April 23, 2012

Anonymous Posts (4.16.12-4.22.12)

Every week, we collect anonymous entries sent in using the link on our sidebar and post them all on Monday. We post anything as long as it doesn't contain personal attacks, hate speech, or express or insinuate that one is at risk for hurting themselves or someone else. Please read this for an explanation of this policy and seek help if your or a friend find yourself in that position. With those exceptions aside, please feel free to submit your thoughts and questions. :)

So y'all, here it is. LWOC. This weekend was a big one for our community, what with Lav Grad and Alumni Reception, the Center was quite busy this weekend. Good stuff, and lots of fun for all. Add onto that the night at the Bar to protest Amendment One, and this was a super fun, super queer weekend. What's more, we're getting TONS of anonymous posts! It's enough to make a blog editor all weepy... But enough of my silliness, you've got posts to read!

 With that said, notes from OC:

#1
I think being a single lesbian here is incredibly lonely and sexually frustrating. It doesn't help that when I go to WLW and out to the Bar or Pinhook almost everyone is in a couple. I don't know who to talk to. I can openly talk with my straight friends about hookups. But when I bring up sex in a group of queer women it's a big joke. Is this the 1950s? Just waiting until I find my princess charming is so at odds with everything I believe.

#2
I'm a pre-frosh, and I'm a bit disappointed in the perceived lack of a dating scene at Duke, and the domination of "hook up culture" as a current Freshman put it to me. Is the dating scene really non-existent? and, is it wrong of me to seriously detest the hook up culture, and sometimes even the people that partake?

#3
I liked someone for a really long time, but once he found out all he did was gossip (rudely) about it to mutual friends and be a complete ass about it, but he continues to talk to me in group settings as though he didn't do anything. Should I say something about it? Would it be inappropriate to give him a bit of a cold shoulder?

#4
this is an honest question to people of color: What exactly is wrong with non-people of color lgbt people from comparing (even equating) the struggles they go through to the current struggles of the black community. Point 1: Historical Perspective Both groups have had a long history of being marginalized, excluded, and discriminated. Both groups have been the targets of hate speech and hate crimes. I understand that there's a difference: black people went through slavery. But to then ignore the fact of sodomy laws and other laws targeting homosexuals (in essence making their "behavior" illicit), is to marginalize the group even further. Understand I'm not saying one is worse than the other. I don't think I have to make a case for either side. The point is that the experiences that a gay man shares and a black man shares can not be solely derivative to this difference. They both experience the same forms of discrimination. Point 2: Contemporary Discrimination Disclaimer: Rushing through this part of the post will lead one to think I'm claiming being gay is harder than being black. While I grant that is a fair interpretation of what I'm about to say, I strongly encourage you to take a more nuanced perspective. The plight of PofC and homosexuals is very different in today's world. Whereas most people are more subtle with their discrimination of black people and while there are anti-discrimination laws protecting them, gays/lesbians are often openly attacked with vile speech; moreover, in many regards they are not given equal protection (either lgbt is not part of the anti-discrimination policy or certain rights are not considered to be rights and thus they have no claim to them). It would seem to me that as a gay man, my career can be significantly more impaired than my straight black colleague. At least blacks have protection formal (understand this in the philosophical technical context) even if not true/full protection (this is to say that I understand the loopholes in the system that allow for discrimination). But in many cases LGBT folks do not even have formal protection. I understand that my being white can mitigate some of the discrimination I face as a gay man. Trust me, that fact is not lost on me. This post is not meant to downplay the struggles of people of color. However, I'm aghast to so often hear people of color take offense and openly denigrate others who compare the discrimination they face to theirs. I can understand not letting certain groups privilege themselves with this comparison when it would in effect undermine or reduce the seriousness of the actual discrimination faced in the past, present, and future (i.e. religious conservatives who claim the "discrimination" they face is equal to that of the trials of black people). But when one truly marginalized sect of people tries to make a claim to the the hate faced by black people, I don't understand the kneejerk reaction that "your struggles are not equal to my struggles." While it is true that I can only have a second-hand perspective of your struggles, the same relation holds for you and my struggles. I do understand that those intersectional black-queer have a unique perspective to offer. And I respect that. It does shed some light on the issue. However, I have met few of these people. I take what they have to say very seriously. But their opinions do not form the foundation of my belief for two reasons: 1) I have a poor sample size. I know maybe 20 or so people that fit this intersectional description. Most of them also happen to be college-educated people as well. So I have a skewed data source. I would need perspectives of at least 100 people of this description that also come from a diverse range of backgrounds. 2) they do not get to compare 1:1 the struggles faced as a black person and as a queer person. The struggles come coupled together. It's not like one day they can experience the struggles of being black and then the struggles of being queer on the next day. That is to say, it is impossible to parcel out the relative hardship of either identity. Moreover, it's not a simple case of one identity compounded with another identity. It has to be noted that homosexuality is much less accepted in the black community than in other communities. The point of this statement is to say that the struggles of the queer identity are exacerbated by the black identity. And from the perspective of the person, it could either be taken to be an added struggle as a queer person or an added struggle as a black person. With all this said, I'd would like an honest critique of my argument. I do not for at all hold that my views are correct. I am very ignorant in many respects. What I do not want is an abrasive diatribe that so often is seen on this blog. When it stops being critique and starts being vilification, academic and philosophical advancement stops.

