Frustrations of a straight person

I had a really hard time writing this, because it’s not my purpose to offend anyone.. but I’ll be lying if I wasn’t a bit pissed off. Also I’m kind of rusty at blogging and writing in general so my thoughts might not be as clear as I’d like.  Anyway, I was reading this article which popped up on my facebook feed: http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/08/gay_rapper_to_macklemore_gay_people_dont_care_about_your_video_about_gay_people.html

In brief, it’s basically about some gay artist who (aside from claims of copyright infringement, which I won’t touch upon here because I disagree but anyway) is upset that Macklemore (and others like him) is “milking” the LGBTQ cause to make money. While I’m a fan of this website (colorlines) because it discusses topics of race and gender and all other sorts of social issues which are in dire need of deeper consideration by the masses methinks, I’m not sure I agree with this particular piece… but because I’m straight I feel like I’m not “allowed” to have an opinion on this.

…And that’s kind of EXACTLY my point. There’s a shit-ton of debate we could have surrounding these issues, and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that Macklemore’s been accused of coming from a place of straight, white privilege (which is a whole other kettle of fish, by the way), hence rendering the point of his music/message completely irrelevant.

My questions are: So what if he is, and why is this causing such a shit storm? I even read this article in an attempt to comprehend why it did http://flavorwire.com/412156/queer-rapper-le1f-speaks-out-against-macklemore-why-same-love-doesnt-speak-for-the-lgbt-communityI and I’m left sort of bewildered. I honestly could care less about Macklemore’s music: that’s not the point. The point for me is: Since when is it bad for someone to show some sympathy, solidarity and genuine support for a cause? The author of the article above claims that it shows that ” “Same Love” is Acceptance for Dummies, essentially, a song for those who need to be told by one of their own that those who are different from them are human beings, too, and deserving of the same respect as anyone else. “. I don’t like the language used there either “one of their own”. What the hell is that? Tell me that isn’t that isn’t just as marginalizing as if I were to speak that way about gay people, or black people or, whomever else? And what’s so wrong about “acceptance for dummies”? Have you MET North America lately? It’s probably a damned good thing that we have some positive albeit “watered down” role models (as the author would argue) for people who’ve never left their living rooms (because like it or not, THAT’s a reality). Orientation, gender identity and all the rest are hard, complex issues for sure. They entail struggle and a lifetime of challenges and experience that some of us will never go through, and never be able to relate to, so isn’t it a good thing that we have SOMEONE out there who’s at least TRYING, in his perhaps limited understanding, to bridge some gaps, rather than creating more? I mean, would you prefer he used his fame and money to pull a Russia? Or perhaps he should rap about the silver spoon all we straight white people hit minorities over the head with or the giant golden toilet from atop of which we all shit on the poor. Are you kidding me?

The author also states: “And here’s a surprise for the heterosexual world: most of us didn’t learn from you anything about understanding and appreciating ourselves.” So let me get this … erm, straight: As a straight person I’m not allowed to show support or acceptance of any level of enthusiasm because I didn’t personally help you out of the closet? Well, in the most tolerant, accepting and loving way possible: fuck you too, buddy.

Another complaint the author has is that “This is how marginalized groups gain acceptance from the mainstream, apparently. It’s not all of the work that we do — it’s the work of the majority that brings awareness and understanding.” While I can understand how it might be frustrating that someone got more famous than you, (sorry) I really think that statement needs reconsidering.I mean, first of all, you’re negating all the work that people in the LGBTQ community ARE doing, (is the only measure of success fame and money?) and you are completely missing the point which is simply that people, whether mainstream or not, ARE talking about it. Even in the 90’s, this was unheard of. This is a GOOD thing. We are lucky to even be able to discuss and HAVE opinions on this, and SO WHAT if it comes up because we heard Macklemore on the radio?  Maybe some kid out  there WILL change his mind about gay people because of Macklemore, is that SO bad?  And maybe that same kid will continue down this path of understanding, and open the door to more serious, activist music because of that gateway? Are you going to shoot this kid down?

I MEAN, WHAT DO YOU WANT???!!! It’s like, 20 years ago it was like “Man, nobody’s talking about gay rights, this sucks”. Now it’s “Oh shit, this famous guy is talking about gay rights, but he’s not doing it the right way, so FUCK HIM!” Can’t acceptance come from everyone or do we have to be picky about that too? Isn’t that a touch counterproductive ? I mean, this issue is going to be here for the long-haul…pick your goddamned battles, maybe? I’m not saying you have to be grateful or inspired to by Macklemore (and by the way, not all straight people are magically kissing his ass either), but this dude’s already on the right track isn’t he?  Not to mention that personally, I consider  a mainstream song that isn’t about “going to the club” or shaking your ass at a penis as a career goal to be a total success. Baby steps, people.

Plus,  I think the “we versus them” mentality is dated. The language in that entire article, to me, is completely alienating to everyone. The mainstream, the minority, the we, the them… this kind of vocabulary isolates. It’s the work of everyone together, mainstream or not, who will bring about awareness and understanding.

