3.12.2013

The Myth of Black Homophobia: Why I’m Not Feeling Macklemore and Why White Saviors Are Anything But (Guest Post)

(Yes, this post was written by Dennis Upkins)

“An Example Of White Privilege: When blacks are in the closet, it’s called being on the down low, when whites do it, it’s called being a Republican Senator.” 
Dennis R. Upkins

When our illustrious Bartender posted “The Bar Loves Homo Hop”, I knew I was going to have a lot to say on the matter as this is a subject that hits home with me on a multitude of levels. However it took me a few days to gather my thoughts. Which is why I was ever so gracious when our Bartender allowed me this opportunity to do a guest post.

One of the most infuriating things about being a queer black male is the fact you have to CONSTANTLY deal with the seemingly never-ending barrage of attacks and false accusations about how black people are more innately homophobic than any other group on the rest of the planet.

No matter how many times I state facts, news articles or just point simple common sense, I still get told that I don’t know what I’m talking about. These people are experts on a culture and a race that they are not affiliated with.

Shockingly 99 percent of the people who do this are white.


What’s even more shocking that while everyone has an opinion on blacks/LGBTQs/and homophobia, it’s rare that anyone ever asks queer blacks on our perspectives in existing in both minorities.

In fact, since coming out, I’ve only had maybe four whites comes to me in good faith and ASK whether or not homophobia in the black community being worse is true rather than WHITESPLAINING to me that it is.

Despite the garbage that gets heaped at us, queer blacks like myself, Monica Roberts, Jasmyne Cannick, Rod McCullom and many others are in the trenches fighting the good fight for LGBTQs, blacks, POCs, and other minorities. We’re rarely acknowledged, if ever.

In fact many can’t wrap their heads around the fact that LGBTQ and POC are not mutually exclusive. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve spoken on my experiences as a gay man and I’ve had whites straight and gay alike  uses coded racist/hompohobic attacks “Are you sure he’s gay? You don’t speak for this ‘community.’” In other words coloreds don’t count. But just to give you a glimpse of the racism POCs endure in gay spaces here’s sneak peek (http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/1045886.html). And that’s racist white gays on a good day.

In spite of all of this, black LGBTQs press on not because we’re looking for accolades but because we want to be the change we wish to see in the world.

So you can imagine my disgust when I see Macklemore, a straight white dude being praised as being revolutionary and a beacon of shining light in hip hop, i.e., the Great White Savior.

Make no mistake, homophobia is a serious issue in hip hop. Homophobia is a serious issue in the black community. But it’s certainly no worse in hip hop than it is in any other genre of music or any other form of entertainment. After all country singer Blake Shelton had no qualms about threatening to assault gay men.

Ask yourself this, how many out queer musicians are there in mainstream and how many of them are allowed to sing about same sex relationships? How many of them are in country music? Rock music? Pop? You think this is random happenstance? You think there aren’t any LGBTQ musicians trying to get pass the gatekeepers to share their gifts with the world.
More than that while Macklemore is being erroneously propped up as the Progressive Great White Savior of hip hop, when the truth of the matter is, he’s anything but that.

“Here’s why you need to care about our next guest. No other artists in hip-hop history have ever taken a stand defending marriage equality the way they have.”

Ellen DeGeneres, while I have mad love and respect for you, that right there.....no, just no.

Jay-Z made headlines recently by speaking out in favor of marriage equality. Last year Frank Ocean risked his career and his life by coming out of the closet. That move right there sparked a long overdue discussion and movement to overhaul many of the issues affecting hip hop and the black community.

More than that, there’s an entire genre of queer hip hop artists who have been tackling real issues affecting queer folks and once again, they don’t get acknowledged. Wonder why.

“Same Love” was largely a success because once again it allowed white people to scapegoat homophobia on hip hop (and by extension the evil nigrah savages) without doing any self-reflection of their own bigotry.

While Macklemore acknowledges he has white privilege, notice he’s not promoting any queer POC artists and acknowledging them as the pioneers. Notice he’s focusing on hip hop and not calling out white culture: the white politicians, white media that stay attacking LGBTQs or for that matter POCs and women.

Hell, if he had simply called out the white CEOs of the numerous labels and distributors behind the problematic hip hop artists, I would’ve been impressed.

And the conflating of Black Civil Rights and LGBTQ equality in that song....again, no....just no.

Let me clue you in on some wicked truths.

Gay will NEVER be the new black...or brown, or red or yellow. The fact that many people think marriage equality is the biggest issue facing LGBTQs proves my point.

