Friday, February 22, 2013

We can stop the racism.

I recently read an article entitled “How White LGBTQ People Can Be More Inclusive of People of Color” and was extremely pleased. I am so happy to see these conversations starting to be formulated at such an important time when we are learning that more people of color identify as queer than white people (Proof).

As a person of color, I am extremely tired of the racism I have experienced. “Oh, so you must be a really hard worker!” “You must be really close to your family!” “Being Latino must mean that you’re a really passionate lover, huh?” Ugh. Stereotypes and generalizations are subtle forms of racism. I am constantly being forced into this idea of what it means to be Latin@ (pronounced “la-ti-now”) and I cannot begin to explain how exhausting it is. Let alone the fact that I am bisexual. So yes, I am a queer person of color (QPOC).

True statement.
It’s tough, but let me unpack some of things that I have experienced. I think there are two ends of the spectrum. One, people love Latin@ people. They fetishize us and are attracted to the “Latin lover” idea. Two, people are not attracted to Latin@s and just reject us. (I will admit the latter is probably more applicable to black, Asian, and Native American people as Latin@s are constantly being lumped up with white people.) It sickens me when I hear things like “Oh, I mean, I’m just not attracted to black people.” or “I’m not into Asian men.” or “You’re really cute…for a Mexican.” Gosh. Why don’t people stop and think about what they just said? Think about it and unpack exactly what you just said. These “preferences” stem from a system of prejudice and beauty hierarchy. White people rest at the top of this hierarchy, as told by the media. No one is born a racist, and no one is born with these “preferences” either. From the moment we were born, the things we saw on TV, movies, magazines, advertisements, etc. formulated our psyche. These mediums built the idea that still stands today: that white people are the epitome of beauty. And honestly, I’m tired of it. Not to say that white people aren’t beautiful by any means, no. What I mean is that they aren’t the only ones that are beautiful and others shouldn’t have to suffer because of it.

Then it comes to this concept of tokenism where white people are like “Well Beyoncé is beautiful!” or “Sofia Vergara is a beautiful Latina!” Just because there is one beautiful member of a marginalized race/ethnicity doesn’t mean that they have been redeemed. At the end of the day, white people will always be sought after. They will always be beautiful. Black men will be sought after for their large penises. Asian womyn will be sought after for their submissive personalities. Latin@s will be sought after for their passionate personalities and loving. Native Americans will be sought after for their culture. Please don't fetishize a group of people, the “other.” That’s just as bad as stereotypes.

QPOC experience very unique challenges in the queer community – particularly the gay community. The gay community is visibly gay white men, let’s be real about that. Gay white men will manage to find someone that is interested in them. Latino men generally will as well, but it can still be fetishizing. Black men, like previously stated, may only be liked for their aggressive, dominant personalities and large penises. Asian men have it pretty rough, unless they are submissive. Native men are seen as exotic and interesting. “Gay people who go out of their way to date someone of another race to say that they’ve done it.” (From the original article.) However, at the same time, you can experience rejection for being a POC. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve been rejected by people because of the fact that I am Latin@, and not white. “Whites ONLY!” “No blacks or Asians!” “Whites and Latins ONLY!” “Asian or Latino ONLY!” That’s what you’ll hear or see. What’s even worse is when POC say “Whites ONLY!” That is what breaks my heart even more. Or when white men feel entitled over a POC because white men is “so attractive.” I’m honestly over it. I want to call it out all the time. Especially in the media where POC require a “white savior” to come in and save the day for everyone because they’re perfect and POC cannot possibly help themselves. This happens every day. 

In an ideal world, I would want people to check themselves and analyze why they feel certain things, whether good or bad. I don't want to feel inferior/less attractive to all of my white friends, regardless of their sexual orientation. It isn't fair to me. Because I am a beautiful person, as are all POC/QPOC/TPOC. We all have unique nuances that set us apart from each other, yet we are all stunning in our own way. Let's end fetishizing, tokenism, exclusion, and prejudice of POC/QPOC/TPOC. We have the ability to examine ourselves and the reasons we feel a certain way.

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