Going to Meet the Man

The Sexualization of the African-American in “Going to Meet the Man” College

The Sexualization of the African-American in “Going to Meet the Man” James Baldwin’s short story “Going to Meet the Man” explores the interweaving of racism with the sexual violence against the African-American in 1965 southern America. Baldwin portrays this by investigating the violent sexual compulsions of the main character, Jesse, and how his radically racist mentality impacts his sexual relationship with his wife, his profession as a law enforcement officer and largely his self-perception. Baldwin provides a unique perspective surrounding the nature of racism by revealing the ways in which white men have over-sexualized the African-American population.

In the beginning of the story, Baldwin introduces Jesse as he is failing to perform sexually for his wife, Grace. Upon her giving up and starting to fall asleep, Jesse begins to give a detailed account of a confrontation he had with a young African-American protester that day on duty as a law enforcement officer. Although he is aware that Grace is beginning to fall asleep, he continues to graphically describe himself assaulting the boy by poking him in the groin with a cattle prod. As he is giving the details of this run-in, he begins to become aroused. He describes the...

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