Dear Fierce Black Queen

And now it’s time for another installment (Okay, okay this is the FIRST installment–so don’t go searching the Archives section. I just like the way “another installment” sounds.) of “Dear Fierce Black Queen.” In which I tackle the thousands and thousands of e-mails the Queen receives (Again, bold-face lie. It just makes me feel impressive.) asking for advice on all matters of importance and interest.

This one is from Wary in Wisconsin:

Dear Fierce Black Queen

I am a not so fierce black queen living in Milwaukee, WI in the Brown Deer area. With the results of the recall battle between Scott Walker and Tom Barrett, I’m wondering if you think it’s safe for a middle-aged black queen to continue to live in this area?

I know that, despite what pundits and supporters of the governor say, this is not necessarily a harbinger of things to come for our state and the country at large. I understand that one of the reasons for the governor’s win has a lot to do with the fact that each candidate basically kept 90% of their base—and Walker outspent Barrett by a margin of about 10-1. I also understand that exit polls indicate that a majority of us Milwaukeeans who voted, still say we will support President Obama for re-election in the general election.

That said, I cannot help but feel like an endangered species. And I understand that a part of what is becoming a clear tide of conscious and unconscious anger from the more conservative Americans in this country stems from similar feelings as mine. However I am beginning to recognize that I am caught in that tidal undertow. Being gay in this society brings its own set of issues to the Conservative Table. Being gay, AND black, AND a middle-aged male…well, as the venerable Isabel Sanford said as Tillie in the landmark film Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? “All hell done broke loose now!”

Is it just me, or do you sense a seismic shift in the way Americans view this country? I know our nation has had more than its share of divisions and upheavals. As much as my nieces and nephews want to believe it, I wasn’t around during the Civil War. But it wouldn’t surprise me to know that there was a similar feeling of unrest when the issue of slavery was brought up. There seems to be so much unspoken feeling about where our country is headed in terms of ethnicity, race and culture. The idea that, for the first time, there are more babies of color being born in this country is scaring the SHIT out of some people in this nation. I haven’t checked the figures, but it wouldn’t surprise me if NRA membership has increased since this President took office. All of this has economic and political ramifications that it seems to me don’t fit well with governor Walker and his constituents.

Now, I know I could simply go to work, and then head over to Woody’s and hang out with my gay brothers and sisters until this all works itself out. And I already hear you saying that all this unrest really means that we’re not complacent any more; and that every moment of change in our history probably started with moments like yesterday’s election. But I just paid for my bi-weekly manicure at Sephora. I’m not ABOUT to chip my nails up in no race riot.

So tell me FBQ: should I stay, or should I go?

Wary In Wisconsin

Dear Wary:

Pack your Gucci and get the Hell out of Dodge.



4 thoughts on “Dear Fierce Black Queen

  1. Now, if you’re going to advise what might turn into a wholesale exodus, there should be a purposeful destination. (Or several.) It’s scary to envision islands [walled citadels?] of progressive, socially tolerant Americans being a good thing, even in jest. But then, I’ve only managed to live in Texas for 25 years because I found Austin after trying several other metro areas.

    • ” It’s scary to envision islands [walled citadels?] of progressive, socially tolerant Americans being a good thing…”

      Unfortunately, formallyamom, I think it’s too late. In my opinion that’s pretty much what the geographic landscape of our nation has become. And I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

      As our friend Gil Scott said: “The revolution will not be televised.”

      Not even on Fox.

      Thanks for commenting on what I know is a sensitive subject.

      • Well, I can’t argue with you since I live by choice in one of those islands – but I don’t want to believe that this is the model for our society for the next few decades. I do have an awful lot of [mildly liberal] friends and family who are not comfortable being too vocal about their opinions where they live or work – I wonder what it would look like if everyone who is mostly silent felt able to speak up. Not going to happen while most people are still feeling the effects of the economic depression that was not named such. Ironically, the conservative friends I have managed to retain from our early years, ALSO feel muzzled -perhaps even more so – & as if they will be censured if they are too vocal – so what does that mean? Maybe most of my friends should move? Probably NO ONE feels comfortable discussing the traditional triumvirate: religion, money & politics – to which we can most certainly add race.

        Which brings us right back around to the reasons you had for starting this blog.

