Showing posts with label Racial Attitudes in America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Racial Attitudes in America. Show all posts

Sunday, November 1, 2009


There is a long history of mixed couples in American literature and popular culture: Huck and Jim, Ishmael and Queequeg, Natty Bumppo and Chigachgook, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Daniel Boone and Mingo, Jay Leno and Branford Marsalis. I’ve written before about the way many American pop songs belie a certain repressed anxiety about black Otherness. Within the most avid white believer in the virtue of black Americans, there may reside a modicum of repressed anxiety about black bodies. As Calvin Hernton has written, “There is a sexual involvement, at once real and vicarious, connecting white and black people in America that spans the history of this country from the era of slavery to the present, an involvement so immaculate and yet so perverse, so ethereal and yet so concrete, that all race relations tend to be, however subtle, sex relations” (Sexism and Racism in America, p. 7).

Songs Linking Sensuality With Anxiety:
Sonny Charles and the Checkmates, Ltd. – Black Pearl
Merle Haggard – Irma Jackson
Janis Ian – Society’s Child
Paul McCartney with Stevie Wonder – Ebony and Ivory
Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – Reuben James
The Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar
Stories – Brother Louie
Three Dog Night – Black & White
Tribe “Supremes” Trio – White Boys (from the musical Hair)
Neil Young – Southern Man