Am I Right To Apologize For Their Actions Or Should I Not Standby PRoudly to Protect My Sexual Orientation? [Exclusive]
[By: Travon Bracey]
And there it was.
As I thought I was going to go out and enjoy my night with my homies.
As I thought this was going to be the night of my life.
As I thought I was ready to see no notions overshadowing my fun of pride.
As I thought they would all get along for one night.
Suddenly, it happened. Friday night. Fights in a gas station. Saturday night. Parking lots fight. Sunday night. Shooting at a parking lot fight. Disrespect. Immaturity. Stupidity. Though I am used to my people acting this way, it became an embarrassment to see the same people that I associate myself with destroying each other ungratefully in the light of the public.
What am I talking about you may ask? I am talking about Black Pride.
Black Pride is supposed to be here for us. It supposes to teach us the value of who we are. It suppose to celebrate the freedom of expression while being leaders and having a voice for our community. It suppose to be an event that let us get wild, but show ourselves that we were powerful, regardless of the fact that we are black and gay. But, I didn't see Black Pride. I saw Black Destruction.
As a 22-year-old male, I always want to know why are things the way they are. At 9, I studied about my ancestors that suffered and lost over 400 years worth of history, leading to us black folk today in why are we the way that we are. This world is a hard world for blacks in be in. Everything seems to be taken by white supremacy (or at least that's how I see it). For some reason, they are willing to watch us destroy our community, our pride, our knowledge, and most of all, each other. Today, I am still curious, but I've gained knowledge over the last 13 years. But, in 2016, we are dealing with so much. Economically, we are losing our old, historical communities. Gentrification has hit us and we are to follow its command due to the power of our money as it's becoming lower standards to afford living somewhere that's not as wish worthy as we would like anymore. Politically, we are the force to vote for people that we'd never trusted in the past. Socially, black people, gay people, Hispanic people, foreigners, young people -- we all have a voice, yet we are being rejected, lied to, killed, and treated unfairly after fighting for our rights even though we thought everything would be okay because our parents and grandparents fought for our rights in be a free citizen over 60 years ago. Though we are taught these tragic observations, we still try to see if there's a way for us to live life without being affected by the cruelty that they are preparing for us to have.
Now, take that information that I just said and apply it to what I am about to say.
It is very hard to be a black gay man in America under the pressure of three words.
What is black? The melanin that they can't have.
What is gay? The confidence that they can't show.
What is the man? The person of masculinity.
I was always told that I shouldn't prove myself, as a man, to give anyone an explanation of who I am and how I operate. I was always told that being gay, I was born this way and that God loves me for me. I was always told being dark skinned makes me the royalty of my people, as my skin showcases a high melanin status.
But, what are the negatives that I get in return? As a man, I shouldn't be a feminist or any sort to portray into the act of feminism, because a man is not the antonym of masculinity. As a gay, I am supposed to go to hell, because God doesn't love people who love their own gender. As a black, I am being told that I was once a slave and that I will become a slave to the new world of America if all of my people don't wake up. As black gay men, we deal with so much pressure. But, we make sure that we stay strong because we are to prove purposely to the public's eye that we are just as human and spiritually challenged as they are.
However, we fail every time.
After seeing this video, I shared my thoughts of anger on live video via Facebook. But, somehow, it wasn't enough of a response. I was asked by a couple of people the day after I posted the live video, "Are these your people? This is how your people act? Don't they care who they are and the environment that they were in?" What's even worse is reading the comments that people made about the video via social media and analyzing the inequity of personal thoughts about black people, dehumanizing gay people, racist Caucasians saying we are animals and the gays, of course, giving their mature and immature suggestions to the visual that is above. This is not how I wanted to see us as, especially after coming from a weekend that is supposed to showcase positiveness & happiness.
I go back to the question that was asked and I read it to myself 10 times, constantly ask myself, "Are these my people? This is how my people act? Don't we care about who we are and the environment that was surrounding us?" And effortlessly, I didn't take the need to watch the video over again, because I understand all of its four minutes and 13 seconds of sadness and bigotry. The pure black in me wanted to ask the person that asked me these questions with a dramatic, gay toned response of, "Why they gotta be my people? Just because I like the dick, doesn't mean these are my people! The fuck I look like?" But I knew better to not talk like that, especially if I got to be put on a scene to make the situation a bit humorous after emotionally suffering from the viewings of the video. So, I told them two, simple sentences. "All I can say is that I am sorry. This was unexpected for my community to act in this type of order."
My response made me feel very uncomfortable because I am apologizing for something that I don't want to represent. I continued to research more about the incident and read other blogger's response to the video and all of black pride's bigotry throughout the past weekend. None of the bloggers wasn't appealing to me. However, one blogger analyzes his idealism of revamping the community. He said that the black LGBTQ community is now in danger and we must change before it's too late. I agreed to this quote. However he, like everyone else, detach themselves from identification as part of the black LGBTQ community, but rather give advice while shamefully shading us. Half of them that spoke up didn't even attend black pride weekend. The ones that did go was too busy worrying about who was fighting and what the drama was all about and expressing jokes that in their eyes made the situation a funny "situation" of the act. I didn't see many gays that were there talk about the incident or other related incidents in a psychological and a sociological way. No one spoke to me and no one shared any physical reactions, but just gave their audiences what they wanted them to hear.
Embarrassingly, I am upset by all of my research. I couldn't help to sit in my room, on my laptop, reading and viewing people's response. Most of them were shaming their own people. They didn't even want to say "their own people". If they were to speak in an honest, raw way, most of them would probably say, "I am trying not to associate myself with them black gays. That's why I go to white pride in October. That's why I have lots of white friends." It's so upsetting to hear black gay men talk like this. This is why our community can't be saved. No one wants to associate themselves with their own people.
Sounds familiar, black community?
I even hated when people said "white pride". There's no such thing because white pride is America's pride. That's why there's black history, then there's American history.
And if I was to add my two cents into their wordings, I would tell them that Atlanta Pride Festival in October is not just for whites. But, many black gays don't see it that way, especially since there's a back story about a black gay man not wanting to associate themselves with the rest of the LGBTQ of different ethnic groups in Atlanta.
With all of the thoughts that I just shared, I ask my fellow audience a question that concludes my sayings. Am I right for apologizing in reference to the gay boys that were threatening the gas station employees, because they are black, gay, and male? Maybe I should be apologizing because it was a white person who's considered incident and a black male decided to put their hands on her without any reasoning for her response. When I apologize, this should give me the voice for representing the black LGBTQ community, saying that we will no longer act in this way, however, many pro-black, gay people would say that the white supremacists want to see us die and see us weak. Or should I not protect my sexual orientation and race? I don't want to say that I dislike being gay, because of these actions because then people would say that I need to be delivered. And even though this was an LGBTQ situation, the black community, in general, needs to protect, too, since they are raising black gay men in their homes. But, at the same time, I don't want to say, "I'm not black. I am just dark skinned," because this incident was so embarrassing that you don't want this to in no way of shape and form take away your freedom of expression as a black gay man.
But, overall, I had fun that weekend. But, it will be my last black pride.