On a more personal side note: It’s not like straight people chose to be part of this so-called majority either. Some of us have no idea what the fuck we’re doing here, and how we’re supposed to react either, because everything “we” do is apparently offensive, as hard we “we” try to be open-minded: and while I will never change that, I’m disappointed that it never seems never good enough. I didn’t choose to be an apparently boring, white, middle class, straight Canadian female. I tried to open my options, trust me… but I’m wired in a certain way, and as such I’m apparently condemned to the “straight white privilege club” where I’m not allowed to have an opinion on these things, because I’m too busy oppressing people.  I mean,   I guess I really am a hypocritical asshole for going to Pride, or supporting my lesbian sister, or having gay friends. I’ve not “struggled” enough in my life (of being geeky, overweight and English loner in a French province) to have any grasp on adversity or social issues, so….

Image

(I bet Jonah Hill hates the gays too!)

My point is this: I don’t know Macklemore. He could be doing this for the money. But shit, so does everyone else in mainstream music. But if he’s going to do it anyway, I’m glad he’s promoting something socially useful for the three seconds he’ll be popular and leave some positive food for thought in his wake… or maybe you’d prefer twerking or more fucking bitches. And as a non-famous, ordinary straight person, if I choose to show support for something I care about, because my loved ones, my friends, my colleagues or fellow humans have faced hardship  I’d really love not to be thrown under the bus for it, or have it assumed that I have no fucking idea what I’m talking about. That kind of generalization is just as bad as any generalization made about any other sort of “minority” out there.

Anyway. Those were my thoughts. I don’t hate anyone at all, and try to accept anyone who isn’t killing people or a psychopath, generally. So please don’t make me.

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Frustrations of a straight person

9 thoughts on “Frustrations of a straight person

  1. I’m willing to bet that when Martin Luther King Jr. gained infamy for the civil rights movement, there were some people who felt he was unqualified and misrepresented minorities. They just didn’t have the medium to voice their opinion.

    A few decades later, we have the Internet. People like this author probably don’t believe half the stuff they espouse. I think it’s one part riding on someone famous to further their “brand” and one part inherent jealousy of someone they feel is “unqualified” to talk about LGBTQ rights.

    It reminded me of when “Do the Harlem Shake” was a craze and went viral. Some of my dancer friends, Harlem or NY friends, and black friends either internalized and took offense to it (“that’s not THE Harlem Shake”) when there was no need. That was groan-worthy and it sucks because I do it sometimes, catching myself after the fact. Rationality out the window.

  2. meh….that post had too much whining in it for me to care. Maybe it had a point but I couldn’t read it. My question is, when will people stop letting others tell them what they are allowed to think, or express? I don’t get why people invest sso much thought in what other people feel they should do. No wonder everyone is miserable. If I have an opinion on something and I feel like expressing it I will, telling i have no right to have an opinion is lame. My brain entitles me to have an opinion, end of subject. People are going to have an opinion about other people. Either you let them label you with it or you don’t. I don’t care how many people think I’m a loud, whorish, ghetto fabulous black woman named Qu’intarya. It does not make me that. On the flip side, I don’t care if people think I should feel oppressed and whine all the time about such oppression because I am a woman and a minority. I don’t feel that way and I am not oppressed in any form. Maybe my rant had nothing to do with the article but I don’t get letting others determine what you are allowed to think or express.

  3. I actually think Macklemore’s One Love song was amazing and brought me a sniffle when I first heard it. He wrote it because he has an uncle who’s gay, so he may not be gay himself but it’s personal enough for him to warrant an opinion. And I also give him credit for following up a hit smash single with a positive work of art with a strong social message where other artists would have milked it for more clubby dancey consumable crap.

    As for Le1f, there’s constructive social criticism and then there’s BITCHING. I’ll let you decide which is which.

  4. Bran MacFeabhail says:

    I got a little teary-eyed at that music video. And change has to start somewhere. Sometimes views have to be espoused by someone currently popular to start changing minds, thats just how humans work. All of the work that lgbt groups do to get acceptance or raise awareness is usually in places where that group is already sort of accepted and tolerated. I guarantee you they haven’t cut into the rural United States yet.

    And honestly, I find a lot of that awareness activity to be condescending and pretentious, while realizing its a defense mechanism for being marginalized (you don’t like us? we don’t care, lets be jerks) I don’t others make me feel bad for being straight. I DO feel bad when other people make fun of or hurt others for something beyond their control and speak up when I witness intolerance. Every group is going to have people like this author–someone who has has such a narrow view of how his own cause ought to be run that when change doesn’t come from him or his group, he can’t accept it. Hopefully he’ll get a clue, but in the meantime, it doesn’t cost us anything to be kind. 🙂

    1. That’s what I thought was so weird.. here’s this guy bitching about how hard LGBTQ groups work for tolerance and acceptance… and yet when someone, perhaps a little consumable and poppy comes along and promotes his cause, he gets pissy because it’s not how he would have done it. It IS so damned pretentious… like the less educated, the less activist-prone, the Joe Everyday aren’t “special” enough to have their own kind of understanding of the issues, is what it sounds like to me. If your acceptance isn’t acceptable, it’s nil. I almost feel like some groups, whether LGBTQ related or not, just want to remain the underdogs because it gives them an angle from which to perpetuate their own personal negativity. But I digress.

      1. Bran MacFeabhail says:

        Some groups get their whole impetus from being underground and unwanted by the mainstream. Look at what happened to punk or Shi’a Islam. Neither of those things would still be so popular with certain groups unless they were unpopular with mainstream movements. (Though its sort of ok to be punk now. Sort of. Shiites are def still a minority in the Islamic world and not always tolerated well by Sunnis outside of places like Iran)

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