'As a black woman I'm always fetishised': racism in the bedroom | Life and style | The Guardian
A Bedford perspective on news, sport, what's on, lifestyle and more, from your local paper the Bedford Times & Citizen. Find Historic Newspapers from any date in the world's largest original newspaper archive where every Old Newspapers Online: About Historic Newspapers. View Will Date's profile on LinkedIn, the world's largest professional community. Responsible for coordinating news content for the leading daily online waste Titles written for include: Luton News, Herald and Post, Dunstable Gazette.
Both men are surprisingly happy to answer my increasingly probing questions. I knew there would be older, suburban white couples. But I assumed the men would be sex workers, strippers, or otherwise incentivised guests, whose role was to perform the required services. But these are unremarkable, middle-class black men.
When I ask if they feel fetishised because of their race, they vigorously deny it. Plus, there are no pretences. Why are black men willing to embrace the myths of hypersexuality and abnormally large endowment? And I think some black men have bought into the myth that they are hypersexual, that their sexual prowess and the size, the physicality, is greater.
When Europeans first came into contact with the African continent, they indulged in an imaginative riot of fantasy.
Elizabethan travel books contained a heady mix of fact and pure invention, which confused English readers and popularised wildly fictional versions of the place and its people. African men had enormous penises, these accounts suggested. Stereotypes about the sexual prowess of black people have an equally illustrious presence in literature, journalism and art.
They think we're all sensual, all of us are Rihanna. They are very threatened but secretly, they want to be with us Black men are still unfairly portrayed as rapists — not least by US president Donald Trump, who in called for the death penalty for five black teenagers, the so-called Central Park Five convicted of raping a female jogger in New York.
Their convictions were later overturned and the miscarriage of justice these young men had suffered exposed. But inTrump still refused to accept their innocence.
Luton Herald and Post - 29/11/ digital edition
Stereotypes of black and other ethnic minority men as sexually threatening on the one hand, and sexually desirable on the other, are two sides of the same hypersexuality myth. The former continue in inaccurate data spread virally on social media, pointing to false statistics about the prevalence of sexual assaults by black men. She knows a lot about the swinging scene because, together with her husband, she has been a keen swinger for a decade. If there is a stereotype of your average British swinger, Sarah is not it.
She is black, as is her husband, in a scene that is known to be predominantly white. Sarah loves these parties. She describes the pleasure of slipping on expensive underwear and a cocktail gown, looking and smelling exquisite, knowing that every ounce of effort will be explored and appreciated by numerous partners of both sexes.
She talks about arriving, and the breathtaking impression of the venues — imposing stately homes in landscaped gardens, her husband in black tie by her side, being served champagne and oysters, and meeting other like-minded and often impressive couples. Then, she explains, the lights are dimmed, and people begin retreating to a series of decadent playrooms. Sometimes Sarah and her husband notice, when they arrive, a sharp intake of breath.
And her husband was the one who found people for her. My wife loves black men. I have a vagina, you have a vagina. I know as a black woman I am always going to be fetishised to an extent — and the darker you are, the more you are. If they could, they would have one of us in their houses in a room, just kept there, for when needed.
But then sex and relationships are one of the last remaining bastions of unreconstructed racial prejudice. Sex is, in some ways, a very tangible expression of the deeper currents of prejudice in this country. As a brutally self-conscious mixed-race teenage girl in suburban London, one of my earliest experiences of having a black identity was the way boys behaved towards me. It was a lot for a year-old girl, just waking up to her sexuality, as well as her increasingly confusing racial identity, to bear.
These boys and I had more in common than any of us probably realised. We were all living out — albeit in very different ways — the complex and painful legacy of slavery-era sexual ideologies. They manifest in a number of surprising ways. Take dating, for example.
Luton Town News - Dunstable Gazette and Herald & Post
The vast majority of people, in all countries and from all cultural backgrounds, enter into relationships with people from the same racial, ethnic or cultural-linguistic group. But in Britain, black people are far more likely to enter into interracial relationships than other people of colour. That creates, in simple terms, a shortage. For black women, doing what most people do and seeking a partner of the same ethnic background as them, the odds are not in their favour. The town stands about ft.
