“Got my back?” Check one: Y / N
This is another one that poured out of me while I was pouring espresso into me and reading over a few posts and articles online about Philadelphia’s More Color More Pride campaign.
There is no easy way to convey how on our guard or walking on eggshells some people of color (especially QPoC) are in predominantly white spaces. How many times you don’t bring up race, your culture, how things people love may actually not be so amazing. How you put up with being patronized, stereotyped or fetishized, often lamenting that sometimes this may be the only space (especially in the case of QPoC) you can be yourself and around “your people” though still not necessarily “people like you”, and often finding yourself with few other options.
And then something like Philadelphia’s Pride flag happens, an effort to recognize that their city has real work to do in making their queer spaces welcoming to ALL and not just white people, and all the reasons you stay on guard are proven in post after post, comment after comment, message after message, tweet after tweet, and fluff piece after fluff piece (because sites gotta get their clicks).
I mean people lost their minds over a symbolic change in a way I NEVER saw when the actual articles about the incidents in Philly took place. This is the time the same people who will read straight people up and down about being an ally suddenly had that same line of questioning turned around in their face and they crumbled under the weight of it.
You cannot say the Pride flag already signifies unity and then freak out and fumfer when people of color say, “Oh, it does? Great, because we need to talk about some serious issues within our own community.”
I have seen every response right out of the Twitter Egg Playbook. “Why not add a white stripe?” “Some people just want to be offended.” “There are more important things going on.” “Well I guess we just can’t have anything good!” and even “SJWs are ruining everything.” Seriously. Like gays are about to go line up to join MRA/Red Pill groups on Reddit or something.
I keep saying I’m not going to get into this anymore and since these were a lot of words, maybe they are my last words on the subject. Today. Or at least, this morning. But I promise you, QPoC are watching these conversations, we’re watching the comments, we’re noticing the profile pictures in your threads, we’re remembering whose words you’re sharing and we are girding our loins.
On the one hand, it’s refreshing when someone shows their entire ass because we no longer need to thoughtfully hover our pen over that “got my back?” check box. But at the same time, it’s the worst look, the worst. Don’t march in the streets telling others about being on the wrong side of history when you’re also willing to sweep the problems of the here and now under the rug so you can feel better about yourself.