And Where the Hell Were You? Part 2

(Thanks, Transgriot!)

From Renee of Womanist Musings (some emphasis mine):
Hopefully by now you have heard about how James Anderson died but for those who haven't,  seven White youths in Mississippi decided to beat him while yelling racial slurs, and then drive a truck over his body. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a racial hate crime. I found his murder incredibly triggering and that is why I didn't write about it before. I have however been following this story very closely.  As a Black mother with Black sons, what happened to Anderson represents my worst nightmare.

This weekend as I was going through my reader, I noticed that several gay blogs have finally gotten around to writing about this story. Please note that Black blogs have been writing about Anderson's death since it happened, and I doubt that without their constant attention, that this story would have made the national news.  At any rate, reading these gay blogs I learned that Anderson was Black and gay. A light bulb clicked on, and I realized why his death had suddenly been deemed worthy of coverage - his sexuality.

When Anderson was just another Black man, who was a random victim of White supremacy, none of the GLBT blogs had a damn thing to say about it.  I suppose it was considered not to be a gay issue. Now that it has been revealed that Anderson was a gay man, being beaten and then driven over by a truck is suddenly deemed horrifying.  To that I say fuck you - fuck you ten thousand times over. They weren't screaming gay slurs at Anderson, they were screaming racial slurs at him and believing  that you can appropriate his death to advance the cause of gay rights is repulsive.

The moment that it was revealed how and why Anderson died, it should have been an issue for every single social justice blogger, because his life was worth something.  It should never have been about what group he did or did not fit into, because looking at any individual is never enough to know exactly what oppressions they have to negotiate on a daily basis.  Social justice is supposed to be about intersections, because most people will negotiate multiple site of oppression throughout their lifetimes, but for the GLBT blogs that decided to ignore what happened to Anderson, until it was revealed that he was gay, apparently that is not a truism.

As I read the commentary about how horrified these writers were about how he died, and the racial slurs aimed at him while he was being beaten, the bile rose in my throat. Only caring when it was revealed that Anderson was a part of the LGBT community is a reflection of White privilege. This coupled with the fact that Blacks are continually framed as uniquely homophobic and the fact that Black LGBT members are constantly erased made me absolutely sick.

I don't believe that these White GLBT bloggers represent the entirety of the BLGT community, but they most certainly represent a faction that is determined to place their oppression over and above the oppression that others face.  This kind of appropriation is something that we have seen repeatedly, because it serves a political purpose. It manifests in things like Gay is the new Black, or the outright appropriation of the civil rights movement and civil rights sheroes and heroes. Caring about racism, only when you can redirect it or make false analogies is racist.  I say again for emphasis, it's racist.

Since the first Black person set foot in the new world, we have been the victims of White supremacy. From slavery, to Jim Crow, to the present day, Blacks are still under assault.  It does not always manifest in brutal murders, but it is an everyday occurrence, which effects life chances, health care, education, the media etc,. There isn't a single social institution that is not effected by racism, because White supremacy is insitutionalized.

Ignoring any kind of ism because it does not directly effect your life, only encourages the idea that under certain circumstances, oppression is not only natural, but good.  Deciding that just because you would never yell racial epithets or run over a Black man with a truck, does not erase the fact that your daily actions directly support the institutionalization of racism, or that you benefit from such oppression on a daily basis. Silence in the face oppression is participating in the marginalization of another human being. 

...

I know that some of these blogs have justified their failure to talk about Anderson's death by wrapping their commentary around the fact that James Bradfield, Anderson's partner is unable to file a wrongful death suit.  To me this just stands as more proof that they viewed his death as irrelevant, until it could serve their purposes.  I cannot begin to properly express my rage at all of this.  I will however say, the very next time I hear that Blacks are uniquely homophobic, Anderson's name will cross my lips because he is the perfect example of the various ways in which some members of the White LGBT community fail the very same people they claim to want as allies and the way in which some members of the White GLBT community fails to realize that they are not representative of their communities. There are Black GLBT members, and if you had not spent so much time framing gay rights as a White issue, you would have realized that oppression, no matter how it manifests is a terrible thing. Finally, Anderson died because he had the nerve to take up space as a Black man, and any speculation beyond that or an attempt to insert yourself in his death, only cheapens your fight for justice. Homophobia will never trump racism, but they are each in their own way a terrible blight on humanity.
I don't even know where to begin.

