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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Column: Jungle Fever

First impressions: I’m a tall Indian girl, who can seem reserved and awkward at first. However, if you see me at a party where they’re blasting some ghetto rap music, you will probably see me cat-daddying it up. My love of rap and hip-hop music has resulted in a direct correlation to my recent attraction to African American men. Yes, people, I have been hit by jungle fever.

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason I’m rarely attracted to men of my own race, much to mother’s appall. My friend Nicole thinks I am attracted to black men because they are much cooler versions of Indian men, which may or may not be true.

I guess I kind of brought this crazy obsession upon myself. This past summer, while flipping channels, I found a VH1 Behind the Music documentary on Lil Wayne. This resulted in me buying a shirt with Weezy’s face on it and attempting to call the local radio station to win concert tickets.

While watching the documentary, I became even more hooked on Drake (yes, wheelchair Jimmy from “Degrassi”). Not only did I download the leak of his album Take Care (in stores today!), I also pre-ordered it on Amazon just to support him. I’ve got posters of him and he is my current phone background. I’m not crazy, just a tad obsessed. This past weekend I won tickets to see him live in December, so my life is pretty much made.

While doing more channel surfing over the summer, I ultimately landed on BET’s “106 & Park”, where they play the top 10 hip-hop/rap music videos. The show soon became a daily ritual that I would make time in my lackluster schedule for. Something about being able to identify the obscure rappers that showed up randomly in the music videos made me feel like a music connoisseur.

To add more excitement to this ritual, my brother and I would have Rick Ross grunting competitions while watching the music video for DJ Khaled’s “I’m on One.” Pretty soon, it became second-nature to spit Busta Rhyme’s rap in “Look at Me Now” and memorize the songs on ‘Ye and Jay’s “Watch the Throne.”

By the end of summer, I was not only darker in skin tone, but also had a greater understanding of African American culture, or at least rap music. There was only one thing left to do: start scouting out those men.

Many of my closest friends began to knowingly point out black guys to me. They were now aware that my type had shifted from tall brunette men to tall African American men and helped me scout out these hotties.

Most people are taken aback when they hear about my obsession with rap music. I recently came out to my fraternity about my attraction to black men and hip hop. Here was this quiet Indian girl who seemed like nothing more than a hard-working student and now she’s in the living room teaching people how to dougie and yelling about how much she loves Drake.

I’m not one of those girls that will exclusively date black guys, though, I’m still open minded to men of all types. I did get an application to join the Black Student Union, but I’ve been a little too intimidated to turn it in because I lack the confidence to go in there and check it out.

My jungle fever, although recent, has become a huge part of all aspects of my life, as strange as that may sound. I’ve gone from listening to alternative bands like Linkin Park and Incubus to rap music from the likes of E-40 to Childish Gambino.

This music has also gotten me more into dancing because who doesn’t want to take a hip-hop class where you learn to dance to your favorite songs? Not only do I enjoy dancing and listening to rap and hip hop, but I feel like I have become more open-minded through the experience. So next time you’re at a party, don’t be surprised if you see me trying to jerk and cat daddy at the same time to impress that hot Drake look-alike in the corner. Don’t hate, I’m just being me.

MEDHA SRIDHAR loves her dark chocolate. If you want to accompany her to a BSU meeting, contact her at mdsridhar@ucdavis.edu.

130 COMMENTS

  1. Not only is this article borderline offensive, the writer has terrible taste in rap music. Lil Wayne and Drake are straight up garbage for those who don’t know.

  2. I am not telling her how to feel in any way. She feels a certain way, and I am responding to it with how I feel. And as I said earlier, I am NOT asking for sympathy. There is nothing can be done that ensures that it won’t happen again, and I am very open-minded about this. Yet, still, I do not think the editors have done their job by allowing something which sets a hierarchy of coolness based on race to be published. I am not sure if anything can be done about her own personal ignorance, however the Aggie should take responsibility in an attempt to rectify this (even though it is not able to be undone). As I stated earlier, it would make me feel better knowing that is has been deleted. That is my 2 cents.

  3. And by the way, this hasn’t been the first time she has used the Aggie to try and get dates.

    “If you want to set MEDHA SRIDHAR up with a cute, tall guy on the basketball or volleyball team, contact her via email.”
    Check out her “Tall Tales” Article.