What people conveniently forget is that it was the Civil Rights movement that paved the way for gay rights. And shockingly enough there were many queer black Civil Rights activists who fought for racial equality and gay equality. Even Huey Newton, the late leader of the Black Panther Party, spoke out on how black militants need to embrace gay rights and feminism and examine and check our own internal misogyny and homophobia. Mildred Loving and Coretta Scott King were immensely outspoken on gay rights. But tell me again how blacks are more homophobic.

When I’m asked which is harder, being black or being gay, I’m always amused at how shocked people are when I tell them that it’s much harder being black than being gay ( the next QPOCs mileage may vary).

As much hell as I get—and trust me I do get hell—for being gay, I do have certain advantages. I can pass for straight, so as long as I don’t bring any attention to myself, I don’t have to worry about getting my skull cracked in. The other advantage I have, when I call out homophobia, people actually listen. Even the most hardcore conservative will acknowledge the existence of homophobia.

Yet let me call out racism and I have legions upon legions of whites, liberal and conservative, jumping at the chance to gaslight me and question my sanity/honesty/intelligence/emotional maturity.

Because in this society calling out racism is far more egregious than the actual racism.

Or as Malcolm X said, they don’t even acknowledge the knife is there.

The sad reality is that any LGBTQ equality that does happen will be in spite of the mainstream (read white) LGBTQ “community.” The unsung heroes and heroines will primarily be queer POCs and trans people as Stonewall illustrated. Because we don’t have cis and/or white privilege, we don’t have the option to fuck around.

You see many whites don’t ever want to risk their privilege and fall out of favor with other whites. That’s why we see the blatant shucking and jiving we see in the LGBTQ “community.” That’s why most campaigns show gays begging for help from their “allies” as opposed to us working to be independent financially and culturally from all things hetero. That’s why you rarely see us taking up arms to defend ourselves, you rarely see us boycotting or engaging in civil disobedience on the level that blacks and other POCs do. Most whites don’t want to come out of their comfort zone.

This is why Log Cabin Republicans exist. They’ll work for the very people oppressing them just to maintain their privilege.

This is why even though Lana Wachowski, Frank Ocean, and Laura Anne Grace have done some incredible work in the past year, the Trevor Project instead decide to give an award to Katy Perry, noted homophobic and transphobic bigot. But hey, anything to appease the breeders, right?

If White Saviors like Macklemore want to do some good and combat homophobia, why don’t they go to the main source of homophobia: white people?

You see, it’s whites who run television, movies, and publishing and move heaven and earth to keep LGBTQs from being visible or at most being portrayed as more than one-dimensional stereotypes.

You see, it’s white politicians who have passed legislation to further oppress LGBTQs. Interestingly enough, it took a black president to actually get the ball rolling on gay equality on a federal level and despite all of the heat he has taken and all the work he has done, he STILL gets racist attacks from the LGBTQ “community.”

Contrary to what Macklemore would have you believe with “Same Love”, WHEN I CAME OUT, hip hop wasn’t who I was worried about hating me. It was the white employers who would fire me because they believe White Jaysus Hates Fags. It was the racist and homophobic white police officer who I had to worry about putting a bullet in me when I got pulled over and racially profiled. It was the white medical physician I had to worry about when I got a checkup and they found out that I’ve been with men sexually.

You see the biggest source of homophobia are not just white people but white allies, such as an ex straight friend who demanded I be grateful for her supporting gay rights but then lectured me on why gay men shouldn’t be able to donate blood no matter what their sexual history is. It’s white straight “allies” who infiltrate our spaces and attack us to no end. I couldn’t even go to a gay club with my ex-boyfriend without some white woman harassing me wanting to know what breed of mix I am.

You see, it’s white female allies who pen the most homophobic bile known as m/m romance and when gay authors call them out, they go batshit, stalk harass said gay males for speaking out, and then want to cry rape when they get called on their bullshit.

If I have to choose between homophobic blacks and racist white gays, I’m taking my chances with homophobic blacks. You see racist white gays rarely (if ever) get called out and they move heaven and earth to attack queer POCs.

Make no mistake, I have indeed encountered homophobic blacks and POCs and I’ve checked them viciously when they’ve come out of pocket. But by large, black folks have treated me like family. Blacks, strangers and biological family alike, are the first ones to protect me and make sure I feel welcomed.

Whites on the other hand....with the exception of an elite few who have proven to be my Ride or Die, I’ve always had to look over my shoulder. Part of looking over my shoulder includes seeing carpet bagging fauxial justice opportunists for who they are.