[Editor's Note: I've really loved how we've been talking about issues of race on the blog lately, as it's such an important conversation to have. I've really liked how patient everyone has been with each other for the most part, and I hope we can keep that energy up. As we talk about this important issue, let's keep talking about our experiences and respecting those of others. Also, whenever possible, let's keep giving people the benefit of the doubt if they say something we find ignorant. It's great to see these issues being discussed, this is what the blog is all about! Thanks, y'all. :-)]

#5
Even though I'm a gay female, I still find it weird to think about my future and hear me or my friends speculate about my wife. The word just always seemed weird and awkward when applied to me. I always preferred to say girlfriend or almost anything else. But today, for the first time ever, my best friend said something about my future wife and the word didn't sound weird. One day I will have a wife and she will be awesome.

#6
Today I had a face-to-face conversation with a friend and explained why it was extremely hurtful and offensive to me (as a straight woman) that he said f** in a facebook conversation we were having awhile back. This original use of this word led to a much longer debate and discussion over facebook chat and it is the first time we have sat down in person. He had thought that I was overreacting (it was the first time I heard him say that word) and he didn't mean any harm. Today, I explained that I was speaking out for those who didn't feel comfortable doing so. I didn't have anything to loose other than my time. After he realized that I was willing to drop our friendship because of our heated argument because I felt so personally offended and disrespected, I could tell that he was starting to get it. In the time between our facebook conversation and today's talk, it was clear that he has reflected on why he holds certain beliefs and how his words can perpetuate a homophobic culture. I am proud of myself for not being a silent bystander.

Please remember that there are a number of resources available on campus and in the local community. These resources are available over breaks and throughout the school year. If you or a friend are experiencing thoughts or urges to harm yourself or somebody else, please reach out to the following resources: In an emergency, please don't hesitate to call CAPS at any time, including "after hours" at (919) 966-3820. Ask to speak to the advice nurse and tell them you are a Duke student. You may also call the Trevor Project, a national hotline specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning youth (college students included). Their number is 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).

32 comments:

  1. #4 -- I'm actually the one who started this conversation. I don't really agree with all of your points, because they seem to imply that the issues are too connected. I admitted earlier that my wording was poor. What I think is the most diplomatic way to think about these two issues is that they are two awful ways of discriminating people with some notable similarities, but are by no means the same. It would probably be most productive to think about these situations as very sympathetic to each other. As members of these communities, and sometimes both communities, it is important to stand in solidarity to move towards progress to our end goal of equal recognition, rights and happiness. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. #2- while it kinda sucks that there aren't a lot of couples here, it's going to be the same for both straight and gay people at peer institutions. people like sensationalizing everything that goes on at duke, but that's just the way the world is now (see Harvard Crimson last month-- "Hook-up Culture Leaves Students Wanting")

    but i would say that for the vast majority of people at duke, gay and straight, we're not like sex-crazed and moving from hookup to hookup. there are a lot of pairs that "hook up" regularly and are basically dating without a label. and most people who "participate in the hookup culture" could have one or two hookups a year. and many just abstain from any kind of sexual activity.
    you shouldn't let your opinions of people be colored by assumptions and perceptions about their sexual habits. lots of great guys have a lot of sex, and a lot of great guys have no sex. wait to get to know people

    ReplyDelete
  3. #2: Hello, please get off your high horse. I don't want to dissuade you from choosing Duke, but I think condescension will be looked down upon wherever you choose to go.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really love Anon 9:53's comment. Thanks, Anon 9:53, for starting this and staying with this conversation. I guess the way I look at the comparison between various forms of discrimination is that we don't gain very much by likening our struggles to one another past the very basic level of both groups being institutionally oppressed. The exact mechanisms and even the very nature of these systems of oppression are very different, and so we fall into the trap of writing a revisionist history if we try to equate them. (Note: Different ethnic groups have not had the same experience of racism as each other, the nature of the oppression is very different across different ethnic groups)

    I love anon 9:53's point that the important thing for us to do is to work together with other oppressed groups so that we can better fight BOTH forms of oppression.

    #2- That's not weird, no. I had/have a similar issue where I don't see any value in the hook up culture and see it as dangerous or degrading in its current form. That said, everybody has a right to do as they please with their body, and though the hook up scene might seem to be the dominant social force, there are large spaces on campus where this is not the case. There are a large variety of cultures here, just some aren't as advertised/loud.

