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Interracial Intentions

By Chasen Gaver

continued from previous page

The same White culture that has produced great literature and economic breakthroughs such as Henry Ford's assembly line also manufactured the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are cultural tradeoffs no matter where you turn.

My experiences with men and women of color have made me appreciate contributions that I couldn't measure in conventional (or material) terms. Interracial contacts introduced me to new foods, new speech patterns for my poems, new dances, new art galleries, and they often lead me to White people who had pivotal relationships with Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. These White people appreciated the cultural contributions I was becoming aware of and they too became my friends.

My interracial experiences have made me suspicious of Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians who are only interested in someone of another race if they are sleeping with them. There is a lack of integrity about someone who has interracial sexual encounters but no interracial platonic friends.

I want no one in my bed that I can't take to a party. When I recognize that sex is the only thing I share with someone, I stop seeing them. Similarly, I will not be exploited in bed. Those men who get their kicks from trying to call all the sexual shots or whose macho hang-ups prevent them from taking what they dish out are ultimately unsatisfying.

Hispanic men seem to be more hung up about sexual reciprocity than Black or White men (and my sexual experience with Asians is admittedly limited) but, regardless, I'm interested in role models, not role-playing!

I haven't kept detailed records, but the Black and Hispanic men I've dealt with have (with certain exceptions) seemed sexually more self-assured than the White men I've encountered. As trite as it may sound, my experience proves to me that sex really is "in the mind."

I sense comparatively more "mental anguish" from White Gay men about sex. And while I'm not a student of the "size makes no difference" school of sexual thought, I can assure you that race is no guarantee of physical attributes.

More importantly, sex is a two-way street. Gays who are waiting for partners to help them overcome sexual listlessness are apt to be kept waiting--no matter what the race of their partner.

I still have a lot to learn. I've been seeing a Black man named Gregory for over two-years now. He has introduced me to the writings of Bill Gunn, the recordings of Carmen McCrae and a Spanish dessert called "churros."

I have shared with Gregory my love of the writing of Joan Didion, the lyrics of August Darnell, and Magic Shell ice-cream topping. I find I get along best with lovers who share common interests.

As a writer it is important that anyone I'm dealing with understand the value of creative effort. Gregory is a poet, an actor, a director, and someone I love very much. That's why it hurts when he has to stand ten feet to my left so that we can get a taxi to stop for us after dark.

That's why Gregory writes poems that try to educate audiences about the effects of racism on society. And that's another reason why I've written this essay.