Audre Lorde once said “You can’t dismantle the master’s house using the master’s tools.”
The principle behind that being, the means of our liberation must be fundamentally different from the character of our oppression. There are a lot of hard working Black people who want to see an end to the white supremacist legacy of this country. The desire to subvert that system is in and of itself revolutionary and anyone who actively participates in that endeavor becomes a sort of de facto revolutionary.
Unfortunately, for a lot of straight Black revolutionaries their means of escape from the pit of oppression comes by stepping on the necks of the LGBTQ community. In their haste to flee from their suffering they don’t realize that the boot marks they leave on our necks are outlined in hypocrisy.
The queer Black revolutionary may find that it is extremely difficult to find support for an intersectional philosophy that supports both a pro-black and a pro-LGBTQ agenda. Many Black people believe that it’s either BLACK rights or GAY rights as if gay Black people don’t exist. Everyone knows someone who is gay, and chances are if you don’t know someone, A) you haven’t been paying attention or, B) it’s you (but that’s a discussion for another time).
Despite being a part of every community on earth, many communities still chose to “other” us. People often use the bible as a weapon, a book it– should be noted– prohibits a lot of behavior that straight people frequently engage in, but the one thing that for sure you should not absolutely for real I AM SUPER SERIOUS SAID THE LORD not do is be …gay.
We are consequently shunned and rebuked in the name of some arbitrary morality that turns our oppressors into pious and principled bigots.
In 1963 Bayard Rustin, the chief organizer for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was not allowed to be featured at the event because the other organizers didn’t want people to be “distracted” by his gayness. Today, queers like Angela Davis and 2 of the founders of Black Lives Matters struggle daily to fight the prison industrial complex while people continue to argue about whether gay people are somehow getting rights “regular” Black people aren’t.
**Side note, if you have a succinct list of what these rights might be please email me because as a Black lesbian I would like to start taking advantage of these special rights you think I’m swimming in.**
Additionally, just for the culture I am going to need all the “woke” Blacks who love to quote James Baldwin to stop if they don’t think gay people deserve equal rights, that brother was gayer than Christmas morning, so you don’t get to claim him if you don’t love ALL of him.
In their haste to flee from their suffering they don’t realize that the boot marks they leave on our necks are outlined in hypocrisy.
There is a purposeful disassociation that has to take place within the Black liberation movement if one is to be about the business of freeing all the Blacks except the queer ones. You cannot say that you want all Black people to be uplifted if you use the backs of queer Black people to do the lifting and leave them behind once you’ve gained some ground. The dismissal of our humanity mimics the way white oppressors dismissed the Black community’s humanity for millennia. White people also didn’t think Black people could form cohesive loving families, raise children, or be productive members of society based on unsubstantiated prejudices. Mimicking these same sentiments about the LGBTQ community.
Black revolutionaries, unfortunately, often end up sounding like white oppressors with a tan.
A Black face spouting hatred learned at the feet of a white person doesn’t sound any more woke than when it was coming out of the mouth of a white person. If the pro-Black person wants to save all the Black people, then they should do just that. If they don’t want to fight for us all then they should keep that same energy and claim themselves proud bigots, so we know exactly where we stand.
You can’t love the “sinner” and hate the “sin” when my identity is wrapped up in the way I love and live. If you believe that you are either being purposely obtuse or intentionally ignorant, either way you can lean right out of it.
If someone told you they hated your Blackness but loved who you were you would think they were crazy. Right? The truth is you accept us when we show up to march for you and then you sabotage us when we need you the most.
Realistically, we can’t demand that you fight for us, but we can ask that you get out of our way when we are fighting for ourselves. Stop opposing legislation that protects us, stop bullying us in school, and stop making it hard for us to walk down the street holding our lovers’ hand.
Despite all the efforts of a predominately homophobic community we persist in finding love, and we face each day holding on to whatever happiness we have built there in spite of it all. Let us protect that. If you are pro-Black, then be pro-joy. Don’t let the oppressor’s legacy show itself in your advocacy, you do yourself and our ancestors a disservice when you let them turn you exactly into what they wanted you to be.