to ask us the tough questions that audiences often seek to avoid in the content they consume. So it’s no surprise that Blindspotting did it’s best to cover the topic of what qualifies or disqualifies a brown skinned person as Black. Plus Ashley gets a much needed self care date in which she debates about telling Sean where Miles is. It’s a heavy episode but a much needed one.

One of the biggest issues in the Black community is the constant debate of whether or not someone is “Black enough” to be considered a Black person. It’s always a hot debate what circumstances and situations can either provide someone with a Black card or take their Black card away. Have you seen The Wiz? Do you know Who Let The Dogs Out? Why did Craig get high on Friday? How much sugar do you put in your Kool-Aid? Hot sauce, yes or no? The ways a persons Blackness can be tested is endless. And in episode six of Blindspotting, Mama Nancy tries to test Sean’s Blackness only to be disappointed in his answers and preferences. Which in turn sparks a huge debate between herself, Janelle, Earl and Trish.

Sean’s favorite movies include John Wick 1 & 2 along with Paddington and it’s sequel. Four movies that aren’t exactly ripe with Black people. This revelation appalls Nancy and when she asks Sean what color he is, his response of “honey brown” does even less to soothe her. He can’t even handle a single hot Cheeto. When she brings this to the attention of Janelle and Earl they both have very different view points on Sean and his Blackness. Janelle is firm in her stance that because Sean is mixed he’ll never really have the full Black experience. He may be Black but he is not the same kind of Black that dark skinned Janelle is. Earl, understands this, but he is against the idea that Blackness can be qualified by outside circumstances. Because he himself is dark like Janelle but he grew up in the “nice” part of Oakland, his parents love each other and are still together but yet Earl still ended up in jail on a drug charge. Does his upbringing take away his Black card only for his time in jail to return the card to him?

According to Trish, yes, that’s exactly how Blackness should work for Earl. Because at the end of the day he got his Black card back. To Trish, Blackness comes in all shades and it’s all valid but she very clearly understands that where you grow up, how you live your life and your environment factor into the way outside perspectives on Blackness are created. However where she’s coming from triggers Janelle, because all of her life she has been the dark skinned friend and rarely anything more. In school everyone clamored to hold Ashley’s attention because of how light she is and how much hair she has, though in the same breath that they praised Ashley they critiqued and put down Janelle. Colorism is a huge problem in the Black community and it’s often overlooked for more “important” issues, like what makes some Black. The same way everyone at the table comforted Janelle but went back to talking about the qualifications of Blackness instead of diving deeper into colorism and the way it affects the community as a whole.

By now though, Nancy probably slightly regrets even bringing the situation up because the debate at her dinner table is getting hotter and hotter while going nowhere. So she settles it by telling them that the conversation as a whole is Black privilege because she comes from a time where Black people didn’t have time to argue over what makes a person Black or not, they had bigger problems to solve and today there are bigger problems to solve. But that doesn’t mean the conversations on what makes some Black and what doesn’t should stop happening.

Meanwhile Ashley’s spiraling farther and farther into turmoil over how to tell Sean that Miles is in jail. So she takes herself on a date to a spot she frequently went to with Miles. Though in her head she’s not alone, the imaginary Miles is with her. He’s here to guide her and help her through this. Though that’s a bit hard because this isn’t the real Miles, every response or solution he gives Ashley can’t really be considered his because this version of him is coming from Ashley herself. A complex mess.

