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Why is “Ethnic” Skin So Delicious?

Somewhat inspired by the lovely article about black hair on the main page, I wanted to quickly discuss something that's really been bothering me in literature of late: edible non-white skin.

This is truer of shittily-written novels, but I am incredibly creeped out by descriptions of African-American, Latino or otherwise "brown-skinned people" and their delicious, sweet, edible skin. I swear to God, I once read a description of a black man's skin tone as "like coffee with just a splash of cream," but it's more commonly cocoa, chocolate (milk and dark), caramel, toffee, coffee, brown sugar, mocha, espresso, latte... you get the idea.


What I find most horrifying is not that it's objectification and fetishization of the worst kind, but that's it's offered up as a bizarre compliment. As though the author — always white, usually male — is progressive and ought to be commended for finding black/brown/tan skin so appealing.

Thoughts? Feelings? Hunger?

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