Now would be a great time for Neo-Prodigy to come in swinging.

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And Where the Hell Were You?

Comments

  1. When Anderson was just another Black man, who was a random victim of White supremacy, none of the GLBT blogs had a damn thing to say about it.

    Non-POC really need to read and reread this sentence, because in case they're wondering, this is precisely why POC don't they've changed. They are perfectly comfortable with seeing and hearing about POC murdered by non-POC; it's the natural order of things to them. They don't even flinch when they hear this sort of news, and never have. FYI, that's not what "change" looks like.

    Needless to say, whenever non-POC react this way, it tends to put POC in mind of when Native Americans were used as target practice, Black people were lynched, or when the Chinese who were brought here to build the railroads were burned alive for shits and giggles.

    Shit has not changed that much, and we need to start from that standpoint, otherwise we're clinging to an extremely dangerous myth here.

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  2. *this is precisely why POC don't believe they've changed

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  3. I'll be writing a more coherent reply to this post soon but in the meantime, for those of you who want a glimpse of what it's like to be black and gay:

    http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/970847.html#comments

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  4. Reading this post I couldn't help but shake my head. There's a situation going on right now in the writing community. Where a writer was told they would get their story published if they made the maing queer POC straight. And folks are acting shocked that this shit still happens (nevermind the fact that this shit JUST happened back in may with another writer). But what enrages me is that people have the privilege to be surprised by this shit.

    And honestly, I felt the same way reading Renee's post. The fact that she's shocked just reeks of straight privilege. We have seen this shit too many times. There have been a number of trans women right now who have been murdered in DC which the LGBTQ community couldn't give a fuck about.

    There are white gays ACTUALLY DEFENDING Lawrence King's murderer simply because he's a cute white boy that's the victim of circumstances. Notice how that shit never applies to young black and Latino boys who are tried as adults almost every fucking day.

    Do you know how many times I get questioned or told that I'm not really queer simply because I'm both gay and a POC? How many times I've been told, I DON'T SPEAK FOR THIS COMMUNITY by white folks both gay and straight?

    For the last few months, I've been getting stalked and harassed (and been called everything from a nigger to a rapist) because I dared wrote a post giving tips on how to write m/m slash fiction and how to treat queer men with decency and respect.

    How many trans people got murdered while the HRC made gay marriage their end-all-be-all issue?

    So no. This shit is nothing new. In fact the fact that white gay bloggers are even acknowledging that Anderson (lord rest his soul) is gay is the real shocker to me.

    Wanna know why most SJ bloggers don't report this shit. For the same reason why many white feminists don't have shit to say when WOC or trans women are being brutally attacked. Most of them don't give a fuck about us until it serves their purpose.

    If white social justice circles have taught us anything, it's that "Everyone is equal. Just some people are more equal than others. And it's okay for POCs to demand equality, as long as they remember their place."

    Just because you aren't screaming fag or nigger, doesn't mean you aren't a racist or homophobe. If you're treating someone less than human, then you are a bigot.

    And if mofos were wondering why I'm all out of fucks to give, well now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

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  5. The white racist mindset transcends all boundaries including sexual preferences. White LGBT members heard about this crime, (probably) said "Oh, that's a shame" and moved on to matters that concern themselves. Now that they found out that Anderson was gay, now it's a issue? C'mon, man.