The Blows Downs, to the south-east, reach nearly ft. The soil is chalky throughout, and Dunstable is supplied with water drawn from two wells sunk on Half Moon Hill, on the south side of the town. As this water is filtered through from ft. The parish and town of Dunstable are practically coterminous, the area of the former being acres, whilst the rateable area of the town is acres.The Fall of Berlin (1945) documentary film
The parish is therefore more or less built over, and in the north-west the buildings have encroached upon the neighbouring parish of Houghton Regis, where are the Dunstable gasworks and extensive works for the manufacture of whiting, an important modern industry.
Dunstable Park, in the upper part of the town, the only open space of considerable extent, belongs to Mrs. Malden and forms part of a grazing farm. Dunstable owes its mediaeval development to the fact that two important ancient roads pass through the parish. The Watling Street, the Roman military road, runs from north-east to south-west, and the possibly still older Icknield Way, probably of British origin, crosses from south-east to west.
Neolithic remains have also been unearthed in the surrounding fields, and the long ruined barrow in Union Street dates from this period. Besides the Icknield Way, Mr. Worthington Smith has found traces of another British road, the precursor, as he suggests, of the Roman Watling Street, which crossed the Icknield Way to the west of the present town, and still exists in the Green Way leading to Totternhoe Hill.
Henry I, who recognized the dangers attending travellers on the Watling Street, caused the woods to be cut down and encouraged settlers by the promise of royal favour. Various legends have arisen to account for the origin of the name and town, and the lawlessness of the time and place has been personified in a robber called Dun, whose evil deeds exasperated Henry.
The latter, according to one version, is supposed to have defied Dun by fixing his ring to a pole in the highway by means of a staple and daring anyone to steal it. The ring and staple vanished, but were traced to a house inhabited by the widow Dun, whose son, the robber, was finally taken and hanged, but had the satisfaction of seeing his name and deed commemorated in the name of the newly-founded community.
The passage to and fro of travellers gave to the town from the first its character of a place of call, from which it derived its prosperity in the Middle Ages, and afterwards in the coaching days.
Henry I is supposed to have built the town beforeand some evidence of its existence at this time is afforded by the Gesta Abbatum, which chronicles the performance of a miracle play of St. Albans from to He was invited by Abbot Richard to take charge of a school at St. Albans, but as he failed to appear in time the post was given to another; while waiting for the reversion he took up his residence at Dunstable and taught there instead, and during his stay produced a miracle play.
It was granted to the priory by Henry I aboutfn. The comparative isolation of the priory and the straightforward plan of the town, which consisted of four main streets with a few others branching off at right angles, simplified the process of nomenclature.
South of West Street and parallel with it ran a lane called Hallwycke in the 13th century fn. In a servant of John Durrant, junior, who had committed suicide, was thrown into the ditch after the coroner's inquest, but drawn out by the Hospitallers and buried in the cemetery. The name seems also to have been applied to a group of old houses on the west side of the market-place, and is in use at the present day. Some of the travellers who passed through Dunstable have recorded their impressions of the place.
Leland, in the reign of Henry VIII, just mentions the position of the town with regard to Houghton, and makes no comment fn. Thomas Baskerville, who passed through here in Maycalled it a pretty good market town, and noticed the large open fields which surrounded it. As in former days, the houses stand back from the wide streets, now shaded by trees of thirty years' growth, but there are few buildings of any age and the majority are of brick.
As one approaches the town from St. Albans, on the Watling Street, the road stretches in a straight line through Dunstable to Houghton Regis, the upper part of the town.
At the entrance to Dunstable Watling Street becomes High Street South, and on the right are the buildings of the Chew charity, six almshouses and a school. The school-house is a pleasant Georgian building in brick, with wooden modillion cornice and central pediment. Over the doorway are two spirited figures of school-boys and an inscription stating that the heirs-at-law of William Chew created and endowed the school in the year The almshouses are two-storied brick buildings with tile roof, leaded casements, and wooden hoods over the doors.
They were erected in by Mrs. Jane Cart, daughter of Mr. On the same side, just before reaching the market-place, is a large house of brick and stone, a part of the priory buildings, which was formerly used as a straw-plait factory by Messrs. Beyond in the market-place, where the Watling Street meets the Icknield Way, was placed one of the crosses erected to the memory of Queen Eleanor's last journey, and demolished in the Civil War.
