Every now and then I read/hear something and it instantly turns on my “tf did you just say?” face.
Most recently? Numerous people saying “gay is the new Black” and “vegan is the new Black.” And no, they don’t mean black in the “Orange is the new black” way, they mean Black, with a capital B, as in race.
Let us all take a Black ass moment for a collective deep, Black sigh before continuing. You good sis/sib/bruh? OK, cool.
With so much wrong with this train of thought, where do I even begin? Maybe with the part rhetorical, part sarcastic, part “oh now you want to acknowledge our oppression when it benefits you” question: are Black people treating badly or something? In case you missed the boulder-sized hint….the answer is yes.
The idea that another group of people, even another oppressed group of people, are now so mistreated that their mistreatment overshadows or replaces the long-standing and seemingly never-ending oppression Black people face is absurd and quite frankly wild af.
I don’t know if you all know this but um, *looks around and whispers PSST in your ear* Black people still exist. Our systematic oppression, the passive and overt racism faced is, unfortunately, still a thing. It’s only something that we’ve been dealing with since.. I don’t know we were brought to this mf’er.
Not to mention the fact that there are Black LGBTQIA folk and Black vegans. Do you think these Black folk somehow forfeit their blackness, and all that comes with it, when they become vegan or are a part of the LGBTQIA community? LOL, no.
I’m not, and will never be, vegan but I can tell you that one of the main complaints from Black vegan communities is how insanely racist the white vegan community is. There’s a propensity for them, in their quest to acknowledge all life forms, to still undervalue black lives, hold on to stereotypes, carry around hard prejudices and double down on their racism. I’d love to be able to say that I’ve never seen a white vegan comment that they’d save an animals’ life over an “insert derogatory description” Black persons, but I can’t. I’d happily report if I hadn’t, on more occasions than a few, seen them rejoice or laugh at the news of yet another Black person killed by the police, but again I can’t.
And the LGBTQIA community? Would you like to take a guess at what Black folks experience from their white counterparts? If you guessed refusing to acknowledge their cultural appropriation, upholding misogynoir (misogyny directed at Black women) and just flat out thinking that their own very real oppression offsets their just as real racism, you’d be correct.
Look, this isn’t the oppression Olympics and you don’t gain anything by “winning.” But make no mistake, there is insurmountable privilege in being cis, able-bodied and white. Privilege that doesn’t magically go away if you’re a white woman or a white gay man for example, despite the fact that you suffer your own indignities. Your whiteness is what people see first and what gives you access and the implicit biases learned by living in a country that teaches them to you day in and day out without most ever noticing, are still there.
Oh, and just so we’re clear white vegans, your veganism in and of itself doesn’t make you oppressed. No one is making laws that specifically target you, you are not systematically disenfranchised and by and large you’re not seen as less than by society, so I’m gonna need for you to have an amphitheater worth of seats.
I mean, the entire point of intersectionality is to be able to identify that certain people face multiple facets of oppression. Your Black, genderfluid friend who also is a person with disabilities and your friend who is a Black queer woman experience infinitely more obstacles than your white gay man or white woman.
Let us not forget facts such as trans POC are the most likely to be killed, with Black trans women leading in this category. Or the fact that while white women make less than white men, Black women make even less still.
Black people exist in all intersectional categories and are oppressed in every single one..
So miss me with the ….. is the new Black rhetoric and maybe instead of piggybacking on, while somehow simultaneously dismissing the struggles of another group, take that energy and focus on helping your WHOLE community, Black people included.