FashionSex & Gender

op-ed: black homophobia: the hate we let slide – by neguswhoread

October 26, 2016
51 Picks

If you are a heterosexual, testosterone filled man, you encounter it every day.

If you are a church-going southerner, it has probably been pounded into your psyche and belief system.

Even if you are an enlightened, “woke” Hotep, you’ve allowed it to seep into your brain.

There is a remnant of hate that Black people have chosen to ignore or disregard for generations. We all know it exists, even in our own hearts and minds but we allow it to coexist and thrive among us in a state of blissful ignorance and self denial. We need to stop it, and according to Alcoholics Anonymous and almost every guide to breaking bad habits and solving problems, we have to admit it:

Black people are homophobic.

We often misunderstand what a phobia is. A Phobia is not just a fear, but it is an irrational fear. It is also an aversion to something that makes no sense. Let me say it again:

Black people are homophobic.

I despise the white man.

By Michael Harriot/NegusWhoRead*, AFROPUNK contributor

Not white people, or white men, I mean “the white man”–which is what I call any system of oppression and subjugation. The white man enslaved Black people for four hundred years. The white man created a system of laws that made them second class citizens for four hundred years. The white man made women second class citizens whose only purpose was sauce-making and sex. The white man made white women think they should weigh 115-pound and wear stilettos and thongs. The white man made Black women believe their hair should be straight, their skin should be light and their butts should be small. The white man turned hip hop into thug coonery. The white man doesn’t just make the rules. The white man agrees with the rules, and even though he might not have any hand in creating or enforcing them, by participating and agreeing with the society at large, he is complicit. I hate the White man.

Aside from the dreams unfulfilled of all the things I want to be, I wake up every morning trying to live a life in which I do not end up becoming the white man. I do not want my plantation to become so large that I consider slaves. I do not want a seat so high on the totem pole that I sustain my position with Jim Crow, or foot on neck, or hand on throat. I do not want to be the white man.

But I have been the white man.

I have sat silent on church pews and listened to preachers who bore out-of-wedlock children wax biblically poetic about “faggots” and gays. I probably said “amen.” I may have clapped my hands. It is more probable than not that someone listening in the audience had a sexuality that was different from mine. There was never a point in my life where I sat down and made the conscious choice to love women. I have always have loved women, so I assume that most other people’s sexual proclivities were not a choice. I will not delve into the intricacies of religion, sin and fornication except to say that there was once a time when separating us by the color of our skin, from who we loved, where we ate, where we could attend school and from which water fountains we could drink from was justified with God and religion. Those people were stupid. Those people were liars. Those people were evil. I will not be those people.

I have sat with people who eschewed bullshit logic for facts and knowledge but when it came to the acceptance of whom another person was attracted to reverted backwards to the thinking of Klansmen and cave dwellers. They stepped onto the #StayWoke, Hotep pedestal and spit nonsense about how it was a nefarious plot “to destroy us as a people” as if homosexuality had not existed before slave ships or Greek tragedies or Africans figured out geometry. They are silky-voiced selective historians in the same way that the mythical Satan sings sweet songs and flaps angel wings.

Every now and then a video or an audio recording will emerge of a trusted ally spouting the word “nigger” among the privacy of their friends. Sometimes it is the owner of an all-black basketball franchise or a childhood wrestling hero or a bus filled with innocent college frat boys. We never let that slide because we know that those secret, self-enclosed environments plant seeds that grow into hateful environments or prejudice-promoting practices. We wonder why no one on the bus, in the room or on the other end of the phone will stand up and call out the evil. That’s how the white man procreates. That’s where the white man thrives and multiplies.

I don’t believe that Black people are the only portion of the population with homophobia problem, but as our communities are steeped in the acceptance of the traditions of religion and male hierarchy, we are one of the few people who feel comfortable enough to voice our homophobia out loud and expect it to be accepted. We have normalized it, to the detriment of our communities. Soon our children will be the only ones left hiding in closets and suffering with depression, and we will still be left praying over them and shackling them to our old-school ignorance while the rest of the world has moved on. That is the danger.

Most of my conversations with friends span subjects from sports to Game of Thrones, but sometimes I will run into an acquaintance who assumes I want to converse about some retread, overanalyzed Hotep shit about “our people.” Whenever they veer into the subject of “that gay shit…” I feel compelled to remind them of the Harlem renaissance, or James Baldwin or the man who created the “March on Washington.” I say to them that I am a free, Black, loud artist. I tell them that I wouldn’t be here without “that gay shit…” I am forced to do it. I cannot be for one specific kind of justice. I can’t scream for freedom while simultaneously advocating the keeping of others in closets. I will not be anybody’s white man.

I am sure it is something we must evolve into and begin to understand even if we can’t rationalize it, like white people had to accept black kids in their classes or I learned to accept the fact that some people like ranch dressing with their wings. Martin Luther King once said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The greatest injustice of all is hate and whenever we allow it to fester and grow, we are contributing to injustice. We are contributing to depression, we are contributing to self-hate and we are contributing to the destruction of the lives of people whose only crime is they don’t feel like most people feel. I am not an absolutist on much, but my mother always said “right is right, and wrong is wrong. Somethings are just unequivocally, unquestionably wrong, and we need to stop it…

Like I stopped being the white man.

This post is in partnership with