A few summers ago one of my best friends invited me up to what he affectionately called his “white-trash cabin” in the Adirondacks. This was not how I described the outing to my family. Two of my Jewish acquaintances once joked that I’d “make a good Jew.” My retort was not, “Yeah, I certainly am good with money.” Gay men sometimes laughingly refer to one another as “faggots.” My wife and her friends sometimes, when having a good time, will refer to one another with the word “bitch.” I am certain that should I decide to join in, I would invite the same hard conversation that would greet me, should I ever call my father Billy.Read it all.
A separate and unequal standard for black people is always wrong. And the desire to ban the word “nigger” is not anti-racism, it is finishing school. When Matt Barnes used the word “niggas” he was being inappropriate. When Richie Incognito and Riley Cooper used “nigger,” they were being violent and offensive. That we have trouble distinguishing the two evidences our discomfort with the great chasm between black and white America. If you could choose one word to represent the centuries of bondage, the decades of terrorism, the long days of mass rape, the totality of white violence that birthed the black race in America, it would be “nigger.”
But though we were born in violence, we did not die there. That such a seemingly hateful word should return as a marker of nationhood and community confounds our very notions of power. “Nigger” is different because it is attached to one of the most vibrant cultures in the Western world. And yet the culture is inextricably linked to the violence that birthed us. “Nigger” is the border, the signpost that reminds us that the old crimes don’t disappear. It tells white people that, for all their guns and all their gold, there will always be places they can never go.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Founder of early feminist and gay groups in Puerto Rico, former New York City councilmember Margarita Lopez describes the violence and unemployment that forced her to leave the island. Luis Santiago, a pivotal member of ACT-UP's Latino caucus, talks about navigating between the group's white majority and the Latino community in their fight against AIDS. In a moving anecdote, Rosie Mendez, current NYC councilmember, recounts how one elderly religious couple was able to put aside their prejudice and embrace a gay grandchild.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Paper mache'd wombs and emasculation stations are great and all, but what if there were a haunted house that was just filled with a fuckton of things lesbians are terrified of?