    To these White LGBT members, I can only ask that if his death didn't matter to you enough to demand justice then, why the hell does the fact that you've just discovered he's gay then this is suddenly an issue for you to focus on? If you are truly about social justice than his death should've mattered whether he was gay or not from the get go. Social justice is not about justice for people of your group but for ALL GROUPS WHO ARE VICTIMS OF WHITE SUPREMACY. What you've demonstrated was not an outcry for justice but a demonstration of the white racist mindset that tells you that YOU think YOU deserve more rights, respect, and dignity above everyone else including POC who are a part of your communities, and the lives of POC including those of the LGBT community simply don't matter to you, and that's why you FAILED.

    Sorry about that long comment, but I have a lot on my chest right now.

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  6. "When Anderson was just another Black man, who was a random victim of White supremacy, none of the GLBT blogs had a damn thing to say about it."

    And why would they? I mean he wasn't white. You would have got the same lack of response had he been missing and black. Nothing… and I mean nothing a white person does surprises me. Flowers bloom in the spring because they’re programmed to. The Swallow makes its annual trek to Capistrano just as its programmed to. Whites (be they gay or straight) constantly and selfishly appropriate the narrative of POC for themselves because privilege (not nature) has programmed them to.

    The very fact that they latched onto his sexual orientation rather than his race proves as much. Even then it wasn't because they felt any Empathy for his loss. Frankly, I don’t even raise my eyebrows when I read stuff like this. I don’t get upset, nor do I scream out for justice. I'm too numb. Whites are simply doing what comes natural. This particular instance is just a smidgen of the historical tort continuously committed against POC. We just lowered out guard is all. We became complacent; buying into that post-racial nonsense. Maybe we erroneously thought white gay people couldn’t be racist because you know, they’ve experienced oppression themselves haven’t they?

    Just because you’re white and gay does not mean you can for one instance know what it's like to be a POC. Should a white man and a POC seek admission to certain county clubs- bars or eateries; statistically (and historically) the white gay person won’t have a problem. His white skin still counts for something and it is at this point his sexual orientation becomes a non-issue. Because when it comes down to it, he was certainly the right shade. However, his non-white gay peer is rejected (not for being gay mind you) because that aspect of his persona is never even considered. Whites see the non-white skin 100 feet away and could care less whether they were straight or not. They will address the POC long enough to tell them, “We don’t serve your kind here.” The fact that a lunchroom manager at a Texas railroad depot would serve German prisoners of war (our enemy) while denying our black soldiers a seat in the same eatery, tells us race trumps all other considerations every time.

    Being called names, being denied housing- or the right to marry would make you think (gay) whites have increased their capacity for Empathy, but no. To me, being gay or straight does not make one iota of difference; for nearly All Whites are lacking in Empathy for the racial other. Whereas, if privilege has taught whites anything it’s this: Gay-or-straight, if you’re white- the narrative must always revolve around you. Period.

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  7. @ Brotha Wolf

    Oh, hon...let it rip.

    This is why I often think that straight POC and LGBTs of color need to focus on reaching out to one another, especially the straight ones. Straight POC have got to stop seeing homosexuality as "a white thing" and learn to have the backs of our gay and transgendered siblings. We need to learn, we need to listen, and even when we can't fully understand, we need to defend.

    Transgriot's blog is filled with the names and faces of murdered innocents. She goes to great length to make sure the dead are heard. She points out how other, supposedly backward, countries are passing laws and ensuring the rights and safety of their transgendered citizens.

    POC, we may not have those types of governments here, but we do have one another. I cannot stress how much we really need to start understanding and cooperating with one another right the hell now.

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  8. @K, ROFLMAO!!!!

    @Brotha Wolf: "To these White LGBT members, I can only ask that if his death didn't matter to you enough to demand justice then, why the hell does the fact that you've just discovered he's gay then this is suddenly an issue for you to focus on? "

    And this is the part I'm trying to figure out. Why do white queers suddenly care? They never do. Most White LGBT members couldn't care less when queer POCs get attacked or murdered. They don't even bother covering it AT ALL. I'm still trying to figure out what their angle is in covering this situation. Unless it's because black bloggers are calling them out but that's the only thing I can think of.