    #6- Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. #1 - hi! we had this conversation together earlier last monday. I guess I still stand by the sort of frustrating answer-which I think to find queer women, is only a matter of time. if we were in NYC, Boston, San Fran (oh hey summer 2012!) or any other large city, it wouldn't be a "matter of time" it'd be a question of how often you put yourself out there in queer spaces. :) BUT we're in Durham/Duke and the community here is either 1. smaller in the former or 2. largely closeted/unsure/questioning in the latter.

    really...I think it's only a matter of time..thankfully there's summer and then after your limited time at Duke til you can be in a big city hopefully (or at least maybe have more ownership/control over the city you end up in). good luck.

    #5 - wife! oh that is an interesting word. well first off, I wonder in general what our views on marriage are. I know for me the concept of marriage is pretty off-putting...maybe it's just because of my queer identity, but it does feel almost 1950s to me. maybe in general at our age the thought of MARRIAGE is sorta scary/weird for everyone, even straight folks, whereas the idea of a different word to define partnerships (boyfriends, girlfriends, etc.) might seem more natural. I think its sort of what you were getting at - that the word "wife" might be hot one day with the right woman. but right now it might seem to soon or off putting for other reasons.

    side note - I might also wonder how long you've been out to yourself/thinking about queer female identity? I know when I first questioned my sexuality the thought of a "girlfriend" seemed "weird" even though I knew I was a gay female. I think it's also a matter of becoming comfortable with yourself overtime...I used to even think sex with woman would be "weird" or too different or strange...but overtime I of course now think it's the hottest thing ever. so I guess what I am saying is that I also wonder if in addition to the possibility of the idea of marriage turning you off, maybe there is an element of internalized homophobia - not saying it's for sure, but I know in my case when I first came out (and even after, to be honest), I still had it and I have to actively work to think about getting over it.

    I find that spending time with queer female couples help me view female relationships/commitments in a very positive light. :) it might just be the desensitizing factor or something too!

    #4 - here we go again. this is how I see it. I'kl break it down into two types of things, and this is just my humble opinion:

    1. it IS okay to say "being X helps me understand the experience of being margalinzed, opressed, etc. Because X and Y are both marginalized groups, I feel as though my minority identity helps be better understand or care more about Y than before, perhaps."

    2. It is NOT okay to say: "being X means I understand Y." Because...that's just of course not true. Being a woman doesn't mean I understand being a gay man. It doesn't mean I understand what it means to be black. Lesbian identity does not mean that I understand the transgender identity.

    It DOES however mean that I understand the experience of OPPRESSION, MARGINALIZATION, EXPLOITATION, OGJECTIFICATION, SEXUALIZATION, etc, etc, etc. That is the difference. Saying that we understand these greater sets of experiences, and not individual identities themselves.

    And I might also add that the people of color who braved it to respond last time and then got attacked...y'all are impressive. You shouldn't always have to be the teachers but you continue to educate people even when they give you all this backlash. Wow wow wow. I'm really really impressed. (Although I also wouldn't think differently of a poc who decided not to respond to these issues because of how exhausting it could become.)

    good luck all,
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. so many amazing anonymous posts I don't know where to start

    ReplyDelete
  7. #2: Trust the numbers:

    "Certain findings from the Duke Social Relationships Project present a picture of social life at Duke that is discrepant from common perceptions. Specifically, a substantial proportion of students (36.4% of women and 34.5% of men) reported participating in committed, long-term, romantic relationships (the average length of committed romantic relationships reported by students was 16.05 months for women and 14.58 months for men); many students did not engage in hook-ups (44.5% of “single” women and 46.6% of “single” men had not had any hook-ups over the past six months); and a substantial proportion of students did not engage in high levels of alcohol use (51.1% of women and 44.8% of men described themselves as “non-users” or “very light users” of alcohol). With regard to dating, however, the data do support the perception that many Duke students are not dating very much (55.6% of “single” women and 51.6% of “single” men reported having had no dates over the past 6 months). It is noteworthy, however, that the majority of single students (74.6% of women and 72.4% of men) would like to be dating more." (Duke Social Relationship Project Executive Summary 3)

    For more info: http://sites.duke.edu/dsrp/

    ReplyDelete
  8. To #4: I apologize firsthand of being picky. I don't have a problem with solidarity; hell, as a queer woman of color, solidarity is a form of life.

    And you're right; your status as a white, gay man does not negate you from your white privilege, and so by default...you kinda still have an advantage against POC. Personally, it's easier for me to "hide" my queerness than to hide my status as a POC; I can deny being a part of the LGBTQ community, but I'd look really silly to say I wasn't POC.