So “allies” like Macklemore and Katy Perry don’t impress me. I want nothing of what they’re selling. They can get rich off of someone else.

You want to see real allies in action look at Brendon Ayanbadejo or Chris Kluwe. Read up on the late Richard Loving and see how he got down. Research Jane Elliott and you will soon learn why she’s what the kids would call a Boss Chick. See these allies aren’t concerned about getting rich off of oppressed minorities, looking good or earning their social justice street cred. Their main concern is doing the right thing.

So if you aren’t reppin like they are, then you’re doing it wrong. Do the world a favor and take the bench. Because saviors like you are anything but. 

62 comments:

  1. BRAVO. I actually asked Ankhesen about the dramarama/slandering that you alluded to, annnnnnd it all makes sense now. The fucking thugs. *throws shit at them. *hugs

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  2. Amen!

    This is a beyond excellent article that needed to come. I agree with you 1000 percent. When I was thinking about this story, I was thinking about how many of gay people moved in my neighborhood? I bring this up because there have been gays that have moved in it since I was a little thing.I know my Black gay neighbors and White gay neighbors. Far as my gay neighbors, the one thing I have noticed about most White neighbors is that most of them move in the Black or mixed community. If Black people are that homophobic, why do they do it. Far as them nobody tried to run them out of there. If they liked/disliked you it was about you and not your sexual orientation

    This have me to think: if the Black community is that homophobic against gays ,why do the frequently move in these communities? I mean,its a big contradiction when critics bring this up.I thought about how the politicians attempted to use the Black church and Proposition ( forgive me for not remembering the number of the amendment) in California. I noticed how much they kept bringing up Black folk support of this bill.Then you hear about Jamaica and some African stance on the issue. Maybe I might be fickle minded, but there was a time where you didn't hear about media bringing this issue about gays and the Black community.Now more than ever they are manipulating people with Black homophobia more than ever.

    I find it so funny how people are focused on Black homophobia. Who are the people who are in panic mode in stopping gays from existing? How many Blacks and other minorities trying to draft laws to discriminate against them?Ironically, I was looking at Monica's Blog and reading about what Tennessee's GOP is attemping to want tod with the gay community in that state. As a straight Black woman, I find their paranoia to not only disgusting but scary. I wish someone would put a stop to it.

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  3. The issue has never been about black people or black gays its been about scapegoating. Anything wrong with the world is due to the presence of blacks. I never understood the major focus on hip-hop, but it makes sense now. Focus on artists not the managers and CEO's that push them and sign them, again blame the blacks. Thank you for writing this. I have seen black people, passionately, defend equal rights for gay people and willing to march, but with most white people or white kids its a trend or fashion statement, not something to be taken seriously.

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  4. All I can say is this article is perfection and is 500% true. A lot of white LGBT people here are often going on about how homophobic the black community is, but frankly if anything it's given me far less shit than most of the white straight people I know. At least straight POC are allies in more than just the "hey, look at me and how GREAT I am" way that most straight white allies are.

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  5. Leo Princess3/13/13, 1:19 PM

    *praises dances*

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  6. True,true and TRUE! White people esepcially gay ones are such hypocrites when it comes to bigotry. They revel in privilege and committ many isms themselves yet also whine about the 'big bad darkies' hating on them please. I'd like to know why is it that very few white gay people address or are asked to address the rampant RACISM in the gay community

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  7. *rimshot*

    What an informative read. I always learn something when I visit the Bar, and I've been out of the loop for a long time and so I've missed a lot of stuff. But big ups and mad props to you, dear brother, for stepping up to the mic and saying what clearly needs to be said. I can't ever truly know your pain, but I thank you for taking a moment to share some of it and enlighten me on what I can do to be the change I seek. Excellent post.

    And that last line was pure magic.

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  8. Well-said, NP. I will never cease to be ashamed of the number of people who look like me and can't get out of the habit of telling other people how full of crap they are, without noticing the leaky nasty sludge pouring out our own head-holes...:/

    You are awesome, sir. Simply awesome. :)

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  9. Totally with you up until this bit:


    You see, it’s white female allies who pen the most homophobic bile known as m/m romance and when gay authors call them out, they go batshit, stalk harass said gay males for speaking out, and then want to cry rape when they get called on their bullshit.

    What is with this misogyinistic stuff? You literally could have cut and pasted that last sentance from any homophobic, black-hating sexist troll on the internet.

