Let’s fight over the correct terms for everybody. Let’s dismiss everyone who doesn’t want to transition as a privileged cisgender. Let’s spar over the name of our own damn community–is it gay, LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQIA or did we bring back two spirits yet? I also saw a Y in there recently and have no idea what that even is. Let’s admit right now that we hate each other as a community, and that we’re too ungrateful to celebrate the freedoms which we do have once a year. Let’s compartmentalize ourselves into bears, twinks, butches, femmes, trans, tops, bottoms and those who claim they have no gender to further divide an already small community which does not have rights to equal housing and employment. And we’re even barred from using the bathrooms of our choice in some states! That’s a surefire way to make sure we’ll never get equal rights. Let’s boil it down to the tiniest arguments which will mean nothing in six months or even six days. If we took the energy and vitriol we reserved to pounce on one flag variation in one city and turned it on those who seek to destroy our rights, we’d be running the world tomorrow and we’d all have gorgeous new hairstyles to boot.
And in our supreme jadedness of which I am also guilty, let’s try and remember that there are young members of our own tribe who have gotten nothing but soul-destroying messages from their schoolmates, their churches and even from their families. Do they need our help? They need to see large groups of their own tribe in a festive environment so that they don’t feel so alone. They need to see happy and proud gay, lesbian, transsexual and every color of the rainbow folk actually liking and supporting each other. Or would youth even want to join this community if they saw the way we’ve been acting lately? – Drag Queen Spectacular Lady Bunny on her Facebook Page
Today is National Coming Out Day which serves the purpose of showing support to those looking to finally come out of the closet and fully celebrate who they are. It’s a day where we remember the feeling of relief we experienced when we finally found the strength to stand up for ourselves no matter how difficult the journey became. It also provides you with an opportunity to see what happens after you come out and what you have to gain by accepting how you are. Because once you burn that metaphorical closet many changes take place in your world and within yourself.
But I want to speak more candidly on some of the things you may experience once you come out. So often when we discuss Coming Out Day we only focus on that moment we declare our sexuality to the world that we give so little attention to the things you may witness afterward. This will be an immense time of rediscovery because even though you retain so much of the person you will learn so much about who you are and how you interact with the world around you.
So the journey does not end of coming out of the closet. There will be much for you to discover about yourself when you announce to the world that you are LGBT. No matter how much you’ve observed of others like you it will not be the same. This is your experience and you will not always feel that things turn out as you had envisioned. At times it may feel completely overwhelming because you are constantly learning what the rules are for you more than any other time in your life. It will not always be easy and there are no guarantees that it’ll always turn out the way you planned. You may have family and friends that abandon you. Hate and disown you.
Some of them may actively work against your best interests and your rights as a citizen of our country. You may still be fired at your job for being LGBT. You may come up against discrimination and bullying you because those around you have not accepted that you have the right to not hide that you really are anymore. You may feel so overwhelmed by the transition taking place in all areas of your life. You may begin to question how normal your life can be as openly LGBT.
You may question the beliefs you had about this community that can sometimes appear too vain and uncaring. You may have experiences that are much to be desired with other members of this community when you discover that the same prejudices about race and ethnicity are still active forms of oppression with other members. Some will hold the same prejudices and hate about your looks and determine you’re too feminine or too masculine. They may even declare because of your preferred sexual role somehow depreciates your value because they are obsessed with status rather than substance. So you will come to realize that some of the misogyny and homophobia and racism still affects members of this community.
But the reward of being able to take a sigh of relief and no longer feel like you’re living a lie is worth it. You’ll come to find an even greater appreciation for the people who not only love and accept you but who also encourage you to explore who you are and how being LGBT is a part of who you are. You’ll find strength inside that you did not know existed giving you confidence to face other obstacles in your life more prepared. It will not always be as rose colored as you had hoped it would be but you will have opportunities to truly seek out the happiness in life you deserve. Make no mistake that even though there are members of this community that hold prejudices against you for trivial matters there are still people who will include you and welcome you no matter what.
