So Time allowed a college student to write an op-ed piece they published this week called, “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture.” A lot of other people have written some great responses to it (I most particularly recommend Vice Magazine columnist Dave Schilling’s answer in his This Week in Racism column), but I want to focus on something that most of them have overlooked. Among the offences Ms. Mannie lays at the feet of white gay men as proof that we are stealing the culture of black women: having sex with black men.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Someone needs to explain to Ms. Mannie that those black men having sex with gay white men are gay black men.
Okay, okay, some of them are bi, but most of them are gay. And here’s the thing that Ms Mannie doesn’t seem to understand: black gay men don’t want to have sex with women, black or otherwise. So, for instance, the two black men that I dated way back in the early nineties? I wasn’t taking anything away from any black women while I was doing that. And honestly, I can’t imagine that any woman wants to be with a gay man who is only having sex with her to keep up a facade of being straight. So by having sex with black men, not only aren’t gay white men stealing something that belongs to black women, they’re also not taking anything that any of those women want, either.
It’s possible that Ms. Mannie suffers from the same misunderstandings of sexuality as the preacher I wrote about earlier who claimed that the reason there are more gay couples living openly in Harlem is because President Obama had unleashed “white homo demons” to steal black men away from good black women. It’s possible that she believes that no black men are actually gay, they have all been tricked into thinking they are gay by the demonic wiles of white gay men. In which case, she’s not only wrong, but she’s a homophobic bigot.
Another clue to her thinking is her convoluted explanation of why “white gays” as she likes to call us, are privileged exactly the same as white straight men. Black women, she explains, can never hide the fact that they are women, and that they are black. So they are constantly in danger of racist and sexist exploitation, discrimination, and assault. White gays, on the other hand, can hide their homosexuality, and so are not in constant danger of homophobic discrimination or assault.
There are several flaws in this part of her argument, and a least two of them are homophobic.
First, no, we can’t always hide it. In fact, the kind of stereotypical swishy gay guy sayin’ “You go, girl!” all the time that she is focusing on can never hide their gayness. I’m not prone to throwing such phrases around, but bullies had no trouble singling me out as a sissy, pussy, and faggot clear back in grade school when I didn’t even know that I was gay (because I didn’t really know what being gay meant). Plenty of people get beaten, bullied, murdered, and otherwise discriminated against because people suspect they might be gay. We can’t always hide it.
Second, we shouldn’t have to hide it. Ms. Mannie probably doesn’t realize that her argument only makes a modicum of sense if it is true that gay people ought to hide who they are. In order for her argument to have a shred of a leg to stand on one must accept as a fact that the only person to blame when a gay man is bashed is the gay person himself who insufficiently hid his gayness.
Third, she shouldn’t have to want to hide either her gender or her race. Because that’s another unspoken foundation of her argument: if she could hide who she is and avoid discrimination, then there wouldn’t be a privilege differential to even discuss here. In other words, she’s also buying into the very racist and sexist bigotry that she is trying to decry. Again, she’s saying that not all of the blame for the racism and misogyny that she has experienced lies with the bigots committing it, but that the blame also goes to whatever forces in the universe she believes make hiding one’s gender and race impossible (And honey, someone needs to tell her the story of jazz musician Billy Tipton, a woman who successfully lived as a man for 49 years).
I could go on, but my comments are just going to keep getting snarkier. If you haven’t read Dave Schilling’s piece that I linked above, please go do so. As a black man, he has a bit more credibility on some of the other points than an old white homo like me does.
5 thoughts on “Confessions of a white homo devil, part 3”
This Op-Ed annoyed me. The sooner everyone stops worrying about their own culture and starts concentrating on a human culture the better off we will all be.
That’s a big part of David Schilling’s post.
“Someone needs to explain to Ms. Mannie that those black men having sex with gay white men are gay black men.
Okay, okay, some of them are bi, but most of them are gay. And here’s the thing that Ms Mannie doesn’t seem to understand: black gay men don’t want to have sex with women, black or otherwise.”
Whether bi or gay (or straight), a man that can be stolen from one partner by another person wouldn’t be worth having, I should think. Once again, we see this idea that a partner is a commodity, not a person who can — and does — make his own choices about his sex- and/or life-partners.
My flippant $0.02.
The first draft of this had a long digression about the notion that one group of people “belong” to another or that one group of people is entitled to the attentions of another and so on.
But it was straying into the same territory Schilling covers when talking about the notion of some things (cultural artifacts, et al) being appropriate only to people of one race or the other.