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    1. I would have had your reaction, except that I ran into the actual dialogue where this happened and it actually went down just like he says.

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    2. You just proved his point rather beautifully...I mean, if I didn't regularly read comments where white women regularly scream misogyny when they get called out for being racist or homophobic I'd think you were a plant...

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    3. Original post is about how prevalent racism is within the gay activist community.

      Scroll down and find sexist comments.

      Sad fact is that those who are oppressed are just as likely to oppress others

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  10. This is a topic I encounter with far too much frequency but with very little dialogue. As a non-hetero person of color, it is really irritating how marginalized other queer people of color's opinions and realities are in comparison to the majority view, and when one person who has a more significant social status (whether it be race, sexual orientation, class status, social position etc.) speaks up about it they get all the recognition and pave the way for more marginalization whether they realize it or not. I really admire this article, and I am grateful I read it today :D

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  11. is so-called "m/m romance" truly "the most homophobic bile"...? i agreed with the rest of the points made in this article, but just speaking as a queer person who's actually found a surprising amount of intelligent community among other authors of queer fiction online, it seems to be kind of a leap to assume everyone whose writing includes those themes is coming at it from a perspective of fetishizing. not to mention the confusing line involving rape that followed it... (???) i only bring this up because there really is a lot of calling out that needs to be done in these communities to eliminate the fetishization element that can't truly be done if queer fiction itself is demonized right off the bat.

    still, with that aside, so many rounds of applause for this post! i really needed to read this tonight.

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  12. i saw this post linked on tumblr and just wanted to say thank you for writing this!
    i did feel uncomfortable upon first hearing Same Love for reasons i couldn't quite pinpoint, and you've articulated those reasons perfectly.
    as a queer white woman, i didn't really notice the racism inherent to the queer community until it was pointed out to me, and until reading this post, i never considered that white people are the main source of homophobia. i'm still ignorant to a lot of things, but you've given me a lot to think about here and this will definitely help me put my words and actions into a better context.

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  13. Who wrote this article? Is it Dennis R. Upkins? I'm not seeing a clear-cut byline and I want to give due credit. Thanks for such a massive dose of truth!

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  14. This was a fantastic read, but I have two quibbles with you. First, as a bisexual woman I'm uncomfortable with your use of "breeders". Two people in an different gender relationship are not necessarily straight, not every different gender relationship has the potential to produce children, and some same gender relationships /do/ have the potential to produce children. Second, as a bisexual woman in fandom, I agree that straight fangirls do frequently fetishize gay relationships, but not every m/m relationship story written by straight girls is disrespectful or homophobic. Certainly not /all/ of them are problematic.

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  15. a couple of points:

    1) skull-bearer- i've already schooled you on your fuckery. especially given how you got all huffy when i called out spoiled white kids on tumblr who exploit social justice as a fad. truth much?

    2) dee- the fact that you felt the need to qualify your queer cred before ignoring all the points i raised and then proceed to whitesplain to the lowly negro that he doesn't know what he's talking about like you're a walking psa ad not only proves my point of the type of bullshit that queer men have to deal with in m/m genre because we can't even voice our grievances without getting talked down to, but it also makes you suspect as well.

    3) Jcatgrl- Yeah you have a problem with the term breeder, but I noticed you were more than comfortable with the term breeder but you didn't have problem with term nigrah and colored that I used. Also, no one gives a fuck hearing about the virtues of m/m and you whitesplaining it doesn't make it true. So feel free to check your privilege now. Because you are failing something fierce.

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  16. to everyone else (with home training). thanks for the love and the warm comments.

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  17. ***post moderation***

    I see this post is a bringing a lot of new traffic to this site, so let me make myself abundantly clear: for those of you who have beef with the author, do not bring it here.

    I too have witnessed the horrific treatment of Dennis Upkins on various sites and it will not be tolerated here...in case some of you are wondering why your comments aren't showing up. This isn't Amazon.com or Goodreads; you will not continue your stalking of him here.

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    1. Hey, thanks for the hard work. Is there any way we can make the thanks more material in form? You have kept this blog top-notch.

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  18. Could you explain the 'cry rape' comment? Are you referring to all white female allies, or were there specific instances when this happened?
    Obviously people of privilege are doing some pretty fucked up things in the LGBT rights movement/community right now. What do you think the role of these privileged people should be/how should they best realize their privilege and work towards creating an actually inclusive community?

