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December 17, 2005

susan crain bakos is an idiot (updated)

Ebog update note: I wrote this piece some time ago, but in light of recent dustups about sexist language on liberal blogs, it seemed to me that some of my attacks on Bakos here were attacks on her gender as opposed to attacks on her stupidity. (There was also some unnecessary side business that fell under the category of the gratuitous fat joke.) As my main goal here has always been to make sure you understand why Susan Crain Bakos is an idiot, those rough edges have increasingly struck me as egregious and careless, so I figured I'd clean them up. Part of this is self-serving, as I don't want to be accused of living in a glass house, but part of this reflects my belief that the more thought-out, more careful and less alienating version of an idea is almost always the better one.

A real whopper in The New York Press. Hat tip, the instigatinist illhindu.

A WHITE WOMAN EXPLAINS WHY SHE PREFERS BLACK MEN

By Susan Crain Bakos

Black skin is thick and lush, sensuous to the touch, like satin and velvet made flesh. There's only one patch of skin on a white man's body that remotely compares to nearly every inch of a black man's skin. The first time I caressed black skin, it felt like a luxury I shouldn't be able to afford. I craved it more strongly than Carrie Bradshaw craved Manolo Blahnik shoes. That phrase, "Once you go black, you never go back" is all about the feeling of the skin.

And I had the socially acceptable explanation for my craving. I used that paucity-of-available-white-partners rationale to explain my relationships with black men for several years. A white woman past forty is often passed over by her white-male contemporaries. She goes younger or ethnic or foreign-born or down the socioeconomic scale or darker or she spends lonely nights at home with her cats. Black men are happy to get the babe they couldn't have when she was twentysomething and fertile. The laws of the marketplace do prevail. It's not me, it's them--them being the white guys who weren't after me anymore, or so I claimed.

[...] I want black men. They want me. We look at one another and exchange a visible frisson of sexual energy in the lingering glances. And our attraction is based first on race. We are not those couples who "happen to fall in love" with someone of a different race or more purposefully come together but out of some greater sense of interracial understanding and respect. Not as politically-correct men and women do we seek one another out.

[...] Black men have something white guys don't have anymore: confidence in their masculinity, their sexuality. They clearly know they're men. White men appear to be waiting for the latest sociological research study to let them know if they are men or not. Yet black men are gentlemen, something else white men no longer are. They make me feel like a woman, both respected and desired. I can let go of my inhibitions, my need to control, when I am with them. How many white men can treat a woman like a lady and ravish her too?

[...] White men over 40 have lost their waistlines and their zest for life--if they ever had it. They carry resentments, grudges and extra pounds in their basketball bellies. Perhaps a good part of that bloat is unhappiness. Even the thin ones look flabby somehow and deeply aggrieved. They nurse the smallest perceived slight longer than their double shots of Scotch. Surely our culture as much as biology turns them into softer, spongier, less-interesting versions of their youthful selves just at the point where women and black men and other minorities are emerging strong. Society overvalues the white man, leaving him angry and bitter when he realizes, around age 40, that he's not all that.


And so on.

I have to say, if one were inclined to let Bakos' corny, frothy prose air out in the sun a bit, after a while one might return to find there were indeed a few grainy bits of something rattling around the confines of her ridiculously general and largely put-on argument. These are not so much grains of truth as coins and crumbs of conventional wisdom, the kind of thing that sticks to a naked buttock after a zipless romp on a heavily trafficked bar couch. Bakos' basic aim with this crap essay isn't to wax about interracial sex, it's to rather predictably vent about what she sees as the sorry state of white sexuality. That "sorry state" bit about white folks - especially the genus Americanus Whiteboyus - is by this point such a mass media commonplace that on any given Sunday no less a repository of received cultural wisdom than the NYTimes will have some or another arch dumbshit going on about it. Man-dates. Violent "good" guys on TV. That hardy new perennial, the metrosexual. Viagra suppositories. There's so much anxiety about whether or not the (marginal) assimilation of feminism into the cultural DNA produces men who don't act like "men" that racist fantasy like Bakos' can now be deployed in polite company, this as part of a tendentious side-argument about like, white female sexual emancipation.