Some will say that it is your responsibility after coming out that you should become an activist and you would do well to swiftly tell those people to kiss your ass and go straight to hell. You don’t owe that part of yourself to anyone and don’t ever let someone tell you otherwise. This is your journey. Your story. Your life. Would it be great if you added to the cause and actively contributed to help ending prejudices and discrimination against us? Yes it would be most welcome. Hate still exists towards us. You certainly should be aware of what’s going on in our world and how we are still denied rights and freedoms. But to me, living your life openly is being an activist because it shows despite the challenges we face we will not allow the archaic beliefs of our society stop us from finding our happiness in this world.
See the thing is when people come off with that ass backward logic are always the most hypocritical. They’ll laud about being a part of the solution while they themselves are part of the problem. It’s because they always feel entitled towards anyone that can serve their own initiatives which are always leaning more to their benefit than the welfare of all of us. They only focus on the G, with little mention of L, then laugh at the thought of B and completely forget T. This community can appear fragmented and hierarchical. The same rules of privilege apply to race and the complexities of being of more than one minority group that’s disparaged is too much of an effort for them to really care about.
But again do not be dismayed by the actions of those who seem superficial who only seemed to be focused on their own objectives. Seek out members that have your best interest at heart. Because the further you go the more you will discover that the stereotypes placed on this community are exaggerations of the truth. You will decide for yourself what defines you. And in m9ments when you feel lost and afraid of what comes next there are people out there willing to walk with you every step of the way. There are people out there who are willing to guide you while allowing you to make the best decisions for yourself without burdening you to their own agenda.
There is a support system here for you when you don’t feel strong enough to embrace who you are. There are people that will stay up all night with you and discuss how much your life has changed because we’ve all been where you are right now. There are people that will tirelessly work with you to find you shelter if your loved ones turn their back on you. There are people that will stand up for you if you’re discriminated against at work or bullied. People are here working to make sure you are safe. But only when you’re ready. So once you are ready to burn down that closet and walk into the world the same people who are ready and willing to hand you the match and walk with you along the way.
How often do you think about what attracts you to another person? Better yet does what attract you to someone affect how you treat others? What about how you view people that have relationships with different groups? These are questions I ask and write about a lot because I feel that once we truly understand what these questions mean along with all that encompasses them the closer we are to being able to truly have meaningful dialogue in recognizing if there are issues involving a prejudice towards a group of people.
It’s a mouthful while also being the opening to a very long-winded rant that involves being gay, being an African American and loving football but they all seem to relate to each other in my rambling thoughts. And I’ll try to show how sports are a lot like life in how we communicate with each other in our relationships. Improve your skills by playing at 918kiss the best online casino games.
You see the reason I’m on this topic again is because today, while watching the Titans game, I received a message from a so called friend who just casually wanted to chat and catch up (aka gossip). This guy loves to talk about who’s hot and who he’d like to date (and hell I love doing that too) but the Titans are my home team that I root for even when their defensive line is abysmal and offense is all over the place. So I wanted to watch (also scream at my TV when they’re doing great or awful or both) without any distractions.
But my friend is persistent and somewhat of an inquisitor of the human condition (or maybe I’m a pushover). Anyway, I yield on watching the game to focus on what he’s saying. He then asks why I don’t like black men (…what). Naturally the question both confused and angered me at the same time because for one it was random and came completely out of left field and secondly because I always know how conversations like this go. Someone will say something completely untrue and downright dumb followed by me very bluntly stating that their opinion is not only false but also dated.
They will then quickly try to recover by providing some “empirical evidence” to support their lofty opinion. But I will then proceed to pass over any reductive laundry list of examples to addressing why the question itself is out of bounds leaving them stumped and angry because they realize that the way they asked the question was insensitive and more than likely prejudiced.
And wouldn’t you know it the situation went exactly like I predicted it would. He went on saying that it bothers him when people don’t date their own race while I pointed out that sounds like his problem not mine. But I couldn’t leave it there and had to expand on it and figure out what this dated opinion came from so I asked for clarification.
He couldn’t think of a way to explain his point without making it sound worse so he then talked about tastes are innate also leading him to the conclusion that sexuality is concrete with no fluidity meaning he believes there’s no such thing as bisexual men. So he choose to go all in on his ridiculous small minded opinions.
