Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I recently had a dream that I had a daughter. I am, in waking life, as far as I know, childless (unless you count the 30-40 kids I herd around at the college). In the dream, my daughter was perhaps 6-7 years of age. We play games. We cuddle. Exchange hugs. Read books. We tickle and tease one another.

We do all the things fathers and daughters do. It is a wonderful dream. My daughter is healthy and beautiful. She is smart, funny, quick, bright, lithe, and really quite gorgeous. Just a gorgeous face on her.  You can tell she is going to be heartbreaker. She is also as black as coal.

I would assume most progressively oriented people would prefer that I listed her attributes in just the order I did, or some variation, with the physical attributes and appearances last. Most of all the fact that she is extremely dark complected. Funny thing is, though, in the dream, it is the very last thing I notice.

You know how dream logic is. Some portions which would normally be immediately noticed are either accepted as completely natural, or are suspended within the narrative, aspects put aside for later review. So it is with my daughter's skin color. It is a suspension of the dream narrative noticeable enough to wake me up. I think. I mean, I was so delighted with having such a wonderful daughter, her complexion was really hardly worth noticing.

How post-racial of me. Ah, but no. Despite being raised by liberal parents, growing up in the town that I did, in the nation that I did, in the time period I'm from, I can't help but be racist. I am not, like most liberals, in denial about this. I have seriously fucked up prejudices. I'm working on that.

And I've got to question if there is a white paternalism thing as well. She was my daughter, after all. Not my equal. Not my mate. My dependent.

And, then there's the question of subconscious yearnings. Have I jungle fever? Negrophilia? Actually, I'm not certain about the word. It does have, given modern cultural associations, a haint to it. I keep thinking of "Good Times" episodes where Wilona would use the phrase "Negro, please!", and I can't see her meaning it in a good way. Maybe she was talking to Erik Rush.

The first time I came across the word "negrophilia" was in a reading of how, before there was much in the way of constant contact, Europeans were negrophilic. I'm assuming they meant back in medieval or ancient times, but how this particular factoid is known in the book, I've quite forgotten. Perhaps it was an undocumented assertion. But why not? We've all of us a taste for the rare and exotic. Unless, of course, it was a misprint, and it should have been "necrophilic". I can see Europeans swinging that way, too.