You see that picture above? That was the picture that accompanied an article from OutMagazine about straight people stealing trends from the gay community.
I was actually having a pretty good day before I saw this. My classes went by smoothly and I got everything I needed from the grocery store. Then I saw this headline. I don’t like making judgments on an article based on a headline without reading the article itself, but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t instantly recognize how bullshit this headline is.
The article started off with a bang:
“Doesn’t it seem as if we LGBTs initiate a slew of social and cultural trends, which are later anxiously co-opted by the mainstream?”
Yeah. It does seem that way. It also seems as if we black LGBTQ+s initiate hella social and cultural trends, which are later sloppily jacked by the “mainstream” LGBTQ+ community.
In fact, the phrase that they so carefully chose to be in the thumbnail for their article originates from black communities.
The article abruptly concludes with:
“But of course there have also been articles saying that, in actuality, gays happen to steal a lot of trends and lingo from African Americans. So….never mind!”
Michael Musto, I am very confused with what you’re trying to do here.
Your article is completely pointless because you blatantly said “never mind!” at the end of it. And since you don’t have enough integrity to create a legitimate article, then I’m going to have to do it for you.
Whites Always Steal All the Black Gay Trends! Make it Stop!
(That’s more like it.)
If I had a dollar for every time that I saw white gay men obsessing over black women celebrities, I would have a lot of money. I might even have enough money to equal the reparations you owe me and my family.
Gay white men often do this because they relate to the black women, and feel connected to them in a way. That’s a great sentiment, it really is. But the problem lies in the fact that this connection is usually due to a simplification of the persona of black women. They are reduced to the “independent black woman who don’t need no man” archetype, which has been reduced to sass.
So when a gay white man tells me that he feels like he has an inner black woman, I can’t help but ask a few questions.
Do you have hundreds of years of racism, colorism, and misogyny inside of you?
How do you have an inner black woman when there are so many different kinds of black women?
Why can’t you just be yourself and not co-opt the identity of black women?
These questions usually go unanswered, but let me answer them for you.
Because you don’t respect black women as people.
White gay men have the audacity to take black gay culture and then put “whites only” in their Grindr bios.
BuzzFeed is usually hit or miss for me, but they did a great video on how slang evolves, and it applies to all of culture.
The video illustrates this pattern:
Underground Black Culture > Mainstream Black Culture > Black Gay Culture > White Gay Culture > Underground White American Culture > Mainstream White American Culture > International
So, it is true that straight whites take their trends from gay whites, but that’s after it becomes a staple of black culture. It’s hard enough for black people to get recognition for the trends they started when it transcends to the “mainstream”. It’s even harder when white LGBTQ+ people get in between that and start to take credit for the trends.
Cultural appropriation is nothing new. We’ve been talking about it for decades, but seeing white gays claim that their culture is being appropriated is new to me. You appropriated it from us first, guys. Don’t get it twisted.
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