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  19. This is the first article that I've read that actually calls out Macklemore. Thumbs up. This is super informative and brings up a lot of important points, but I found the "cry rape" line jarring as well. I don't mean to derail the conversation, nor am I defending people who fetishize gay men's relationships and then refuse to be called out by them... but even if that really happened in a specific situation, the phase "cry rape" is unnecessary and hurtful to survivors everywhere, white and female or otherwise, and it's a prime example of rape culture. So, at least please consider that. Again, I don't want to take away from the actual message of the piece, which I found personally educational and for which I am otherwise grateful. Thank you!

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    1. read the comments, he is referring to a specific incident

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    2. I really am not trying to troll. I want to continue the really important conversation you started with your article. I asked questions about the argument that you make in your article (directly related to the theme, not just to the 'cry rape' phrase) so that I can truly better understand your criticism of some LGBT activists, but you chose to only respond to the question about crying rape.

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    3. You really are derailing (saying you aren't trying to when you clearly are does not give you a pass) and trying to make this about white women with this post (b/c lord knows, I find a lot of white women could give two hoots about sexual violence perpetrated against black women or girls).

      Do you realize how offensive "prove to me what you say happened actually did" is and it's exactly what he's writing about and what happens to gay AND straigh POC when they talk about their experiences with bigotry/

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  20. I'm in awe that this article exists. THANK YOU.

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  21. Several of us have already explained (in the OP and the comments) that we're referring to specific incidents. I have a problem with white folks trolling over here thinking they're going to police POCs in our spaces because they don't like they're privilege being called out.

    It's really simple:

    Me calling out scum who cry rape and lie about such a serious crime and use said crime as a tool for white het/white privilege to attack (queer) men of color IS NOT WRONG.

    Said scum who is crying rape and lying about such a serious crime and using said crime like a tool for white het/white privilege IS WRONG. If you don't understand the difference between the two, educate yourself further before getting on the internet.

    Attempting to silence someone who is calling out said scum who is engaging in such activity that resulted in the Scottsboro Boys and Rosewood IS PROMOTING RAPE CULTURE.

    And I think many of you are aware of that. You couldn't care less. You just don't like being called out on your privilege and you're looking for a reason to derail this discussion.

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    1. Thanks for the article...I don't think I get to learn enough about this particular corner of intersectionality (we learn about our own spaces but not the ones that other people inhabit). I'm glad there are a few safe spaces in the internet where you can share your thoughts. Goodness knows that some people seemed to have followed you over intent on drowning out your voice with white women tears...

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    2. Goodness knows that some people seemed to have followed you over intent on drowning out your voice with white women tears...

      For a split second, I'd forgotten about Neo's "fan club." I should've remembered that they'd slither over here.

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  22. dear mr. upkins, i am a swedish girl that found this article via the tumblr of julianne escobedo shepherd. sorry for not-so-good english. the "cry rape" bit also made me flinch, such as several of the commenters above have said. if i understand your explanation correctly, it seems that there was an actual instance when a person has tried to discredit a queer man of colour by falesly claiming that he raped her. is this correct? in that case i agree with you, it is not wrong for you to call them out. but it was not very clear in the original text that this is what happened. unfortunately i am not aware about scottsboro boys and rosewood which explains my misunderstanding.

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    1. Carina, you can google and if necessary translate the stories of both the Scottsboro Boys and Rosewood. I would add, not because it's my job, but b/c it is important for you and other white people, regardless of origin to understand, that the kind of violence and injustice perpetrated in those cases are not isolated incidents.
      Too often, instances of violence and racism against blacks are excused as being a)part of the past and we are told to "get over it, b)isolated incidents that do not add up to a culture still full of systemic racism, c)the result of mental illness on the part of the white racist/homophobe, or d)less important than anything that upsets white women.
      Neo might be referring to a particular incident but don't kid yourself that the story he is telling about people trying to shout him down with cries of misogyny or taking issue with any language that points out their privilege or faults is somehow unique. It's not. Cries of misogyny are directed at POC and WOC by white women when they get called out. It's just a fact. No one said all white women. But it's enough for there to be an obvious and frequent pattern.

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    2. Cries of misogyny are directed at POC and WOC by white women when they get called out

      Boom.

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    3. I suppose I should be grateful. After all, these fools are proving my point better than I could've hoped.

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    4. I catch myself saying that from time to time.

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  23. Alexa,

    First and foremost, neither myself, Ms. Mie nor any of the other bar patrons who are regulars here (ie with aforementioned home training) are under obligation to answer any of your questions, or continue any dialogue with you if we don't deem you worth our time. That's called having a right to our space. So please check your entitlement.