All trace of the cross was lost for over years after its destruction by Essex's soldiers, and it was not until the beginning of the last century that the site and part of the foundations were discovered when the road was undergoing alterations. The old Market House used to stand in the middle of the street, but was removed in Hard by in Church Street, formerly the Icknield Way, stands the church, the chief object of interest in the place, now only one-third of its former size, but with a remarkably fine west front.
The church stands back from the roadside on a gentle slope, and around it stretches a wide open space which was formerly covered with the priory buildings. Beyond the churchyard of the priory, on the north side of it, was Henry's Palace, Kingsbury.
It was excepted from the original endowment of the priory, and was not granted to the canons till Immediately to the west of the house a quatrefoil panel of stone, with a shield of the arms of Dunstable now almost undecipherable, has been built into the garden wall fronting the road. In the same street is the group of buildings called 'The Ladies' Lodge.
On either side of the archway are half-columns of Doric type standing on low pedestals, the arch being contained beneath the entablature. Above is a low six-light mullioned window. On the opposite side of the road a little further down are some 18th-century stone and brick houses with porticoes, chief of which is the Old Sugar Loaf Hotel mentioned below. It bears the date on a rain-water head. The only other building of importance is the Ashton Grammar School, a handsome structure almost half-way down the street, which was built in from the surplus funds left by Mrs.
Frances Ashton in for the endowment of almshouses erected in West Street. Behind the school lies Park Farm commonly known as Dunstable Park, and the northern boundary of the town is reached at Millers Lay, a little more than half a mile north of Union Street. On it stands an old windmill, still in use as a steam-mill, belonging to Mr. Robert Faldoe died seised in fn. The hucksters, pedlars and undesirable tramps used to settle on the open spaces outside the town, and the burgesses in stated that quarrels often accompanied by crime and violence were of frequent occurrence among them, so much so that the townspeople required to be attached and presented for contempt of hue and cry when raised for such disputes.
The town has also extended to the west, which is the most populous quarter. During the 19th century the population increased from 1, to 5, the greatest rise of nearly 1, each decade taking place between the years andwhen the railway lines were opened.
There is railway communication with London by the London and North-Western opened in and Great Northern opened in railways. From its important position in Watling Street near the centre of England, Dunstable has been constantly associated with the general history of the nation, while its royal origin and the presence of one of the king's houses made it often the temporary abode of the sovereigns in their journeys through the kingdom.
Henry I, as above said, kept Christmas at Dunstable inand was here again infn. Stephen was the last king to stay at Kingsbury, where he kept Christmas infn. During the troublesome times of John's rule Dunstable suffered heavily in the general distress, and in was forced to contribute one large breastplate, nine smaller ones and twelve doublets to the army sent to guard the coast against the King of France.
In John passed through Dunstable with his foreign mercenaries, who harried the county as they went, fn. The king was prejudiced against the canons, and believed their innocence only after the verdict of a jury of thirty-six men chosen from two hundreds.
Where the coffin had rested a plot of ground was marked out and sprinkled with holy water by the prior, and there the cross to her memory was afterwards erected by the king, the work being carried out by John de Bello.
The sentence of divorce was pronounced in the church by Cranmer on 23 Mayafter a fortnight's discussion. The revenue was provided for from the spoil of Elstow and Newnham Abbeys, but the scheme was never put into execution.
Doubtless, like her royal father, she stopped at an inn, as Kingsbury had by then sunk to the level of a farmhouse.
The sympathies of the county during the civil wars of the 17th century were with the Parliament, and the king had little or no support.
Albans was the head quarters of the Parliamentary party, and troops were quartered at Dunstable at various times. The prior and burgesses, however, were not far-seeing enough to do their duty, and were ordered by the king in to mend the high roads in Dunstable, which by the frequent passing of carts were broken up and full of ruts, so that great danger was incurred by those who used them. The supplies in Elizabeth's reign were often imperilled at Dunstable, where the inhabitants refused to assist either with horses or carriages, and on one occasion the treasure was left in the highway till midnight, when neighbouring constables were sent for, whereupon those of Dunstable began to quarrel with them.
The unconscious innkeeper and postmaster evidently had to suffer for Sir Thomas's misdemeanour, for the latter says they were in a woful plight after the hue and cry raised by the pursuivant, who had no official intimation of the queen's death.