Even shorn of its canned, whole-body dick fetishism, and even when reduced to corollary evidence about the "what's wrong with white men?" thing, Bakos' rather banal reveal of her proclivities illuminates little beyond her - wink wink, you rascal! - proclivities, that and her deep racism. The barrier to understanding that is Bakos' white privilege has been left intact despite the gaping ruin that is her interracial-sex hymen. This half-deflowering leaves her unable to appreciate how her vision of the other and his proper, horizontal place in her life is just a flat, reality TV caricature, as transgressive as Springer or Girls Gone Wild "catching" two drunk coeds rubbing girlish nips together while on winter break in Mexico. I mean, of course Bakos has noticed that black and white men don't have the same dating heebee-jeebee's. Despite great gains and growing oases of inclusion we're still largely born and raised in parallel universes, get interpolated as subjects in different ways. Forget about the games, hustles, issues, gambits and conflicts that will come to fore when the average brother is confronted with a snooty 50+ "sex journalist." So tell us something we didn't know, Susan. You are the purported sexpert.

Despite her piece's blatant, built-in absurdities, I can't get particularly mad at someone for pursuing their bliss, no matter how stupid said bliss is. What I can do, though, is take the dudes who've been fucking her silly to task - not for turning her out, but for failing to complete her sexual education. Although there is a part of me that wants to pat these gents on the back for having so completely bamboozled old girl with the mandingo-schtick, I have to fault them for their lack of social responsibility. With great power comes great responsibility, so any privilege that accrues from the continued belief in totemic, black cock requires brothers wield their dicks judiciously, ensuring that any white women they fuck know better than to believe and traffic in this kind of idiocy. (To believe this kind of thing and to say the dumb shit AND to get paid for it outside of the porn biz is just unforgivable. Her ex-lays should put together some kind of petition disavowing her.) I mean, I've known (biblically) my fair share of white women, and while modesty forbids I sing my own sexual praises, I can say with great pride that I have always left them better as white people than when I found them - more, like, wry and ironized if nothing else. Apparently this call to honorable service wasn't heard by the brothers who've been kissing Susan Crain Bakos' knees (yeech!), leaving all of us that much more the poorer and skeeved out.

Bakos pats herself on the back for being a sex journalist who not only talks the talk but takes takes it up the "A" pipe, but she's really just the rankest sort of payola eater, her printed thumbs-up for black male sexual "confidence" just a form of product placement for which she shamelessly boasts of receiving payment in inches, milliliters, stuttering orgasms, what have you. It's not bad work if you can get it, but that doesn't mean Bakos isn't a racial hack stealth-marketing a certain, arriviste strain of post-civil rights self-hatred, one that infects some classes of black men like a cycline-resistant social disease. New York City is full of this kind of brother: single, middling-to-successful I-bankers and corporate lawyers, all of them the same soul age (45+) regardless of what their biological clocks actually say. These are often men whose lives have been marked significant class or geographic dislocations, who view access to Manhattan's white society as an escape from humble beginnings, who hope to transition from sticky, complicated, narrow blackness into a better, broader, whiter world. Unlike the scions of the actual black bourgeoisie (who have been schtupping wan Gwyneth Paltrow clones since prep school, and who increase the black upper classes by bringing their white women back with them to Martha's Vineyard, this in order to make make café-au-lait babies) Bakos' black men are lost to the race forever, eagerly disappearing into whiteness and leaving no trace or marker behind them except for white misunderstanding and white racism along the lines of Bakos'.

Bakos' yen this particular class of men is no accident nor does it speak to any intrinsic love of actual blackness on her part. Bakos would have you believe that actually she's doing fine when it comes to getting laid, that she went black just for the kicks and dicks:

The truth is, I attract about the same percentage of available white men my age (and far younger!) now as I did when I was thirty--and that's not including the unavailable white men who want to play around anyway.

Enough white men want me that I was hardly facing enforced celibacy, but I don't want them.

That may be true enough, but at the end of the day, Bakos' jungle fever is a mercenary, self-serving rear-guard manouver forced upon her by advancing age. As she herself puts it rather explicitly, under prevailing sexual "market conditions" this is the only class of sexually-functioning dude who will have her. She finds her self-hating level in this particular Other, these men smoky, soft-focus mirrors where her racial ignorance, advancing age and class pretension blur into an unexpected trio of assets - reciprocal desire, seasoning and sensibility. If Bakos has a sympathetic quality, it's the matter-of-fact stoicism with which she stares down being a mere, late-coming substitute for poor, schmucky brothers who, as she puts it, couldn't get the "babe" when those girls were "twentysomething and fertile." The fact that dudes still don't have the babe is, of course, obvious, but Bakos spares herself the indignity of spelling it out. Indeed, hanging over all of her essay and claims about white and black sexuality is the omnipresent but unacknowledged edifice of heterosexual market relations under what the kids like to call sexism, ageism, lookism and patriarchy, a regime of value and meaning and power that profoundly, viciously devalues Bakos, but that she actively props up in exchange for being allowed one last favorable (to her) position.