    Secondly, you did ask a question that had been repeatedly answered by myself and others. So if you chose not to read the comments and the OP and/or disregard the information presented to you, please don't be shocked if your comments are treated as suspect.


    With that said, you are right. You did raise some other questions/topics that are worth discussing.

    "What do you think the role of these privileged people should be/how should they best realize their privilege and work towards creating an actually inclusive community?"

    Privileged people who are genuinely trying to do some good and not get credit for it should use all their resources to give voices, power and authority to the most marginalized groups. I think Whites who want to combat racism need to give voice and power and opportunity to POCs to allow us to share our truths, they need to spend money, time and energy giving voices to POC artists, speakers, events and allowing us to take center stage.

    I think the same for heterosexuals. Rather than trying to be white saviors, let us plot our own course. I think that Queer POCs and Trans people should be the ones given said voice and said power because as the most marginalized group, most of us will fight for actual equality and not for preserving privilege.

    But you see most white allies won't do that because to do any kind of self reflection that could threaten their squee or preshus would result in them becoming rabid assholes and attacking minorities for not knowing their places.

    As has been illustrated by some of the (blocked) commenters here.

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    1. ***post moderation***

      This will be the last time Neo answers this question and addresses the "cry rape" incident. Anymore comments asking him and others to repeat themselves will be deleted on sight.

      Delete
  24. Hi! Your breakdown of Macklemore's "Same Love" and all the other oppressive structures that were mentioned is absolutely critical; thank you for your work. As a straight Asian male who participates in POC and LGBTQ spaces, I do want to be respectful of those who identify as LGBTQ (since I am not). Almost everything in your article makes sense except the part where you assert Macklemore (full disclosure: I am a fan) of not calling out white culture, holding it accountable for its racism. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but to my knowledge he does do so in "A Wake" (http://rapgenius.com/Macklemore-and-ryan-lewis-a-wake-lyrics), another song on the same album as "Same Love". Also, in "Same Love" he does account for homophobic white politicians (the lyric regarding right wing conservatives). Although I do agree Macklemore's social justice street cred is not bulletproof, I can't help but think he does do at least *some* good in this realm. I apologize for playing devil's advocate but that's my perspective. I would love for this discussion to be continued so I can further be educated, thanks again!

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    1. I can't help but think he does do at least *some* good in this realm.

      How so?

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    2. Hi Phuc Pham,

      If you go back and re-read the post, you'll see we've addressed the points you raised. yes he does pay lip service to white privilege but he continues to make it a point to reap its benefits. ;-)

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    3. "Almost everything in your article makes sense except the part where you assert Macklemore of not calling out white culture"

      Perpetuating any form of white-privilege is enough for me to slowly back away from anyone. You realize his message is not new right? If he was willing to take a bullet for the violence aimed at POC or LGBTQ I will give it more attention, but not while he's using hip-hop as his soapbox for good karma points.

      "I can't help but think he does do at least *some* good in this realm."

      I'm with Ankhesen on this one, not feeling it. TOMs shoes does *some* good. So did the troops in our motherland. I'm not applauding. This article is great for educating yourself on why *some* good is never good enough: NYTimes The Good, Racist People by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

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    4. "Perpetuating any form of white-privilege is enough for me to slowly back away from anyone. You realize his message is not new right? If he was willing to take a bullet for the violence aimed at POC or LGBTQ I will give it more attention, but not while he's using hip-hop as his soapbox for good karma points. "


      THIS!!!!!!

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  25. John Nguyen4/22/13, 4:21 PM

    THANK YOU FOR THIS WONDERFUL ARTICLE. THINKING CRITICALLY SEEMS TO BE A DYING TRAIT WHEN YOU ARE DROWING IN WHITE OUT.

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  26. Hi, Dennis,

    You've really made me think. I'm a white queer woman from Oklahoma, and had been taught in my college sociology classes that African-Americans, as a culture, tended towards homophobia. It didn't jive well with what I knew about the Harlem Renaissance, or what a lot of mid-century traveling entertainers got up to, but that's what I had to say on my tests, and it unfortunately stuck. Now you've got me wondering where the myths originated: whether it's a matter of whites assuming black people are ignorant savages, an assumption that blacks in the South absorbed the homophobia common within the region, or something else. (I had one idea that maybe there were some interviews done with black people when homosexuality was illegal, and they feigned ignorance ("Oh, we don't have ANYONE like that here.") to protect friends and family, inadvertently leading to or strengthening the myth. At the time, white people tended to be declared mentally incompetent, but I expect anyone black more likely wound up in prison. It's a far-fetched hypothesis, but interesting brain food.)

