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Davis, California

Thursday, May 23, 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. so, i’m black and my boyfriend is white. we get extremely weird looks a lot(especially around UC Davis, which always makes it super fun to visit him). i want to say that i find this racist, but i’m not sure that’s the right word. if you like black men, that’s totally cool, but writing an article about how you feel in touch with african american culture through rap…not sure that’s correct (you’re leaving out all of the other races’ awesome rappers). just so you do know, not all black men are famous rappers, that’s a wee bit of a stereotype. but anyway, if you insist on wanting to flaunt your love for black men….perhaps don’t use the term “jungle fever”….because that is kind of racist. p.s. watch the episode of the Boondocks involving BET, you might get a kick out of it

  2. So you say racism is over? Then why do you make a big deal about this article? The only reason you guys think this is racist is because you guys want it to be. It’s not the authors intent to make this racist. Obviously she just wanted to express her opinion and her experience. Furthermore, you guys must not listen to the radio or watch television, or laugh with your friends. Because I can guarantee you all that at one point another you made a racist remark or laughed at a racist remark made in a television show. Do you guys write letters to drake? emminem? because some of the songs have stereotypes? i doubt it. So why put this student on blast about some paper. If you don’t like what you she said stop reading her articles and man up and make your own columns in the paper.

      • Just because “this happens all around us everyday” DOES NOT make it okay. Are you serious? That is the worst argument I’ve ever heard. Are you two really University students? I’m incredulously disappointed. As to the point made that “at one point [or] another you made a racist remark or laughed at a racist remark made in a television show”- The Aggie is a University newspaper, with circulation throughout the community, there is a difference between making a comment in one’s own home or other place and publishing it in print and on the internet. Secondly, CONTEXT is important. While it may be true that people make use of stereotypes in Hip-hop, examining the context in which these stereotypes are used is crucial. If you’re confused on this point, I suggest you research the case of radio host Don Imus (April 2007 re: Rutgers Basketball).
        The writer of this article may not have meant any harm to have come to anybody, but as you can plainly see, some people WERE offended and hurt by this article, and I think it would behoove you to learn why. And please, people, stop referring to this piece as an “opinion”- it is not. It is a lengthy personal ad/diary entry riddled with ignorance and stereotypes.

        • I’m sorry, have you ever heard of people with differing opinions than yourself? Because I’m pretty sure there are a few of those people on a university campus. Also, I couldn’t care less about your disappointment. Try and debate it as much as you want, but this article is an opinion piece. And confusion is not the issue here, it’s that people are taking out their anger against an author that obviously took a widely used stereotype and had the guts to put it out there. If you have a problem with people expressing the way they feel then you are then one that needs a reality check.

          • I think you need a reality check. We live in a society where things like these are not acceptable. Some stereotypes, words, or anything of the sort, are historically charged and have no place in today’s society. Although you are entitled to your opinion, don’t expect most of us forward thinkers to necessarily agree with you. Stereotypes are not ok, for any race.

  3. Wow, UC Davis Aggie. This article is clearly racist and must be removed! You cannot compared understanding of black culture by listening to Rap music. I am an African-America woman and do not listen to Rap music, so does that not make me less connected to my culture? And Lil Wayne is a very negative person. He DO NOT represent black culture. This article celebrate all the stereotypes of black culture. I am surprise a university such as UC Davis will print such a racist article. Is it still 1950? Just because our President is black does not mean it is okay to say racist thing because racism is over! It is not as clearly shown by this article. There are so few African-Americans on this campus. In our few number we do not support this article and it must be removed!

    • read my comment up there, and just because i spelled eminem wrong doesn’t mean i don’t know what i’m talking about.

  4. Wow, UC Davis Aggie. This article is clearly racist and must be removed! You cannot compared understanding of black culture by listening to Rap music. I am an African-America woman and do not listen to Rap music, so does that not make me less connected to my culture? And Lil Wayne is a very negative person. He DO NOT represent black culture. This article celebrate all the stereotypes of black culture. I am surprise a university such as UC Davis will print such a racist article. Is it still 1950? Just because our President is black does not mean it is okay to say racist thing because racism is over! It is not as clearly shown by this article. There are so few African-Americans on this campus. In our few number we do not support this article and it must be removed!

    Thank you

  5. To all those alleging editorial neglect in this case: I seriously doubt it. Opinion pieces are always reviewed by the opinion editor, and the entire paper is combed for errors by peer reviewers, night editors, grammarians and the like before it is printed.
    No, there was no editorial neglect here. In fact, in the short term, this was a brilliant editorial decision. Here’s why:
    This is by far the most talked about article/opinion piece/anything that has appeared in the Aggie in…months? A year? Everyone is talking about this. When’s the last time anyone cared about anything the Aggie has written? I think that because of this kerfuffle people are going to pick up the Aggie way more often, just to check if there’s anything juicy or controversial. This column successfully brought The Aggie back from obscurity.
    Long term, this is a massively detrimental decision. The Aggie is systematically ruining its credibility as a serious paper. Nowadays, the only thing we think of when The Aggie is mentioned is some puerile column that caused a stir.
    On a final note, any apology for this column from The Aggie is utterly worthless. You don’t think the editors knew what they were publishing the night before, and knew the consequence it would have? It’s their job to know, and they did know.