    You say this: "They [meaning a black man and gay man] both experience the same forms of discrimination." Nope. These experiences are not the same, but do bear in mind that both experience oppression and all it entails for being non-white, non-heterosexual. To say they share the same forms of discrimination is stretching it. And that's not the whole point of solidarity, anyway; it's not about the comparison of struggles, but to recognize that we do struggle against a institutionalized society that marginalizes us, and that we must support each other. POC (at least most of us...) are not ignoring the struggles of the LGBTQ community; some of us are even part of the community, such as myself. My main problem with how some people of the LGBTQ community say "our movement is the new black, the new civil rights" just reeks of...oppression olympics, and we don't have time to play oppression bingo to see who's suffered the most. Let's not appropriate the struggles of one another, which is kinda what I'm getting at with your post.

    "When it stops being critique and starts being vilification, academic and philosophical advancement stops." You might want to be careful throwing this statement about, especially to POC; this can be coded as "do not get loud, stop overreacting, you're being too sensitive, because then I can't listen to what you have to say anymore." This is a traditional tactic oppressors use against the oppressed, and again is another form of derailment (google's also your friend, because, it get's exhausting when POC are asked to educate everyone else; really, research is your friend, because there's lots to know!). AND it invalidates what the person is saying/has yet to say. I'm not promoting name-calling or bashing against one's character; I am against tone-policing.

    (Also, you said "blacks"; let's not refer people as adjectives, please.)

    Again, I apologize if I came too forward, but, these conversations need to happen! This is why intersectionality 101 should be mandatory for places like Duke! Because I can't tell you how many times I didn't feel safe in the queer community because of my status of as a POC.

    This article http://www.bklynboihood.com/blog/2012/2/13/on-taking-up-space.html resonates a lot of sentiments I've heard and shared with other queer POC. This is a great sentence that pretty much summarizes it: "Why would anyone want to enter a space where their voices, histories and thoughts are ignored? Why would anyone want to enter a space where folks were committing microagressions left and right? Moreover, who would want to be in a space that has historically excluded them?" Because like many movements and groups, the LGBTQ community is not free from flaws - for awhile we only focused on the first two letters and let the other identities tag along; we're only starting to scratch the surface on the transphobia we've internalized, and this is no different than the internalized racism most of us haven't recognized yet.

    I hope I tackled what needed to be tackled. I speak mainly from my personal experiences and what I've read on what has been brought up, #4, and if there are problematic things I've said, call me out on it (this is for anyone who wants to, because I know too it can be exhausting doing that)!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anon 9:53 check my response to you in your entry in last week's anonymous posts-- at all similar situation?

    ReplyDelete
  10. @shane, about the relationship survey

    i don't know anything about the methodology, but if they just used the results without adjusting to try to make them more representative of the whole population, there's going to be a huuuuge sample bias as far as the types of people who would fill out a survey for the administration about their social lives.
    also a lot of people in long-term relationships are dating people from other schools

    ReplyDelete
  11. does the actual validity of the comparison between black and gay civil rights movements really matter?
    i can't imagine how anyone is harmed by the comparison or the invocation of the civil rights movement, and i think it's a powerful rhetorical tool when dealing with the sort of silent-moderate types and with african-americans who are unsympathetic to the gay rights movement.

    seems to me that the more minorities/marginalized groups come together and portray our struggles as one struggle, the better.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yeah, but do we really want to erase the our difference? Because I thought the whole point was that we didn't want to be marginalized because of our identities, and if we give up much of identities in the process of fighting our oppression, isn't that a bad thing too?

    ReplyDelete
  13. @Anon 9:45, I highly suggest that you read Sara's comment and also read the article she linked. The validity of the comparison does matter. It matters a lot. I'm a bit worn out from trying to educate people on this blog on a weekly basis, so I'll post this article for you to read: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/irene-monroe/gay-is-emnotem-the-new-bl_b_151573.html

    There are many more you can find that are like it, just search "gay is not the new black" on Google. (See, I've even helped by giving you a starting point for your search).

    The thing many white LGBTQ people/advocates seem to miss is that PoC are STILL fighting for rights and equality and justice in this country, just as LGBTQ people are. But you never hear a person of color say, after experiencing prejudice or discrimination, "Man, now I know what it feels like to be gay!" (Really, no PoC will ever say that, you know, unless it's scripted.) Whether that be from what you assume to be "apathy" or just from the absurdity of the statement (which makes it inappropriate to say from either ends/group).

    I won't repeat things that have been said before, but the visibility of race and the invisibility of sexual orientation play a HUGE role in the differences. That and the historical atrocities related to race and the systematic marginalization of PoC. It's kind of odd that PoC are expected to care about (mostly) white LGBTQ issues (people, advocacy, etc.) when (white) LGBTQ people don't care much about racial equality or justice at all, being very focused on their own social issues (which is fair, but it's not fair for PoC to be focused on their own social issues and it's considered apathy? Why the double standard?) And what furthers that oddness is the history, and it's appalling that white LGBTQ people would USE (the history of) PoC, the people that they (white people) put in that marginalized position in the first place (through many longs years of systematic oppression that I don't really want to detail right now), to better their own cause without realizing the social implications (that being the detraction of effort and attention from race problems that still exist). It's like you want to appropriate our struggles, but won't make room for us in the LGBTQ community...