    I hope this makes sense. Call it the weakling cry of someone still clawing her way out of privilege's caul.

    I do have a question regarding portrayal of gay men in fiction. I write (not romance, thank Elvis), and several of my characters are queer men. I treat them as people, not a sexuality with a pulse, but I want to make sure I avoid pitfalls. What in particular do female authors tend to miss or misunderstand when writing gay men? (Not that people in general are easy to write well.)

    Thank you so much!
    Susan

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    1. What in particular do female authors tend to miss or misunderstand when writing gay men?

      Thank you for being the first person in weeks to ask an decent question.

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    2. They tend to miss a few things. That not all gay men are either 'top' or 'bottom'. That they are not necessarily obvious, or feminine/effeminate, or super hairy butch either (something I've encountered as an annoying inversion of the 'fairy' gay). That they are not more promiscuous than anyone else, as a group. That not all enjoy anal sex immensely and to the exclusion of all other forms of sexual expression. They often think that being gay conflates automatically with being part of the BDSM community. That they have an absent, or warped, idea of personal and legal boundaries. It's a fairly extensive list and, in some ways, mirrors what male authors miss when writing lesbian women. And what people in general tend to miss when writing trans* characters.

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  27. Definitely reblogged this.

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  28. I believe that this article is based off of personal experience, as most articles concerning any form of identity are. With that said, I have had an immensely different experience growing up as a queer person of color in the Bronx and attending a primarily white school in Manhattan.
    Coming out to "hip-hop" was insanely difficult for me, as I was met with opposition and since black men no longer saw me as a viable sexual option, I was stripped of my womanhood in their eyes. Essentially, I no longer held value to them. This is a trait I believe to be born of out hip-hop, and a huge characteristic of the black community at large, but not with individuals.
    Coming out to my white friends saved me. My straight male friends took it in stride, treated me the same. My straight female friends didn't accuse me of constantly hitting on them, didn't treat me as an object of experimentation. And, most influentially, my queer male/female/trans* friends accepted me as I was, acknowledging my race, but not making it my entire identity. They let me define what being "black" meant to me and accepted my definition.
    I know I'm blessed with incredible people, but my friends in the Bronx are also incredible and loving. To me, it's the culture that permeated what I know are good hearts and created a hurtful and sometimes unbearable environment for me to grow as a queer person.

    This is my narrative, my story specific to only me, although I'm sure others can identify. I respect your narrative as well, and clearly, as the comments show, others feel the oppression withing the LGBTQ community through racial divides.
    I'm not posting this as a critique necessarily (although I think your comparison of Macklemore and Katy Perry is insane, especially given how actively offensive Katy Perry is. I also hold your sentence "why don’t they go to the main source of homophobia: white people?" to be not only racially offensive, as you're generalizing a huge community of people, but also you're enlarging a divide that already exists withing the LGBTQ community between people of color and whites when we should be fighting to close that gap).
    I'm posting this as an alternative perspective, just so that, as your narrative has broadened my knowledge and feelings about the LGBTQ community and black community, maybe my story will change your heart as well.

    To quote Malcolm X, as you seem to admire him, "I'm a human being first and foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole." (The Autobiography of Malcolm X, p. 400)
    I too am a human being first, before I am gay, black or a woman.

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    1. Yeah this comment is and the commenter is immensely suspect. They just happened to have the exact opposite experience and they just had to share how white peepul are wonderful and black people weren't.

      You know it's cute that we're pulling the only race is the human race line because typically you only hear white folks say that when they're being called out on their privilege and racism.

      You object to me calling out homophobia and the rampant oppression of white culture, in spite of all of the shit that's going on in Florida? Where were you at when blacks were falsely blamed for Prop 8. Why weren't you over here then when we were discussing the attacks that myself and other black queer bloggers and personalities received? Where were you then Ms. Humanity?

      So please spare me the SOMEONE THINK OF THE WHITE PEEPUL garbage. No one remembers POC's humanity and all the hell we catch on a daily basis.

      One last thing.

      To quote our illustrious Bartender, FASHION TIP FROM MOI: I really must insist that you properly research great leaders before cherry picking and taking their quotes out of context. To do otherwise would look foolish on your part.