  4. Not only is this offensive to African Americans, it is offensive to Indian men and the whole UCDavis campus. I am an Indian guy, and I cannot believe that the newspaper would publish something saying “Indian men aren’t as cool as black guys.” Even if it is an opinion piece. In fact, Im looking at taking action against this as racial degredation. Even if she is Indian, she has no right to degrade Indian men, African Americans, and the whole campus. Im glad people are speaking out against this.

    • She didn’t exactly say that Indian men are not as cool as African-American men, so let’s not take it out of context. Let’s stick to what is actually on the article, word for word, and work from that. She said her friend said it, although YES, including it in the article is wrong, and she quite possibly agrees with her friend, but we do not know that for sure (we can honestly assume so though).

      I’m just trying to remain a little more neutral. I realize a lot of people are incredibly angry over this, but at the same time this girl is a second year at UC Davis if I’m not mistaken, and I’m a second year as well. She may not have had the diversity awareness experiences that I, or many of us have had, and she may just be starting to experience interaction with cultures like African-Americans. She’s may just be ignorant of these things people, as I said many times. If you take a look at some of her other articles, she has also talked about “bros” and about “slutty girls wearing Halloween costumes,” and these things may also be offensive to other people but are not causing an outrage. Please, hold back your anger for a second, and take a step back and actually analyze this.

      • I did not take it out of context at all. She used it to support her opinion that dating an African American man is somehow better. And does one really have to have diversity awareness to know that it is offensive to degrade the men of ones own culture? People have a right to be angry and its unwarrented of you to tell them to hold back their anger. I did take a step back… I read it several times and thought very critically about it. I am in no way a person who is “oversensitive” about things, yet I am still appauled by this. Also, just because people have not expressed outrage about her other articles, does not detract away from the fact that people have every right to express anger. Coddling her is not going to take away the loss of ethnic self esteem that Indian men, or anyone else offended by this, have felt. Your response is loaded with logical fallacies, so please, let people voice their opinion without you selfrightously telling them what to do and intervening. Thank you for your support, however.

        • If you read any of my previous comments, you would realize that I too, am incredibly angry over this article. I’m just trying to also shed light to the fact that attacking this girl is NOT going to solve the issue. She is not the only one who shares the stereotypes in this article. A statement needs to be made, yes, but no one person should “take action against this racial degredation” because it is not racist, it is ignorant, and this needs to be talked about before anything is done recklessly, because it would only create more hate, and not truly educate people about the real issue here.

          Please keep in mind that I share most of your views on this, and I too am appalled by this. I’m just trying to be a little more professional about it. I am not coddling her, because I do not think that this should go unnoticed or that consequences shouldn’t take place, but reckless anger is not the answer. We all have a right to be offended by this, because it doesn’t only represent one group (the mere fact that certain groups were addressed in this article isn’t the big picture, it’s the fact that ANY group could be addressed in a similar matter). People totally have a right to voice their opinions, but not in a way that creates more hate. We should educate, not create more problems.

          • Please tell me how I have spoken out in reckless anger? You are telling people not be so sensitive, yet you yourself are being oversensitive by their reactions. I have not attacked her in any way. I am not creating more hate by saying I am offended… I take this personally and want something to seriously be done about it. Of course people are going to be outraged and express a negative opinion about this. And I AM educating people on my opinion as someone who feels the have been directly targeted. We are on the same side, but right now I feel I am being attacked by YOU. Do not tell me how to feel!

  5. Firstly let me say that for a University of such a ranking that UCD holds, I am shocked, appalled, and angry over the article “Jungle Fever.” I am shocked that you of the Cal Aggie let this go to print. I am appalled that you the editor and the writer of this article portrayed a minority group in such a light that their only relation was to that of “Ghetto” rap music. And I am angry, that the Cal Aggie which is suppose to represent the voice(S) of UCD has been so callous, so cold, so bigoted to write this article of African Americans and the African American culture (though a very bigoted portrayal of the culture) and call it “Jungle Fever.”

    -How dare you.
    -How dare you add to the continuum of the perpetual racism and watering down of Black effort in American by calling the BSU a meeting ground to meet “Black Men.”
    -How dare you relate only the Black experience to music and dancing, and to jest that through this music you identify with being Black.

    -BOTH of you should and need to be fired. UCD and the Cal Aggie should have no place for bigoted individuals such as your self, who find it humorous to print literature aiming and poking fun at an ethic minority group that has long been oppressed and misrepresented.