Bakos's claim that she only wants what she has left - "I don't want them" - flies in the face of the very sexual and racial system that's endowed her with the interracial fucking annuity on which she plans to coast into old age. We're expected to believe that Bakos doesn't the things that system denies her? The wealthy, Viagra-enabled white, well, dicks in Manhattan who ritually leave wives of Bakos' age, intelligence, accomplishment for much younger women? The adoration of legions of men invisibly masturbating to electronically mediated images of women just out of girlhood? What about that class of black men of which her personal faves are just wan, fading echoes, the rappers and ball players and thug heartthrobs who are the actual black crowned princes of contemporary American sexuality? Perennially "twentysomething and virile" themselves, those cats have made their own accommodations with the rigged sexual system that simultaneously hates and privileges them, and as a result they wouldn't come near Bakos the proverbial 14-inch pole. Does Bakos not want them as well?

As this piece appeared in the generally odious New York Press, Bakos can't resist taking a smug swipe at black women who frown on brothers with jungle fever.

Even in a time when nearly 40 percent of single Americans have dated outside their race, that deliberate seeking of the specific other makes some people, especially black women, damned mad.

We are what they denigrate and castigate: white women and black men who choose one another because of our racial differences. They resent our taking their men. Black men are two and a half times more likely to marry a white woman than a black woman is to marry a white man. Black women can point to that statistic in justifying their wrath. But in truth, black sisters, we're after the sex, not the ring--and these guys aren't the marrying kind anyway.

Yes, the sex!

Bakos is typically wrong on this score. Black women don't dislike her kind because she's "taking their men." They dislike her because she's an insufferable asshole who exudes a blithe, rather uniquely white female sense of entitlement. Bakos believes that her whiteness has such intrinsic value that it trumps the downward pressure exerted on her sexual stock by her age, and has cannily decided to traffic her one remaining asset where it's literally most scarce, i.e. across the color line. The benefits of crossing the sexual border, though, obviously accrue to black women and white women differently, as those marriage numbers attest to, the rich (or at least those privileged by the current sexual regime) just getting richer. (This is a stretch aside, but Bakos unintentionally retraces an arc Judith Butler identified in the career of transsexual tennis player Renee Richards, where an ageing, mediocre white male player becomes a minor star after sex reassignment surgery. When power crosses a border it only gets more powerful, whether it's white women, transgender tennis players or the "straight acting" or "bi-curious" men so prized by certain classes of gay men.)

Bakos's story may be age specific, but her sense of entitlement is global. If you go to the online communities where black men and white women meet and greet, you can initially mistake what's going on for an upending of the existing sexual order, as women who might otherwise be deemed "unattractive" by the reigning sexual regime are suddenly sought-after commodities. Women who might have been seen as overly aggressive or loud can recast themselves as "straight-up gangsta vanilla" seeking "educated thugs." Women who might have viewed themselves as fat in comparison to mainstream images of white womanhood discover that it really is (sort of, in a way) true what they say about black men and ample asses. And of course, older, professional women with gym memberships and Upper East Side real estate find that their whiteness makes them exotic to certain black men, whereas to most white men they're just, well, themselves.

To black women, though, these transformed relations are racial business as usual where whiteness is privileged and blackness is scorned. From their POV, there isn't a busted white girl in America - two rangy kids, a dirty apartment, ten credits shy of her GED - who doesn't believe that under the right lighting and circumstances any black man from Tyson Beckford to Colin Powell will gladly get down on all fours to eat her out till her nose bleeds. From the myth of the black rapist to the Bakos myth of the irresistible 50 year old white knees, white fantasy, black male desire and black female invisibility remain constant.

There actually are great, tectonic shifts going on in how and why people who are different from each other fuck, but you won't hear about that from Susan Crain Bakos. She's a liar and hack, but most importantly, Susan Crain Bakos is an idiot.

Posted by ebogjonson in sex type, what is B.O.G.?, on December 17, 2005 4:03 PM

Comments

Yeah . . . what he said!

Posted by: the izza at December 18, 2005 6:57 PM

thank you. that woman made my brain itch.

Posted by: fightingwords at December 20, 2005 3:23 PM

I couldn't find a photo of her either. Not having a photo available is really suspect since she is so well known and writes for some credible publications. I'm thinking she has a Dr. Ruth look going on. What do you think? Keep it clean!

Posted by: Darrell at December 26, 2005 12:25 PM

I like her point and I love your counter-point. Good job!

And for the record-----not all of us brothers want a white woman at all costs.