But talking to this Miles really does help Ashley think and come to conclusions on how to push forward. She’s known all along that it’s way past time to tell Sean his father is in jail. But just like she’s scared that Miles is starting to see her as disloyal, Ashley is also scared of bursting the innocent child bubble that surrounds Sean. No mother wants to be the reality crusher in their child’s world. But as imaginary Miles points out, it’s gotten to the point where Ashley is acting as if Miles is dead instead of just away for a while. And the longer she puts it off the harder Sean is going to take it. So Ashley puts on her game face and heads home to tell Sean what’s going on with his dad. After correcting his babysitters and letting them know that Sean has in fact seen The Wiz, that’s one part of his Blackness they don’t need to question, Ashley takes him home and the episode ends with an emotional close of her explaining to Sean that Miles is going to be in jail for five years. She even does her best to soften the blow by switching his bedtime story to one of the books Rainey bought earlier in the season. She might be weeks late, but at least now Ashley will be able to move forward and this unbearable weight isn’t pinning her down anymore.

To me, a big reason Blindspotting is so compelling is because of the chemistry between Ashley and Miles. They are in this together, forever. So much that Miles is all Ashley can ever think about. So much that, as it turns out, Miles is in jail for something that Ashley did. At least that’s what’s been insinuated, although Ashley’s non anger at Miles would make all the more sense now. It’s not so much of a plot twists but a reveal that I think many suspected, but that doesn’t make it any less relatable. They are after all whether whatever storm comes their way, even one that means five years of separation.

As much as I love Ashley and Miles, this episode belongs to the supporting characters. The conversation at Nancy’s dinner table easily toppled Ashley’s when to tell Sean struggle. It’s nice when the side and supporting characters have development and content that can exist outside of the protagonist. Not often that Black audiences are treated to open, honest and clear conversations about the inner workings of our community. Even in the new age of television, there are certain topics that many shows skirt around and absolutely avoid. Colorism and the qualifications of Blackness are two of the biggest ones. I’ve been waiting for Janelle to show any kind of resentment towards Ashley because of the way others treated the two of them as a collective. She mentioned it a bit before, in her smoke session with Earl but “Ghost Dad” is the first time we’re really getting to see how Janelle feels about it. Especially her comment about how Ashley’s hair could look however and was considered good but her combed and styled Afro puffs only got Janelle flack and peer pressure to flatiron them out. Tv is full of too many Ashley and Janelle like friendships, the lighter of the two is the center of attention while the darker skinned is regulated to the sassy best friend. Janelle as a character only edges out of that category because we’ve been shown that her world doesn’t revolve around whatever Ashley or Trish have going on. It’s a nice change and a much needed one, but I’m still hoping for even more Janelle.

Another thing I appreciated about this episode was the use of Trish in it. She is the textbook definition of a light skinned Black girl, but Trish seems to be aware of it. Where other shows simply take the easy route and make it seem like everyone hates on the light skins girls because they’re pretty, Blindspotting acknowledges Trish’s beauty but they also spotlight the fact she can be unhinged and mean and no one thinks it’s cute. Trish’s in-depth understanding of circumstances and environments having a direct relationship with how a person behaves makes her more of a relatable character. I had worried a bit at the beginning of the season that she would be nothing more than the wild, unnameable stripper sister in law; it’s great to been shown that couldn’t be farther from the case. Trish is wild, but she’s also intelligent. Even if she did get caught up on being likened to Doja Cat during the serious discussion of Blackness.

Also, we’re getting closer and closer to Janelle and Earl figuring out that they might like each other as more than friends. I find myself having a soft spot for this budding relationship because it seems so wholesome, something that’s being build out of genuine mutual like. Even if they don’t know or haven’t realized that they like each other yet. I’m especially here for a Black love romance that isn’t centered around any kind of trauma or abuse or hardship. Janelle and Earl are sweet, I hope that it’s something they can uphold if/when they do finally get together.

With only two episodes left, Blindspotting is pulling out all the stops and holding nothing back. I can’t help but cherish this episode because I don’t know when another show will come along and discuss these kind of topics this well. Blindspotting has managed to find the perfect blend of drama, comedy and musical theater. As great as the conversation on what qualifies Blackness was, it was equally appealing to watch the prison inmates interpretive dance around Ashley and Sean as she prepared herself to tell him. Whatever formula the creative team cooked up to make this show is, it’s something they should try to see if they can bottle and sell because shows don’t get much better than this.

