Normally, I don't pay any mind to click bait I find on the Internet, but a post from TIME Magazine entitled "Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture" published on July 9, 2014 came to my attention. After reading it, I was surprised that TIME Magazine, arguably one of the most reputable magazines in the world had been the one to publish it. In it, the author Sierra Mannie explains in great detail how she is tired of seeing gay white men emulate strong African-American females because we don't know how it feels to be African-American and therefore should stop.
I was very fortunate to grow up with parents who were always very open to anyone no matter their race. We never said nasty things about the color of another person's skin -- it's simply not how I was brought up. I don't see the color of people's skins, I see people. I know I only speak for myself when I say that and not everyone, but I think it's a great way to live life. I am not a black woman nor do I have any idea the struggles that black women have to go through an a daily basis, therefore I cannot speak to the trials and tribulations of the African America plight because I am white. I can sympathize and try to make the world a better place, but I certainly cannot imagine what it is like to be an African-American woman so I do not expect an African-American woman to try and explain to me what it's like being a homosexual white male because you don't know what you are talking about.
Several times in the article, Ms. Mannie explains that "black people can't have anything," but Ms. Mannie, who is a resident of the state of Mississippi can get married to whomever she'd like and can also not be fired for being African-American, two privileges that a homosexual white male cannot have in the state of Mississippi and many other parts of the country. We also live in a country where -- and I'm sorry to say this -- but homophobia is far more socially accepted than racism. Large companies can donate large amounts of money to anti-gay funds who actively fight against gay rights. But if you worked for said-large company and said something negative about the color of someone else's skin, you would be fired immediately. She continues: "What is extremely unfairly denied you because of your sexuality could float back to you, if no one knew that you preferred the romantic and sexual company of men over women." Is Ms. Mannie telling me that I shouldn't be the loud-and-proud homosexual man I want to be in order to get ahead in life? Should I pretend to be straight in order to get what I want? The modern gay man doesn't find it necessary to undo years of gay rights in order to get ahead. We strive for change to -- just as you do and don't need you to tell us differently.
We are very fortunate to live in a time when there are so many fabulous African-American women leading the charge in entertainment and culture. Oprah, Beyonce and Janet Jackson are strong women who have not only entertained us for years, but have enlightened many people about cultures, literature and music that they may have not been privy to before these and many other women exposed them to it. These women, along with countless others, have torn down racial boundaries by becoming not only relevant for African-American women, but culturally relevant for everyone in the world. That says a lot about how far we have come as a society. So, if a gay man wants to dress up and act like Beyonce -- let him. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it's a pretty sure bet that there was a gay man behind many of the gorgeous gowns and outrageous hairdos that Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle and Beyonce have graced the stage in over the past few decades. African-American women and gay men share many of the same interests when it comes to socializing and what we find entertaining. I think it's something that we should embrace not scrutinize. After all, where are the fabulous gay male pop stars for us to emulate?
White gay men will never know what it actually feels like to be an African-American woman but at the same time, you will never know what it feels like to be a gay man. We take things from all cultures -- black or white, straight or gay -- to find our own identity and make them personal to us and you can never take that away from anyone. That is what makes everyone unique. I think it's time that we celebrate each other and stop telling other groups what to like, how to act and what to do. It's 2014 and we live in a country that is more progressive than it has even been before. Let's continue to make strides in bringing people together and stop publishing articles that tare the other group apart for the sake of getting clicks.
I don't tell African-American women what to like and how to act, so please try to do the same for me.
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