By Eternity E. Martis
I live in a predominately white city. Not by choice (I’m from Toronto), but to attend university. When I first got to the city, I thought people would be incredibly racist and I’d be excluded and snubbed by my peers. Well, the opposite happened.
Arrogance aside (I promise), everywhere I went, I was white men’s object (emphasis on object) of desire. And it wasn’t just white men — all races of men I’ve never encountered, but white men seemed the most enthralled by my presence. But the initial adoration and my swelled ego soon subsided after I realized that men were not attracted to me for being just a “pretty face” — I was being objectified, exoticized and sexualized for being one of few coloured girls in a sea of white men. I felt alone. And more importantly, I felt disgusted with myself.
Feminist, social activist and African American author bell hooks terms this kind of attraction to the ‘Othered’ body as “Eating the Other.” This is the phenomenon where white men as well as the media view coloured women’s bodies, especially black women’s, as a site of difference. The coloured body is stereotypically everything the white woman’s body is not: she is not “pure,” “fair,”%