Our Evolving President
The Queen is still trying to figure out how I feel about this. Not the statement itself (YAY). But the concept of “evolving” into it.(*Big Scooby Doo “RRRUH RRROH!”*)
Based on what I know of his stance on the issue, this topic seems to be the clearest indicator of the fact that he’s a politician. I would like to think that Obama the Man is progressive enough to have ALWAYS been okay with same-sex marriage. But Obama the Politician was shrewd enough to know better.
However we do evolve.
As a black, gay man brought up in the Southern Church, it took me a long while to feel comfortable with the idea of two men or two women marrying. We won’t get too religious all up in heah right now, but I definitely got caught up in the bible as the “go-to” book for all answers to all questions. It wasn’t until I was exposed to more schools of thought and historical context that I began to see how absurd it was having one source for the whole of humanity’s “Rules for Living.”
It’s funny to the Queen how we shape ideas and events to fit into our need structure and world view. Most of the black folk that I know who are against the idea of gay marriage, have or know a set of women in their mid 70′s who have lived together almost their entire lives. “Oh Miss Thea and Miss Abigail? They just live together to share expenses.” When you know damn well they’ve been rockin’ the rafters and living fabulous, loving lives for over half a century. What do the people against Civil Rights for All think America will look like when the entire country allows same-sex marriage?
Get ready Miss Things. Take a deep breath.
I don’t know Mr. Stafford. However from the images I’ve seen, he seems to be a fairly young man. I imagine that the Queen has a few years on him. And though that means little in terms of the validity of my words over his, it does allow me to have experienced elements of the Civil Rights movement of the late sixties and early seventies that the gentleman may not. I do not know in what kind of cultural environment Mr. Stafford was raised (Afri-centric, Euro-centric, etc.); but I would advise caution in his hypothesis of racism in regards to Ms. Needles. Sharon Needles is an artist. An artist’s job is to push the boundaries–to make us think. To start a dialogue. While I might question the thought process behind some of her statements, I never question the intent. It is obvious to THIS Queen that her intent is always positive and her compassion for humanity inherently clear.
What I’ve learned through my fifty or so years is that the first step in America’s new dialogue regarding racism needs to be a collective discussion on the meaning of the word itself. It gets bandied about haphazardly like a tennis ball in the hands of novice players.
Webster’s defines racism as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.“
Webster’s definition for kids is much more succinct:
“belief that certain races of people are by birth and nature superior to others“
I’d like to know from Mr. Stafford what about Sharon’s statements mentioned in the article made him: “…unsettled and a tad angry.”? What about them–using the above definitions as parameters–made him use the term racist to describe her? There is no question that this country’s dialogue on race is really just beginning. Now that the blatant stuff is dealt with (slavery, Jim Crow, institutional segregation, etc.), we can start to deal with the much more pervasive and mendacious forms of the phenomenon.
The same may be said for the word “nigger.”
In terms of the word itself, I absolutely agree with Sharon: if you’re going to reference the word–then say it. Every time the Queen hears a newscaster–or any other adult for that matter say “the ‘N’ word” instead of nigger, I feel like I’m back in kindergarten. “Ooooh Miss Crabtree! Titus said the ‘N’ word!!!” What? Are we in Harry Potter now, with the Word That Must Not Be Named?
We are not going to solve our race issues by trying to pretend they don’t exist. We only give words power when we make them taboo. Be it nigger or Voldemort: neither has power when you stop feeding into their infamy and take away the source of strength.
Was Sharon being too cavalier with such a volatile topic?
Was Mr. Stafford being too sensitive and exclusive in his thinking?
C’mon on you White Miss Things and Miss Things of Color and Gay Miss Things and Straight Miss Things and Bi Miss Things and Transgendered Miss Things, and all the other Miss Things that I’ve missed in categorizing…weigh in! Don’t be a’scaired!
THIS’LL make you wake up in the morning!
UPDATE: Please read this comment by mefein1, regarding Sharon’s alleged statements.