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date: 23 September 2020


  • Robert Reid-Pharr


One of the great ironies of American life and culture is that though generations of Americans have been obsessed with black American sexuality with racist images of bestial black men and lascivious black women black Americans themselves have had surprisingly little to say about the subject In the face of white supremacist attempts to demonize black sexual practice the most common responses of black individuals and black communities have been either stoic silence or the continual articulation of often artificial images of a family centered black sexuality The end result has been that historically there has been precious little room in American culture for a complete discussion of the full range of black American sexual practices or the ideologies that surround them Instead so called black sexuality has been narrated most often as one grand drama of shame and oppression from the vicious abuses of the slave plantation to the ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.

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