The politics of love: amour and f**king across race lines
I really like watching the Kardashian’s. Like really really…really. I used to be a major fan of Taylor Swift until she fucked with Kanye…and Kim (ya look, I am side-eyeing myself, even me). I sing ‘I wish I could fuck every girl in the world’ at the most full volume. My favourite part you ask?
She wants me, she wants me, ’cause I got it all shorty tell me
What you don’t see?
I would fuck with all y’all, all of y’all are beautiful, I just can’t
Pick one, so you can never say I’m choosy, ho’s
And Wayne say, pussy, pussy pussy
And weed, and alcohol seems to satisfy us all (damn)
And every time I think of staying with her
She bring that friend around and make a nigga reconsider.
Babes, I am the first to shout ‘TO THE WINDOW TO WALL. TILL THE SWEAT DRIP DOWN MY BALLS“. I have my fuckiness and I am trying to deal with it.
I am also a Black queer feminist. I take my love for Black women very seriously. Because that’s what Black feminism is to me, a radical and intentional love for Black women and I try to realise that love in all the ways I live my life. It is the reason that, even though I am attracted to a myriad of bodies and genders, I choose to only date black women (in all the ways we come to that identity) and gender non-conforming people. But here me now, this decision is mine and I do not expect anyone else to walk the same path. This is one of the ways I choose to realise my politics and we are all at liberty to decide how to walk our talk, but…but…there is a very big but (and I cannot lie…see, trash :-/)
Lately my homegirl and I have been speaking about what it means, as a black person, a black queer person (because most of the people in our circle are queer) with conscious politics to date a white somebody talking mostly about dating white women. What does it mean to call out whiteness and then crawl home, after a long day of fighting the racism and the patriarchy, to a white person.
I have a lot of feelings about this. And a lot of questions.
We find love where we find it, is it fair to expect us to ‘give it up’ because that person isn’t Black? Is our identity and experience as Black women and GNC people the only thing that can foster love and understanding in other people? Are the only people who can love us, and that we can love in return, other Black people? If we feel some type of way about Black women and GNC people being in relationships with white women and white GNC people, then what about those of us who fuck with cishet men? Of any race. And what does all of this mean for pandering to identity politics?
It’s a lot…to say the least.
But for the sake of space, let’s speak only about the inter-racial relationship thing. Let’s speak about what it means for a Black queer who has a critical analysis of race (and gender and ableism and class) to date a white person (in most instances white women and GNC folk).
My first question: is there a difference between a white person and whiteness?
White supremacy is systemic oppression, imbedded literally everywhere. It is a system of oppression that favours and benefits white people. A system of oppression that means they are considered smarter and more capable and thus are entrusted with the means of production. White supremacy means that white people are systematically and systemically privileged – in direct correlation to the oppression of Black people. With a crap ton of work they are able to see this, and confront it and make conscious and intentional decisions to counter their whiteness so as to take up less space. I know white people who are trying to walk this path. It’s also a journey so ya, sometimes the whiteness rears its head.
But systems of oppression are upheld by individuals. There are more white people who are implicit in denying that white supremacy and whiteness are a real thing. Those who are of the ‘my family worked very hard for its money’ persuasion unfortunately far outweigh those who are interested in doing the work of dismantling racism and the privilege they have been afforded. Them, and those of us (abo darkie) who have grown up constantly being told and thus believing that white is better, are also working very hard to make sure the revolutionaries don’t get them, the whites and the whiteness.
What it means to love and fuck whiteness
But Amanda! What does white supremacy have to do with love? I am dating Becky, not her whiteness.
So sure, yes, technically there is a difference between whiteness and an individual who is white. But sometimes this distinction is blurred and non existent because these systems are upheld by people, most notable white people. It is white people who don’t really want to give up their nice privilege and land that does not belong to them. So often whiteness and whites ke 6 le 9. Kunoku fana nayana so angithi maqabane?*
So when we are in bed with white people (and thus also a little bit, maybe a lot bit, with whiteness) what does that mean for our analysis of race? Our politics?
It can mean a lot of things, but it can also mean very little.
Black cishet men who only date white cishet women come to mind. Usually a lot of these men date and marry white because white is always seen as better, white is seen as somehow leveling up. It’s the same dudes who, when they dated Black women only fucked with light skin girls with ‘good hair’ because of their proximity to whiteness.
This is fucked up! This is trash! And fuck you, you small minded piece of shit.
But, in my opinion, I don’t think this is the situation when conscious Black queers date white people. I don’t think we have the analysis we do, write the things we do, protest the way we do, raise hell in fucky institutions the way we do, and date white people because secretly we still think white people are better. Lorde I hope not! I have faith – don’t let me down please – that we are well aware that whiteness and the money and freedom it comes with are not sexually transmitted. I have faith that when we date white people it’s not because we have some secret desire for proximity to the things that white people only have because they have oppressed and killed Black people to get them.
So then clearly I believe that by and large, Black queers are with white people because love. Yes. Do I believe that Black queers should not date white people? No I don’t believe that. Do I think those of us dating white people have some grappling to do. Most definitely. Why? Because I think that in our little community the problem is not that we think whiteness is sexually transmitted, the problem is when we think the white people we date become honorary Blacks by virtue of us being with them.
My problem is when we preach something out there in the world, but then chat something different when the situation is personal to us. And I have this problem across the board, with a wide range of issues:
All whites but not my white
All men but not my man
All oppression but not me when I am perpetrating!
Stay in your lane and live your politics
We are complicated beings. Life is messy. I know first-hand that it is easy to call out fuckiness when it’s out there, when the culprits are whites, or cis -het men. I know how painful it is to have to hold your own accountable. But hold them accountable you must.
You cannot speak against gender-based violence and go home and gaslight your wife – which too is a form of violence outside the physical.
You cannot be an activist against sexual violence and say ‘she’s lying about being raped, who would want to fuck her’.
You cannot speak about dismantling power and have a Black woman clean your house and you pay her peanuts because you don’t see her work as valuable.
You cannot call out sexism and heteronormativity and tell your queer friends ‘he’s just joking’ when your man is being trash.
You cannot call out whiteness and think it’s okay for your partner to take up space because they are ‘good people’.
And white liberals and feminists…I don’t give a fuck that you read Biko, Fanon and Chimamanda and call out your racist friends and family. It’s not worth a damn thing when you only punt and promote blackness when you yourself aren’t up for consideration, but as soon as you are, you forget and take up space that doesn’t belong to you.
I have written a lot about my love for the Black feminist movement, about my love for Black women, everyday I try to operate from this framework. A space that begins in love to show love. It sounds airy fairy and whimsical but it’s hard and sometimes there are difficult things we have to do because we love someone. This is because love isn’t always the easy thing, the soft thing, the flowery thing; sometimes love is sitting you on my couch because you’ve chatted mess or done mess, and we need to figure out ways for you to do better, to be better, to be accountable. In light of this, I am sorry, if you are identifying as Black and queer you have a community to account to, one filled with other Black and queer bodies. Just as we are here to love and hold you, we are also here to hold you accountable, because that’s what love is.
*translation: so often whiteness and whites is like a 6 and a 9. It tends to look like the same thing isn’t it comrades?
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