If you follow football, or rather any sport, this conversation and ones like this are a lot like the game. Two opponents standing their ground making large plays to score points and win. Either opponent can fumble the ball (or the point they were trying to make). Either opponent can intercept the ball (conversation) to score another point (in support of their opinion). The time runs out and the person who’s made enough right points wins the game (argument/debate).
So at this point of the conversation it should be enough when I say that you know what? Even though the majority of men I’ve dated have been Caucasian that I’ve not only attracted to but have also had romantic relationships with every race and a diverse amount of a different ethnicity. That yes I am aware of race and color and ethnicity and aware of the differences and while I acknowledge those differences it does not inhibit arousal or sexual attraction.
But it doesn’t. Saying that will only add to his warped way of thinking. My explanations or reasoning would only exacerbate whatever closed minded opinion someone else is voicing while making me doubt how aware I am of these cultural aspects when dating.
If I had brought up how at one time I was foolish enough to believe that the societal norms, including sticking to your race, did not extend to the gay community when in fact in some settings it is amplified. Maybe that is due to not wanting to stick out more in society by engaging in an interracial relationship on top of a gay relationship. In my experience this is more true here in the south.
And some may say the same can be said about acceptance of the gay community by the African American community but that too is subjective. Fair points but in this setting it would’ve come off as trying to give all the responsibility on society when ultimately that decision will always be mine and mine alone, no matter the lifetime of influences.
Why do we even care that they have an opinion on who we should do/be/say/date/have sex with/love/marry could’ve been another point to win this argument. I could have expanded on how sexuality is a breathing changing entity of our being and as our tastes change so may how we define our sexual identity. Yet talking about it will always seem like defensive bitterness and frustration. And it is that, but not for the reasons some may think.
Because it’s not for your pity. Never for that so you can keep it or throw it away or better yet not pity people because its degrading and treats someone like they’re subhuman. But it’s important because we do need to know how and why people are drawn to each other. It helps us in a very delicate, subtle way understand where our negative beliefs began. While we are not initially hate and attraction are innate how we perceive them is learned. But bring that up still would not have proven my point.
Do you see now how conversations like this become a game? You on defense trying to make as many points to defend your opinion and your pride before the conversation ends. There’s interruptions (interceptions), Hell sometimes there’s even snarling. The only thing that really sets it apart is that there’s no gentle slap on the ass at the end.
The only time you should be concerned with who someone dates or what their dating preferences are is when they stereotype or categorize an entire group and completely exclude them from based on that backwards opinion. Like Grindr profiles that have “no chicken (people of African Decent) rice (Asian) but spice (Hispanic nonblack) is alright”. Those are the “it’s just a preference” people you should direct these conversations towards. I am not one of those people. But again that would give a point to him because it would appear that I may subconsciously do the same thing as the inept men that have racist dating profiles.
The whole conversation made me defensive as it always does because I never want to be made to feel like I have some quota to fill and should have to seek out other gay African American man in order for it to “look right”. And I don’t want anyone questioning the legitimacy of bisexuality. But either consciously or subconsciously that’ll be what runs through people’s mind for a split second when they don’t understand. That logic would mean that I question whether the next time I’m attracted to another African American man is that guilt or actual physical arousal.
This should be entertaining to the outside observer and the victor afterwards but conversations like this don’t turn out that way. It’s life. Because even though I won the argument I don’t feel like a winner. Especially when this exhausting exercise in logic always leaves you feeling on guard for the decisions you make solely based on your race or sexuality or both. Then you hopefully reach the moment of asking yourself why the opinions of others matter in what a person sees in a race or sexual orientation.
In the end I didn’t use the points that I knew both from experience and studying human behavior meant that instead of answering a question we have to ask more questions. Ask why it feels right to you when two people of the same race are together and uneasy when it’s two different races together. Ask yourself why you need to define what someone else’s sexuality is for them and why that bothers you when it’s different from your beliefs.
My point is that it’s circular and reductive and repetitive and you will again have to go out on the field and be ready to defend your position every single time you’re challenged if you go into conversations like this with that mindset. And the thought of having to repeat the same plays can at times be daunting leading up to confusion and doubt and uncertainty that anything was accomplished at all.
