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Stigma and Status: Interracial Intimacy and Intersectional Identities Among Black College Men

In this article, I use in-depth interviews with Black college students at two predominantly white universities to investigate the construction of race, gender, and sexuality, and to examine intersectional identities as a dynamic process rather than bounded identity. I focus on Black college men’s talk about interracial relationships. Existing research documents Black women’s angry reactions to interracial relationships, but for Black men, interracial relationships present both problems and opportunities. I examine how Black men use two distinct forms of interracial talk—”player” talk and “intimacy” talk—to negotiate racialized gendered stereotypes of Black men’s heterosexuality. By moving between forms of talk, Black men negotiate the identity tensions they face as Black upwardly mobile men. Player talk and intimacy talk both respond to and use racialized stereotypes, reworking the relationship between gender, race, and sexuality. In this case, disrupted racial boundaries uphold gender inequalities between men and women.