Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Old Goth is Old and Black. Another installment.

For today I want to talk about being a person of color involved in subculture and the associated pressures.

I'm not really going to talk about the usual mainstream pressures of not being weird or different. I'm going to talk about intra-racial tensions I struggled with at one time.

Okay so picture this. It is 1989 and yours truly is ass over mother fucking tea kettle in love with Axl Rose. I wanted nothing more than to do, well things to that man. I wasn't sure what things but things. I was still a little hazy on the actuality of sex so it wasn't on my radar.

I mentioned my new found lust for Mr. Rose to one of the few other Black kids I went to school with and she reacted with horror. I remember she had this look and said,

"You're a rocker now?"

At the time I didn't admit it but I had no clue what she was talking about so I just said yes.

Apparently I had just revealed myself to the few other Black kids as being not really Black.

So began years and years of other people of color questioning my Blackness because of the music I like, the way I dressed etc.

Over the years I've had many White friends disbelieve that this happens. It does.

The plain fact is I've had more issues, arguments and experienced more pain in relation to my appearance and musical tastes from other Black folks.

I have been confronted by complete strangers and cruicified because they didn't like that I had on all black.

I have had random strangers, usually strangers of color ask me if I was a Satan worshiper, in a cult, or my least favorite question to ever be asked- Why are you trying to be White?

Let that last sink in.

People have fully expected me to have an explanation as to my own apparently disappearing Blackness. People have decided and as recently as two weeks ago that me being my actual self is somehow a slap in the face.

When I was a kid all I was when that happened was hurt. I remember sitting by myself (so goth of me) in my bedroom crying my eyes out because it hurt me so deeply. I was just growing into my own Blackness. I was just figuring out that I was proud to be Young, Gifted and Black.

I was just starting to figure out how to live in my Black skin and be a Black person in a country that from the jump made sure I knew in many ways just how much I didn't matter.

It was a devastating experience for me and for a few years made me really dislike other people of color.

Yes I did.

Well I would have said I did but deep down I didn't. I was just young, hurt and trying to protect myself.

When I was a young adult I had some similar experiences when I found some of the rare Black community events here in Seattle and was given the cold shoulder.

I'm telling you this because when you see Aging Black Goths like me, or aging Black punks look at them and know that if they got into it young, they have probably dealt with a lot of these same issues.

I also want to caution other Alt folks of color not to be shitty to other Alt folks of color. I know that you probably get teased and people talk shit about you but, remember if that other person is at the same show or wearing the same shit they probably get it.

I'd also like to stand as someone who made it through that bullshit and out the other side. I no longer dislike or even pretend to dislike other people of color. I understand that a lot of people will hate and fear things they don't understand.

At 34 years old I no longer take it personally when someone looks me up and down then demands to know why I have my lip pierced or wants to explain to me all the ways it's awful to be a Doc Marten wearing lady.

I just don't care.

I know what I like. I know what aesthetically pleases me and that's all that really matters to me anymore.

That said yes, I do still find it appalling that 90% of the visual representations of my chosen subculture are Thin Pale White Ladies.

Yes it does still make me angry when I am expected to conform to anyones idea of what Black culture is or can be.

Yes it still makes me very angry when people assume that I am somehow actively rejecting my Blackness.

Yes it still makes me angry when anyone comes at me with a stank ass attitude about how I decide to live my life.

Where once all I had were hurt and tears now I have a fat juicy fuck you. No really. That is my answer anytime people ask me in a disrespectful manner about my piercings, way of dress or anything.

If you want to talk about it we can but understand that approach is everything.

Okay next installment will be a fluffy one.

How about a basic gothy make up tutorial?

I have an idea to do a slow photo by photo tutorial. Is good?

Homo Out.


maggie said...


also? i <3 you.

Sumayyah said...

Oh my gosh! You know what? I hid everything I liked back then because NO ONE would understand. (I'm from Detroit.) The stories I could tell... I learned every song on urban radio and every dance in the hip hop/r&b videos so I would "fit in" and listened to the Top 40 station alone in my room at night. *sigh*

And I STILL wear all Black. :)

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