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By Abena Boadi-Agyemang on November 1, Between onion ring-tinged breathy gasps for air and the ungracious clambering of hands on flesh, my mind vacillated between the confusion and euphoria of this novel experience.
I was caught in the throws of using and discarding individuals like soiled Kleenex. It was titillating.
To loosely quote the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar: dick and other non-phallic body parts were totally disposable. I felt powerful! This le me to ponder: How do my Black peers navigate hook-up culture? What are their individual experiences with this prevalent phenomenon? How do they process their experiences with hooking up in relation to their Blackness, as well as their other identities? I interviewed five Stanford students who identify as Black on their experiences with hooking up.
These are their abridged stories. Black, Rwandan-Omani. Year: Sophomore. What is it being like as a Black individual at a predominantly white institution PWI navigating hookup culture? Do you feel as though there is a pressure in college to engage in casual sexual encounters?
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Have you felt that casual intimate encounters either come into conflict with or complement certain elements of your identity? Have you felt that casual intimate encounters either come in conflict or complement certain elements of your identity? Should I have done this?
Just ended relaxed and then fell asleep. Being an athlete, being looked at like I should do certain black girls hook up [and having people] assume your body is a certain way, they feel like they want to touch [or grope] you — which makes it disturbing to be in a party setting sometimes. Do you feel like there can be an overlap between hookup culture and rape culture, especially because of the lack of consent?
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So to assume that something is okay is morally wrong. If I was going to call it a hookup, it would have to be sexual. At the very least, kissing. And it was after a party. It was actually my favorite night of, like, my undergrad experience. I went out with three other friends. Another friend was there, and I was feeling them and they were feeling me and so we started dancing on each other. One thing led to the next, and we went back to [my black girls hook up and we hooked up.
You just have that understanding. Sophomore year, I had a Stanford ho and that was bad because he got feelings, and I really wish that I would have watered those feelings, because in retrospect, he was a good guy — could have been a whole husband.
And to be very honest, Black people. One thing for me in undergrad was just building confidence, in terms of feeling comfortable participating in romance or hookup cultures.
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I loosely define hookups in the sense that making out and shit [still counts] as a hookup. I want to be comfortable with you and around you before we proceed to this thing that is very personal. Hooking up is a dynamically defined term.
It interacts with distinct identities differently, shaping vastly dissimilar experiences; and as Black individuals, we have experiences that differ from our non-Black peers, but also from our fellow Black peers. Our religious beliefs, cultures, queerness and a myriad of other factors shape our hookup experiences. As college students, we can continue perpetuating a culture of objectification, hyper-sexualization and disregard that undermines the humanity of our peers.
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