    But yeah, Sara's post and the article she linked are very informative (and also makes a lot more sense of the sentence I wrote before this one). Also point 2 of Anon 1:01's post clearly detailed, very basically, why that comparison is incorrect.

    As for your finishing line, our struggle is not one struggle. They are separate struggles and are distinct and different. But I do believe the more intersectionality we address, and the more the separate parties acknowledge and fight against each others struggles and fight for equality, the better things can be. This cannot be done by appropriation.

    ReplyDelete
  14. recognize difference and strive for solidarity. sweet. @anon 8:40.. yeah its a similar situation thats why i said it was... was that supposed to be an underhanded jab? i dont get it...

    ReplyDelete
  15. upvotes for anon 9:45

    at the very least, both the black and gay civil rights movements are similar in that they both demand equality and civil rights for historically oppressed people. the difference is one of these movements has already been internalized in the public's mind as a no-brainer and the other is still gaining traction. to borrow imagery from a movement that has already adequately demonstrated how abhorrent discrimination is in their own community allows us a great analogy to demonstrate how behind-the-times we are with how we treat the lgbt community.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @ ebony way

    "It's kind of odd that PoC are expected to care about (mostly) white LGBTQ issues (people, advocacy, etc.) when (white) LGBTQ people don't care much about racial equality or justice at all.."

    What?????

    How are LGBTQ issues "white" issues? When I fight for LGBTQ rights, I do so on behalf of ALL LGBTQ identified people, regardless of their skin color. I also do so not because I am white, but because I am LGBTQ. And the last part of your comment I completely disagree with. Actually, I would go so far as to say that it is just downright wrong. Yes, the issue of race in the LGBTQ community is obviously a big deal, but you should know better than to say that white people in the community don't care about people of color. Your blanket statement offends me personally as someone who spends his time fighting for the rights of ALL LGBTQ people, regardless of their race.

    If you stand by your statement that "(white) LGBTQ people don't care much about racial equality or justice at all", fine, but I feel obligated to stand up and say that this kind of language is divisive, hurtful, and untrue.

    ReplyDelete
  17. @ebony

    though our struggles certainly aren't one and the same, the principles behind them are. both acknowledge that discrimination, oppression, marginalization of any group is morally abhorrent. the details will be different just as the details in any principle-driven movement will be, but importantly the faith of rightness in equality is the same in each. I think this is enough.

    of course we cannot equalize the two civil rights movements, but I would argue we CAN compare them. they are definitively similar in what they demand. and how exactly does drawing more attention to the progress the black civil rights movement has made detract from it? suffering is human; there's no reason to try to make struggles for civil rights exclusive to a particular group.

    if the lgbt movement does borrow from the insane amount of work, pain, and hardship that the black civil rights movement was built on, why is this a bad thing? shouldn't we try to avoid the same uphill battle, learning from experience how horrible and arduous that path can be? honestly, what I got from the article you posted, in so many words, was "we struggled harder than you in our movement, in our history, so it's unfair for you to talk about it. you tread on sacred ground."

    it is impossible to use analogy in any sense of the technique without choosing two things which are similar in many ways and different in many others. yes, the lgbt movement attempts to evoke empathy in others through comparison to the black civil rights movement. (is not that very comparison in fact legitimizing the struggles of black people in its own way?) and, yes, oppression is not unique to racial minorities. we agree here. but the idea that one movement is 'OURS' in the abstract sense of the word (implying full ownership) impedes any progress from being made on the same principles outside of the movement and is not only counterproductive but also contributes to the hypocritical denial of others who hope to achieve what your group once did.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Kory, I can only assume that she is speaking from experiences that she's had. I personally would like to think that I CARE about issues of race within the LGBTQ community, but I really have no idea what I can do about it. Aside from challenging racist assumptions and staying informed about racial issues/ the experiences of ethnic minorities, I fully admit that I have no clue what to do. Mostly because the struggles of PoC aren't my struggles.

    So, Ebony Way, I would like to say that I really do think there's a place for all people of color in the LGBTQA community, just like there's a place for white LGBTQ identified people to be anti-racist allies. If you don't feel that way, there must be something I'm not seeing, and I'm curious what your experience is.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anon 12:21,

    I don't think she was trying to one up the LGBTQ community, because you can be a PoC and LGBTQ identified. Intersectionality is the whole point. When members of the LGBT community claim to be the continuation of the Civil Rights movement, that presumes:

    A.) That it's over.

    B.) That it carries the same qualities.

