Thursday, February 7, 2008

Race & Gender Traitor, Part One

A segment in the A Tribe Of One Postings

This piece, originally titled "Community Respect, What You Expect" was written in reactionary response to another Blogger's post. It tapped into some of my shit and exploded into self-befuddlement. Perhaps, this could be one of the most personal pieces I'll end up writing on the Axe. Hopefully explanation will permit clearer insight and reveal why I am who I am today. Some issues have never been spoken aloud to anyone besides my therapist or Lady Miss T, and even they don't know all the circumstances and details from my sordid childhood. Some things should remain hidden, forever locked away, like Pandora's Box. Once the lid opens, you can never adequately close it, nor walk away unscathed....

Skip it if you really don't care to discern my pain. I don't care if you look at the pretty pictures, really I don't.

Contrary to what my peers have thought about me in the past, and some in the present, I do not hate my ethnicity. There is no self-loathing because I am a man of color. I do not disrespect my ancestors, nor do I wish to diminish my African American heritage. By in large, I feel I've never been particular welcome by any particular group, given the rubber stamp, rejected, and sent not so merrily on my way. I have never despised being black. I do not want to be white. I celebrate my ethnicity and delight to be diverse in ethic ancestry. Does this mean I come unscathed, unsullied by labels of "sell-out," forever cast aside with arrogance, given a little bourgeois, unforgivable sin? Often.

The fact I have to act or be a certain way for acceptance comes off incredibly phony. It's not something anyone can absolve, nothing positive will come until acceptance is freely given, growing within my soul. No one black, white, or anywhere between, can tell me to get over it or get with the program, until they too have tread along my path. No one white, black, nor blend of the two, can pronounce it doesn't matter, that folks are wrong. Have you lived my life? Know my position, stance, and have been where I've been?

Perhaps self-loathing lurks, but not because of shame of ethnicity, but due to rejection; rejection that came from family and community early on. It's still painful to open up such emotions. Embarrassing. At almost 40, down to my soul, I feel such matters have long needed to be resolved. My developing adolescence torn asunder, self-worth, and -esteem, basic identity foundation, is established well before one enters mid-life. In my adult life, situations always place me seemingly at a disadvantage.

Conceivably, eloquent expression may not be my best gift. Reading previous posts, I envision juvenile pondering and great immaturity, simplistic, moronic words. Occasional negativity staggering back to my youth creeps in my words. Or the comparison of others, on how I ought to be, shames me to think I'm not worthy.

I read a good many blogs. Some blogs keep me sharper and more in tune with the game, challenging me to aspire to more than I am. Others drill at insecurities, reinforcing old negative self-values. Are you passing judgment towards me? Am I the subject of your disdain? Well, not in name, but in concept, yes.

Part of why I started a blog was to tap into the core issues, the untapped emotion, branching out to others. It was an exercise in being open, honest, and not living in deep denial. My words or images I post are not to "objectify" or "devalue" anyone. I'm not hiding behind "bourgeois ideals" representing the white Negro, the imitation Black man (as some negative critics labeled me in their e-mails). I only wish to express my heart, not to malign, abuse, or take advantage of Black men. I do not hate what I am. I do not hate what I long to be closer to. Just because I may express a desire occasionally for music, writings, or bodies that differ from my own racial background, does not make me a sellout. We all have different tastes at different times. Is not variety the spice of life? Sometimes you want rocky road, other times you prefer mint chocolate chip.

Does being a person of color, in my case a Black American, mandate I must reject and hate anything involving another race? No friends? No music? No partners? Seems implausible. Yet, I can understand and reason with of those who feel that way. When one has forgotten who they are, feels they are better than their peers, elevates and equates themselves outside their own race, can be irritating. Losing touch with one's identity does invalidate the worth of the rest. Or does it? For some, these view comes from a place of concern. The guardians watch out, criticize, and hand out disapproval, so said "Toms" does not wake up alone one day. Came back to the Black side, we miss you. (An example of this is how many in the black community feel about Tiger Woods.)

I am neither alone nor without support.

I have loving friends, gay, straight, black, white and everywhere in-between. Does your dismissal I act too white mean anything? Aren't you proud that I can be an individual? proud that I have intelligence, know who I am, and work to dismiss old, ignorant stereotypes? Or do you only see the outside without knowing the heart? Are my words to "white bred?" Not coming off "street" or "urban-ethnic" enough? Oh I can speak very eloquently and when needed, speak colloquial slang (I hate the term Ebonics) Is it a prerequisite for all black young men, under 50, speak in over-hyped masculine tones, ending every sentence with "nawhamsayin" or "Nawhamean?" (again very bad stereotype!)?

Additionally, as a Black man, who happens to be gay, must I also add to my persona the stereotypic less than a man, sissy-queen label, sashaying around like some Miss J diva-bitch? This is not a slight against effeminate men, but not everyone needs to be pigeon holed into said behavior or mannerisms.

(more to come...)

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While this blog is not really intended to show adult content, I can't guarantee that an occasional image of male nudity won't appear. Be advised that this blog is intended to be read by people with an open mind. I don't claim any rights to the images nor do I have any knowledge of the sexuality of persons featured (unless they are openly gay...duh). Enjoy yourself and take a small step in my every day life and pondering... Feel free to email any comments or opinions.

President Barack Obama!