Blindspotting airs Sunday nights on Starz

-Danyi

black girl blogs · reviews · tv reviews

Blindspotting: The Roughest Day Ever

With its glowing running start, Blindspotting aced the pilot episode and starts digging in deep right away in the second. As we find out that Miles is sentenced to five years in the opening scene, the events of Ashley’s day following give us an up close look at the particular way women have to be strong no matter what. While it is often thought that the prison system only really affects those incarcerated, in “Smashley Rose” the perspective of those closest is brought into the spotlight. From Rainey’s sidewalk breakdown to Ashley’s hotel meltdown and Trish’s enhanced meanness; we learn learn a little more about these characters and the real life struggles they’re dealing with.

To start, while everyone around her crumbles Ashley forces herself to stay strong. She can’t break down about her life partners sentencing when she has to go work and pretend to be fine. She has to keep her head on straight for Sean. However there is no solace behind the desk of one of the most expensive hotels where the rich flaunt their egos and after unwanted advances plus verbal racial abuse Ashley has her moment. It’s beautiful and poignant to watch as she laments about the unfairness of the way the rich get richer and the poor suffer for it while she destroys the hotel room of the racist guest. It’s a something she honestly deserves. But it’s probably not enough.

Meanwhile Rainey has her own version of a breakdown. Miles is her son after all, and he’s being taken from her for five years. It’s a lot. And Rainey’s solution, after a round of embarrassing vocalization meditation, seems to be turning attention to Sean and how to tell him. Something Ashley is firmly against, but Rainey won’t be deterred and makes a trip to the library to find books that will help. She’s trying her best to be supportive but so far comes off a little tone deaf and overwhelming. Between Ashley’s unwillingness to tell Sean where his dad is and Rainey’s unsure-ness when it comes to where race should be included in which topic, the day is mostly a bust for them both. “It was a rough day,” to quote Mama Rainey.

Despite not seeing much of her in this episode, Trish’s presence is still just as big as it was in the first one. She’s very upset about Miles’s sentencing and though she has comforting hugs for her mom, icy words and deathly glares are all she spares Ashley. Not only has her brother been taken away but now the possibility of Ashley staying with them for five years is very much the elephant in the room. And Trish is not happy about it at all. Though as Janelle points out at the end of the episode, she and Ashley used to be hella mean too.

A bright spot in the drama heavy episode was that of Earl, the neighbor renting the spare room in Nancy’s house. Earl is obviously the comedic relief of the show but there’s something deeper to him as well. He’s nice, polite and friendly even though Janelle mostly snips and snaps at him for being too silent. He’s even got a cheerful attitude as he explains why he’s got foot up foot of extension cords wrapped around one shoulder; to keep the battery on his monitor up when he’s out. He’s fairly chipper about the whole situation so far.

With only thirty minutes, there’s not room for anything that’s not important plot wise and so far every second of Blindspotting has been an improvement to the story and absolutely worth it. Especially things like the deep inner looks at how Ashley’s mind is dealing with Miles’s sentence, by creating an imaginary Miles to be at her side which I hope is handled carefully seeing as how this could easily become the Miles show without meaning too, and the subtle way Janelle is avoiding talking about why she’s back in town suddenly, always changing the subject and brushing it off. Plot details like that mixed together with the seamless dance choreography and breakage of the fourth wall have produced an outcome that is something completely unique. Every detail is breathing life into the bigger picture of this perspective of Oakland life. And telling a captivating story while doing it.

