Monday, December 5, 2011

Color To Color, Learn From One Another

As said at the end of my post and podcast, "The Dirty Word Report", I attended MACT/NY's November 18th meeting discussing the topic, "What Have Our Relationships Taught Us About Racism". I got to the 2-hour discussion when it had about 1 1/4 hour left.

Once the chance arrived for me to jump in, I made a point that I have long noticed about interracial relationships. I said that the only way interracial relationships can work is if BOTH parties take note of what the other goes through. For while many think that the hardships one must understand are those of people of color, the fact is that even in this day and age, there are Whites and others of light-complexion who endure losing jobs, promotions, so-called friends, and being disowned by family all because of their interracial relationships. And not just in the gay community, but in the straight community as well. So while a person of color expects the White or light-complexion partner to understand their situation, the person of color must be compassionate as well, in regards to what his/her White or light-complexioned partner has sacrificed to be in said relationship.

I don't know anyone personally who has experienced this. However, once you take into account how much other behavior that should be considered pre-Civil Rights Movement displays of racism are taking place in 2011, it becomes not too far-fetched an idea that such a thing is practiced today.

At the meeting I moderated, "Saying The Dirty Word....LIVE!", I don't recall having any moments of feeling hot under the collar. However, at this meeting, I did have a couple of those heated moments where I had to fight myself in order to maintain my composure.

One of those instances was when a light-complexioned mixed attendee told the other Black attendee that what the Black attendee perceives as racism might be because of the vibe he gives off that makes people react in a way that can be perceived as racist. This might be true for this Black person, and some other people of color. However, I personally took issue with this statement.

For I myself have been told that it's the vibe I give off. The guy I smacked for calling me "ghetto nigger" in "Sex, Then Violence Resurrection" is the one who immediately came to mind. With that flashback, plus knowing how I have always lived my life, I became immediately irate. So I responded by telling him of my anti-social past, and being aware of the existence of racism, but never coming so face-to-face with racism until going out with a mutli-ethinic group of friends and seeing how quiet and void of hip-hop attire and attitude I was, yet finding myself treated dismissively and/or cautiously. Or how I would go into auditions for roles that were not race-specific, and the people in the room gave off an energy to me that let me know I wasn't getting the part. Not because I was bad, because I hadn't spoken a single line yet. But because I was Black. Or porn studios like Falcon and Raging Stallion telling me that they'll call me for a part when I'm a good fit, yet repeatedly see a White or light-complexioned Latino version of myself in their trailers. Hence why I am justified with no regrets over my comment that was printed in The Advocate to their article, "Porn Panic". So in all of these instances, the supposed chip on my shoulders comes as a retaliation to the chip on those people's shoulders about my color.

I know this attendee meant no harm by what he said. But the trigger for me was the fact that I know that White culture, mainly White American culture teaches a "Blame the victim" mentality when it comes to racism to absolve themselves of any guilt for their sins and/or those of their ancestors. And too many of light-complexion tend to follow because of the upper-hand their light-complexion gives them. Though I don't like to use the word "victim", because I'm surviving and growing stronger with every passing day, so I'm not a "victim". I just used the word "victim" to make my point here easier to understand. The true word I want to use is "target". So the phrase I'm looking for is "Blame the target".

The other thing that bothered me was when the other Black attendee said that there were 4 classes of Blacks - lower class, lower middle-class, upper-middle class, and the rich, (which some racist Blacks without knowing that person's story refer to as "bougie"). I immediately corrected this attendee on how those 4 classes exists for every ethnicity in this country. Such as for Whites, the poor among them are referred to as "white trash" or "trailer trash". I'm not sure what the names are for other ethnicities like Latinos, Asians, and Middle Easterners, but I'm sure you see my point as to how there is a name for them all. It's not just a Black thing.

What annoyed me was after making this correction, he said that he was talking about it from a Black perspective because that is what he knows. This put me on the edge of exploding. For did I not say that the first thing out of my mouth when I arrived to the meeting was in but so many words how you must see things from the other's perspective if unions between one another are to work?! You can't communicate talking from your ethnicity's prospective alone. You have to see all sides of the situation, and address all sides of the situation.

No matter what color, ethnicity, or how light or dark you are, in the end, besides being so far from a man that you cater to peer pressure of racist "friends", what is keeping us from the interracial relationships many of us want to have is the stereotypical gay male narcissism and laziness to think. Narcissism and laziness that makes one feel that dealing with someone of a different color or ethnicity, and addressing the racism they must endure is too much work for their world all about "Me! Me! Me!" So instead, they settle for someone who shares their color, ethnicity, but most of all ----their damaging silence on the matter.

It is for this reason that I am at times so cold to some of the older White and light-complexioned males who try hitting on me at a bar or club. It's because I feel this story of love lost by way of not giving an understanding ear may very well be their story. And now, after they've lost their youthful beauty, they proposition me as a way of singing their regret song of "Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda".

But while my Christian upbringing makes me a forgiving person, my rejection of them is me singing my song of "Too Little, Too Late".

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