All puns intended when we take on this dynamic in discussing race or sexuality it sets up an us vs them mentality rather than exploring why some have these inaccurate convoluted beliefs. And even when they are right in questioning a person exhibiting self hating tendencies or homophobia (ie not dating one’s own race or trying to define someone else’s sexuality) we have to ask what lead them to see this and open the dialogue even more.
So sports can often reflect the strategies we partake in when we have these types of conversations. Like how some people need to fight in a relationship to prove they’re right just for the sake of argument because it gives them power rather than actually having a legitimate point. Now while I’m not saying life is a game but the way that we interact and choose to have these conversations do take on these dynamics.
Even though this form of communication is the way we are taught to settle debates it is not the way we should be discussing race or sexuality. We need to examine where these questions come from before answering them because when people have questions like my friend that is where he’ll find the answers.
And next time, let me enjoy the damn game in peace.
These truly are trying times for our society where we have to ask what we are doing wrong. Why are the issues of racism, homophobia and sexism still plaguing our society? Why are the freedoms, rights, and protections that many have fought and died for in generations’ past being circumvented by those proclaiming God’s Law into the laws of man? Why do we have to fear for the safety of our children now, with more awareness and social consciousness, than any other generation before us while protections against discrimination are being ripped away? Why are women beginning to lose complete, autonomous control of what they can or cannot do with their bodies? Why are minorities still facing so much adversity?
The truth is that those issues never left us, rather they are momentarily placed in our periphery until we are forced to see what our extremists, or ignorance, or complacency has brought upon us. You see, the questions are never easy to say out loud while admitting the complexity to the answers because doing so leaves us with even more confusion than before. A quick look at the highly biased media is a testament of the roller coaster for the past several months and what it means to be a minority in this country.
Our very existence has been the epicenter for challenging the opinion of social constructs, political reform and change. The lows have been painful and the highs brief because it shows how much more work needs to be done. But the worst part of all of this is when adversity, animosity and sometimes violence that is being directed at us, those of us that understand the plight because it so often mirrors the same struggle, is never held prolonged attention to the other groups. In other words we don’t help each other out.
We are fragmented. We see each other during moments of great pain but don’t take the active steps to ease the pain. Possibly even prevent them. Why? Because one group feels like even though they understand our pain that they don’t truly know it. Or that by that associating with that group will make them look worse. Or complacency. Or apathy. Or who knows what else.
So much debate is also centered on how we are not listening to each other. What’s in place is awkward statements, tension then resentment. We should be united and feel united not like forced coworkers we exchange pleasantries to keep up appearances. Kind words are wonderful in times of great pain, confusion and doubt. At least they are for the short term. But what happens months later is a fleeting memory because we as a society have adapted the mentality where we will discard anything we feel does not directly affect us. Then this cycle of no progress continues. But we cannot allow it to continue this way.
As a gay African American man I do not always feel completely welcomed in the two groups I belong to. Maybe that is some latent insecurity of mine that I haven’t dealt with that bubbles up to the surface. Or maybe it is because I see the dissension between these two groups. Maybe it’s because of the numerous times one or both has confronted me about the other part of me they are unable to fully accept because of preconceived notions. I know it’s not just me that experiences the same sensation.
And when people like me witness tragedies that affect one group the most being ignored and cast aside it makes me extremely frustrated and sad. It makes me think of how much more progress would be made if these groups united together under the same cause. That I am constantly hoping that these groups will see the vested interests they share more rather than the differences. That all these groups will come together work together while supporting each other.
Just because we belong to a marginalized group does not mean we cannot not hold the same prejudices towards another minority. We cannot afford to be only for “us” anymore. We have to be for everyone.
For instance today a letter recognizing the travesty in our judicial system that denied Trayvon Martin and his family the justice they deserved this weekend was sent as a means of comfort. Will any efforts to prevent further travesties be made by the core LGBT groups like how to prevent things like this from ever happening again or will it be forgotten?