Blindspotting airs Sunday nights on STARZ

-Danyi

asexual · asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Racing To An Invisible Line

I spend a lot of time on the internet. More than I’d like to admit, but still not as much as I could be spending. It’s such a vast and deep space that getting lost on the interwebs is an easy thing to do. Getting addicted to it is easy as well. Over the course of the last year, I’ve watched as people become addicted to going viral on Twitter. It’s gotten to the point where people will say anything, no matter how nasty or mean or unnecessary it is, just in hopes of getting a few thousand likes and retweets. They don’t care if their words hurt somebody, they don’t care if they’re giving out incorrect information. All that matters is those couple of hours of rapid activity on their page. Over 95% don’t even get paid for going viral. It’s weird.

What’s even weirder is when people use romantic situations to try and gain clout on apps. The internet has created so many rules around romantic relationships that more often than not people find themselves in situations they never wanted to be a part of in the first place. The list of what you must do when you like someone stretches for miles and is only getting longer. It has no details, no scenarios, and no real explanations. You either follow the rules of relationships or you’re a bad partner. Or at least that’s what the internet says. But while these rules can supposedly craft a perfect relationship, they’re extremely noninclusive of any relationship outside of heteronormativity.

No two relationships are the same. Different sex, same-sex, no sex, they’re all different. But are all expected to be guided by the same rules. As an Asexual, many of those rules can be downright terrifying. The idea that you absolutely have to post pictures of your relationship. Or the concept of detailing every little thing that you and your partner do, sharing it on whichever app. I watch my friends struggle to keep their relationships afloat because of weird situations like they didn’t text who like they back but are on Twitter and now the person they like is mad. That’s insane to me. And a waste of time.

When I tell people that I have no interest in dating, it’s not particularly true. It’s just the easiest way to not have to explain my personal view to someone who I have an interest in being personal with. It’s something I should probably stop doing but too often I’ve been told that the kind of person and relationship I want doesn’t exist. The concept of dating, the idea of it, is really rather comforting. The fairy tale version of it, I suppose, where you might not be perfect for each but you fit. You might argue but you never scream at each other in anger. You love each other as friends, the sex is just a bonus. At least that’s how I’d want my romantic relationship to go. On the flip side though, I’ve also got things that I’m not willing to budge on. I will not be texting you every day, I won’t be telling you every move I make, we won’t live together ever and I will always crave solitude. I also do not belong to anybody, I know couples think it’s cute to say they belong to their partner but no, those words won’t ever even come into my thoughts let alone leave my mouth. I won’t ever allow my happiness to rely on another person. And while there are things I’m willing to compromise on, the way people take any kind of compromise as a go-ahead to try and change everything leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth. So it’s just easier to say I’m not interested in dating.

But that’s just me. There are plenty of Asexuals who want to date and are actively looking for partners. However, it’s hard when people enter, even just a conversation, with already preconceived ideas about how the relationship should be. The idea that all romantic relationships must include sex is a social construct, the over-sexualization of everything is weighing down on everyone. It hinders the growth of so many people and is vastly ignored when brought up. I talk about being a Black Woman who is constantly hyper-sexualized a lot, I’m very loud about not wanting to be viewed in a sexual way. I talk about wanting my skin to be seen as just that, skin. And yet anytime I show barely the slightest interest in someone, the only thing that matters to people is when I’m going to have sex with that person. I’ve talked to many asexuals who are close to giving up on dating even though they want that relationship connection badly, and it’s because any time you don’t fall inside the rules of dating no one wants to take the time to create new rules with you. These days no one has time to really get to know someone, they just want to know one quirky thing about you that will get them likes on an app. They don’t want to build a bond with you, they just want to go half on a house that they can post pictures of on the internet. It’s draining and ever so slightly intriguing.

It’s like everyone in a relationship is participating in a race. The prize if you win is still unclear but everyone is racing toward that finish line that can only be found on the internet. If you don’t want to participate in the race then you aren’t important at all. If you want to change the rules of the race you’re sensitive. Never mind the fact that no one can tell you what you win for crossing that viral finish line. There’s no money for having “the best relationship”, you can argue that YouTube couples get paid to be together but the way they all seem to break up lets me know that money is not the prize. And yet people are still racing. The addiction to the internet is a problem but the way the internet is shaping people is an even bigger one.

