Friday, February 17, 2017

#CABQ: James Charles, Racism & Mediocrity of the White LGBT Community

The Chronicles Of An Angry Black Queer

It should be noted that I am writing from my perspective, which is that of a Black, masculine presenting gay man who happens to be an Atheist. I will be writing about my thoughts and experiences as an activist, human and life in general. These posts will not be academic or even properly written in some of your opinions.

"Whites like to believe “I do not see race” and “we are all the same”. In a colour-blind world there is no white gaze. They believe, want to believe, in a colour-blind world, which means the white gaze should not be, therefore must not be."

Entry #8: James Charles, Racism & Mediocrity of the White LGBT Community

"You like to think that you are more intelligent than us, but your mediocrity always shines through when you use terms and phrases coined from your white gaze." APW

When I found out that James Charles was the new cover boy for Covergirl, I was less than excited because he represented the white, mediocre, mainstream ideals that are so prevalent in our society. I have been out since I was fifteen years old and one of my most consistent experiences is racism from my white counterparts in the LGBT community. I learned early that in the Black community I would be seen as other and that in the LGBT community that I'm still a nigger. James Charles perfectly illustrated this point when he announced via Twitter that he would be working in South Africa on an upcoming project:

Often gay white men and (their lesbian, bisexual and trans) counterparts culturally appropriate Black women, Black men, and Blackness while perpetuating racism. Yes, Ebola is a deadly disease that has been controlled for sometime now, but James' disease of white gaze and privilege is out of control. His statement via Twitter illustrates how racism is used to make Blackness appear as savage, diseased, and ready for colonization. This is white gaze, looking at the world through a white person’s lens and in his case a cisgender, white, male lens. Most people like James do not see it, but this is how white privilege and mediocrity works, it is just the world as it is to HIM and white people in general.

So why would he apologize? I ask.

It is the world according to white people, which is why I do not expect Covergirl to get rid of James, let alone hire Black Queer models to serve face instead of having them beautify white faces backstage.

He lives a world constructed to his benefit where he only has to exert little to no effort to get maximum benefit, a white world. A world where their white gaze and privilege are rarely challenged, which is why they do not even notice that it exists. Only certain black voices make it through into that world, mostly those of rented Negroes, new Negroes and coons.

Exhibit A: He does what is typical of white people when they fuck up and are checked by Black people...

Exhibit B: And when he finally apologized:

Now let me backtrack a little bit to the part where he is going to be working in South Africa:

South Africa is one of the Whitest countries on the continent of Africa and has a history of extreme racism. Did James, like most white people skip history class? Has James heard of apartheid? Has he heard of Nelson Mandela and the other activists that fought for racial equity in South Africa?

Apparently NOT!

I expect white LGBT folks to be just like their straight counterparts, racist as fuck. Aside from much needed world history and geography lessons for James, the fact is that we deal with racism from a group that we are supposedly part of and are “welcome” to. This group is the mainstream LGBT community in which we are shut out of by being excluded from the process in politics and other matters. They want nothing to do with us unless we bring something to the table that they just cannot function without, DIVERSITY.

We are only needed when it’s beneficial and they erase us when we are not. When legal battles in the LGBT community take place they are very whitewash and cisgender in nature. We don't see very many Trans persons, let alone Trans People of Color in the forefront of our movement and an overall lack of  Black and nonBlack People of Color being represented in this community. There was a time when I witnessed a Houston City Council member say that the LGBT community is not involved in issues pertaining to the Black community.

Now why would the council member say that?

It was a statement of erasure, erasure that goes on in the Black community because being LGBT is attributed to whiteness. This is a huge issue for Black LGBT folks who do great work, only to be told by both sides that we "did great work," only to erased in the same breath. Erased while people like James Charles says heinous things that I nor any of my Black counterparts would be excused for. This is what white privilege, mediocrity, and racism looks like...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

#CABQ: Like Baldwin, I REFUSE To Be Silenced!

The Chronicles Of An Angry Black Queer

It should be noted that I am writing from my perspective, which is that of a Black, masculine presenting gay man who happens to be an Atheist. I will be writing about my thoughts and experiences as an activist, human and life in general. These posts will not be academic or even properly written in some of your opinions.

Entry #7: Like Baldwin, I REFUSE To Be Silenced!

