In her recent book The Erotic Life of Racism, Sharon Holland implores us to consider “how the transatlantic slave trade altered the very shape of sexuality in the Americas for everyone.” This panel considers the erotic domain, which offers a glimpse into explicit and enduring racial preferences in an age where racial bias has become veiled and subtle. Consider, for example, common statements in online dating profiles declaring a “preference” for “whites only” or “no blacks and Asians.” Since most people consider sex and romantic relationships key to their personal happiness, examining racial disparities in this domain may provide a marker of racial progress, particularly as it intersects with gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class. How does racism manifest itself in intimate interracial relationships? How do racialized differences, such as skin color, continue to have erotic impact even in the absence of white actors? What, if anything, can we do about it?
- Melissa Murray is a Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a core faculty member in the HIFIS LGBTQ Cluster.
- Russell Robinson is a Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law. He is the chair of the HIFIS LGBTQ cluster, and the panel moderator.
- Juana María Rodríguez is an Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at UC Berkeley. She is a core faculty member in the HIFIS LGBTQ Cluster.
(Rodriguez’s talk begins at 41:00)