For anyone wondering how often black college students are hooking up on campuses across America, Slate recently published some findings that could be seen as bad news or good news.
According to the online magazine, hooking up — loosely defined as making out and/or having sex with a person with whom you’re not in a relationship — is more popular among rich and wealthy white students than it is black students.
African-American students are less likely to hook up than white students. Sociological studies suggest that lingering racism plays a part: Black people have been traditionally stereotyped as hypersexual (trigger warning: see the “jezebel” and “mandingo” stereotypes). So, for black men and women, embracing sexual freedom can bring individual rewards, but also risks affirming harmful beliefs about African-Americans. In response, some black people feel the need to perform a politics of respectability. Rashawn Ray and Jason Rosow, for example, in a comparison of black and white fraternities, found that black men’s resistance to negative racial stereotypes sometimes involved being “good” and following mainstream social norms of appearance and behavior.
The Slate article is one of many published since the New York Times ran an investigative feature on the rise of hookup culture on college campuses, specifically among women. The author focused on female co-eds at the University of Pennsylvania, spending a school year interviewing more than 60 women to get a read on hookup culture today.