When I ask, no one can tell me why they want their romantic relationships to hinge so desperately on outside validation. If you like someone and they like you that should be the end of it, no post on Twitter or meme on Instagram should be a guideline for how you conduct your relationship. Honestly, even your parents’ relationship shouldn’t be the poster child for your own. Because it’s your relationship, the only people who get to decide how it should be is you and the other person you get into bed with at night. People will nod with my words and agree, and then go right back to molding their romantic relations to fit the rules of normalcy. Which is more than fine, cause it’s not my relationship to stress over. I do hope though that one day soon we can start to deconstruct the idea of a perfect relationship and just let people create the connections and bonds that they want and deserve.

-Danyi

asexual · asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Dear Black Asexual: How You Identify Is Valid

One thing I’ve tried to never doubt was my ability to know myself. Even when I didn’t have the words to describe who I was or what I was going through, I didn’t doubt that I’m always me. No matter what. Sometimes the only thing I have is myself, and I’ll do anything to never lose that.

There’s always been a bit of conflict in my identity. When I was younger I had no Jay’s and no idea what Polo shirts where. Which got me plenty of funny looks from the other kids. I didn’t have them not because my family was too poor to afford them but because my aunts and grandma believed in letting kids be kids. A statement that doesn’t really validate not buying kids brand names but one that seems to keep holding up. Not to mention my mother had me when she was 42 years old, I was much younger than her siblings’ children who, by the time I was born, were already nearing adulthood. My cousins were too old for me to play with, they thought I was annoying. So I spent most of my time with my aunts who were all in their 40’s. Their sense of fashion was not the current style of fashion. I wore homemade dresses until I was in the fourth grade, it got me a fair bit of teasing but it never made me question who I was. Neither did my extra baggy pants in middle school, or my ever-growing need for my hair to never reach my ears. No matter what was happening to me on the outside, on the inside, I always had a firm grip on myself.

Until suddenly I didn’t.

The inter-workings of the community are complicated. Especially the inner knowings of the Black community. We fight each other a lot, over the smallest things. The darkness of complexion, the way some of us speak, the way some present ourselves, our body shapes, and those unspoken rules that all Black people are just supposed to automatically know. The community is tight when we have to be, but it can also unravel with the lightest of yanks. The older generation holds onto toxic views that harmed them but they believe hardened them for the better. I’ve never been more frustrated and angry than trying to discuss “modern views” with my mother. I used to listen to her and my aunts talk down about other women for things that were clearly the fault of men. I had to sit through their defense of scum men because the women just “seemed” like they were lying. I thought I could escape the suffocation of not being heard, listened to and understood by putting myself around people my own age. That didn’t really work either. For every one accepting Black peer I found, there were two more who held onto the beliefs of their parents. My generation tries not to struggle with same-sex relationships but the bigotry shows up in so many of us once you talking about the other letter best G and L in LGBTQIA. It’s frustrating.

I’ve yet to meet another Black Asexual in person. Granted, I’m stuck in Colorado for the time being because of things I cannot control but I’ve met several white asexuals since I started looking and asking around. In turn, I was the first Black Asexual many of them had met. So when the inevitable question of “what other Black asexuals you know” first came up, I found myself embarrassed and unable to provide any response. Because I didn’t know any other than me. I lost that argument of whether or not my sexuality was valid, but that was back when I first came out. And for the first two-ish years I avoided conversations that steered in that direction, I basically avoided all conversations that drifted towards my sexuality. It hurts when something as important as sexuality and how you personally identify with it isn’t believed. Not the surface, cry for a bit and then go on about your life hurt. But a deep pit of the stomach, feel lower than dirt kind of hurt.

