Tag Archives: Race

What’s Your Type? Race, Gender, Attraction, and Sexualization

Alison Reiheld, SIUE Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of SIUE Women’s Studies Program, brings us PART 4 in our series on gender, sexualization, and the media.

Every once in awhile, Wikipedia has a surprisingly well fleshed-out entry. One of these is the description of racial fetishism. This:

…involves fetishizing a person or culture belonging to a race or ethnic group that is not one’s own—therefore it involves racial/ethnic stereotyping and objectifying those bodies who are stereotyped, and at times their cultural practices. This can include having strong racial preferences in dating… 

Do you know someone who tends to only date people of their own race? What about someone who tends to date people of another particular race?  What is the line between preference and fetish, between finding certain particular kinds of people beautiful and treating them particularly, out of all other groups, as sex objects?

The African-American online magazine, The Root, has an article called “5 signs you’re about to be racially fetishized.” It begins “So… What’s your type? Admit it. You probably have one. Most of us do.” The author goes on to describe her experiences with on-line dating and the dating app Tinder:

As a member of what is purportedly the least-pursued demographic online (smart, sexy and successful, yet single, black women), I was understandably leery about what—and whom—I’d encounter on an app best known for “hookups.” But in the interest of adventure, I braced myself for potential encounters with predators, grade-A creepers and flat-out racists.

I wasn’t prepared for the fetishists… my experiences dating “across the aisle” were no preparation for the highly racialized world of online dating.

beware white boys on tinder


Such fetishization of African-American women relies on stereotypes about black women’s sexuality such as those described by sociologist Patricia Hill Collins in her book Black  Feminist Thought.

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Filed under Body Image, Gender, Race, Sexual Assault, Uncategorized

Why we need to be talking about Black Lives Matter and local causes of inequality

In this blog entry, I (Alison Reiheld, Director of Women’s Studies at SIUE) summarize our recent Featured Speaker for the 2015-16 year and provide a copy of my introduction to her talk.  Both show why we very much need to be talking about Black Lives Matter and focusing on local causes of injustice.  

Ashley Yates at SIUE

Ashley Yates of Black Lives Matter and the Ferguson protests speaks at SIUE. Description for persons with visual impairments: She stands behind a modern lucite-and-white-plastic podium on which hangs the bright red banner of SIU Edwardsville, with letters in slim white font.  Bright sunlight shines through the windows. She wears a dark suit jacket and dark shirt. Her skin is dark brown, while her hair is shaved on the sides and back and naturally styled.

On April 13, Ashley Yates spoke to SIUE students, faculty, staff, and community members.  Her talk, “Pulling Out All the Stops: How Local Municipalities Stonewall Black Families,” examined  the unique features of North County and the municipalities surrounding St. Louis.

In part as a direct result of white flight from St. Louis and attempts by those who fled to draw boundaries around their communities that would insulate them from black and other ethnic minorities, there are over 90 municipalities and 10 unincorporated census-designated places.  Many are less than 1 square mile in area, with populations under or just barely over 1,000. Nearly all have their own municipal system including courts and law enforcement.  Many give vastly more tickets for traffic offenses than there are residents, funding their systems through penalties which seriously damage the financial and legal status of those on whose backs these systems are built. These backs are overwhelmingly black.  A person can run afoul of multiple police departments in a 10-mile stretch of Natural Bridge Road.  If that person  cannot pay the ticket fine, they begin to incur court fees. If they cannot pay these, a warrant may be issued for their arrest. Once arrested, they lose jobs, gain a criminal record, and sometimes lose the right or ability to vote.  This is a very real debtors’ prison.

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Filed under Race, Social Justice, Uncategorized