When white liberals abuse Black boys to death and still insist on calling them “friends”
By Hari Ziyad
August 29, 2017
“[Ed Buck] would have my son to go out to … Santa Monica Boulevard looking for young gay Black guys so he could inject them with drugs, see their reaction and … take pictures of them.” — LaTisha Nixon, mother of Gemmel Moore.
On July 27, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore was found dead after overdosing on crystal meth in the West Hollywood home of 63-year-old Ed Buck, a prominent Democratic political donor. Moore was a gay Black sex worker, whose journal—which was collected posthumously—corroborated what friends told his mother about the man whose apartment he would ultimately die inside:
“I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” a December entry reads. “Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth it was very painful, but after all the troubles, I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy.”
According to the L.A. Sentinel, The Los Angeles County Coroner immediately classified Moore’s death as an accidental overdose, but more of Buck’s victims have since come forward to recount similar stories of his “Tuskegee Experiment like fetish”—injecting drugs into young Black men, often without their permission, after they’ve been given a “date rape” drug or while they’re unconscious.
After push-back from Moore’s mother and more stepping forward to confirm the story of Buck’s fetish for abusing young Black men with drugs, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says they are now investigating Moore’s death as a possible homicide.
Buck’s attorney insists that he and Moore were “good friends,” and perhaps they were by the standards of white supremacy. These are the same standards underlying Trump’s “I love the Mexican people,” the same standards that positions this country, both on The Right and The Left, as worth saving and not inherently anti-Black. These are standards that know no party lines—that are both “#ThisIsNotUs” and “Make America Great Again,” each faction hankering for a time when whiteness was deemed innocent but still capable of abusing power. But the through-line of white supremacy is always anti-Blackness. The through-line is always Black people dead and dying.
It is important to note that Ed Buck has an extensive history of supporting Democratic causes. It is important because we so often imagine a Left that can easily coalescent around a “friendship” rooted in all voting for Obama, around sexuality or even around having no issue proclaiming #BlackLivesMatter.
It is important because by “friendship,” by “solidarity,” we hardly ever ask what is meant. In many prevalent ideas of cross-racial bonding, Black people still remain disposable.
As Black people, our relationships with white liberals are often still rooted in exploitation—in their ability to have power over us even while “fighting” for us. “Black Lives Matter” only if it benefits them, which means they still don’t matter at all. This is the kind of “friendship” behind solidarity with non-Black communities without first eradicating anti-Blackness, the kind of friendship and solidarity that should be challenged whenever it rears its ugly head, but far too often isn’t.
As Son of Baldwin noted, “We can talk about ‘consenting adults’ and ‘agency’ all day long, but what do those concepts actually mean in a world designed to fully degrade and dehumanize some of these adults and make them despise themselves so thoroughly that the definition of agency becomes ‘allow those who hate me to abuse and kill me’?”
Likewise, what does “solidarity” mean when the world is designed to exclude Black people from humanity? What does working with people who aren’t excluded by that world look like if we are to change it?
Gemmel Moore was murdered by the white supremacy that shapes that world. For his sake, it’s time we figure that out.