They had placed heavy relays along Watling Street to enable them to reach the Midlands in case of need, and Dunstable was one of their posting places. Even before the advent of the stage coaches private coaches used often to pass through the town. In Sir William Dugdale, travelling by coach, was robbed within a mile of Dunstable, fn.
The journey was not unattended with danger, for the country round teemed with thieves, and reports of robberies were of common occurrence in the newspapers. This road was used by the coaches for nearly half a century, but in a new road was made, by which the ascent was avoided, as it wound round the bottom of the hill, which it left first to the right and then to the left, joining the original road just before Tilsworth turning.
The superiority of the railroad was not then recognized, and it was thought that if a cutting were made through Chalk Hill the shorter route would enable the coaches to compete with the railway. The earliest, mentioned inwere the 'Lion' and the 'Peacock' in North Street before the High Cross, the property of the priory, between which stood the 'Swan,' at that date in the possession of Alice wife of John Petever and daughter of Thomas Hobbes, the ringleader of the rebellious townsmen in The two former were important in the 17th century, and Charles I slept at the Red Lion Hotel in before the battle of Naseby.
A formidable menu has come down to us, testifying to the heavy nature of the repast prepared for the traveller. Whether there was any mediaeval settlement here before the reign of Henry I is doubtful. The early part of the 12th century was a period of borough development, new market towns with primitive borough rights were being established throughout the country. It is not surprising, therefore, that Henry I should have selected so eligible a site as Dunstable, at the crossing of two important roads, for a royal borough.
He probably first laid out the market-place at the junction of these roads in the beginning of his reign, and, it is said, encouraged settlers around it by promising them land at 12d. Argent a pile sable with a horse-shoe affixed thereto by a staple or. These charters, of vital interest to the priors, were often menaced by the successive sovereigns, and confirmations were dearly purchased from necessitous kings in,, and The most important privilege was that of exemption of the prior and his tenants from appearance at any court save before the king or justices of the bench, and as a corollary the right that the itinerant justices, when in Bedfordshire, should always come to Dunstable to try there Crown pleas and other cases touching the liberty only.
The first recorded visit of the itinerary justices to Dunstable in is entered without comment by the annalist of the priory fn. As the prior refused to attend at Bedford, they seized his lands in the name of the king and extorted from him 10 marks before they would release them. The attack, which almost succeeded, took place inand originated in Roger's refusal to go to Dunstable without a special letter from the king.
When this arrived he ignored its tenor, and the prior therefore carried the case to Westminster, where the king confirmed his liberty. In the meanwhile some of the burgesses had obtained special judges by royal licence, a proceeding which aroused Roger to anger, unappeased by the revocation of their powers. He seized the liberty on the ground that the prior had one coroner only, not having replaced the other, who had died twelve years before, fn.
The prior was not allowed to sit with the justice, and was in danger of losing the liberty, which was handed over to the sheriff to answer for the issues. A fine of 40s. He claimed also goods of foreign felons when arrested in Dunstable and of his tenants wherever justice should be done to them, and said he was exempt from the rights exercised by the sheriff, and that he and his men and their goods were not to be molested by land or by sea.
They were anxious to hear there all pleas for Redbornestoke Hundred, and only desisted in their attempt after the prior had procured a special letter from the king telling them to go back to Bedford for all cases not touching the liberty.
Unsuccessful in this, they harassed the prior in other ways, depriving him of his recording clerk, following the precedent established by Roger de Leyton. The prior's right to Crown pleas was specially in danger, but he was able to preserve the liberty intact except in the case of goods of foreign felons coming into the town, when the sheriff was to act notwithstanding the prior's charters and his long seisin of the same. This strong pleading was overruled by the documents, charters and royal letters produced by the prior, who emerged triumphant from the trial with the loss of none of his privileges.
Those ill or without the borough need only be present if plaintiffs or defendants in a cause, but could be called upon by the prior if, by a deficit of persons, judgement could not be pronounced.
Barnabas' Day in April, fn. The cases tried at this view, which was presided over by the steward, were considered by the king's council in to be Crown pleas, and therefore the fines levied could not be limited to 4d.
Apart from the steward, the most important official was the bailiff who presided over the borough court, where he proclaimed the assizes of bread and ale, after having ascertained from the burgesses in court the price of corn and malt. The election of the coroner was under the control of the bailiff and took place in the borough court, fn.