You ask me if my body is dangerous: Field notes on the fine lines between desire and detest


You ask me if my body is dangerous

You ask about the gangs I’ve never banged for, the burners I’ve never shot, the drive-by’s I’ve never witnessed. You ask me about my set, my clique, my goons, and my squad. You ask about the hood, is it really as dangerous as they say on TV? You ask me about how I got here, why I’m here. But you don’t ask me in the same way you do everybody else, you want to make sense of me. To you I’m simply matter out of place. To you I don’t belong. And since I couldn’t have come from the same New England prep school that funneled and oiled you into this university, I must be some charity case. Another undeserving BlackBrown kid for whom the velvet ropes of academia have been needlessly lifted to the detriment of some better prepared and qualified WASP. To you I’m a pariah, a fake. Unqualified, unaccomplished, and unnecessary. But not unnecessary enough to be unattractive and undesirable.

And so we fuck.

You ever been with a White girl? You ask, as if you must be as exotic to me as I am to you. But I know you, I done seen you already. I’ve felt your fear breathe down my neck. I’ve felt the way your eyes lap and scratch at my skin, trying to make a violent sense of me. I should have known better.

Things were fast and far from good. And again, the following morning, you ask me if my body is dangerous.

You ask me if I’ve been tested. You ask how many bitches I’ve fucked, I imagine you envisioned the mounds of equally dangerous Black and Brown bodies I must have touched. That is after all what we BlackBrown guys do, right? I imagine that you don’t count yourself among those bitches. Despite what I tell you, you ask and probe and prod and push as if contamination only functioned one way, as if only I could be the carrier of infection and death. I imagine you see me as dirty. To you I am the contaminant, the sticky, hot violating danger.

You see yourself as posing no threat to me. How could you ever be a danger to me? What a preposterous thought to entertain