    We know that neither of these are true. This isn't going to help us borrow the work that the Civil Rigths Movement has already done, we'll get those benefits whether or not we claim to be the same movement. When we use that analogy, we're just trying to sway a few people with empathy. I personally feel that the stories of hate crimes do a better job of that anyway, so I don't see why we feel the need to cling to this false equality anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  20. If you've read any of the articles suggested in the comments above, you'll know what I'm talking about. (A good portion of white) LGBTQ activists don't really pay attention to PoC in the community. A HUGE portion of the "statistics" for LGBTQ hate crimes and deaths/murders and unemployment and homelessness and otherbadthingsetc. are PoC--these are race (and class) issues, not just LGBTQ issues. But no non-PoC in the LGBTQ community is ever going to point that out. That's why I say "white" issues, because while a large number of white LGBTQ people/activists are concerned about marriage equality (and please note that I never say anywhere in this comment that marriage equality is not important, nor am I limiting the entirety of LGBTQ issues to marriage equality), a lot of LGBTQ PoC are struggling to survive. But mainstream LGBTQ activism ignores issues of race and class.

    And that quote of mine, you've taken away from the point and have taken it out of context by not including the entire sentence. The ENTIRE sentence is pointedly commenting on how those same people focused ONLY on LGBTQ rights get mad at people who focus only on the rights of PoC, and how that double standard exists. Let's vilify the people worried about getting shot down in the street because of their skin color, or even jailed or deported because of the skin color--how dare they not care about LGBTQ rights!?

    This blog and just about every comment (note how I did not say "all comments") made in regard to race over the past few weeks is a sign of how (white) LGBTQ people don't care about issues that concern PoC in the LGBTQ community.

    It's good that you care about issues of race. But your "colorblind" stance is doing more harm than good and is perpetuating existing issues within the LGBTQ community. I can surely tell you that a lot of your peer don't care about race the way you that you say that you do, and if they (and yourself) do, you're all doing a very poor job at showing it. To be quite honest, Kyle, anon 1:01, and anon 9:53 (the original anon poster who started off this whole conversation) seem to be the only non-PoC who show an understanding of the issue/care.

    So yeah, sorry I'm not sorry for what I said. If you take issue with it, that's good. I shouldn't have to say things like that to make people open their eyes. And you shouldn't have to try to twist around my intent by not including my entire quote.

    And for the record, I didn't intend to make "blanket statements" (which, if I may make a blanket statement now, everyone knows to not take at 100% truth because of individuality and nuances :P). I mean, does anyone intend to make blanket statements? Especially since people like to derail conversation by pointing them out... Though, if I were going to make one, I'd probably use the word "all". Maybe once, or twice, or maybe every time. "All white people, etc."

    ReplyDelete
  21. @ ebony way

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. But I have to make one last correction. When I point out what are untrue and derisive comments, I am not "derailing" the conversation, I am simply asking for clarification of a contentious statement. I will always respect you and your opinions, but I also won't think twice about pointing out flaws in your arguments because I know you'd do the same for me.

    ReplyDelete
  22. @12:21, Kyle said anything before I could. So you should see his post, because that's pretty much what I would've said.

    @Kyle, yup, pretty much, I completely agree. Each group should welcome one another to combat discrimination. I said that before a few comments up. And it's not only important because of intersectionality, but it is intrinsically important. And I completely agree that it is far from necessary to appropriate the struggles of black people when there are struggles unique to LGBTQ people which are legitimate issues and are just as effective, if not more effective for being direct (and not "borrowed").

    @Kory, the comment I made at 12:52 was for you. I forgot to specify. Sorry about that.

    ReplyDelete
  23. @kyle/ebony

    Part one:

    Kyle acts as an ombudsman because reason cannot prevail where emotion already dominates. Comparing one civil rights movement to the next does not assume one continues while one has already been completed. I doubt any LGBT activist would call the US a post-racial country. What the comparison does acknowledge is that one civil rights movement has already had tremendous success in the legal department while the other has not. It acknowledges that outright discrimination against one group has already become absolutely reprehensible in the public's eye while outright discrimination against another group is chalked up to "values" and summarily dismissed. It acknowledges that an out politician will rarely (if ever) find success in elections while the majority demographic will grin in pleasure at themselves for 'overcoming racism' in electing a black president (no, racism has not been eradicated by the election of a black politician, but the very fact that the public wishes this delusion to be true highlights the difference between the two movements--comparatively few hope for a post-LGBTQphobia America).

    Of course the two movements are extraordinarily different. The point I tried to make was that they are similar in values, in hopes, in dreams. Isn't that what unites us as a people? Isn't that would should be the focus of any social movement for equality?