    -BOTH of you are ignorant, and have no regard for what it is to be Black.

        • No, this is not immaturity, it is truth. People are called racist every day for saying things like, “I will not vote for Barack Obama in the election.” I am merely pointing out that the use of a term that is ambiguous (i.e., can be either harmless or racist) is generally identified as “racist” regardless of context.

          Webster defines racism as
          : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

          Generally, the race being put on a pedestal is not the victim of the “racist” attacks. If anything, the Indian men, who her friend labels as less cool versions of Black men, are the only victims of attack. But, wait, when a person says bad things about other people from his/her own race, it is justifiable and totally not racist, right?

          • These terms should be avoided in general, and that’s the point. People do not understand the impact that using these terms have on the specific communities. One person cannot speak for an entire community or say what they are like. This is stereotyping, which is racist.

            In her case, she’s ignorant of how she talks about these people, not racist.

            She said her friend say it, but then she said “may or may not be true,” including it in her article was meant to be humorous, I’m sure, and of course, I’d be a little offended if I was an Indian man, but I am not. Just because I am not offended it doesn’t mean that it is ok to say these things, because someone else might be offended by it, like the person who commented above. It doesn’t make it right just because you’re the person of the particular race/group.

            And YES, your point is that people of certain races can refer to each other in certain ways and not be perceived as racist, and you are right (this is due to history; however, as I already explained to you). They are not right; however, because it SHOULD be taken in the same way, and no one should have the right to stereotype, because that is self-perpetuating of the racism against your own group. This point is immature however, because you’re basically saying “She said it! Why can’t I?” It doesn’t make it any better than someone else says something, it doesn’t mean that you should say the same thing, instead, you should educate that person about being aware of what they say and how they say it so that this stereotyping and racism stops.

          • These people you’re referring to who think that not voting for Obama is racist are ignorant as well. Go to class people. Occupy your brain.

  6. Let’s be serious now. Had she written about her love for White men due to listening to some “red-neck” country music (rather than her love for Black men due to listening to some “ghetto rap”), nobody would have made as big of a ruckus about this article. And how many times have you heard someone from another ethnicity use the term “ghetto rap,” and not been offended? I’d wager to say many times. In society, we hold different standards for races by allowing words to be used only by a select few races. That in itself is quite racist if you ask me. If we don’t want this girl to use the term “ghetto rap,” then I guess we’d better start reevaluating ourselves and our friends when we find ourselves using derogatory terms like that.

    • Lenz, you’re right. It is not ok to hold different groups to certain standards. Historically; however, and even today, some groups have more power than others, and are also able to do and say things, and oppress other groups without any consequences to them. This is the issue, and the fact that things like this are socially acceptable to certain people when they shouldn’t be in general. Even if an African-American woman had written this article, it’d still criticize it for its ignorance. The mere fact that she is a woman of color actually makes this easier for her because I’m seeing her as ignorant instead of racist. Although, like you said, it isn’t right, if she were white, the consequences would be much worse, and would definitely be perceived as racist because of history.

      It’s all about awareness, what you say, and how you say it. You wouldn’t say you had “jungle fever” or liked “ghetto rap music” in a job interview when asked about yourself would you? Or would you say these things straight to an African-American person’s face?

      • I’m not condoning her use of any of the ignorant terms she has set forth in this article. I am merely shedding light upon the fact that a person’s race determines whether or not he or she is allowed to use certain terms (and in some cases even to discuss certain things.)

        • You are right, and NO ONE should use these words to describe a specific group. When people from certain groups use them; however, it hits closer to home because of historical facts and experiences. I am not saying that she is racist (I’ve said this too many times in previous comments), she is just ignorant, and used the terms in ways that were careless.

      • Unlike black men, white men are seen to have a wide variety of musical and dance tastes (indie, rock, pop, classical, country, bluegrass, and yes, rap). I don’t care if she says “ghetto rap”, though for me, as opposed to “gangsta rap”, it’s a pretty dumb term–kinda like making “middle-class-suburban rock” a genre. Ghetto is not a curse word unless you make it so. And a lot of people do make it so–“That’s so ghetto,” said with distaste, and so on.

        The problem here is that she is claiming to understand black experience through an affinity for a certain kind of music and appreciating aesthetically how black men look. She is not saying she had an experience that let her get a better grasp of institutional racism or something…just that she likes certain beats and spoken word and that makes her get black culture.