      Case in point:

      Here are the other things Malcolm said:

      ""I've never seen a sincere white man, not when it comes to helping black people. Usually things like this are done by white people to benefit themselves. The white man's primary interest is not to elevate the thinking of black people, or to waken black people, or white people either. The white man is interested in the black man only to the extent that the black man is of use to him. The white man's interest is to make money, to exploit.""

      And we're also talking about the man who immortalized the term, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

      So rather than coming over here lecturing the individual on the receiving of racism and homophobia, you might want to go share the humanity speech with white folks and broaden their perspectives and remind them that Duanna Johnson and Trayvon Martin were human beings as well.

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  29. Loretta Brown8/23/13, 1:00 PM

    I agree with most of this, besides this sentence: "But it’s certainly no worse in hip hop than it is in any other genre of music or any other form of entertainment."

    This sentence is just incorrect. Hip hop has more homophobic content than any other mainstream genre of music. Sure, there are plenty of other genres with prevalent homophobic content (reggae is a good example), but to say hip hop is no worse than any other genre is just delusional. No other mainstream genre displays homophobia with the same frequency.

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    1. Aerosmith- Dude Looks Like A Lady
      Blake "I Wanna Kill Homos" Shelton
      TATU: Faux Lesbian Pop Group Who Appropriates Queer Culture
      Guns & Roses- One In a Million
      Victoria Jackson- Lesbian Song
      Willie Nelson- Lost Highway
      Bloodhound Gang- I Wish I Was Quer So I Could Get Chicks
      Raunchous Brothers- Die Faggot Die
      Anti Nowhere League- Pig Iron
      David Allan Coe- Nothing Sacred
      Rodney Carrington- Nut Sack
      Aryan Disgrace- Faggot In The Family
      Cletus T Judd- Jeff Gordon Is Gay
      Katy Perry- I Kissed A Girl (and appropriated queer ladies sexuality) and UR So Gay

      That's interesting because this small sampling of various mainstream genres/acts are immensely homophobic and yet none of them are hip hop.

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  30. I have said this before and I will say it again. The problem is we believe that the civil rights movement in this country was the end of the struggle for the black community when in reality it was the beginning. And so as a people we address issues from a place of entitlement saying "they" need to do something, instead of saying I need to do something.

    For the white person who is also gay , you come out and the you experience for the first time what it means to be hated or discriminated against by the masses and you say this is not right. For the Black person the is everyday life. And yet the feeling is because you are suddenly feeling mistreated and discriminated against that this must be like what the "blacks" went through and therefore you should be on my side, even though I have never been on yours.

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  31. My interactions with white homosexuals have actually been no different from the heterosexual ones. The racist ideology did not change in spite of sexuality differences.

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    1. I'm a trans chick originally from Philly and PA. I have severed friendships with white LGBT folks over this shit. The worst racism i've encountered is 50+ year old lesbian and gay folks- you're right sexual orientation doesnt influence white skin priviledge. I am white, however i acknowledge that i grew up in a toxic stew of ethnic and class tension, liberal and conservative racism -overwhelming forces that left me in high school with racist perspective. Ever since i have been working to evolve away from this and 'call myself out' whenever needed.

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  32. Aaron Simpson8/30/13, 8:59 PM

    Just finished an interesting interview on mother jones with Talib Kweli. Found this particularly interesting, "Homosexuality in hip-hop is an extension of homosexuality in the black community. The black community is very, very conservative when it comes to homosexuality, and I don't mean conservative in the good way, like we're saving money. I mean very intolerant. That's how it's always been. I do see a new generation, partly because of the internet and technology, embracing it. I see young black boys, young black women in the hood embracing homosexuality in ways they never would've when I was younger. When I was a teenager, the way some of these kids out here be actively gay, it would have been ridiculed in the hood. And now the hood is a bit more accepting. Begrudgingly accepting, but definitely more accepting than 20 years ago when I was a little kid."

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    1. While I'm a huge Talib Kweli fan, I fail to see where this quote (which is clearly being taken out of context) has any relevance to the original post. If this was an attempt to negate the points made in the original post, it fails for a number of reasons.

      First and foremost Mr. Kweli is not a black LGBTQ. So yes while he does have more insight than most whites , there are still going to be factors and dynamics that even a brilliant individual like Mr. Kweli would miss. And misquoting a straight artist to negate the points of a queer black social justice blogger and activist is immensely problematic.

      The original post acknowledged that homophobia is a serious issue in the black community and that we are working to address said issues.

      However our overall point still remains homophobia in the black community is no worse than it is in the white community. In fact, homophobia and bigotry in general is far worse in white culture as history, and endless facts and data proves.

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