Queer Blog States We Can “Live Without Queer People of Color”
Last night, in the period of a few hours, the blog Queering posted a series of comments about people of color’s inclusion and, at one point, actively supported racially exclusionary language. It started when an anonymous reader asked if the vintage style, erotic-themed queer photo blog had interest in posting pictures of queer people of color:
Not the best first answer, but at worst, its nothing more than bratty. I do find it weird that queer people of color is in “quotes.” Likely the blogger, like so many others, had simply never heard this internationally used community descriptor before and perhaps needed to put it in quotes to… legitimize it…? Soon after, Queering stated their lack of people of color postings was not because they were “a racist or a discriminator” they just didn’t “have much any contact with ‘black culture’ whatsoever…” A familiar, and surely well intended explanation. Honestly, I don’t know how no “contact” with people of color means you wouldn’t, at some point, post a pretty picture of one… Another reader suggested that vintage/style photos of queer people of color are hard to find. I was lucky to find a handful in my search. I googled a “gay [people of color group] vintage erotica photo” and only found a couple hundred results in various styles commonly seen in Queering’s (white) photo posts.
Now, some bloggers have a thicker skin than others. When I get a comment that disagrees with me (or is downright horrible), I post it, promote a discussion, eat some candy, and move on with life. Not only did Queering not post any dissenting opinions, it played the classic “its my blog and I’ll cry if I want to, everyone just hates me” card. Queering’s response (below) was originally shorter and without the bold text, but I sent in my comments (PS which included the phrase “this is not from hate, but a place of love for our community…”) the response was updated to what is listed here. “Hate speech” was kept and they added a little shout out to me in reference to a particularly offensive post, along with an assumed female pronoun for me (nice). For a “queer” blog, there seems to be a lack of understanding basic trans/genderqueer etiquette. Maybe my username, MidwestGenderQueer, did not communicate my identity to clearly enough…
Every blogger has a right to free speech (or free choice of what to post). It’s worth mentioning that it is a common ethical blogging guideline that unless a comment is spam, violent, hateful/discriminatory, or a flame/troll, you always post it. Also, well intentioned or not, you never delete something you wrote. You cross it out and correct yourself, but you do not delete it with the goal of maintaining the permanency (and accountability) of online writers. It seems to me that Queering (somehow) didn’t see anything wrong with how they were handling things until so many people complained that they panicked – chaning language and deleting the most offensive post that proved they actively agreed with racist sentiments. But another thing they didn’t count on is that I suspected that might happen so I immediately print-screened the page, preserving it forever.
“That’s the Spirit! Lets do whatever we want and maybe all those people of color will either have to get with the program or disappear.” Its the same song and dance white people have been doing for 100s of years… but its excusable because its OUR blog, our organization, our conference, our bar, our festival, our community… Queering and many of its followers, seem more interested in not being “told what to do” than worrying about if they are being racist. I’m sure these people have good intentions, and often times non-inclusion is accidental , but that is because white folks have the privileged ability to forget about race. It is only when we are confronted with the question of inclusion that we are reminded of our behavior and scramble to make excuses for why it is not our fault. Just because the post was deleted does not mean the mentality that originally agreed with it was. Queering actively decided to post and support a racist statement. Maybe Queering didn’t realize they were being racist, but if that is the case it really says something…
As I’ve said about 200 times on this blog, I feel that in order to accomplish equality, we can not fight amongst ourselves . We must stand together. That said, I will not stand by while one part oppresses another. I believe in standing up for my community and my community is not complete without people of color. A hit to people of color is a hit on everything our community (supposedly) stands for – pride, unity, equality, justice, access. Yes, I believe in solidarity, and it is in solidarity that we have to challenge each other in our privileges and recognize the importance of all members of our queer community.