Rich Elder White Women, Young African Men

Black America, Commentary, Tonyaa Weathersbee Posted: Nov 28, 2007

It’s a scene that inspires chuckles -- at first.

Then there’s the sadness.

It seems that rich, old white women are now dipping from the new fleshpot that is Kenya. According to Reuters, women in their late 50s and 60s have increasingly been visiting that east African nation in order to get their freak on with African men young enough to be their sons.

Or grandsons.

One 64-year-old English woman had herself a date with a 23-year-old Maasai tribesman, while her 56-year-old girlfriend, also from England, kept replenishing her 20-year-old Kenyan date with coins for his pool game. To get those gentlemen to date them, all they had to do was buy a few gifts like sunglasses and sneakers, and take them out to a nice place to eat.

As I said, it’s easy to chuckle at this. I mean, we’re talking about big, strapping African men -- men who would probably make many other old white women grip their purses and scream if they encountered them on an elevator -- bedding down these grandmas for bucks. I can imagine those grannies now, printing a T-shirt in their head with a slogan that reads, “I went black -- and I’m never going back!”

But there’s a lot of unfunny stuff here. The main unfunny stuff being that sex trafficking is rampant in Kenya and that thousands of Kenyans -- girls and children included -- sell themselves to wealthy white people who, under normal circumstances, they wouldn’t even look at twice.

Yet the circumstances in Kenya aren’t normal. The unemployment rate is 40 percent. Fifty percent of Kenyans live below the poverty line. Out of every 1,000 babies born, 57 die. Its government still struggles with corruption and debt.

So it’s no wonder that a man like 22-year-old Joseph would tell Reuters that the only women he looks for in clubs now are old white women, because it gives him a chance to live like the rich white people and to stay in the best hotels.

He should be able to do that at least on occasion without having to service somebody’s grandma.

I can’t, however, blame the voyeuristic grannies for the plight of Kenyans. Virtue may fill the heart, but it doesn’t fill the stomach or clothe the body or offer a taste of the good life. Aside from women and children who are coerced and trafficked against their will, people who make a choice to sell themselves in a poor country like Kenya are making a survival choice, not an opportunistic one.

The grannies probably feel they are helping the young men to enjoy pleasures they cannot afford. Degradation is the furthest thing from their minds.

Of course, the grannies do have something in common with the Kenyan men they buy sex from. In most societies, older women, unlike older men, are devalued once their youth and vitality goes. They find themselves being traded in for the trophy wife and being treated like a possession to be discarded. The young Kenyan men, like black men all over the world, find themselves being valued for their physicality and little more.

They too, will also be tossed aside once their physicality goes. Ask any broke, retired NFL or NBA player about that. They know the pain.

That’s why, as much as I want to refrain from judging sex between consenting adults, what’s happening in Kenya troubles me. Mainly, it troubles me because it’s an eerie reminder of slavery; a time in which black men and black women’s main asset was their bodies and their physicality. It reminds me of how sex was a condition of survival for so many black people then; people who knew that to say no to their masters’ desires was to either be beaten or sold.

The difference is that now, Kenyans and people in other poor countries are enslaved by poverty and lack of opportunity. Such slavery forces young African men -- and women, for that matter -- to sell themselves to rich white freaks just to have a nice meal, a night in a nice hotel with amenities like linen and running water, and for a few trinkets like designer sunshades.

Such sex deals may give them a respite from the poverty that otherwise rules their lives. But it’s too bad that to escape that misery, they have to engage in another form of subjugation.

For an escape that is only temporary.

Related Articles:

Genarlow Wilson’s Life on the Mend, But System is Still Broken

Male Day Laborers Turn to Prostitution

New Survey of Sex and Dating in China

Black Teens Majority of Sex Traffic in U.S.

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