    I've said it once and I'll say it again, I don't give a fuck who gets mad. If I have to choose between black homophobes and racist white gays, I'm taking my chances with black homophobes. Racist white queers are just as dangerous as straight ones. Probably worse. Because at least straight white racists get called on their bullshit and don't try to evade criticisms behind being queer and/or a woman like racist white feminists often do.

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  9. Believe me, Ankh. I'm a very, very, very moody wolf. Mamma and Papa Wolf would vouch for me lol.

    We really do need to reach out to one another because we are all in the same boat. I feel like an alien in a world that is my home, and I know many of them feel the same way. It shouldn't have to be this way, and we all should come to that agreement, pull our resources together, and fight as one.

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  10. And this is the part I'm trying to figure out. Why do white queers suddenly care? They never do.

    And that's all I'm trying to say. They don't care. They do not fucking care. And they're not ever going to fucking care.

    And this is precisely why POC who sing "Kumbaya, we all need to bend over backwards to get along with non-POC" annoy me the most. They are what makes me so angry at the end of the day. As M. Gibson says, non-POC who pull this shit do so because they are programmed to. The fuck is the POC excuse?

    I'm not surprised at the non-POC lack of empathy. I'm not surprised at the attempt at narrative manipulation. I am sick, however, of the never-ending pretense when the fail is so blindingly fucking obvious.

    They don't care. That needs to be the new POC mantra/prayer/daily affirmation. "Non-POC don't care. They don't give a flying fuck. We can't sit around waiting for them to hop on-board. They do not fucking care."

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  11. I am SO glad that I'm not the only one who thinks this, and that nothing (hopefully) is wrong with me for never fully trusting the (white) majority of the LGBT community. Ever since they had the nerve to bash the black community for voting against Prop 8 in California, then had the gall to equate their troubles in America with black troubles in America, I've looked at them funny. You know the look. One raised eyebrow, while looking out of the corner of your eye, with your head tilted slightly.

    Now, not to go off on a tangent and go TOO off topic, but this crap also needs to be said. It's the same thing with many other NBMG's (non-Black minority groups). They call on us/expect for us to aid them, because we as black folks have a history of creating results when it comes to standing against WASP nonsense. But on the flipside those same aforementioned NBMG's rarely, IF EVER, rally alongside blacks for OUR problems, and usually sit along the sidelines as spectators. Or even join IN with white people...

    (*cough*)East Asians
    (*cough*)W.I.N.O Hispanics
    (*cough*)Hindu Indians
    (*cough*)W.I.N.O. Arabs

    ...(*clears throat*)...excuse me. Now where was I? Oh yes.

    Because "It's better to be in second place, if you can bump someone down to third" they gladly rally with white people and their ignorance against blacks. That is, until they step out of place and put themselves on the same level of humanity AS whites.

    (Picture a white male and a NBM male laughing joyously and the NBM suddenly puts their arm around their white ally, as if they are buds. Then the white person gives them a stern look as their mood instantly shifts into a hostile one, and the NMB yanks his hand back with an "Oh Shite!" look on his face.)

    Then when the NBM receives the harsh reminder that they aren't on the level of white people (via racism), take a guess who they come to? Rhymes with "Stack Steeple". The white LGBT community (who's members I've encountered a surprising amount of racism from, btw) is the exact same way. Uncaring, silent, and sometimes insulting, until they need us (blacks). Which is the same way the world is, in relations to America, but I won't get into that right now...

    /rant over

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  12. "We just lowered out guard is all."

    Excuse me:
    We just lowered our guard is all.

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  13. What alla y'all said.

    It's come down to this. Black folk (and IMO, especially Black women) need to get on the selfish tip. Or at least follow the example of the Jews.

