Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Dan Savage, Racism Has Its Rewards

TransGriot Note: This guest post is from my Canadian homegirl Renee at Womanist Musings

Well, it seems that HBO has decided to give Dan Savage his own show, excuse me for a moment while I am reflexively ill. Dan is just the kind of edgy fauxgressive that the media loves to embrace. He does after all write about the great taboo – sex. To make matters even more appealing, he represents the type of gay White male that the media loves to portray.

He is educated and has class privilege – yup, that sums up the GLBT community and allows networks like HBO to put a checkmark beside their inclusive of all peoples box. No need to find a person of color in the GLBT community to promote, when the media can present yet another edgy White male.

There are those that believe that any representation of the GLBT community is a good thing because let’s face it, there is a lot of invisibility in prime time, however; the stylized promotion of White male equalling the GLBT community, is problematic and racist. Can you believe I dared to say it? Then we have Savage himself, the great champion of gay rights. How could he possibly be deemed a problematic choice, when he dares to speak truth to power right? Well, how about we look at this little quote:

“I do know this, though: I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.

"This will get my name scratched of the invite list of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which is famous for its anti-racist-training seminars, but whatever. Finally, I’m searching for some exit poll data from California. I’ll eat my shorts if gay and lesbian voters went for McCain at anything approaching the rate that black voters went for Prop 8.”

Anyone recall a public apology for this little racist screed? Nope, why apologize? He is White and gay, and his lefty credentials means that he can say whatever the hell he wants, without apologizing to those he may have offended. What Dan really wants is equality and we uppity Negroes ruined it for him. He is well aware that homophobia is what is stopping him from taking full advantage of his White male privilege. I know who you want equality with Dan and it is certainly not with people who look like me.

Perhaps I should forget this little commentary, the way he forgot that Coretta Scott King said, “I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.” Is she representative of Black community for you Savage?

How about Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP who stated, “There are no ‘special rights’ in America; we are all entitled to life, liberty and happiness’ pursuit. I see this as a civil rights issue. That means I support gay civil marriage.”

Then of course there is Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) who emphatically declared, “It is time to say forthrightly that government’s exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families…this discrimination is wrong.”

We however are the danger to the GLBT community. No Black people have ever advocated for gay rights. Why would we, we are all to busy being thugs and harassing the GLBT community. Who would have thought that Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard, Brandon Teena (transman), and JR Warren were all murdered in cold blood by White people. Wasn’t there an African American fall guy that they could have scraped together to blame for these deaths? We are, after all, nothing but homophobic thugs right?

Savage’s commentary post Prop 8 may have been forgotten by many but to those of us who are of color, who are either same gender loving or allies to the community, it is a sting that cannot be overlooked. Savage was not openly decried by the GLBT community, in fact he was championed as a hero. Those that are White can understand why he was upset, after all, who would want to be oppressed by Blacks, when socially it is understood that Whites are supposed to be the top of the food chain.

Well, Dan need not worry about being oppressed by Blacks because HBO will be giving him his own platform, where he may wax poetic and take his place amongst the pantheon of White males. For a man that is leading a life of extreme hardship, he seems to have done quite well for himself.

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