WHITE ENTITLEMENT DOES NOT BELONG IN BLACK SPACES
April 26, 2019
Over the past two years a white gay man has had 2 Black gay men found dead in his home and he continues to be free to harm more should he so choose. Over the past two months a white gay man has now risen to being a viable Presidential candidate over every woman and person of color in the field. Over the past two weeks a white gay man living in a gentrified part of D.C. felt that one of the oldest historically Black colleges in the nation should relocate so his dog could piss in peace on their yard. These are not isolated incidents.
Oppression comes in many forms, but none like that of the white gay man. As a Black queer person, I understand oppression. I understand the layers of oppression that come from my Blackness, that come from my queerness, and that come from the intersection of both. For white queer people, this oppression has not been equal — and why would it be? The first and most important thing that we must remember is just like Black queer people are Black. White queer people are white. And with that, they are afforded many of the same privileges as their heterosexual counterparts and will still benefit from white supremacy even living in their marginalization.
Now before y’all try it, there is a reason I am not using the term “all” in this piece — except from the fact that white folks regardless of how hard they fight it will benefit from white supremacy, that’s an all situation. White queer folks experience violence, bullying and have completed suicide because of homophobia and transphobia. They are also included in the nearly 40% of LGBTQ youth that experience homelessness. However, there is another side of their experience that does not equate.
While white queer people were fighting for marriage equality, Black queer people were fighting to survive. Still fighting to survive. There is an HIV epidemic that has never ended for Black queer people. Black MSM’s are 4x’s more likely to contract the virus than white MSM’s. That isn’t by chance, but by design. A set of circumstances that Black queer people face that white queer people can not relate.
Now let’s get specific. The Macro level white gay are your Ed Buck’s and Mayor Pete’s of the world. Both with access, power, privilege and the ability to rise above most in their community despite their marginalized identity. In the case of Ed Buck, two Black gay men have been found dead in his home. The first death only investigated because of social media backlash. In the case of the second death, there are no headlines or calls to action. He has essentially gotten away with it — except for the once a month calendar reminder I have set to tweet about it so that it never leaves the internet.
Mayor Pete has had a meteoric rise while being mediocre at best. His policies either harm the marginalized or simply don’t exist, while he also tries to play the “not all Trump supporters are racist,” which is part true because some are anti-Black. In a tweet of mine that has now went viral, I watched him emphatically say that inmates shouldn’t have the right to vote. And as I stated that day, “White gay men are still white men who hurt marginalized people.” There is no common ground to understand the shared oppression. While his marginalization captures headlines, ours continues to be ignored or deemed disposable. Again. There is power. There is privilege. There is no accountability.
Even in my industry of media and entertainment they get to be the gatekeepers. There are more white queer people who are the editors, photographers, TV personalities than there are us. Despite the resume, number of clips or years of work we have put in, we honestly work twice as hard to get a quarter of what they had. We got a movie like Moonlight, which only touched the surface of Black masculinity. They got Love Simon, Boy Erased, Call Me by Your Name, Transparent and more. They even had MILK and Brokeback Mountain. At best we had Noah’s Arc (still a favorite), and that was short lived. We now have POSE. I’m sure by next year they will have 6 of their own.
A WHITE GAY MAN TOLD AN ENTIRE COLLEGE TO MOVE SO HIS DOG COULD USE THEIR CAMPUS AS ITS PLAYGROUND. Fuck privilege, that’s just caucacity. But I’ll digress. And end on this note.
Over the past two years two Black gay men have been found dead in the home of Ed Buck. Over the past two months, I’ve watched community condemn 11 year old Zion Wade for being gay, and his parents supporting him. In the last 2 weeks I’ve grieved the death of Kawaski Trawick, a Black gay man killed by the police. And the completed suicide of a 15 year old Black gay boy by the name of Nigel Shelby. We don’t get to claim oppression. We don’t have privilege. All I have is a heavy heart. And white supremacy at both of my intersections.
Writer and author, George Johnson is bringing our viral conversations to real life situations.