        What I really wonder about, a lot, is how this majority of ‘minorities’ in our population will play out, especially since I have several dear friends of color who have now been conservative Christians for more than two decades. They are politically and socially *very* conservative (though still the kind and loyal friends they were before they found their life’s direction in Evangelicalism) on every subject except race – on which they are mostly silent.

        But you know so much better than I ever could, Scotty, that they can’t possibly go about in such a protective cocoon that they don’t think race is an issue. Especially since they are darker-skinned, are raising kids, and (one family) lives in almost-rural Georgia. When is something going to touch them in such a way that they can’t support the economically & socially conservative movements they do support now? Or will the economic & social conservatives manage to ‘claim’ conservatives of color by successfully navigating issues of race? (hard to imagine from my point of view since I see racial issues in this country inextricably tied to class issues which are inextricably tied to institutionalized patterns of financial advantage & disadvantage. But then, there are those who disagree with my liberal reasoning!)

        Keep on keepin’ on Scotty – I have had a couple of positive & subtly powerful experiences lately (& eventually I’m sure I’ll share them here ’cause I’m so talky) that grew from a few individuals being who they are & doing what they do faithfully & steadily. I’m sure sometimes it felt like very heavy lifting to them, but they mostly deny that & just call it being who they are. But it’s grown far past that handful of people – and as always they’ll never know what the ripple effects of their actions are. Neither will you, my virtual friend. Neither will you.

  2. Hmmm, this is some interesting stuff, really. I’ve had to let it percolate in my brain for a couple of days. I must preface all of my remarks by admitting that I have decided to “get the hell out of Dodge” more than once in my life, and most recently, I’ve gotten the hell out of the whole dang country and now live in Vancouver, Canada. (Itself an island of progressive, socially tolerant people in mostly conservative western Canada.)

    I don’t know if I’m just naive or what, but I sort of get the feeling that in the U.S. the vast right-wing conspiracy (to quote H.R.C.) is now past its peak and is overplaying its hand. It’s tempting to look at the results of an election or a ballot initiative and say “well, that’s it, Wisconsin (or North Carolina, or wherever) is full of right-wing nutjobs” and dismiss the whole place as lost. My problem with that, however, is that it doesn’t give credit to all the fairminded people who live there. Madison, WI is one of the most progressive small cities in the nation and quite a lovely place to be. Yup, I suppose it’s an “island” but so is Manhattan, literally and figuratively.

    For what it’s worth, one of my young nieces recently moved to Milwaukee and is a social worker whose job it is to provide free HIV testing and referrals. She walks the streets and engages homeless people, encouraging them to get the free testing and referring them to the proper agencies to get help for their various problems. She’s spending this weekend working a booth at PrideFest providing free testing and referrals. (I’ve never been to PrideFest in Milwaukee, but it’s supposed to be a blast.) So, let’s not forget the 46% of the people in Wisconsin that voted against Walker, or all those progressive people who worked really hard on the campaign.

    Ditto North Carolina and Prop. 1. Yes, it was a landslide, and 61% (I think) of the voters there don’t want gay people to be able to get married. That’s certainly discouraging. But the good news is that 39% of the voters do. In North Carolina. What would that number have been 20 years ago? 10 years ago? 2 years ago?? And you know who I think the people with the most courage are? (Hint, it’s not us “get out of Dodge”-ers.) The really courageous and, here’s the key–the most influential–people, at a grass-roots level, are the socially progressive, fair-minded people who stay put. As an example, think about the gay couple in some small place in North Carolina who actually live together and are out to their families and are out at work. (Yes, they do exist.) Not only are they brave, but they are the ones who are changing hearts and minds. Are their nieces and nephews likely to grow up hating gays? Nope.

    So, to those of us living in the big-city progressive enclaves, let’s keep in mind that that we aren’t the be-all and end-all. Don’t forget, California passed Prop. 8, but Iowa has gay marriage. What’s more, I just think that demographics in the U.S. are on the side of the fair-minded among us. Yes, there are those who are clinging to their old hatreds and biases–lots of them. Obama’s election brought many of them out of the woodwork. But, as is often said, they are on the wrong side of history. The bigger danger to our western democracies, especially in the U.S., is the increasing power of big-money capitalism–and make no mistake about it, that had a huge hand in the Wisconsin results.

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