It’s apparently very hard for people around my age to grasp the idea of someone not having any kind of sexual attraction. It’s especially hard for them when they see my brown skin and automatically hypersexual me. It’s not uncommon at all for a person to reach out and touch me before even opening their mouths to speak to me. People gain a sense of entitlement when they see Black women as if we instantly belong to them and can be poked and prodded as such. Stereotypes keep us locked in small boxes that we have to almost kill ourselves to get out of. I can’t count on both hands the number of times I’ve been told by another Black person that my Asexuality was “white people shit”. To them, because they don’t understand it and haven’t ever heard of it, I’m acting white. Even though acting white is as much a myth as acting Black is. You cannot act a color, only a stereotype.

The more I was around people who didn’t accept or even acknowledge my sexuality, the more I felt like I was losing myself. I couldn’t actively and truthfully participate in conversations about dating and sex because my opinion was never taken seriously. I can’t have an opinion on sex because I’m asexual, despite the fact I’ve had sex a bunch of times. I couldn’t give dating advice because I’m asexual, even though I’ve been in relationships before. Quickly a stigma was built around me, men would spend days in my inbox trying to convince me that their dicks would cure my Asexuality. Instead of taking my words at face value, many assumed it was a silent challenge. Me saying I wasn’t interested in relationships or sex was actually code for them to try harder, to attempt to hang around longer, to prove that they could break down the walls I’d put up. This started four years ago, and today there’s still one or two who think they’re going to wait my asexuality out. It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

It wasn’t until I found other Black Asexuals online did I start to feel somewhat settled. Twitter can be a hell site but it also connects you with people you’d never have the chance to talk to otherwise. It was incredibly calming to put out a tweet about being Black and Asexual and have others like me respond. It’s nice to be able to experience something and have others relate in incredibly specific ways, it’s amazing to have other brown-skinned people tell me that what I saying resonates with them. I don’t feel as lost now as I did five years ago and I really don’t want other young Black Asexuals to feel that way. We aren’t alone, we’re not on white people shit, and there are more of us than we realize.

At the beginning of the summer, I had contemplated not writing as much about being Asexual because I worry that I’ll start to repeat myself. But then I realized that if I’d had someone sharing their experience as Ace, repeated or not, back when I first started identifying it would have been incredibly helpful. So I’m hoping that if my posts do anything, they reach a fellow Black Asexual who needs just a bit of reassurance. We are valid, and there’s nothing wrong with being Black and Asexual.

-Danyi

asexual · asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Self Acceptance

I’m probably the last person to ask about self-acceptance and self-confidence, I’m firmly in the fake it til you make it camp. Because I’m still searching for self-love and overall confidence. However, in the past few years, I have gained insight and curated a few thoughts about how to come into acceptance and confidence. It’s not easy to love yourself in front of others, it’s not easy to ignore judgment that you know is happening. And it’s even harder when the acceptance you’re seeking, the confidence you want to gain; is attached to the acknowledgment of something a lot of people would rather ignore.

My asexuality makes people uncomfortable. Usually, I can see in their faces as they come to regret asking me to explain what it is. I can see the apprehension in their eyes, they don’t want to think about the oddity of someone not being interested in sexual activities. It’s foreign and so far outside the normal societal way of thinking, it makes something inside of them want to change you. Even though your sexuality has nothing to do with them because it’s yours and not theirs. It’s here that self-acceptance takes the hardest blows. When alone, accepting yourself isn’t usually hard. You don’t have to be anything other than who you are, you can simply exist. It’s always when others start to come around and demand differently from you that you suffer.

My mother doesn’t understand me, any part of me. But she especially doesn’t understand my sexuality. It a phase to her because I don’t get out of the house enough. It’s a trend for now because I haven’t met the right person, she hopes that person is a man. It’s a temporary answer to the situation of having to spend most of my time caring for my grandma. It’s any and everything to my mother except for what it really is; my sexuality. She can’t fathom the idea that her daughter doesn’t sometimes crave the touch of a man, that I don’t daydream about falling into bed with the hot guy that gave up his seat for me on the bus. She won’t say it out loud but she’s astounded that I don’t think about women either, she’d take me being a lesbian or bisexual over me being asexual. Even though I most certainly claim bisexuality after my asexuality. To her though, the asexuality will keep from having a normal life.

