In my constant search for heroes or examples of how to live I often find myself let down or disappointed by the limitations of idols of seasons past. Their theoretical, and practical shortcomings stemming from the moments they occupied in history, for we are not islands unto ourselves, we are shaped by the times we live in as much as we help to shape them. A friend of mine spoke to me the other day and said it to me so simply: “we are the ones we have been waiting for”. These words, borrowed from elders of the hopi peoples, speak volumes to me. As a developing Marxist, who happens to be Queer and Black, I have often found myself rendered invisible, or tokenized in the analysis of what is to be done to create a better society and I have spent hours searching for theorist and revolutionaries like me. Delving deeper I find figures, all promising, all limited to the extent of the material conditions of their time and to life experience and this is true of all of us, to an extent. However, when my friend uttered that popular phrase to me, I heard it for the first time. In my search to find the correct line on things and to find the correct person to imitate I lost myself and my voice. I glossed over the fact that these icons of the past took from what they knew and understood and developed a new theory that was applicable to them, instead of copying and pasting something irrelevant to the current situation. That is what must be done for me now and that is what this space is for, in part.
The peculiar experience of being Black and Queer is one that has not only been silenced but one that has not been as fully discussed and considered. Partially because of the ignorance and intolerance our society has for both categories and because of the lack of vial of prejudice that covers our history. In this space, I seek to challenge the notions of what it means to be a man, Gay, and Black, all of which have been socially constructed by the White Supremacist, Capitalist power structure. All of which are used to deploy working people, like missiles, against one another when convenient. I reject this and seek solidarity through understanding, first of self and second of others.
To be Black in Amerikkka today means isolation. Despite what the media may project and what your Black president says, it is still a life marked by discrimination and fear. This decadent society is slowly but surely find Blacks less and less profitable outside of the prison industrial complex and the military. In a society fueled by racism and reactionary politics that scream to other “these Negroes have had all this time to get their shit together and they are still in the muck. It’s their fault.”, there can be no other line of thought for those unfamiliar with the historical development of Black people in this country and the material conditions that dictate Black life. This is not meant to be a sympathy plea but rather a thought within a statement of purpose.
The word “gay” is still an affront to Black America, still a thorn in the side of the nation as a whole. For being gay represents an attack on the bourgeoisie family, the nuclear nightmare of social relations. It is an affront to false conceptions of masculinity & femininity and what both mean. Because of this gays, in particular Black gays, cannot be fully human in the eyes of the oppressor and those who believe the rhetoric. Because of the pressures and traumas of living in Amerikkka, Blacks have become extremely susceptible to reactionary politics, especially in relation to sex and sexuality. It is true, after all, that our sexuality that has been trifled over, commodified, and the subject of non stop probing by White society in general, and the White Capitalist ruling class in particular. The Black Gay male is a pariah amongst his own people because his attraction to men is seen by some as a step towards ethnic genocide, influenced by Whites, and an affront on the very character of the Black male. The Black lesbian finds herself in a hailstorm of oppression. Her sexual preference is seen as not only as wicked and exotic but it is treated like an infantile act. It is looked upon as a phase gone through by children. We know that neither is true. That both don’t come from thought originating independently in the minds of Black folk, but rather thought that has been influenced by the horrors of living in this society. Thus, it is not straight Blacks who are the enemy but the very system that perpetuates and thrives off of such thought: Capitalism. I seek to open dialogue that engages in making a strategy that can win, that can destroy the walls erected by the racists and the ruling class.
In the past many have addressed, both successfully and unsuccessfully the thoughts above. It is my intention to take what has been done in the past to use the useful and discard the rest. To build for myself, and others thoughts that can be incorporated in action. To contribute to the building of this new society that we seek.