On being Exoticised and Sexualised

Lately, I have been doing loads of thinking about the role of my skin complexion (notice I didn’t use “race” here…) and how it shapes people’s perception of me. I never really took the racial discourse that has plagued America very seriously. While people often times have countless stories of having experienced racism, I almost have none and couldn’t be bothered about racial politics. I grew up in a very “colour blind” household and my parents never once mentioned that my skin complexion will hold me back. Going to university certainly opened by eyes to the widespread nature of institutional racism in the United States but I figured I will probably wont be living in the United States so I could be bothered with it. In college I came across the seminal work of Frantz Fanon titled “Black Skin White Masks”. In the book he asserts that the color of his skin shapes the white perception of him and thus the white man does not “see” him since the white man only sees his body and the color of his skin. He posits that such intra-racial encounter between whites and blacks is enslavement upon sight. Arguably he believes that the body of both black females and males plays a crucial role in the formation and development of their racial consciousness. So why am I discussing racial politics if I couldn’t be bothered?

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