Posted by: Paul at January 4, 2006 10:40 AM

As a "blackman" I find it disturbing that this chick can even fathom her writing as talent. I found equally disturbing the backlash written on the original article online. Quite a few white guys took offense (rightfully so) but the sickening part was that a lot of racial slurs were directed at black men. WE didn't ask for this woman's opinions. I for one as an individual first, believe this woman is pretty sick but she represents a growing number of america who has a sexual fetish of some kind. Particularly when it comes to race. She was just bold and ignorant enough to air it to the world.

Posted by: drew at January 25, 2006 10:09 AM

I wish she was actually "sick" in terms of fetishes. Sick fetish implies she's a carrier of some kind of live, dangerous virus, but she's more like a dried stain.

Posted by: ebog at January 25, 2006 3:53 PM

I f...ked her a long time ago. She was kinda hot.

Posted by: daywing at April 3, 2006 12:02 AM

It really does come across as no white man wants her old azz but theres always a brotha willing to take ANYTHING in white skin, so she's trying to make the best of the ONLY THING she has left.

Posted by: big wank at April 8, 2006 8:34 AM

i like how she made some big romantic interlude out of "he stared at me at applebee's... 30 minutes later i was licking his balls in a cab"

Posted by: big wank at April 8, 2006 8:46 AM

I just learned of this article today (June 1) and read it. I have confess, she's a ballsy, frank woman. Says all the things I've wondered or dared consider about white women who "prefer" black men. She is honest.

That said, am I crazy to speculate she's a racist? The fetishizing of black men's skin with regards to texture, softness and smoothness. I am sure plenty white gay, metrosexual fit men who take care of themselves would argue their skin is just as fine. The sex being inherently better? Black men "ravishing" her? Hmmmm, seems like she's saying you can take the brother out the jungle but not the jungle out of the brother.

I'm all for people dating whomever they want to date. And I am not going to preach the proper way to be attracted to somebody or what the correct reasons and motivations are. But what I will do is call it as I see it.

This girl is a racist. Her venom may seem quite sweet---stereotyping "favorable" attributes to black men (i.e.,, sexual prowess, confidence, masculinity), but it's racist.

Maybe some black men buy into it; maybe some really get off on it. It's their issue. I'm not angry. I'm not jealous. But I wonder how I'd feel if I kicked it to some girl and she gave it up because she confessed she's always been attracted to Middle Eastern men (my background) because we're so "domineering, strict, fanatical and hung."

Honestly, if the sex was great it would not taint the evening. But I tell you this---I'd make up my mind right there that a) the only thing she's good for is hot sex, and b) I'd never seriously consider a long-term future with her because I would not respect her for having that attitude.

P.S. here's Susan's pic:
http://thestateof.blogspot.com/2005/12/susan-crain-bakos-why-white-women-like.html

Posted by: curious at June 1, 2006 1:02 PM

You sure that's her? Isn't Bakos in her 50s-60s? I would be pretty astounded if that was her

Posted by: ebog at June 1, 2006 4:11 PM

Let's see....oh, yeah! Lumberg fucked her.

Posted by: countryfresh at June 4, 2006 2:38 PM

I'm ashamed of being a white woman when I meet characters like this bakos! How low can a woman go? And how low do these women think black men are? Shame on them!

Because of her and her kinds I've been attacked by many whites, even physically. But too many think they can come and ask me anything, just because of the fact that I'm a black man's wife.

Colour doesn't make a difference, neither do race, religion, age etc. The only thing that matters between two individuals is their mutual understanding, respect and love. Therefore in what position we make it or a size of my hubby's thing is nobody else's business!!!!!!

Posted by: wife at July 10, 2006 11:38 PM

Fuck all of you. Let's get one thing clear. In most cases a black man with a white woman(or severa) is probably with her just to fuck her or because he may have heard stories about how uninhibited white women may be. So all the white women and all the jealous ass white boys, remember: most of the time a black man just wants to fuck a white bitch or get his dick sucked and his ass licked. Most of the time that black man has no feelings for that white woman as many people may think. A lot of brothers are with white girls because they feel that the white girls are easier and they are more willing to do things that black women will not do or black women will not do right away. There you have it: all of these forums and bullshit surveys, don't let them fool you.

Posted by: George Jackson at July 21, 2006 2:39 AM

Hi!

-you can find a pic of the 50 years old Susan Bakos here:
http://booksellers.dk.com/static/pdf/nal-fall05.pdf

she's not really cute...

-You can also find the Susie Bright's reply to Bakos here:
http://susiebright.blogs.com/susie_brights_journal_/2005/08/white_sex.html

Posted by: David at July 30, 2006 10:29 PM

WOW! No one can ever say that racism isn't alive and well. By the way both white folk and black folk can be racist.

Posted by: michael at November 30, 2006 6:21 AM