When will HRC and GLAAD and other Gay Inc. organizations realize that marriage equality is not the only focus that this community needs? When will they notice that there are people of color that are targeted in the same manner Trayvon was which led to his murder. That more comprehensive attention needs to be focused on the members of this community that feel like they have no voice at all because both sides continue to believe the other will take up the slack?
Same goes for the African American community leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. When will the NAACP take steps to be truly inclusive of all its brothers and sisters that feel left out because our needs as queer men and women are far too often ignored? How many more cases like Mark Carson or Marco McMillian are going to happen before they acknowledge that there are people of color being left behind? Are they willing to see the bias that exists within the organization? Is it fear or willful ignorance that I feel like barely a mention was given to either of these men in a time where being of two minorities makes some of us even more 0f a target for hate, discrimination, and violence.
The story of Carlos Vigil is a prime example of the need for unity. This teen felt so lost because of the pain and shame that was being placed upon him that he felt he had no other reprieve than to take his own life. Were there other factors that contributed to his untimely passing like that of his ethnicity or race? Sadly we will never know the answer but why ever leave something like that to chance? It is our responsibility as activists and advocates to stop assuming and reach out whenever we see someone struggle, whether they belong to our community or not because they are all a part of community.
So where do we start? We need to look at various organizations that are fighting for equal rights. I’ve written several times about the intersectionality that exist within our society that makes so many feel left out because they are being left out, cast aside, or sadly forgotten. This dichotomous existence, an intersection of self where one’s cultures conflict or are apathetic to each other. It’s like a family where we see two parents fighting in front of their child then looking for them to pick a side. It makes coming out harder because you feel like no one will listen to what problems you face by other members of either community.
This is not limited to LGBT people of color. It goes with gender, class, age, education, and many other demographics work within this paradigm. It is a demanding emotional exercise to constantly feel you have to reconcile aspects of yourself that within yourself work so well but to the rest of the world doesn’t fit. Ignoring it by the leaders of these groups only make it worse.
We see that lesson in the interview given by Juror B37 of Trayvon’s case as a prime example of what willful ignorance looks like and what happens afterward. All the while she describing why a she sided with a murderer rather than a child, her rhetoric was nothing but it’s not our problem, its theirs”. She so easily believed that the issues we have faced in the past like racism have already been dealt with when in reality they still plague our society. Since she believed it didn’t directly affect her that she only focused on the person she related to, the murderer.
Another example is the controversy surrounding the Cheerios commercial of an interracial couple and their daughter that was subsequently followed by the torrents of racism after it aired. Then we see children being interviewed about the controversy and then are grateful to hear they are fine with the notion of races mixing. It’s heartwarming and innocent. But it is also a part of the problem. We assume all will be well even from not knowing if the sample of children that participated in this feel good antidote was demographically diverse. Because if they were all from big northern metropolitan cities like New York, they aren’t a true representation because there are children in the south that certainly would have already been taught to hate differences.
What I’m saying is that our society too often is willing to blindly accept anything that helps them escape the truth. And even though we should be concerned with how our views affect the future, we need to be just as focused on the adults who have the power now. The ones that are on varying levels teaching hate. This is an example of us not dealing with what is right in front of us. It makes us complacent and more willing to accept more of the same.
Well I’m sorry but I have had enough of that formula. There is too much frustration and hurt that means we have to make analogies or be crass in order for you to hear our collective voices when we tell each other we all have a component the other side(s) need. How many more times will we keep ignoring each other instead of taking formal steps to build the nonexistent bridges?
I do not want these layers of prejudice and hate and ignorance and apathy and division we quietly accept in this country to pass on to another generation. I do not want our generation to continue the same traditions of fear based either in faith or bigotry that we encourage by not openly discussing our differences to bring forth understanding. And I don’t want us to continue the dialogue where we are too rigid in our mindset or beliefs that we are bot at least willing to see and hear a viewpoint different than our own.
There are a lot of families in pain right now. We need to ensure that no other family has to go through it.
Dating can be rough, regardless of sexual orientation but sometimes we can make it a lot harder than it has to be. There’s also a lot of things to consider when romantically pursuing someone you’re interested in, regardless of whether it’s for something long term or just a one night stand. There are things we know we have to be aware of and keep in mind the entire time we’re interacting with these other guys. With that said you’d think there are certain things you should already know when interacting with someone you’re trying to get to know better.
