The NewsOne Now with Roland Martin broadcast on Black so-called “LGBT” Rights** 7-24-14
With Jasmyne Cannick, Terrance Laney and Cleo Manago
One of my fantasies is to be on Black television in a discussion that allows for issues relevant to same-gender-loving (SGL), bisexual and transgendered Black people – to be addressed in enlightening and problem-solving ways. To date, the actual nuances, context, culture, history and state of this African American subculture remains misunderstood and misrepresented. The issue is always addressed, even by Black people, in ways dominated by White homosexual or gay/lesbian politics, paradigms and identities. This, unfortunately, keeps the varied realities of this Black subculture White washed, and mystified, and at continued risk of being misunderstood, invisible and divided. Black-representation of the essentially White politic called “gay” also shadows the fact that “gay” really is a White biased, White prioritizing and Black dismissive phenomenon. Yet, and ironically, yesterday’s NewsOne Now with Roland Martin broadcast was inspired exactly by this fact, by a recent report suggesting that the White gay community marginalizes issues relevant to SGL, bisexual and transgendered Black people. So, what else is new?
I have seen and heard this same complaint since I was a youth, for over thirty years now! Every few years, a hand-full of well-meaning, defiantly gay identifying Black folks profile themselves to complain about racist White gay behavior. Sadly, this is a dysfunctional use of energy, and re-affirms Black people’s tragic dependency on White decisions, White respect and acceptance. Last week, when Roland Martin called me to be on his show to discuss that report (which I had not heard about), my first reaction to the invitation was “heck no!” I thought to myself; here we go again, gay-identifying Black folks complaining about how their White philosophical/identity leaders, White gays, keep marginalizing them. When will they begin to shake off the White co-operation fantasy, and understand that people with independent self-respect and who independently defend and protect themselves and each other from injustice get more results than people who focus on the redundancy of White racism behavior? It is difficult to mess with a unified or self-reliant people. There is a reason why nobody is dying from police choke holds or from walking to the store for skittles and tea but Black people! We are vulnerable to everything, including HIV, etc. because we do not have our own backs!!
I agreed to be on the show anyway, because I like, respect and appreciate Roland Martin, though I was weary about the show’s topic. I do not go on television just to do it. The intentionality behind everything I do is to foster progressive, Black affirming change. This is very difficult to accomplish when having a conversation supposedly about Black concerns, within a context dominated by White (and Black dismissive) symbology, and politics i.e. “gay.” While on the set, as soon as I saw TVOne break out with the iconic Black Power fist covered in the White gay community appropriated rainbow flag, my frustration kicked in. I was like “OMG!” I think I got through the program without making a complete fool of myself. But, if you are wondering why I likely appeared intense on occasion (no doubt it effects how I come off on screen), I was expressing myself through a wall of frustration, and not with the flow I prefer to. Whiteness and racism (for some time now) are no longer the biggest problem facing Black people. Black cultural chaos, Self-hate, Black on Black destruction and disdain – resulting from internalized White Supremacy myth and its Black compromising effects – are our biggest problem. Any Black problem solving discussion needs to address why most Black children tested – from 1939 to 2013 -chose the White doll (like Black homosexuals pick White gayness) as the best and dismissed the Black doll as bad.
I have not yet watched the video of yesterday’s broadcast. I am not sure I ever will, but I will confess to almost losing it when Mr. Laney mentioned that African American [SGL] folks did not prioritize marriage as much as getting proper resources to address the [still off the chain] Black HIV/AIDS epidemic. I did not disagree with him, yet, that comment was the height of irony. It was not my show, so, there was no time to explain to Brother Laney that fundamental to the on-going predominately Black male homosexual and bisexual HIV/AIDS dilemma is the interference of potential progress by White gay politics, defiantly embodied in misguided Black people. [White] gay politics, identities and culture are not resonant with the nuances of Black problem-solving, exemplary behavior change or resolving the impact of racism and internalized racism in Black people. If this is not faced then addressed, HIV or Black community anxiety around homosexuality will NEVER be functionally resolved. That we are not discussing and unpacking the relevant barriers to Black progress as a diverse people, but, instead, carrying divisions, the politics and agendas of others, is why we stay behind the times. Hyper assimilation as a primary strategy will not rectify our challenges (let alone teach us self-respect and reliance). We need to come to our own rescue, or stay at-risk and co-dependent to people who often prove they do not care. Sorry, but that makes no sense.
Hopefully you will enjoy the video.