Tuesday, June 04, 2013

As A White LGBT Person, You STILL Have More Privilege Than A POC TBLG Person Ever Will

Your White Privilege Rewards card just comes with a rainbow sticker on it.  But it still functions the same way.

As Kenyon Farrow (who I had the pleasure of meeting at OUT on the Hill 2012)  wrote back in 2005 in an essay entitled “Is the Gay Marriage Movement Anti-Black?”
While homophobia in the black community is certainly an issue we need to address, blacks of all sexualities experience the reality that many white gays and lesbians think that because they’re gay, they “understand” oppression, and therefore could not be racist like their heterosexual counterparts. Bull____. America is first built on the privilege of whiteness, and as long as you have white skin, you have a level of agency and access above and beyond people of color, period. White women and white non-heteros included.
You most certainly do.  Being part of the TBLG community doesn't change that basic fact you still benefit from white privilege even if it is not quite at the same level it would have been if you were straight.   And deep down you know it too and act like it in TBLG community circles. 

Kenyon Farrow and I aren't the only Black LGBT writers who have noted the phenomenon. So did James Baldwin back in the day.  

Baldwin explains in a 1984 Village Voice interview that white LGBTQ men and women feel slighted precisely because they know that had they been straight, they would have been heirs to incomparable privilege. In that interview with Richard Goldstein, then the editor of the Village Voice, Baldwin said, "I think white gay people feel cheated because they were born, in principle, in a society in which they were supposed to be safe. The anomaly of their sexuality puts them in danger, unexpectedly."

Baldwin went on to say:

"Their reaction seems to me in direct proportion to their sense of feeling cheated of the advantages which accrue to white people in a white society. There's an element, it has always seemed to me, of bewilderment and complaint. Now that may sound very harsh, but the gay world as such is no more prepared to accept black people than anywhere else in society."

Nor are they prepared to accept finite disappointment when things don't go their way legislatively.  They are quick in the initial stages to blame things that go wrong toward the achievement of their legislative and policy goals on everybody but themselves as last weekend's events in Illinois are quickly demonstrating.

There were rainbow flavored bigoted to blatantly racist anti-Black comments, calls to frack the Democrats, withdraw their support  from (fill in the blank) to comments about petulantly sitting out the 2014 midterms and irrationally letting the GOP take over.

You don't make those kinds of statements unless you believe you have the power and privilege to carry them out and make them a reality. 

So the next time you claim as a white GLBT person that you don't have vanillacentric privilege, don't be surprised when I and other non-white members of the community give you the side eye or burst out laughing in your face concerning how ridiculous that statement is.

Because by dint of your rainbow flag waving self being born with white skin, you'll always carry more privilege than non-white members of the TBLG community. 

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