What the New York Times Neglected to See
Originally published in the Huffington Post
Guest Contributor Chase J. Johnson
As a Black American therapist who serves clients that practice polyamory, and as someone who practices polyamory myself, I looked forward to the publication of the NY Times article, “Is an open marriage a happier marriage?” There is a common contrived narrative about consensual nonmonogamy that is pervasive in mass media representations, but I had high hopes that the NY Times article would disrupt the trend. I knew several colleagues and friends who do not fit the typical mold were interviewed for it.
When I read the New York Times article, I instead discovered that the author presented a pigeonholed, whitewashed, homogenous experience as the whole of polyamory. One of the things that I know to be true is that pigeonholing or dictating people’s experience is a disservice to the people in any community. Within the professional and personal communities I belong to, there has been much discussion about these simplifications of polyamory. When I refer to whitewashing, what I mean is that the representation of what is the norm for polyamory is 30-somethings, affluent, white, thin, triad. Most often two women and one guy. When I opened the article, I saw one picture of a black heterosexual couple. As I scrolled down, that’s all that was black, brown, and different. That’s as much of a deviation that we got. That is one degree of variation.