    Whether we want to admit it or not, the comparison to the black civil rights movement carries tremendous power because of the empathy it may evoke in a highly christian demographic where support for the LGBT civil rights movement is held back by staunch theological biases. Yes, we can be PC and just agree to disagree or count our losses and compromise, but I believe one of the only reasons such resistance is made in terms of comparing (not equating) the LGBT civil rights movement to the black civil rights movement is due to the fact that we live in such a racially charged country.

    If we believe black people should empathize with lgbt people (regardless of race even if the majority, as many parties which exist beyond racial categories, is white), then of course we also believe that lgbt people should empathize with black people. And perhaps as a community we do not show this enough. However, what we work towards is not necessarily action across movements but rhetoric and support. Take that how you will. Either way, comparing the LGBT civil rights movement to the black civil rights movement 1) in no way diminishes the latter movement (unless someone believes the association to be a taint upon it); 2) does not imply that black people ought to take political action (though perhaps contains the hope to evoke enough empathy to sway opinion on discriminatory laws and opinion); and 3) certainly does not imply that both movements are the same but rather only similar.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Part 2:

    As to whether or not the LGBT movement does enough to support those who also identify as POC, that's another issue entirely. But I wonder how exactly securing the right to marry, the right to not be discriminated against in military service (a division which has a comparatively high percentage of POC enrolled), the right to not be fired from a job due to discrimination, etc., are only rights which affect white LGBTQ people. Seriously, in what ways do these movements support white LGBTQ people over POC LGBTQ people? If you want to argue that mostly POC people suffer from class-associated LGBTQ discrimination, then you must also acknowledge that many of these same issues (re: discrimination in the work-place, bullying in schools, crimes classified as hate crimes, etc.) affect disproportionately those in lower class areas (the PC police at least help out a tad in higher class areas like private schools, fortune 500 companies, and Manhattan-esque neighborhoods). Help me understand exactly how the LGBTQ movement is only working towards the benefit of its white members.

    Ultimately, perhaps, simply the emotions this comparison has evoked in people on both sides of the issue demonstrate that it's ineffective. Emotion prevails over reason, and stepping into the chaotic world of majority-minority racial relations very well might be the last thing our movement ought to do. However, to state that the two movements are so dissimilar that to even compare them is not only inappropriate but -insulting- is something else altogether.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ebony,

    I find your tone to be very condescending. You need to "educate" us on this blog every week? What about all the prominent African-Americans both gay and straight who have embraced comparing the movements or considering them different dimensions of the same movement? Are they in need of some enlightenment from you as well? If the President makes a speech next year endorsing marriage equality and invokes the fact that his parents’ marriage would not have been recognized in many states because of people’s perceptions of morality and God’s Will regarding who should be with whom, will that mean he is in need of some education from you?

    Your accusations of lgbt activists' being unconcerned with issues of race and class are, I think, completely unjustified. I would guess that white LGBT people are significantly more concerned about race/class issues than the general white population. Are they more likely to be concerned with issues that they feel directly affect their lives and the lives of people they know? Sure.

    I think that the stages we’re at in the movements for equality for PoC and lgbt people are very different, and part of this is that the goals of lgbt activism are way more clear and salient. It’s very easy to imagine a legislative agenda that would significantly better the situation of LGBT people of all races/ethnicities in this country, but while I care deeply about race issues, I struggle to come up with concrete policies that I think should be advocated for to alleviate these concerns; everything is more gray and complicated than simply extending marriage equality or passing non-discrimination laws. So yes, I am much more likely to be an advocate for LGBT issues, because (I think) I know some solutions rather than just recognizing problems.

    Could you point out what all these comments are that you say demonstrate white lgbt people not caring about concerns of PoC?

    Where I think the comparison between civil rights movements is meaningful and important to make is in the black religious community, where you have not just apathy but advocacy and mobilization AGAINST individuals' rights. Framing the debate over marriage equality and workplace discrimination laws in a way that highlights the degree to which past conceptions of morality and inherent differences between types of people have rapidly changed and are now taken for granted, is an important way of viewing the gay rights movement.

    Do I, on an intellectual level, agree that the “gay is the new black” meme is true? Not really, but I think that it is good politics, a quick and easy framing of the issue, and that there are important parallels that ought to be highlighted.

    It seems to me, and I would guess basically everyone on here would agree, that there are good arguments for both sides regarding the legitimacy/usefulness of this comparison. We should be able to discuss these without preaching, insisting that those who disagree with us need to be educated, or accusing huge swaths of people you’ve never met of being unconcerned about certain forms of injustice.

    ReplyDelete
  26. @ anon 11:21 from anon 8:40- Not at all underhanded jab. I'm trying to stay out of this particular line of argument (race). Honestly, I'm more interested your original post from a while ago-- similar to what I experienced.

