In case you haven’t heard, the hot new gossip today is that Sarah Palin, the conservative darling, former vice presidential candidate, and unofficial Tea Party head once had a brief fling with Glen Rice, a former professional basketball player. Using reporting from a forthcoming book The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, the National Enquirer published a story claiming that Palin and Rice’s fling happened in 1987 in Anchorage, Alaska, when Palin was a single TV sports reporter and Rice was a rising University of Michigan basketball star. According to the book, Palin had a “fetish” for Black men at the time. (--Related: Did Glen Rice and Sarah Palin Hook Up?)
We’ve told you before that interracial dating is becoming quite common in America, and that most Americans support it, so making a big deal out of a white woman sleeping with an African-American man shouldn’t normally be big news — it happens every day and people need to get over it. This case, however, bears a closer look.
Palin has been quoted in the past as saying some shockingly racist things, and though the Tea Party isn’t a “lynch mob,” its members do hold some incorrect beliefs about race. Could it be that a racist person was simultaneously sexually obsessed with Black men? It might sound crazy, but that’s not outside the realm of possibility.
If one considers the allure of taboo, Palin being attracted to young African-American men starts to make a lot more sense. If we assume that Palin was raised to believe that Black men were a bad thing and should be off limits, as many racist people are, her developing a sexual attraction to those same men is perfectly normal. Researchers call it the “forbidden fruit hypothesis” and, according to Psych Central, it’s “based upon previous research that has demonstrated that people find things more desirable when they off-limits or forbidden. There’s something in human nature that wants what it can’t have.”
Call it jungle fever if you must, but that term seems to equate normal human lust with some sort of illness. There may in fact be a deeper explanation behind why a racist person would pine for a Black man. But the only illness there is bigotry.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images; Reuters)
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