Monday, February 6, 2012

Thoughts on Roland Martin and the Normalization and Acceptance of Homophobia in the Black Community

I was going to write a post about the significance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, but recent acts of grotesque and unprovoked violence against my LGBT brothers and sisters has provided a necessary distraction, which compels me to write about them now.

By now, many of you should be aware that "journalist" Roland S. Martin has come under fire for comments he tweeted from his personal account during the Super Bowl. Nothing out of the ordinary as twitter provides a digital venue for outbursts to real life events in real - time. Where Roland gets messed up is in what he tweets. Apparently David Beckham is hocking a new underwear line and Roland was offended by his commercial which aired during the Super Bowl. I can only surmise that Roland's pudgy ass was angry because he probably can't fit any of the underwear that Beckham is selling, not to mention, who the hell would want to see Roland's greasy ass in drawls ANYWAY?

Anyhoo, Roland tweeted that any man who actually liked Beckham's ad should have the shit slapped out of him. Now ordinarily, I wouldn't have a problem with anything he tweets because I just don't consider Roland very smart or even a journalist for that matter. However, I take umbrage with his comment because regardless of his intent, he is inciting violence against a segment of humanity that already experiences a great amount of accepted and tolerated violence because of their marginalization by the heterosexual/heteronormative majority. The LGBT community, despite making great strides towards social acceptance among the heterosexual majority, are still widely viewed as aberrations to societal norms and as a result, when we are victims of violent crimes, instead of criticizing the perpetrators, our community is blamed for unprovoked attacks. We are often left to fend for ourselves and witnesses to attacks on our person pass over us, seldom offer assistance or rescue us, and we are often treated by law enforcement as having done something to justify such attacks.

Whatever the attack, up to and including murder, LGBT people are left wringing our hands wondering why society turns its backs on us when we are the same as our heterosexual community members, we just defer by the way we define our sexual orientation, gender identity, and relationships. Sorry for the digression; getting back to Roland and the impetus for this post.

Within different communities are different interpretations of masculinity. I won't get into how these constructs have been developed because that would be an entirely different post on a topic that deserves more in-depth analysis than a long ass blog post. Instead, I'll focus my energies on why Roland's tweet is a problem and how his contrived version of black masculinity places every black person who is LGBT and chooses to live within predominantly black areas are in danger for their mortal lives. Yes, you read that correctly. I do not believe that black communities are safe for Black LGBT people and whether you choose to agree or not is your issue - not mine. Please don't contaminate my comment thread with your inexcusable hatred and I do not care to hear about your devotion to Christ, Allah, or whomever else you choose to blame your hatred on. The facts are what they are and the evidence is incontrovertible.

Black masculinity is something that I rarely ever discuss and hardly ever write about  because its origin is rooted in a construct derived from white masculinity where men seek to dominate everything in order to control it. There is no peaceful co-existence with anyone or anything that isn't understood by that construct. It is typified by confrontation by violence to control. It accepts oppression of all people who do not fit the finite script of what being a man is "supposed" to be. It is typically derived from the bastardization of religious theology and is often relegated to a norm that has no justification. How this manifests itself in the black community has been largely pathogenic. Black men, "REAL" black men are supposed to be virile, well-endowed, sexually superior, and revered for nothing more than brute strength, big dicks, and a non emotional existence. Coupled with the advent of so called hip-hop culture, and the proliferation of gangs in inner cities, Black masculinity is now another bastardization of a bastard culture. Destiny's Child Beyonce wanted a soldier - "If your status ain't HOOD, I ain't checkin' for ya... Gotta be STREET if you're looking for me" and there are multiple examples of the introduction of thug life as an accepted and in many cases preferred expression of black masculinity. Any deviation from these constructs renders the black men who fall outside them as weak. When you add homosexuality to the mix you get a full onslaught of condemnation and you are viewed as an enemy to blackness.

I won't be getting to deep into the discrimination and homophobia that black LGBT people face at the hands of the Black Church (and the Nation of Islam, etc). However, one can reasonably presume that the moralism and legalism that's a part of the theology of the black church experience is often appropriated by the black community in general - one that permits discrimination against black LGBT people.

THIS is where Roland should have minded his tongue. The self professed husband of a Baptist minister, who is a proponent of the ex-gay movement, who believes that gay people are inherently sinful, and who has counseled them to become "un-gay", and has a public forum, who is followed by thousands of people, who also advocates slapping the shit out of men who are attracted to men is a PROBLEM! What if one of Roland's fans decides to take Roland's advice literally? And how does a self-professed "christian" advocate slapping people without provocation? I'm rambling now, but when the urge hits me, I'll get back to this.

What I do know is that the normalization for hatred of gay people plays out in the black community everyday. In Washington, DC a 23 year old transgendered woman was stabbed to death for waiting at a bus stop. She died of her injuries that day. In Atlanta, GA a young gay man or young man who was perceived as gay was severely beaten by three black men, during broad daylight, and in front of several witness and onlookers. They taunted him and called him a faggot, making it clear that they targeted him based on their perception of his sexual orientation.  The video of that beating was posted on WorldStar  and not only did the urban terrorists who attacked the man video tape their exploits, they laughed and joked as they did it. Several black men in the immediate vicinity of the fight looked on, laughed, and did nothing. I'll bet money that those same men also said nothing to the police and are engaging in another destructive manifestation or inner city black culture - no snitching.

So how do we move forward? I'm not necessarily sure how that should happen, but for starters I think Roland should be fired immediately. I'll continue this post when the mood strikes me to do so. Unfortunately, given the generalize depravity and lack of respect that black LGBT people get from the black community, something tells me I'll be writing again very soon. In the meantime, I wish my black LGBT brothers and sisters well. I want to tell that it gets better, but when the community that we are supposed to be a part of makes it clear that they hate us - don't expect things to get better anytime soon.

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