For instance if a person is extremely short you aren’t going to make a comment about how it must be easy for them to reach smaller cupboards are you? No you aren’t. Well at least you shouldn’t bring attention to it. Why? Because it’s rude and whether or not they’ve had with it. Or it could make them self-conscious about something they never had a problem with? And that goes for other physical attributes like birthmarks, speech impediments, physical or mental differentiation in ability. And race, which is what I’ll be focusing on today.
Earlier this week after picking up some healthy nutrition (more like 3 family sized bags of Peanut M&M’s) I noticed a guy was watching my every move. It wasn’t a stare so much as it was one of those looks that someone gives that wants you to notice them. So I turned around and did my default response of whenever someone seems interesting which is an eyebrow raised and I lite tilt of the head. He smiled and returned the gesture.
His eyes appraised me from top to bottom (no pun intended) It appeared that I had passed whatever requirements he had in deciding if someone was attractive/interesting. I have this thing where my eyebrow goes up when I’m smiling and he placed his hand on my shoulder and he commented on how strong he presumed I could be. Then that proceeded into me saying a few sexual innuendos that I won’t bore you with as they were a bit off the cuff and a bit dirty.
All really fun and playful banter. He had an amazing smile and a sweet airy laugh. He loved shifting his weight on either foot to begin and end his thought process. It was all endearing within those first few moments. I was really enjoying the conversation and was ready to forget everything else I had planned for the day go hang out with him right at that moment. But then as he was laughing at our small talk, his expression changed slightly to what only I assume to mean he had something serious to say. He lightly touched my arm and said,
“You’re so cute. Funny. I’d like to get to know you.Seem like one of the good blacks that speak well.”
Seem like one of the good blacks that speak well
THE GOOD BLACKS
All the smiles and playfulness on my face was immediately replaced with revulsion and intense anger. I replied saying why the hell he would say something so racist, forgetting temporarily in that moment that when people say things like that they truly believe they’re paying you a compliment when in fact it’s a huge insult. Needless to as that it completely desiccated any amorous feelings I had for this effervescent man. So instead of enlisting into what I’m sure would’ve been a very heated debate on manners, I collected my belongings and left him standing there in the parking lot.
I wish I could say that this was the first and only time someone has said something like this. Or that I’ve only heard it a dozen times or so. But in reality I have heard this phrase too many times to count from some well-meaning guy something so crass. So many decisions are based on the potential length of the relationship with the first few minutes. You have to convey so much within the first few seconds that you all attributes you want to be known (single/married, looking for sex/looking for love, top/bottom/vers). But when you say something completely asinine like the gentleman in this story you eviscerate any ground you made.
All the things you were silently trying to micromanage onside your head becomes only focused on what you believe he’s focused on. Since he brought up my race, then how am I supposed to focus on anything else? Sure there is a lot of pressure from your inner monologue tell you to decide within this small frame of time what to say and what you should not say. These situations seem to be magnified when there
You see what the problem is with comparing someone to the rest of their race, or other tall or short people, guys with birthmarks, stutters or any other thing that you see as unique, different or outside the box, is that it is a problem for you because that is all you seem to focus on. Too often talking about race in the gay community is dismissed and made taboo because it is just assumed that you can’t be racist if you’re gay. But just because you come from one oppressed group does not mean you know everything there is to know about every other oppressed group.
As I was discussing this with colleagues and close friends they wanted me to elaborate on a few points about intersectionality and how race does affect dating in this community. So I wanted to write about some of the things I feel are the biggest issues and point out some things that I feel arise in these situations that if we remember in these situations you won’t offend a person and actually see them as a person. But more specifically these are some of the issues that arise the most.
You don’t have to tell us that this is the first time you’ve ever went out with an African American or anyone outside your race because more than likely we are the first. Even though we are becoming more diverse by the day, most of the dating pool is in the gay community is comprised of Caucasian males. I know you aren’t going to know each and every phrase. No you don’t need some special manual to interact with me. Just be authentic and treat me as I do you’ as a person.
