Charlottesville is the most recent example that racism is unfortunately alive and doing quite well in America. Some might even say that it is thriving. This is a part of the fabric of America, though many deny that reality. The denial of systemic racism is finally catching up with us. Prolonged dehumanizing portrayals of minorities and those that are underserved and underrepresented going unchecked, ultimately explodes. Charlottesville is that explosion. And if you think it isn’t, you might be one of the ones in denial.
As an African American man who grew up privileged, there is no mask for the color of my skin. I was told that I could not date my girlfriend in high school because I was black. I was told that my cousin couldn’t come to a high school party at my friend’s house because he had braids and was wearing a basketball jersey. When asked why I could still come I was told I was a “different kind of black”.
Money doesn’t change your skin tone. Money and a nice neighborhood couldn’t save Treyvon Martin’s life, nor could it save the senseless killings of those whose only crime was the color of their skin.
For white Americans, I do empathize with you because you can never truly understand to live in fear and constant judgement of being black. If we are being honest and have the courage to tell the truth about the complexities that we face then the truth is that it pains me even more that race relations may be the biggest problem facing the LGBTQIA+ community.
The gay experience is different for everyone but the common experience for most non-white males is prejudice, discrimination, and all-around disrespect, regardless of sexual orientation. Yes, it is racist to say I’m only into white guys, but for many who happen to be both a person of color and LGBTQIA+, the strikes against you can be overwhelming in a myriad of ways.
I ask you, can we stop pretending that the LGBTQIA+ bubble is so amazing and nothing goes wrong?
As members of the LGBTQIA community we have been under attack from the very beginning of your lives. We have been physically attacked and persecuted for simply living our truth. We have been held emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually hostage for far too long. But what gave us hope was that we were all in this together and would fight and support each other as one. There is more work that needs to be done and it starts with YOU. Because whether it’s hate targeted towards blacks, women, Muslims, or members of the LGBTQIA+ community, it affects us all.
If we truly are all one community then why does Peter Thiel get a pass for supporting Donald Trump but people in our community still refer to Hillary Clinton’s emails?
My LGBTQIA+ family, it does start with us. We are the movers and the sizzle in this America. Why are we adding another layer of discrimination when we are supposed to be all equal under the rainbow? Why does it upset you if we add a black or brown stripe to our beloved rainbow. And if the rainbow is now about a color, then why does the addition of a black and brown rainbow bother you so much?
Look around…if all your friends look like you and you only have friends from the same socio-economic background as you, you have got to get out and see the world. And quite frankly, you are probably part of the problem.
I am hopeful that one day we will not add more letters to the LGBTQIA+ acronym but that one day we will understand the individual differences and struggles of all cultures that make up LGBTQIA+ and beyond.
Last modified: March 8, 2018