This has been really plaguing my mind for some time and I thought I wanted to write about it but I didn’t know how to start or what to write. So when Frank Ocean published his gorgeously written piece “Thank You’s” on his tumblr I thought this was as good a place to start with as any. Let me begin by saying, I love Black people, I love our pride, our culture, our skin, hair, the list goes on and if you know me then that should be obvious. However, I’m saddened by how backward we can be sometimes. As a Black woman, I feel like I’m walking around this world constantly getting bombarded, judged and poked in my sides from outsiders and sadly often from insiders from the very people that were suppose to have my back regardless. I can’t even imagine what Black men go through. Growing up with a Catholic mother and a Muslim father I am grateful for my parents, they never told me what to believe in. My mother took us a church a few Sundays a month, I went mostly for the music and the brunch afterward with my Big Daddy. My sister and I were taught to pray at night but my relationship to God really didn’t form until much later. By then, thankfully I had experienced enough of the world to think for myself, to come up with my own opinions.
My first openly gay friend was this wonderful boy I met in seventh grade. At the tragic middle school that I attended he was one of the true bright spots one of the “real” people in the crowd who unlike me didn’t attempt to follow mass or chime in. I struggled with that wanting to be friendly with everyone. I got along with most people and was really only bullied by one individual. This wonderful boy didn’t care what other people thought, already at eleven the cowardliness that plagued me was non- existent within him. He didn’t care to fit in, he was tryna live the most honest life he knew how. As seventh grade continued rumors swirled about his sexuality. I asked him point blank one day standing at the lockers. He confirmed that like me he was most attracted to the male sex. I absorbed this news and we carried on with our friendship. I was surprised only because I had never known an openly gay person up until that point but it didn’t change how I saw him, I loved his wonderful honesty his was real, a breath of fresh air in the cookie cutter lives of lost seventh and eighth graders.
I remember when I told Mama about him, she was coming to chaperon one of our field trips and I wanted to tell her who I wanted to be in our group. Her eyes widened in surprise, she seemed confused unable to contemplate, it was as if she had never considered it before. I recall that her shock and confusion horrified me. Surely I thought to myself, the person I love most in this world, cannot have such a backward reaction to someone who was a true friend of mine. I asked her then, if she thought gay people should be able to get married. She told me no, that she felt marriage was between a man and a woman. I screamed at her then, one of the few times, I remember yelling at my mother and getting away with it. I couldn’t understand her position, it sounded completely idiotic to me. I implored her to tell me how another persons imitate and personal life should affect her… A week later she met my friend on that field trip and fell in love with him like I had. When we got home that day she sat me down and she told me she was wrong, that she would never wanted interfere with another person’s happiness. And then she told me about her best guy friend in college and how years later he came out to her and how it had hurt her that he hadn’t been honest with her earlier, how they had both cried on the phone and how she told him that she was sorry he felt that he couldn’t have trusted her with his secrets.
This wasn’t the last time that I shifted my mother’s views on the world with my youth and naivety . The world had shifted radically in the 32 years between her birth and mine and she like in everything she did had enough grace to see it. So with that I want to say, that I understand that older Black people can be stuck in their ways. Lord knows my father is quite ornery about certain things. However, just because you are old doesn’t mean that you have to be ignorant. Ignorance is just as volatile as any weapon. I am baffled that these same “older” people can turn their heads when older men are preying on young girls or guys, adultery, incests, bitchassness in any form etc and they can dare part their lips to condemn some other person who isn’t hurting anyone. This is especially upsetting because ignorance is what caused so many things that plague our community today.
Whats even more sad and appalling still is those in my generation who have every opportunity to educate themselves, who dabble in all types of activities illegal and otherwise for pleasure, pain a high etc., who park themselves on church benches Sunday morning because their mama’s told them to and who hate, bringing more hate into this world that has already made it so difficult for them today. This generation has no excuse.
xoxoxox Chocolate Girl In the City xoxoxxo