November 11, 2008

assimilation

I had a discussion today with a straight person who thought that "gay people are okay - the ones I've met just want to be like everybody else I know. They want to be a part of mainstream American culture." He explained that that's why "they" want marriage, tax rights, etc.

But as a queer person, I don't want to assimilate into mainstream American culture. Mainstream American Culture is full of things that I do not like about the world.

Reading all sorts of white LGBT bloggers writing about how black people or black churches "lost us the proposition 8" battle reminds me of what happens when we try to be just like the straight, white, racist, classist, sexist mainstream. I am ashamed of the many (mostly white) LGBT community bloggers blaming people of color for the passage of Proposition 8 in California. You can read a lot of other people's posts about this more eloquent than mine, but all I want to say is that I am ashamed, and I do not want to assimilate to a mainstream culture that blames people of color for everything negative. How the mainstream gay movement fail to connect with other groups whose families are targeted by prejudice, politics, and oppression like families headed by single-parent households (especially families headed by single mothers of color). I know that I personally contributed money to "no on 8," so I know that I am partly responsible for funding this movement, and I know that this is partly as a result of their being the most visible group working on this to me as a person on the other coast. (The visibility itself is likely problematic). by failing to cooperate with other groups on a multi-issue agenda (Obama got a huge number of California votes with his multi-issue progressive agenda and he opposed Proposition 8!) Partly as a result of this failure to cooperate, this became a very close race, withe enough money dedicated to it that all of the homeless queer young people in Califorina could have been sheltered, or perhaps even we could have created an ad hoc way to get queer people without healthcare some healthcare. That money could have been better spent if we had not allowed the race to be so tight.

I don't want to assimilate to a culture that fails to resist, or even at times condones, domestic violence. Or even a culture of a societal ideal where society is built up of families that consist of two adults, one of whom has significantly more societal privilege and power, who gets to make and break the rules, and who will be considered more of a "whole person" if he leaves.

I don't want to assimilate to a culture that limits the life chances of some people based on social, historical, and intensely pervasive systems of power.

I don't want to assimilate to a culture based on greed, a lust for power, failures of empathy, and social injustice (from local to global).

I love to join, share, love, take care of, be taken care of by, eat, play, sleep, laugh, cry, fuck, and participate in communities based on seeking justice, both within our communities and in the broader world.

2 comments:

Michael said...

I've heard excellent things about the book That's Revolting: Queer Strategies For Resisting Assimilation. Check it out if you haven't already. :)

Battybattybats said...

YEAH!

Great post!