It’s because of the word normal that so many asexuals can’t accept themselves. We’ve been told that we aren’t normal. And to not be normal is bad. To not remain swimming in the same stream as everyone else, to not even be in the alternative streams is even worse. Asexuality has created a new space for people, a new idea that needs to be accepted. It’s hard to be content in your own stream when others outside of it want that stream to dry up. The idea of a certain kind of normality has been so widely spread among us that breaking out it is proving to be the biggest challenge of some people’s lives. And it shouldn’t be.

I decided about two years ago that I am normal. Everything about me is normal, for me. Which is completely fine. I can’t really explain how I managed it without sounding egotistical, but I’m a very logical person. I deal with feelings, emotions and just about all aspects of my life with logic. It’s comforting to me. So I figured I would apply logic to my sexuality as well. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to be asexual, the realization came slowly over time. There were a lot of misfires of communication and probably hundreds of journal pages filled with my sloppy handwriting about each day’s experience. Asexuality grew inside of me and taught me about the parts of myself that I had pushed away to keep others happy. I never wanted a boyfriend but ended up with one anyway. I never wanted to have sex but ended up having a lot of it. I don’t like kissing but still, let people kiss me until about seven months ago. For years it’s been me trying to abide by the rules of normality when I’ve always been normal.

For me, issues thrown upon my sexuality run deeper than just people thinking that I’m not normal. There’s the heavy cloud of misogyny that chases after asexuality and the weighted shackles of racism that affect it too. When men see me, they see the way my body is shaped and because they find it attractive they refuse to accept my asexuality. I’ve had men demand to know my every sexual encounter so that they can find the loop that invalidates me. I’ve had males insist that the only possible way I could be like this is because I harbor some deep hurt caused by another man. Any scenario is better to them than the simple concept of not desiring a piece of another person’s body inside of me. And when I explain sex to them in this way, someone else’s flesh inside of a vulnerable place in my body, we’re thrown back to the claim that I’m just not normal. Because after all, sex can’t be viewed from a different perspective other than pleasurable (or bad by circumstance depending on the situation).

If I take away the criticism of those only looking for a place to stick their genitals, then I’m able to look clearly at the criticism of my sexuality that comes from racism. Whether it’s self ingrained racism from a fellow Black person or racism that comes from white people (white asexuals included). Black women are the most sexualized creatures on the planet. We aren’t allowed to be children, our girls are called fast the moment they start breathing, our teenagers are preyed upon by the men that are supposed to protect them and our women are assaulted for simply saying no. My asexuality makes me an even bigger target for those who only want to fetishize me. If they can’t get sex from me then why am I even existing? There’s no way a Black woman doesn’t want to have men all over her, I can’t possibly be against the idea of everyone ogling me whenever they see fit. On the same side of this coin, there’s also the racist Asexuals that I find myself encountering. If I don’t agree with white asexuals need to be oppressed then I’m not really asexual. I can’t find familiarity in never having a crush and I’m firmly against Asexuals being represented by cake. So, therefore, my asexuality is a blanket label for underlying trauma. Or at least that’s what I’ve been told.

My asexuality challenges the notions of different kinds of normal in a way that upsets people because they cannot brush it away as something I’ll get over. Because I have nothing that needs getting over. My perspective gives off the air of self-acceptance and confidence when in reality I’m just trying to let myself experience Asexuality freely. I wish it was as easy as simply saying I accept who I am, but it isn’t. I decided that I would accept myself because I was tired of trying to shape my being to the idea of others. But not everyone can do that, some people need outside validation. And I think they have it the hardest.

-Danyi