Monday, February 11, 2013

Racism, leather and Queers I don't trust.

First I need you to go read everything my friend Mollena has written about this, actually you can read along if you want to.

Before I give you the link let me warn you, this is about blackface, racism and the leather community. Mo's blog isn't super work safe and you might see her boobs.

Proceed here.

If you can't go to her blog let me give you a quick version.

Bar in Portland books a notoriously racist ass drag queen who does blackface. I'm not giving either the name of the queen or the bar, if you google you can figure it out.

I'm not here for that.

A few short points before I get to what I want to say.

  1. Blackface is fucking racist.
  2. Blackface is STILL fucking racist.
  3. I'm not going to be nice about anything I have to say.
  4. I will not put up with fuckery in the comments.
  5. White people, this is not about your feelings so if you're feeling super sensitive I suggest saving this entry for another day.

I want to take this out of the context of racism for a minute because, apparently the theme this year when race comes up is White people wanting to tell me and other folks of color what racism is, how we experience and how it makes us feel.

So let's go with something we can all understand a bit better.

Let's say you and I are riding the same bus.

We're both minding our own business, maybe reading or listening to music.

Maybe we know each other to say hello to. 

This morning we're on the bus, give each other the hey bus homie nod and sit down. Halfway to our destination someone walks up to me and hits me in the face.

When the police talk to you, would you say well, I mean I don't think it hurt her that much she was only bleeding a little bit. And maybe she kind of deserved it. She could have moved, she didn't have to take this bus. I mean her face was like, right there when his fist moved.

Would you do that?

Would you say, well I mean it might be assault but I've been assaulted and it was way worse than that so, it's probably fine.

Would you?

Another situation.

Let's say we've been friends, maybe not besties but friends for about a year.

We hang out, we like to do stuff together. We are homies.

Let's say we spend a night in and I tell you that someone I know sexually assaulted me and I am really scared and not sure how court will go.

Would you say, well you know Shannon maybe you should have been wearing your hoodie all the way zipped up, he could see your collarbones. He knew there was boobs under there. Maybe you should bind your boobs and wear those urban sized hoodies next time.

Are you appalled yet?

How about this.

I tell you that a carload of men catcalled me and then came back to threaten me for not showing them my tits?

Would you say, that's totally not sexism. You're just being overly sensitive, I bet they didn't mean it that way.

Another one?

Okay how about this.

I post a photo of myself playing Unreal Tournament (my favorite video game right now) it gets picked up and Gamer Dudebros go to town. I get called slut, cunt, fake gamer girl etc etc.

Would you say, well you don't really look like you're playing so it's fine. Don't be so sensitive, it's just words. It's fine.

How are you feeling?

Here's the thing.

I see White people go nuclear buckwild to defend certain things. People are appalled when others argue with sexual assault victims as to whether or not they were assaulted, feminists LOSE THEIR SHIT if someone says, oh you silly women that's not sexism.

You know it's true.

Now, why is it White people how is it reasonable that you can say a man cannot tell a woman whether or not she's been raped, but you White people can tell me whether or not something is racist?

That's my big problem with this whole situation.

Every supposedly non racist white person who goes out of their way to explain to me just how not racist Blackface is, or how they aren't sure so they are gonna say it's kind of okay, or how we Black folks just need to be less sensitive, that we don't know when things are racist, that our pain is less important than you being right.

This is why I get so angry and fed up with White people and why I declare that I am not to be talked to about Blackness by White people especially during Black history month.

With all of the supposedly great things about the leather community, I have seen your ugly side again. I watched on facebook as a few names I recognized on a personal level, those people said shit that just boggles my mind.

How can someone who thinks of themselves as this super non racist person, really try so hard to argue down the reactions and feelings and experience of Black people about Blackface.

How can you (yes White people I am talking to you) be so blithe about something that hurts members of your community so badly?

It's not like none of us spoke up.

A lot of People of Color from all over and who are involved in the scene in Portland, said flat out that this was not okay. That this, is fucking racist and we don't want it.

Why is it so much more important to you that this racist shitbag of a human being, have a space to perform their humiliation scene than it is to be a real ally to your friends of color?

Seriously I want to know.

Once upon a time I wanted to get really deep into the leather/kink scene. I wanted to do a lot of the sort of things that my dear friend Mollena is doing. It was my dream to have a safe place in the scene to explore, I wanted to write about it, I wanted to create a warm place where I could get beaten and bloodied for fun and maybe money.

Something happened that wasn't a huge thing but it completely destroyed my dream. I was told by a White person that, he couldn't be bothered to do a scene wit me because, "Black skin won't show marks and that's unattractive." I had people tell me that while I was "cute" they weren't at all interested in Black women. I had the experience of having people explain to me that Black women are just not that attractive because we're all so masculine looking.

