It’s an odd article. And part of the ongoing trend I noted last year of the corporate media publishing sensational anti-gay stories in a last-ditch effort to get more readers before this new economy takes us all under.
The latest entry is Time magazine’s borderline racist, and definitely homophobic, attack on “white gay men” for “stealing” black female culture.
Apparently, gay isn’t just the new black, it’s too black.
In particular, white gay is too black. All white gays. According to the author, Sierra Mannie, we all want to be black women, or something.
Hmm. This gay man isn’t entirely sure who, if anyone, he “acts” like, but it’s definitely not a woman of any race.
It’s a bizarre article.
Here, have a looksie (was that too feminine a word?):
You are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. There is a clear line between appreciation and appropriation
I need some of you to cut it the hell out. Maybe, for some of you, it’s a presumed mutual appreciation for Beyoncé and weaves that has you thinking that I’m going to be amused by you approaching me in your best “Shanequa from around the way” voice. I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t care how well you can quote Madea, who told you that your booty was getting bigger than hers, how cute you think it is to call yourself a strong black woman, who taught you to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you’ve been bottoming — 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.
Oh, and she brings up “privilege” too. I’ve written about privilege before. It’s a concept that’s become trendy (and trite) of late among the great-angry-thinkers of the left, though it’s not entirely without merit. But sadly, it’s usually brought up when someone’s losing an argument and desperately needs to shut their opponent up, and down.
In addition to bringing up the “fact” that gays can “hide” who they are, so apparently they’re not as discriminated against as black women (try that “you can hide” excuse on someone Jewish, then get back to me), Mannie then goes off about how great white gays have it. You see, they’re “white,” and all white people have a fabulous life in America.
Black people can’t have anything. Any of these things include, but aren’t limited to: a general sense of physical safety, comfort with law enforcement, adequate funding and appreciation for black spaces like schools and neighborhoods, appropriate venues for our voices to be heard about criticism of issues without our race going on trial because of it, and solid voting rights (cc: Chris McDaniel).
And then, when you thought this pillaging couldn’t get any worse, extracurricular black activities get snatched up, too: our music, our dances, our slang, our clothing, our hairstyles. All of these things are rounded up, whitewashed and repackaged for your consumption. But here’s the shade — the non-black people who get to enjoy all of the fun things about blackness will never have to experience the ugliness of the black experience, systemic racism and the dangers of simply living while black. Though I suppose there’s some thrill in this “rolling with the homies” philosophy some adopt, white people are not racially oppressed in the United States of America.
Yes, it’s so easy being gay and white in America.
I’m not going to waste additional time on Sierra Mannie’s excellent impression of Suey Park. She’s simply another actor in the grand critical-theory drama that has empowered so many among the farthest reaches of the left. But what I find most sad isn’t Mannie’s racism or homophobia. Rather, it’s Time magazine giving voice to it at all.
I mean, seriously — Time magazine is printing anal-sex jibes about gay men? (“[H]ow funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you’ve been bottoming.”) Is this really what the dismal economic climate for media, old and new, has finally led us to?
I’ve written before about how bad it is economically for all of us. I’d be hard-pressed to guess any media site that’s actually been making good money these past 5 years since the economy collapsed. A lot of your favorite sites, old media and new alike, are probably nearing the end of their lifespan as revenues refuse to pick up sufficiently. I’ve done ample chicken-little warnings. When your favorite sites close down, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
But nonetheless, in the drive for eyeballs, it’s one thing to post cat videos at night (we do), it’s another entirely to post bigoted drivel in the hopes that controversy will equal ad dollars (we don’t). At some point, if we can’t afford to stay in this business as news people, then it’s time to leave, rather than water down the product to such a degree that the lines are permanently blurred yellow.
And before you leave, do read H. Alan Scott’s brilliant take-down of Sierra Mannie. It’s delicious. It wasn’t Scott, but someone else I read, who noted that it wasn’t white gay men who created the whole talking-like-a-black-gurl thing. It was black gay men, dating back to the era of Paris is Burning, a wonderful documentary about drag and poor gay black kids in NYC in 1991. It’s not about mocking women, black or white. For these kids it was about empowerment. It’s an amazing documentary.
One of the neatest things about that documentary, for me at least, was the notion of drag as blending, fitting in. That anyone could be anything, could look “real,” if they simply had the right clothes. I just love the concept, and it’s not untrue. What does a businessman look like? Or an immigrant? Or a gay man? We ascribe so much to the “way” someone looks. And drag turns that on its head.
I wish gay white people would stop acting like black women.
And PS, this.