That doesn’t give you an excuse when you’ve said something we feel is insensitive. You can express how you didn’t see it as offensive but try to understand why we are upset. Just like with being gay, there are a lot of intricate levels of insensitivity to institutionalization of racism. In any case when you’ve offended someone you care about, apologize first then talk about it.
No you are not responsible for knowing every sensitive, intricate detail of what it means to be an African American in this country for the man you’re dating. You don’t have to know the reasoning of every time we are offended by something that is insensitive to the color of our skin. But understand there are so many varying levels you may not see. So when your guy points it out, both of you should be willing to listen to both sides.
Remember how it is when someone straight dismisses you for something you feel is homophobic/insensitive to LGBT? The same rule applies here. Because you may not notice the same things that we do. And we see it from a lifetime of patterns that let us know that the intent of statements like “you’re so articulate” can sometimes mean “I don’t think African Americans are smart, intelligent human beings”
So don’t ever dismiss the way we feel. Ever. Even if you don’t agree and are unable to see what we see. Just because you don’t see what the issue may be known that it may not always affect you even though we are together that it will always affect me.
Yes you can engage in conversations about race and race relations. It affects you just as much as it affects me, just not in the same way. You sitting there listening to me giving a speech about what you did wrong or what I found offensive by what someone has said or done will do nothing but make both of us resentful. Open dialogue is what changes perspectives and fosters understanding.
Don’t tell us why you think we are the exception to our race like the story I shared earlier. It makes us feel like we are some type of anomaly of an otherwise undesirable race of people we belong to and are a part of. Telling us we are a contradiction to a stereotype given to our race implies to us that you believe those stereotypes to be true and that even though you show no evidence to the contrary that we are still capable of those behaviors. So on some level you only see the person as a stereotype or a contradiction of a stereotype, and not the person. Stereotypes imply that we are susceptible, regardless of action and behavior.
You see color. Unless you have some kind of differentiation that does not allow you to see color or are visually blind you see color. When someone says “I don’t see color” that means that you are going to ignore when (sadly not if, but when) something comes up about race. Whether that be an inappropriate comment from you or someone else. See the current politically correct thing to say is phrases like I don’t see color to show that it doesn’t factor in who you’ll choose to date. You can’t say that you enjoy learning about different cultures and perspectives and say you don’t see color. Because you do see color.
But again it’s a generalization, and no one ever wants to be considered the “other”. We all notice differences in culture, race, and ethnicity. All of us need to learn that when it comes to race, sexuality, pretty much anything that is innately different to us, does not equal better or worse. Just different. We are still a society that is obsessed with hierarchy and order instead of incorporating even playing fields for everyone.
I am not just my race so when you focus on that it is all I believe you will ever see when you look at me. If all I believe you can see is what’s on the surface then why would I want to go deeper with you? Spoil you? To put all the effort necessary into building a strong stable relationship or one of the hottest, most passionate hookups ever? Because you are only seeing the surface. And I am better than that. Even certain myths and stereotypes (no matter how true they may be) that on the surface shows a group in a positive light are based in discrimination and hate.
Be open and ask. Be open to the fact that perspectives are going to be different. Patience and understanding is rewarded to those that are willing to hear both sides of an argument/view/opinion. When we listen even when we don’t agree because it allows us to see why we feel the way we do.You should never be afraid to ask someone you’re with why something is the way it is. Just don’t treat it like a science project that you’re collecting data for. Don’t understand something? Ask. We are not silently blaming you for the actions of ancestors long gone, but we cannot ignore that their actions still affect us. So talk. As often as necessary.
Not everything will be about race, Far from it. But don’t pretend that these issues won’t arise because they will, just like every relationship. This isn’t to detour you from pursuing someone you’re interested in. These situations only become a big issue is because as a community we actively choose to ignore it and not talk about it. And just like any relationship when communication is down, everything falls apart.
But let me make this clear that this is no more work than if you were dating someone of the same race. I’m pointing this out because it is obvious and something you can see thus making it easier to address. This is to remind those that have always wondered but been unaware of how to approach it. We can’t change it if we ignore it. So scenarios like the story I told earlier still being a reality today fade into history where they belong.