        Furthermore, the BSU is not a place to meet a date. At least intentionally.

  7. Hello All,

    There will be a formal Campus Media Board meeting this Friday, the 18th, from 2-3:30 p.m. in the King Room of the MU to discuss this column. I encourage all to attend at voice their opinion. From there, a decision will be made about any possible remedies and action. Please email me (editor@theaggie.org) with any questions or concerns.
    Thanks

    • People shouldn’t have to take time out of their day to come to this for action to be taken. Action should be taken immediately. It should be retracted and she should issue a public apology. Its not as if there is controversy about whether it is offensive or not. Anyone reading it could see that it is offensive.

      • Wait, why do you think that it should be retracted? Shouldn’t this be shared with the public so that they can be aware of it? If she issues an apology, will she truly mean it? Why do we want to humiliate this girl or degrade her?

        Why do you want to protect others from seeing the offensive article? Shouldn’t they have a right to see it?

        • Because as someone who feels they have been targeted by this, It would make me feel better knowing her error in judgement has been retracted. I have been humiliated by this, yet you do not seem to have any sympathy for that. Not that I am asking for sympathy, but I think that you should let people express their desires on how to handle this without you further degrading my own seld expression. I personally would feel better if it was off the internet. I want to hear that she realizes that it was wrong, which is why I have made that request. Do not try to argue with peoples heartfelt opinions and feelings.

          • You tell me not to tell others what to do or how to feel, yet you’re being hypocritical in your statements, because you are doing the very same things. I am not, by any means, trying to make this personal, and I have not personally been humiliated by this, but I identify with, work with, and live within the African-American community and am offended by it. I do not think that we should ask for sympathy, because sympathy can lead to a false sense of sincerity that does not solve the issues because they are the result of damage control, not honesty or change.

            You have the right to think that it should be off the internet, and please do not think that I am taking that away from you, but this shouldn’t be a one-person decision. This should be a decision made by a wide variety of people who have similar feelings and opinions about this. Anger may lead one to make rash decisions which may not be the best thing for a community in general, and may not solve the problem. Taking this off the internet does not ensure that it won’t happen again. A slap in the wrist does not change the intention or the facts. I completely respect your heartfelt opinions and feelings, all I am asking for is open-mindedness, and the willingness to see this in more than one light.

  8. I knew this would happen…people always want to come to the rescue of the ignorant. Whether or not this girl is actually racist the article is FULL of racist assumptions so I could care less if she’s actually racist or not…she chose to write an opinion article (sans any actual opinion as stated before) that relies solely on racist stereotype. I just had to jump in again because I just knew this would happen at some point…particularly people in the community affected by this article have every right to express their anger and I hate when people are so quick to call that out in defense of a girl who clearly failed to think about how powerful and offensive her words might be. And of course it’s waaay more of an issue that The Aggie published this trash (in every sense of the word)…I think that goes without saying.

  9. So, THURSDAY IN YOUNG 184 @ 5PM BSU & ACE ARE HOLDING AN EMERGENCY MEETING ABOUT THE “JUNGLE FEVER” ARTICLE IN THE AGGIE. PLEASE COME OUT & SUPPORT.

    *This campus is getting harder and harder to survive on. First girl @ mu accused of stealing, noose message at soc conference & now jungle fever article!! What’s going on!!?

    The lack of attention to the recent acts of hate/racism/discrimination at UC Davis is Hella Disheartening. And it must be addressed that the occupy movement is getting all of this attention whereas these issues that communities of color have been facing for such a long time, and are really at the root of this systems problems, are not being addressed/almost being ignored. We need to make sure this issue is made apparent to all, not just at our campus and others but to our nation and the world for that matter. Our next steps in addition to meetings with Aggie media and administration here, is to get our communities of color together to make posters and occupy the MU and Quad in a peaceful manner that will raise the Right kind of awareness [have the media cover that]. Not the kind that the occupy movement is raising. the aggressive-ness makes it almost impossible for us to gain the progression we want to see for the causes our communities have been fighting for/ are still fighting for today (social Justice). And in reality, while public education is hella important, the “all of a sudden im struggling” middle class folk are using our student of color communities’ support to mobilize their efforts against their main causes/issues/ concerns like the corporations (which while i agree is a much needed cause to fight for) OUR struggles are being downplayed. I can go on and on about this. We need to do something NOW. UCD has not been a safe place for students of color and this is our time to DO SOMETHING!

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