Being Black — Oh What A Burden

Let me get to the point quickly and say that I have a burden. I’ve been carrying this elephant for long enough. Now I need an audience to relive me. You don’t have to say a word—Just listen. Because when you listen the fullness of my long testimony, I will know you care about my thoughts, care about helping me release my burden. Deliver me with your ears! Make me free! Hear my confession! My burden is black people.

uncle tom

Do you love it?

My head has been hurting me for at least ten years. I‘ve been waking up inside of dreams where I see brown fowls eggs mixed with white fowls eggs. Each time I pack the eggs in cartons and try to take them home, I realize I can’t—I realize I am still in the dream. Still dreaming, I can’t depart with both eggs because I haven’t been awaken by real life. For even in dreams this burden schools me. Burden clutches me. Elephant load threatens me. Yet consistently, I refuse to surrender. I want to be free.

Keta-shanta-loo, I’m chanting made-up language as I write.

Fena-danda-lo, I’m chanting because language creation heals me.

Keta-fena  chanting liberates me, informs me that I have tongues that no other person holds.

Danda-shanta for I’m unique, not owned by black people.

Please deliver me with your ears before you try to judge me as Uncle Tom or as a black man putting those niggers in their place! Make me free! Hear my confession! My burden is black people.

Because my skin has the complexion of brown fowl’s egg, many black people think they own my views and thoughts. They expect to home-grow my activist labors on black plantations where blackness identity is cultist—ideological shanties housing viewpoints that black skin means that we are all one big black family and we can disagree whenever we have black-family issues and every such disagreement must be done in private—away from those white people.

Please deliver me with your ears! I need to be free from these kinds of black people. Oh yes, they are many—many—many. I can’t ignore them without you helping me. They are everywhere in every class—in every country where there are black people.

They expect that all black people must talk about race only one way in order to please other black people. So whenever I don’t write to these drum beats, these black people name me an Uncle Tom who has no knowledge of history. Because these black people believe that addressing issues of race is all about hammering white people and referencing only the middle passage and rivers of blood and mourning cotton fields.

Because these black people believe that every white person owes them something—the whole white race deserves to be blamed—even the white people who can barely purchase a pound of sugar to sweeten their lemonade deserves blame for every black folk misfortune—every white folk is available to be whipped by black tongues—even the white folks that have been doing more anti-racist activism than most black people have to get their occasionally whipping—lashing permitted by the vengeance cultivation of black ideological haberdasheries.

I strongly resent every such viewpoint. Let me make it clear that I owe no loyalty to black people. I am not on any black bandwagon against white people. When my work critiques whiteness as Undiagnosed Whites Needing Mental Healing has done, I want it clear that I’m not trying to attack white people in order to be loved by black people. Any black person who gives me that kind of love can take it back and shove it up their racist ass!

When I write about race, I equally address what I see as imperialist whiteness. There is no question that many white people have been benefiting from racial privilege. And these white people are in denial about those facts. They somehow think that racial privilege is confined solely to economic privilege.

As I see it, racial privilege includes being associated to a history that is rigorously (even if not authentically) investigated and promoted as superior. As well, whiteness maintains the benefit of being introduced to other races and the globe outside of stereotypical caricatures.

Yet I feel the need to quickly suggest that racial identities must not only been seen in terms of blacks and whites considering there has been much interracial breeding and cultural mixing among other things. By choosing, for instance, to say one is black, that chooser, if not careful, is ignoring to align herself to the history of her great-great-great grandfather who might have been white.

How could it ever be fair or authentic to ignore ones white genealogy because of the dominance of the black politics of skin color? So of course, acknowledging racial hybridity over fixed racialized categorizes is essential.

Often, however, I demarcate between blackness and whiteness because dominant institutions have done so. In order to investigate current times, I utilize categorizing labels used by systems of government, law enforcement, and education. That they say there are white people and black people, I see the relevance to often (not always) address those categorizations as completely separate identities in order to cultivate a relevant analysis.

Cult of Blackness

Returning to the hypocrisy and racist behaviors of those who expect people like me to sign up to a cult of blackness, I must say that these black people seem to think that blackness is a secret society where criticisms of black people must only be done in front of black people. It is frowned upon to let the other side (those white people) hear about “our” problems.