I remember it like it was yesterday, the day I was silenced and vowed that it would NEVER happen again. That day, a cold December 2014 day, I (With the help of Tarah Taylor) had led a march from Houston's Shape Center to uplift the name of Jordan Baker to a larger event in front of the Harris County Criminal Court complex in downtown Houston. We had a rally after arriving to our destination, where the people shared their thoughts on what they were feeling in that moment until the bigger rally started on the steps of the court house. It wasn't until the bigger rally that I noticed activism of a different style that hearkened me back to the respectability politics and erasure of James Baldwin at the March on Washington in 1963. They did not let me speak, they did not let me share the perspective of being a Black man who happens to be in this movement. It hurt like fucking hell. The speakers stood king style shouting chants in Jordan Baker's name while his mother stood there taking in all the support. It was in that moment I left it alone, because I was there to support Jordan's family. In the back of my mind I still stood angered because they erased me for my homosexuality. Maybe they shared Dr. King's mind set on homosexuality back when he wrote an advice column called "Advice for Living" for Ebony in 1958...

"Question: My problem is different from the ones most people have. I am a boy, but I feel about boys the way I ought to feel about girls. I don't want my parents to know about me. What can I do? Is there any place where I can go for help?

Answer: Your problem is not at all an uncommon one. However, it does require careful attention. The type of feeling that you have toward boys is probably not an innate tendency, but something that has been culturally acquired. Your reasons for adopting this habit have now been consciously suppressed or unconsciously repressed. Therefore, it is necessary to deal with this problem by getting back to some of the experiences and circumstances that lead to the habit. In order to do this I would suggest that you see a good psychiatrist who can assist you in bringing to the forefront of conscience all of those experiences and circumstances that lead to the habit. You are already on the right road toward a solution, since you honestly recognize the problem and have a desire to solve it."

They wouldn’t let Baldwin get up there because they know Baldwin is liable to say anything.

GO TO 46:38

- Malcolm X “Message to the Grass Roots" -

I should note that Dr. King and Baldwin had a good relationship, but I've been thinking about his erasure, how he was barred from speaking at the March. Was it because he was same gender loving or to unapologetically Black? Either way, this screams respectability politics and toxic masculinity. They wanted to see his written speech, to water it down out of fear that his comments would be too inflammatory. Malcolm X was dismayed by what took place, “When James Baldwin came in from Paris...they wouldn’t let him talk because they couldn’t make him go by the script. Burt Lancaster read the speech that Baldwin was supposed to make.

It wasn't until Baldwin wrote the introduction in Michael Thelwell’s 1987 publication Duties, Pleasures, and Conflicts: Essays in Struggle that he was more candid about the situation:

 “The official and semi official opposition to any kind of March on Washington was terrified and profound....I had absolutely nothing to do with the March as it evolved, but I was asked to do whatever I could do to prevent it. In my view, by that time, there was, on the one hand, nothing to prevent—the March had already been co-opted—and, on the other, no way of stopping the people from descending on Washington. What struck me most horribly was that virtually no one in power (including some blacks or Negroes who were somewhere next door to power) was able, even remotely, to accept the depth, the dimension, of the passion and the faith of the people.

This snapshot into Baldwin's life helps me to push through the haters and naysayers who wish to silence me and to encourage others like me to take a stand, to use their voices. There will ALWAYS be a great silence from the straight "activists" in our communities when folks attempt to bash and silence us. It is required of us to hold antagonists and all who aid them accountable when we call them on their bullshit.  More often than not, the person who experiences the violent actions and words from those who wish them harm are left to fend for themselves. We can no longer go easy on these antagonists and their cohorts who have gotten away with their homophobia or heterosexual privilege. Our job is to kill anti-Blackness wherever and whenever it takes place its bad enough that we have to dismantle systems of oppression externally, why should we be nice when it is in our own backyard?

Our Blackness matters! We ARE Black! We are NOT a monolith! WE exist!

"WE are the first to stand when you get shot down by that blue bullet, the first to organize and protest. I see how y'all privilege the straight men over me and people like me who do the work so that you can be comfortable. You think that I dont know that a lot of yall are walking around in Houston telling others who dare to work with me "I dont see how you can work with him, he on that gay shit." What the fuck is "gay shit?" - APW