A few days ago NinjaCate presented an article for us to discuss from Time magazine asking white gay men to 'Stop Stealing Black Female Culture'. I by and large agreed with the premise, but did find the article to be somewhat problematic in that it ignored some aspects of gay men's lives and gay history that I think hurt her argument. I felt it could have been argued better, but overall, I agreed.
Today I read a response piece in Time written by a gay man and I now want to tear it apart from my perspective for your entertainment since I am pretty much rage blind at this moment. Let this be a lesson in the privilege blindness and assimilation that informs white gay male entitlement to act in such a way as to require a Black woman to have written the first article.
Lets start with the title. "Stop pushing away your allies!!!" Where have I heard that call before? Speaking as a lesbian, it seems to me I hear this all the goddamned time from straight people who are trying to defend themselves against charges of problematic allyship. I'm fairly certain I remember this being practically a battle cry for bad allies during the whole Macklemore dustup. Seems to me this gay man, if he were paying attention would have realized that he has immediately taken the oppressors role in his very title. NOPE!
"It's easy, once you start to imagine it, to see the natural connection between the two ostracized groups, both of which have translated that marginalization into defiant, self-affirming subcultures. My then new beau came of age in the urban nightclubs of Washington D.C., New York, and Tampa, all places where many white gay men found acceptance and common cultural cause with their oppressed black sisters who, in turn, flooded the scene, seeking places to revel away from so many predatory, demeaning straight men of all races."
Listen, I'm not going to pretend to know what the exact demographics of friendships are in the area this guy lives, but I live in a major metropolitan area myself and this white gay men being bffs with Black straight women thing is, as far as I have ever seen, not a thing. Yes, the gay men/straight women thing is a thing, but since when is it specifically racial? It isn't. The original author was talking about gay cultural icons and cultural behavior, not who is friends with who specifically.
Also: "...urban nightclubs...". I'm not even touching that.
And it is exactly this misunderstanding of the issue at hand that informs this next fucking paragraph:
"Last week, that alliance came under attack by misguided University of Mississippi senior Sierra Mannie, who believed she was defending black women from cultural theft by launching an assault on white gays who, to her mind, behave too black. She zinged, "You are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. It is not yours. It is not for you.""
No, she's not talking about people 'behaving too black'. She's speaking about things like the first three paragraphs he wrote in this very article when she says that. It has jack shit to do with his personal friend group. He seriously thinks white gay men and Black women have comparable oppresions today. I may agree that in the long past this may have been more plausible, but it sure as hell isn't now in a time where you have the gall and ability to write an entire article chastising Black women for not giving you a good enough ally cookie. Fuck that. Wait until later in the article when he refutes this line on his own anyway.
" Her fire is fueled by some undeniably racist interactions, a supposed epidemic of white gay men who actually wish to be called by stereotypically black names and anoint themselves "strong black women."
This is not 'supposed'. This is clear and definite. This is happening.
" It's difficult to dispute that such behavior is weird and offensive"
Should have stopped there, dude.
"Yet here's what else Mannie overlooks in her full-frontal assault: White gay men as a group could be the truest friends black women can have in American society. No alliance is perfect, but this one has the potential, if nurtured properly, to reconfigure the stories of race and gender.
"We could be your best allies. It's too bad you're such angry bitches and you won't just leave us alone. Ah well, fuck you then."
"White gay men — once intensely vilified but now able to harness our white male privilege for good, having learned what being on the outside is like — are a conduit through which black women can work against both countervailing forces that push them down."
Thank you at least for admitting that you are no longer oppressed. As for the rest of this quote: LOLOLOLOL - until I punch something. Fuck you so hard! You can't even use your new found privilege to open the door for other queers!! It's pretty apparent that you would choose to use your voice to chastise Black women rather than help them, anyway, this article is pretty much proof of that. This entire thought is hypocritical considering the article it is written in.
"Gay white men, in fact, pioneered a prototype for this. Not long ago, the biggest barrier for social acceptance for gays was heterosexual men. Then we co-opted them. At first, those old enough may recall, straight men refused even to speak to us, lest others perceive them as less than fully virile, if not gay themselves. Even those who deigned to be friendly did so at an arm's length, claiming to be discomfited by irrepressible images of us — with them? — in sexual positions. Over time, this eroded. They liked our music. Straight women liked our clothes, our hair and our manscaping, and straight men will do just about anything to appeal to straight women. We were house-proud, fashion-forward, smart and funny, versed in both high and low culture. By the early 1990s, straight, urban men even accepted a hybrid moniker: the metrosexual."
This might be the stupidest thing I've ever read. Look, gay men did not co-opt shit. It's the other way around. Straight men co-opted you. They did it, as you say to try and get chicks. It has jack shit to do with you and it wan't a conscious choice gay men made. Stop trying to pretend gay men chose to infiltrate straight men. It's an insult to the men who suffered before you to suggest they just didn't choose to 'co-opt' straight men like you did. Anyway, straight men are now done with it and it's time for them to be 'real men' again. Huge beards and manly yogurt are the things now. In addition, are we just going to ignore the concept of the 'str8 acting gay man'? Omfg, dude.
"There is no question white gays have intrinsic advantages over black women in American society. Sure, we've taken our lumps, but black women certainly win the sweepstakes of oppression by a landslide."
This is another good place to stop. No need to say anything more, dude.
"It is, in fact, this basic difference — race — that has enabled us to blitz through our civil rights movement in head-spinning fashion, while black women continue to face painful economic and political hurdles. "
Hi, Mr. White Gay Man! It's me, lesbian over here! Me and my other lbt+ friends just wanted to remind you while you are shitting all over Black women that we exist and we still get shit on all the damned time! We're sooo glad your personal battle is over, would you mind at all trying to lift the rest of us up a bit? No? Okay then.
This last paragraph is presented without comment. What do you even begin to say about this? It requires it's own separate takedown article. It's that bad.
"Still, cultural alliances like this are rare and should be treasured, not chastised. Black men didn't have one. Neither did Jews or Native Americans. Arab Americans sure don't. But through some fluke of cosmic association, black women have kindred spirits in white gay men. Don't push us away."
I'm so sorry to have had to subject you to this. Please try to have a nice rest of the day.