Oct 28, 2014

Dear White People, the Morehouse Football Team, and the Black Community as it relates to LGBTQ+ People

Recently, I posted this video to Youtube:

During the video, I asked my viewers to go see Dear White People and respond on how their particular audience replied to the male-male kiss scenes. While messages are mixed, there is a majority reaction. One viewer writes:

Had the same experience in my theatre. It left me so uncomfortable because I didn't know if I was surrounded by homophobes or if they were disgusted by the situation (I'm gay and also thought it was a gross kiss). I was put at ease after the second kiss and someone said "why we have to see all of that"

Another viewer responded with a story that I hadn't seen:

You probably already heard about this, but you asked, and here we are: http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2014/10/24/how-the-morehouse-football-team-ruined-dear-white-people-and-proved-its-point/

That link took me to this story which, at first, figuratively caused my blood to boil. Having attended and been graduated from an HBCU, I know all too well the type of reaction that Miller described. And while comments from various other articles on the same story make concession for the behavior of these young men,

i mean college kids are immature, what do you want? teach them better and they'll deliver something better, but as for now, they only act according to what their surroundings show them. granted, SOME people can rise above that, but not everyone. lets be serious.

I see this collective reaction to be indicative of a greater problem within the black community. It's no secret that We, on the whole, have a problem with homosexuality or any other aspect of the LGBTQ+ community (unless, of course, we count tranvestism as "queer", because, you know, Tyler Perry and every other black man that has ever dressed in drag for the sake of comedy). To argue against that point would be missing the forest for the trees. 

The first article that I saw regarding homophobia in Dear White People was one posted by Alex van der Hoek. In it, Alex speaks about the reactions of those people, a majority of whom were black, during the male-male kiss scenes. After posting that article to my Facebook page, one of the loudest arguments was the idea of sensationalism in the title of the post. One person comments:

"Black Homophobia"....because it's different from "white homophobia"....please continue telling me how exceptionally wrong Black people are in comparison to other races despite their actions being similar. It's fascinating... Speaking to the article... Especially, the title. There's no such thing as "Black homophobia." The article would mean the very same thing if it simply said "Homophobia Emerges..." Homophobia is homophobia no matter the race of the person.

And while I agree that homophobia is homophobia, we can't begin to pretend that homophobia in the black community isn't stunting the growth of many LGBTQ+ in our own community, a community that wants nothing to do with and actively works against, suppresses and denies anything LGBTQ+ related. Morehouse's football team is only a byproduct of this culture that has been brooding against anything gay, queer, or different. 

And while homophobia is homophobia, we need to clean up around our own house, because there are plenty of (how do I put this politically correct?) "mainstream" anti bullying and anti homophobia ad campaigns, but We look at Them and say "It's none of my business" when fact of the matter is the exact opposite, considering the number of gay people in, say, the black church, which is one of the main institutions driving homophobia in the black community. However, all of this will fall on (not really) deaf ears, as all the mainstream heterosexual blacks have to do is not respond and carry on with the cover ups, the denial, and the acceptance of DL culture, and people who speak up for the LGBTQ+ blacks will be labeled nothing more than folks who talk too much about "that gay shit." 

At the end of the day, Morehouse is a black institution lead by some sort of governing body possessing a morality compass founded on some very core principles. It's their school, so they make the rules, but we need to take a look at why certain items like the "Appropriate Attire Policy" exist*. We need to look at why stripping an individual of his identity is a principle that this body approves of. College is a time of self discovery, not just for non-white kids, but for black kids as well. The sooner Morehouse and the black community at large realize this, the sooner We will be on track to doing better as a whole. It's a Catch 22 though, because this is about a black institution, and is therefore a "black" problem. White people don't care about this, and a majority of blacks damn sure don't care about it, so LGBTQ+ ppl of color (specifically, and especially, in the black community) will continue to be oppressed.

*before any of you say "well it doesn't only stop men from wearing feminine clothing but stops other men from sagging pants and wearing grills": 1) Personal Opinion: Feeling comfortable with who you are (dressing in clothes that you feel suit you), or, by a reach, tranvestism, should not be compared to incorrectly wearing clothes to the point that your ass is hanging out in public, and I don't think that anybody is arguing that people should or should not be clothed, so don't try to use nudists as a counterpoint here. 2) Instead of banning grills and extremely baggy clothing, as a way to keep non students from campus, why not increase security? It is, after all, a private institution. 

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