When I told people I thought were my friends how uncomfortable it all made me, they did this kind of shit. They told me I was overreacting, they told me oh it's okay X person is just really into blondes, you're overreacting. It's not racist it's just a preference.

I had a small interest in race play and frankly the one experience I had bottoming to it, was not okay. I don't talk about it that much because it was of course one experience. When I told that person I didn't want to do it again, it turned into yet another time a White person wanted to talk me down from my truth and how I was feeling.

Other people argued with me about why I was wrong to feel that X thing someone said or did was coming from a racist place.

You know what happened?

I left.

I left because my trust was broken. I did not feel safe.

Now this situation.

I watch my friend Mollena pour out her heart, I watch people on her blog and other blogs and facebook continue trying so hard to prove to us angry old Black ladies that no nothing is racist we're just over sensitive.

I want someone to explain to me why we shouldn't be angry?

Why is it okay for us to be hurt and pushed, to have close friends say fucked up things to us and we're just supposed to take it?

Are we so less than human, are we only supposed to be fuckable but never have real feelings?

Can Black women not feel pain?

Are we not allowed to say, no?

This is a race scene I did not give my consent for.

I will probably never really participate in the scene again. It's a.) not that important to me and b.) more importantly not safe for me.

Not. Safe.

There are reasons I don't use my fetlife account anymore. I find it gross and disheartening that in addition to the usual random cockshots and whatnot, I have to deal with White men who fdeel it's perfectly okay to to completely depersonalize me or open their messages with things like "Hey Brown Sugar" or telling me their video ho fantasies.

I am not here for that.

It's exhausting to deal with.

Yes, it makes me fucking angry.

I will continue to be angry.

White Queers, I will be watching you carefully because frankly I don't trust 98% of you.

I don't trust you to stand up for me as you might your White peers.

I don't trust you to respect me as a fully functioning human being who is more dimensional than how fuckable I am or how sassy I might or might not be.

I don't trust you because, out of one side of your mouth you say you're totally not a racist but, you can't believe a Black person when they say, no this is racist. You want to be right so badly, you commit a worse act of racism by completely erasing the identity and voice of Black people.

As for those of you White folks who have ever felt the need to state that you're not on one side or another when it comes to a situation where people are saying there's some racist shit going on.

Fuck you too.

I can't even talk about this anymore.

My stomach and head hurt. My heart hurts.

And the very worst part of all of it is this, I know that for everything I've said here I'm going to get at least one message from a White person who "isn't like that" and they are going to be so gung ho about their own reputation or feelings that they too are going to ignore every single word I said so they can be right and feel like they are the non racist person they think they are.

I know that, in the context of things I would much rather be confronted with Blackface or outright straight up racism because I know where I stand.

You people with your sneaky colorblind racism and ability to reason away my feelings and humanity are the worst. You hurt me the most. You scare me because I might love you, I might think that you are here for me and that we are friends, and then I realize we're just not.

I'm tired of getting my heart broken.

I'm tired of having to beg, scream and stomp my feet to convince you that I'm a real human being and that no, I'm not talking about racism because I learned about it in a class.

This is my fucking life.

This is my fucking emotional stability.

This is me protecting myself.

Those who were perfectly okay with how all this went down, I will remember your names and what you said. 

Understand that every time you tell me or any other person of color how to feel, how to react to the racism we experience, you are the worst part of the problem.

The. Worst.

That's all.

Homo Out.



Adam Everhard said...

Hi Shannon. I found this post as a friend links to your blog. I am a fat, gay, white man. I work as a LCSW. What you experienced is appalling. Yes, blackface is indeed racist, although you don't need my opinion to confirm that.
Sadly, not everyone in the Queer community is supportive or trustworthy. There are people in the community who attack transgender people as being "untrue" to their gay identity. I deal with a lot of wonderful transgender people who have attempted suicide because they are made to feel that they are somehow "traitors" to the people who previously supported them.
You have to protect yourself. If you can't trust the people in a given circle, you're doing yourself a favor by stepping away.
You are brave and wise.

Cyndi said...

I don't even understand how a white man could dress himself up as a black woman and make fun of black women and bill himself as a performer. I especially don't understand how a club could book him and call it comedy. I don't need to make reference to my own experiences to understand all that. I don't have to be black to feel it as a gut punch. Unfortunately, racism, sexism, and all the rest exist in every community, no matter how marginalized.

maggiemunkee said...

i've been kind of following mollena's discussion on fet, and i think the worst thing is how many of my fellow white people are genuinely surprised that shit like this still happens. it kills me. it's just like, for fucks sake open your goddamn eyes. racism is alive and well, and the only people who can change that are white. i get so frustrated when my people are so willfully obtuse.

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