    I always wondered why Blacks engaged in anti-Semitism. I can understand being wary around Ashkenazi Jews due to them being White and trading on that White privilege, but not for being Jewish. For being "clannish" meaning th ey look out for each other. Yeah, they'll chill with you for a while, but after they make sure they are well within the territory of well taken care of. Yeah, they'll hook each other up and not a goy, but shit ain't that what WE are supposed to be doing?!

    Maybe that's why we're so mad at them. Like when kids get mad at the kids who do well in school. There in front of you is literally a living example of what you should be doing and its benefits. And the Jews have been through everything PoC worldwide have been through combined over a period of literally thousands of years. And they wield in relation to their population? Well, there's your proof right there.

    And it's not like each Jew automatically loves every other Jew out there. Yeah, Moshe may be a douchebag, but he's a part of the tribe. Esther may be a gossiping bitch, but she's one of your own. And it's not even about doing something so that one day Moshe or Esther can do for you. It's about keeping the tradition of in-group support in practice. How do you keep up a skill or a habit? Via constant practice. Jews got into the habit of putting their group first in their dealings with non-Jews. We need to be about that.

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  14. "And they wield in relation to their population?" should read, "And the power and influence they wield in relation to their population?"

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  15. "And it's not even about doing something so that one day Moshe or Esther can do for you," should read, "And it's not even about doing something so that one day Moshe or Esther specifically can do for you.

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  16. On a lot of these topics I'm just lurking and learning to become more aware of my privilege. Only within the last year or so have I become aware of how appallingly common murder of transgendered people is. Someone in the Baltimore area just received a 5 year sentence for an attack on a transgendered person.

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  17. "And they wield in relation to their population?" should read, "And the power and influence they wield in relation to their population?"

    Unfortunately, that came at a price. They pretty much had to erase everything Jewish about them to get to that point.

    A better model, I believe, would be the Amish or the Chasidim. Granted, both groups have some serious fucking problems, but they are self-sufficient communities for the most part.

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  18. Great, great, critically thought-out post Ankh!

    As you are following the case closely, here's an interesting update, one that reflects that, "We are better human beings than white folk" lesson with which I was raised (but has decidedly changed over my 55 years!): http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/family-of-slain-mississippi-man-in-splc-case-urges-prosecutor-to-take-death-penalt

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  19. @ Deb

    This isn't my post. I cross-posted it from Womanist Musings.

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  20. This is a very interesting topic, and I'm glad I dropped in to hear it. I'm not lesbian, but I am a black woman who loves her black people, whether gay or straight.

    I have never trusted the white LGBT community to have my back. I dont expect them to care about my lynching, whether Im straight or gay.

    But as I listen to you my brothers and sisters, I wonder if you expected that they SHOULD or even WOULD care about you as POC LGBT? This is the trick bag that we black folks get put in time and time again. Divide and conquer.

    As many Don Lemons came out swinging at the black church I couldnt help think that they just sold out probably thinking they could earn points with the white LGBT. But I believe they were simply used in the LGBT political machine.

    Ive gotten into blog fights with other black gays about their belief that the black church is the main problem for black gays. (Not saying there is no problem)

    But I like what NeoProdigy said:

    "...I've said it once and I'll say it again, I don't give a fuck who gets mad. If I have to choose between black homophobes and racist white gays, I'm taking my chances with black homophobes. Racist white queers are just as dangerous as straight ones. Probably worse."

    IMHO, the battle of blacks is racism, no matter if your straight or gay. The black church is not the true issue, because gay folks have reached the highest highs of the black church, anyway.
    NOW DON'T ANYBODY STONE ME. We need to be able to dialog as black people and learn how to iron out our issues with each other.

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  21. the battle of blacks is racism, no matter if your straight or gay.

    Exactly, because even if you're straight, you're still black, and that's all a racist shithead behind a steering wheel needs to know.

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