    ReplyDelete
  27. @ anon 11:21 from anon 8:40- Not at all underhanded jab. I'm trying to stay out of this particular line of argument (race). Honestly, I'm more interested your original post from a while ago-- similar to what I experienced.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anon 5:49
    Before one makes statements like "I would guess that white LGBT people are significantly more concerned about race/class issues than the general white population.", look at what happened in California LGBGTQ people blamed PoC for Prop 8 passing yet they took no time to campaign in areas where PoC lived. White LGBTQ activist are rather focused on LGBTQ issues and have historically done a piss poor job of even reaching out to the LGBTQ PoC.

    Even in North Carolina with Amendment One I have seen a complete lack of effort from the LGBTQ community to reach out to communities of PoC and try and get their support.

    Do not try and compare the Civil Rights Movement with that of the civil rights of LGBTQ people. One cannot hide their skin color but they can choose to express their sexuality or not.

    And why must LGBTQ people feel the need to compare their struggles with PoC in the US? In America, a white man, whether he be gay or straight, still has more privileges then women and PoC.

    BTW I am a queer PoC who is truly tired of specifically white gay men comparing their struggles to any PoC in America,

    ReplyDelete
  29. @Anon 5:49, says I had a condescending tone, and then responds with a condescending tone.

    Also, if I had a chance to educate those people would I? No, because,
    A) I actually don't like educating people (and my growing aversion to this blog is proof of that) and
    B) those people are PoC and are allowed to use their own struggles and history as they please.

    However, B does not mean that you (a white male, I'm assuming) are allowed that same luxury. Which I'm sure you don't want to hear because your white privilege is telling you, "NO! You can use whatever you like. You have rights to everything, including the struggles of these people." And, surprise! PoC disagree on issues that concern them. (You should ask your African American peers their opinion of Morgan Freeman's statement on "black history month". Most of them will probably strongly disagree with him, but some of them might agree-which is a shame, but I digress). And just because one prominent, well known, popular PoC might say something, does he represent the whole? Of course not.

    That's one problem that PoC face that white people don't even have to even think about. As soon as one PoC does something, other PoC are expected to do that or act that way. As soon as one black person does something it's representative of the whole, which doesn't make sense. Why, if I and a white friend are eating watermelon, do I get, "OH, black people sure do like watermelon" but my white friend doesn't get, "White people sure do like watermelon"?! It's absurd, but it happens, and it happens a lot, and your first paragraph is a great example of that. Does Obama represent every black person? No, of course not. Do I represent every black person? No, of course not. Are Obama and I different? YES, very different. He's mixed, and I'm full black, but we're both black identifying and cannot pass as anything else. And I'm sure our ties to the LGBTQ community are different (unless Obama is... lol) So, really, please explain to me what point were trying to make with your condescending (and eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, are you?) first paragraph. Because if a few people completely entrenched in discourse defined by opportunistic (and, unfortunately, anti-black) language are the only examples you have, then you're completely missing the magnitude of the silenced voices of PoC who don't get the opportunity to talk about these issues because white LGBTQ people/activists don't like what they have so say or how they say it.

    As for the rest of your post, Anon 8:14 did a great job of addressing it. And that leads me to my final statement.

    Yes, unfortunately I've been educating you (and a few others) on this blog. Evidence for that is how you asked for proof of (white) LGBTQ people/activists disregarding PoC and I and others have given you evidence and even links to articles. Yet you're still asking? Unfortunately, I'm not here at your expense. As I said, I don't really want to be put in the position to educate people who clearly aren't listening and haven't been listening from day one. If you want further education, you can educate yourself. Google is a great teacher and available to you 24/7, otherwise I'm charging a dollar per word. Goodbye.

    ReplyDelete
  30. @ 8:14

    You say: "Do not try and compare the Civil Rights Movement with that of the civil rights of LGBTQ people. One cannot hide their skin color but they can choose to express their sexuality or not."

    I don't understand how two civil rights movements can't be compared? Certainly there are differences (the one you mentioned being a very significant one), but I would argue that these differences don't necessarily preclude any kind of comparison between the two movements. I also don't understand how "expression" of a characteristic defines a movement for equal rights. I could hide my sexuality for the rest of my life but that wouldn't change my lack of access to certain civil rights, though it would certainly make life a lot easier in many aspects (which I understand simply is not an option for PoC)

    I mean, I think I understand what you're trying to say here, but I guess I'm a little confused as to exactly why that's the case. I'd love to hear greater explanation if you're willing to offer it!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'd also like point out that some of us aren't so lucky to be able to fly under the radar. Some of us just simply broadcast whatever stereotypes people associate with being gay because it's who we are (and we can't change that). Not all of us can hide our orientation.

    ReplyDelete
  32. My understanding of the issue is that specific comparisons are fine, but general comparisons (which tend to lean towards equating the two movements) aren't ok.

    Ebony Way, crazy respect for sticking with this discussion for so long. Maybe we can talk more some off of the blog? my netid is kab67 if you're interested in chatting about some ideas for the future.

    ReplyDelete