I’m saying the one thing I should not say out loud: My people (Black people) are working my last nerve.

Nothing makes my skin crawl faster than my people exuding “holier than thou” beliefs. [My] Black people suddenly becoming legal scholars and/or the conservative morality police when it is convenient brings such a visceral reaction out of me. We saw this with Sha’Carri Richardson last year. We’re seeing it again with Brittney Griner and with P-Valley.

Let’s take it one thing at a time.

Recently, social media was abuzz, chatting about a racy scene involving two men on Starz’s groundbreaking show P-Valley. Admittingly, I was shocked by it too. I religiously watch the show, yet even I didn’t see the particular sexual pairing between Lil’ Murda and Big Teak brewing. But considering how quickly sex happens on prime-time cable television, even amongst the most unsuspecting characters, my shock died quickly. I can’t say the same for others. However, too many reactions exceeded the general sense of shock and awe; there was outright disgust from some viewers who could not believe they witnessed two men having sex.

I’ll keep reiterating: some men have sex with men. Get over it. As expected, “concerns” about the apparent pushing of LGBGTQ+ agendas as a supposed replacement of heterosexuality (i.e. “natural order”) entered the discourse. Although these biased, directly antagonistic and ignorant pushes are never surprising, they are not any less annoying nor disheartening. After all, the episode aired the last week of June; it is now July. So, the performative antics of sponsorship that have become (rightfully) cynically synonymous with Pride Month are over. The reality remains that people are OK with the thought of us (the LGBTQ+ community) but remain dismayed at seeing us actually living (and f**king, apparently).

It is infuriating how fly-by-night our [Black] people can be in our support of one another.

We are seeing the same unreliability, though in a different context, with what is happening to Brittney Griner in her unfair detainment in Russia since February.

Widespread calls for her release have led numerous celebrities to speak up on her behalf. (A special shout out to the WNBA for not omitting her from this year’s All-Star festivities — a bright light towards my pessimism regarding a lack of standing up for one’s own). Some are even calling on President Joe Biden to intervene. What is equally widespread are the coonish attitudes of those who believe that she “should have known better” and she somehow deserves detainment because she broke the law.

If we must discuss and have an eerily convenient approval of the “law,” let us discuss.

According to Russian Law, possession of fewer than six grams is punishable with a fine and up to 15 days in prison. Brittney is facing up to 10 years after being “caught” with less than one gram. (This information is according to the prosecutors, by the way.) I’m willing to go out on a short limb for my people in that they did not know this information and that explains the gullibility to the egregiousness of the situation. But I’m also not naïve to those who must preclude themselves a picture of morality.

At this point, I am talking directly to my people. Black people, we have to stop.

What gain exists from kicking down our own, and why now? Why the abrupt switch towards buying into being told what is “right” and “wrong?” There is evidence that these are faulty attempts to preserve White-centered, patriarchal, cisgender and/or heterosexual normativity — and it needs to stop.

It would take me forever to compile all of the responses sharing the generalized (albeit true) sentiments that Eric Garner did not need to die for allegedly selling “loosies” (loose cigarettes); or that George Floyd did not need to meet his violent demise for allegedly using a phony $20 bill. And please do not get me started on the disgustingly relentless caping for superpredator Robert Sylvester Kelly. But it would take me just as long to compile and subsequently compare the reactions to situations such as those regarding Brittney Griner and Sha’Carri, and how their respective treatments are somehow justified.

Be very clear, there are some “Black” people that I expect this from and don’t have a single inkling of hope for their ascent out of the sunken place (Clarence Thomas and Candace Owens are blatant examples). But it’s extending way past those hopeless cases, and it’s sad to witness.

And it’s not just Black and heterosexual people. Even more discouraging is seeing some of my fellow Black-queers hop on these respective respectability bandwagons. How desperate for approval have some of us become? I cannot help but feel that this is a case of hurt people hurting people. This is another example of beating up on the “lowest hanging fruit” to make oneself feel higher up in the tree. Whatever the reason is, it is sickening.

And do not dare try to convince me that these beliefs are genuine concerns or mere differences of opinion. Because some “concerns” or “opinions” are dangerous, most of the time hypocritical/disingenuous. Besides, if you’re concerned for me, you would never tell me to lessen myself. You would tell me to kiss or portray intimacy with my husband bolder or to smoke weed recreationally braver. Also, you would tell me that you would stand beside me, ready to buck up in my defense/auxiliary, if needed. Lastly, you would never tell me to feed into senseless ideals to survive.

When the very people with whom we share bloodlines and/or cultural ties are ready to throw our experiences, our lives and even our “mistakes” to the wind, under the guises of “law” and what is considered “natural,” I remain concerned. Nor do I have reason to believe anything will change. And yet, a small glimmer of hope remains that I am wrong.


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