  6. As a black male, I am not surprised by her desire for us. We are not only stronger than most other races, but we are more athletic, sociable, and “cool”.

    However, I do not see a big problem with this article. She generalizes black culture based on the music, but what about everyone else with rap music? Go to a party and try to play rock music or anything else. You’ll get kicked out. People want rap music because it will get the girls to grind, drink, and have sex with them. I think this is a much harsher generalization than the author of the article makes.

    Also, what exactly can ANYONE say about black people anymore? You say something bad about us, we call it racist and call people out. Now a girl says she LIKES black men, and she gets called racist for this as well. I find it hilarious she says “I have friends point out black men and proclaim my attraction to them”, and then gets called racist. Get a grip on yourselves people. I know you have white guilt, but this is going too far.

    PS. Liking Lil Wayne as your idea of “black music” is hilarious. The most overrated and overexposed rapper out there. Admit it, you only like him so you can dance all up in a guy’s business and possibly get a lay out of it

    • To the first line in your response.. Do you really think that all black men are stronger, more athletic, more sociable, and more “cool” than other races? That, my friend, is a racist opinion, and I’m really sorry you feel that way. Take a step back and look at what you just wrote.

      Your view of women, and your portrayal of rap music as some sort of way to get laid, is not only extremely one-sided but simply stereotypical and offensive.

      She’s not racist, but she’s ignorant about using stereotypes to describe an entire people, which is what you’re doing as well. No one person should speak for entire races.

      White guilt? I’m almost certain that a lot of people posting on here are, in fact, not white, including myself. I’ve had struggles in my own life based on my own ethnicity, and I don’t have to be African American to have experienced racism, and I too have guilt over some privileges I have over some people, even some of my white friends.

  7. On a side note, how much time are we going to waste responding to an opinion piece? How bent out of shape are we going to get? People, please don’t lose focus on your goals. Don’t get sidetracked or fall into this time trap. Keep moving your mission forward…….

  8. I’m not bothered by her opinion nor the article, and honestly I hope someone reaches out to her in a non-hateful manner. She said her first exposure to black culture was watching rap videos, starting with young Weezy.. That’s a horrible way to be introduced to black people. Have any of you watched the videos “WE” put out these days. BET? Please, black people don’t even watch it because of how garbage it is. So if you’re a young Indian girl being exposed to black culture via the Black Entertainment Television station, what do you expect — her to have an understanding of MLKs dream, Frederick Douglass, Stokely Carmichael, or even the poetry of Langston Hughes?

    In my opinion, she’s curious, she was introduced to something that caught her attention and she wants to explore more… Yes, there is a youth and a lack of maturity… But what were black people saying about people of the Arabic world before and after 9/11? What about our ignorance of the great legacies of Ethiopia and other African cultures? How can I forget the way we used to call people African Booty scratchers as a diss?.. and don’t even get me started on our views on homosexuality?

    I’ll keep it one-hundred as my young patnas used to say; my first exposure to Arabic or Indian culture was the liquor store a block away from my high school; we called it the Arab store. When I got to college, my first conversation with a person of Arabic descent was “Where’s the dot on your forehead? I bet your parents own one of those liquor stores that smell really bad inside.” I would later apologize and me and that person would become lifelong friends.

    I say all of that to say, reach out and show her the other side of blackness. The side that exists on college campuses and in professional work environments. Ignorance is curable with love.

    • “ignorance is curable with love,” well said Sean. However, in her earlier articles she mentions that she’s an upper classman political science major. I find it very hard to believe that her “first exposure to black culture was watching rap videos.”

    • I agree on some points you made, but the main one is: attacking this ONE girl will not make a significant difference. It will create more hate, and a more negative view toward another community trying to tell another community what to do. Isn’t that what people do to us in the first place too?

      Ignorance IS curable with love, and also education. We need to make a statement that unites us as a community. A statement that will not only show who we are as a group, but as a community of people of different races who share a similar goal in providing a safe environment for ALL. Even those who have attacked us; we need to allow them to be a part of our culture so that they can learn who we are and not fall into stereotypes that perpetuate more racism and more opinions like these to be acceptable.

  9. AGGIE FAIL…..

    Our newspaper’s name is being dragged through the mud here. With so many great writers on staff, I don’t understand how this could have happened. I know it’s an opinion piece, but this is a poorly written diary entry. At what point did she or anyone on the staff think, “Hey this is good writing!” I’m ashamed for our publication and i hope this disaster blows over soon.

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