Black Unity Requires Straight Black Men to be Anti Oppression
Before I start this piece, it is important that I pay homage to Black feminists, as much as what I have learned and come to understand has been due to the grace and emotional labor that they have shown to me.
That being said, this piece seeks to address patriarchal, homophobic, and transphobic Black men who want “unity” in the Black community.
For one, there is no such thing as unity when the Black men who are calling for unity are sexist, homophobic, and transphobic. You can’t claim to want unity while simultaneously silencing and denying the humanity of straight Black women and Black LGBTQIAP folks.
And no, your religion is not an excuse for patriarchy, homophobia and transphobia. When straight Black men attempt to use their religion as a scapegoat for their homophobic/transphobic/sexist “beliefs”, they are acting as if religious institutions haven’t been used to commit acts of violence, which is ahistorical.
This patriarchal understanding of unity is why we as a Black community are not united.
Straight Black men need to stop asking straight Black women to leave their womanhood at the door. Straight Black men need to stop asking Black queer folks to leave their queerness at the door. When straight Black men do this, it is denying someone’s humanity — which is the tool of the oppressor.
What good is a revolution if after the revolution Black hyper-masculinist patriarchy is adopted?
That ain’t freedom. That ain’t liberation.
True revolutionaries are against all systems of oppression.
This is why straight Black men’s notion of unity must be intersectional. It must be centered in the humanity of all members of the Black community. Straight Black men must begin to understand that our liberation is tied to those most marginalized in our community. However, while our oppression is tied to those who are most vulnerable, we should not be in solidarity simply because it will free us too.
We should be in solidarity with further marginalized people in our community because it is the right thing to do. We should be in solidarity because if we are truly revolutionary, we are anti all forms of oppression.
As Fannie Lou Hamer once said, “nobody’s free until everybody’s free”.
And we will continue to not be free unless straight Black men adopt an intersectional understanding of liberation.
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