For instance, many criticized Don Lemon the other day for saying things about black people in front of a white audience. I too criticized Lemon in Don Lemon Attack On Blacks – His Blackness and Queerness but not for those reasons. My article exposed Don Lemon for being a coward who is also ashamed of his queerness. Lemon wouldn’t have publicly criticized white people or any other group in the same way he attacked black people with those racial stereotypes. And so I was convinced that Lemon was economically using his black skin as currency to recruit a white audience which still suffers from the “white guilt” that troubles James Baldwin.

The black community needs to admit up to its flaws. Not that blacks have more flaws than whites or vice versa, but many (not all) blacks exhibit a sense of blameless purity when it comes to criticizing power and racial structures. And I have lost many black friends for challenging their racist views against white people. Do you believe that there are black people who to this day think that black folks can’t be racist?

Yes—yes—yes, there are many of them. Fact is—I’m looking forward to losing many more such social media acquaintances. I don’t want them around. They are stifling and bitter. I would have preferred if they were angry. As Maya Angelou says in referring to James Baldwin whom many had accused of being angry, he isn’t bitter, he is angry; “bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”

My view is that black folks should be angry about a lot of things, but I run like a horse when I see bitter black people approaching to crucify all white people while not being able to see their own demons.

It is the agency of bitterness that continues to justify black persons ignoring the contributions of black queer people. I still can’t understand how black people can be demanding more civil rights from the dominant group (white people) yet they deny those civil rights to queer black people. I just don’t get it. This is bitter black hypocrisy at its best!

On August 25, I was a guest on Yardie Skeptics, a blog radio show. The topic was “Masculinity and Faith.” Post-doctoral fellow in Afro-American Studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst, Dr. Walter Sistrunk was one of the guests. Do you believe Dr Sistrunk emphasized that the LGBT community isn’t a group and that it should not see itself like African Americans desiring civil rights? Dr Sistrunk even added that “pervasive gay culture is white European.”

No doubt, this kind of thinking should be called nothing but ghetto intellectualism. It plays right into popular garbage assertions that queer people of color are puppets dressed into immoral costumes by white people. But I suspect Dr. Sistrunk was perhaps playing to the drumbeat of black intellectual homophobes who remain at large in leading academic institutions across the world.

I thought that, being so well-studied Dr. Sistrunk would have at least known that the notion of “groups” might be conceptualized as largely social constructs. Race, and African Americans versus Latinos versus Whites, and LGBT identities are all socially constructed references.  The educator didn’t provide any such argument because his tunnel vision only allowed him to believe that LGBT people shouldn’t be considered a group. Of course, he didn’t say what disqualifies LGBT persons from group status but qualifies black people as a group.

This bitter hostility by black people toward queer people isn’t new. Bayard Rustin was the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King gave the speech “I have a dream.” Not only was Bayard Rustin gay, but in 1953 he was arrested for being gay. Of course, you haven’t heard much about Bayard Rustin’s leadership in the civil rights movement. I think it has much to do with the bitterness of black populations toward queer people.

Throughout history, queer people of color like Rustin have made great sacrifices to develop civilization. Many people appreciate their contributions but reject every story and notion about who they were. Isn’t it disgraceful that everybody knows who Martin Luther King is but nobody knows Bayard Rustin the organizer behind Martin?

Black folks, in particular, love the works of black gay writers like James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Claude McKay. They love the anti-imperialist and anti-racist messages of their works. And black people write volumes of books about everything these gay people did apart from the story of their gayness and how the black hate, the black homophobia, and the black family gave these figures a heavier gay burden and a stifling black burden that buried them. This is what I see as black people killing black people and no criminal charges are levied.

That’s why any black person who comes to me and say anything about race but have a problem with seeing gay rights as civil rights, I just don’t take them seriously. Having black skin and the black identity labeling don’t mean we are family at all. It means we share a common oppression and so we have to utilize similar tools, strategies, and politics to identify, condemn, and eliminate white oppressiveness platforms. But what about the black oppressive farm yards?

Don’t call me “Brother” and yet you despise how I live. And don’t tell me not to talk about my “gay lifestyle every day.” In fact, I’m going to wear my gayness on my sleeve so you can see it whenever you see me. I’m not invisible anymore.

See me.

Hear me

Smell me.

Eat me, Bitches!

Brother?! and you hate my freedom?!

Kiss my ass!

Posted in Gay Voices, Life Talk, Politics Education, Race Matters Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
One comment on “Being Black — Oh What A Burden
  1. jucifer says:

    ha ha yaaassssssssssss!!!