I have a Muslim friend who would every so often tell me that “Brown is the new Black”. This would be after telling me of some discrimination that some Muslim person had experienced. At first I was amused and would laugh when he made the comment, but after a while it would annoy me. He would rant about the increased “racism” Muslims now faced since 9/11. Although some of the situations were blatant acts of discrimination, most I would characterize as “inconveniences”, that we as Black people have had to put up with for ages. But I guess it comes down to what you’re used to having to put up with.
He repeated the comment to me one day and I finally had to “school” him that in no way could Muslims claim that their current experiences were in any way comparable to the racism and challenges Black people in North America faced today. I told him of a story relayed to me by a Black friend of mine who worked at a prestigious law firm. There weren’t many “people of colour” there, but she noticed how the “brown” people… the Muslims and East Indians… rarely associated with their Black co-workers, until after September 11th, 2001. The “brown” people were quick to socialize and sit everyday with their “white” co-workers in the lunch room, but she noticed a chill had developed between the “browns” and the “whites” on September 12th… and the “browns” then became very friendly and found the desire and time, to want to sit and socialize with their new found “Black” brothers and sisters.
I also reminded him that Muslims weren’t very supportive of the civil rights struggles of African-Americans… nor Caribbean/African-Canadians for that matter… and that chattel slavery of black-skinned Africans, whether they are Muslims or not, is still widely and openly practiced today in some Muslim countries in Africa, like Sudan and Mauritania. Although European involvement of African slavery is well documented in western history, not as well known is that Muslims also enslaved and depopulated Africa just as much and as harshly. So as far as I am concerned, “Black is still the new Black… and the same ole Black… all rolled up into one”. Now that Muslims find themselves “under the eurocentric and racist microscope”, trying to equate and legitimize their new struggles by associating it with ours… just does not compute. Simply put: “We don’t want them!” He never made the statement to me again… and yes… we are still very good friends.
It has also always annoyed me when I hear gay people, let me clarify, “white gay people”, compare their struggles for gay rights with the struggles Black people went through… and still go through… for human rights. I don’t believe in comparing struggles or debating who had and/or has it “worse”, especially with “white” people. In my experience, I have found that they engage in such discussions to (1), deflect or reduce their responsibility for past or current acts of racist behaviour; or (2), to perpetuate the societal privileges they feel is their birthright due to the colour of their skin; or (3), to legitimize their own fight to gain the political, economic and other societal privileges that others of their own kind enjoy.
I do agree that the “white woman’s movement” and the “white homosexual movement” have legitimate issues regarding discrimination which they face from the dominant culture, and we should all work together to fight to eradicate oppression and inequality in whatever form it rears it’s ugly head. However, that doesn’t necessarily nor automatically mean that in all cases or with all issues, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, especially when my so-called “friend” is only using me to further their own agendas.
It also annoys me when I see so-called “intelligent Black people”, choose to buy into the manipulative, “white liberal/progressive” rhetoric, and internalize these struggles and make it their own. The above photo is an example of what I mean. Another example is a comment I read in a post regarding the brutal gang rape of a woman in Richmond, California. The victim is openly lesbian and the writer argued that the passing of Proposition 8 in California, which banned gay marriage in that state, was a contributing factor in her rape. The writer contends:
“I believe that when we sanction second class status, when we vote for dehumanization, when we religiously justify inequality, then we encourage and become complicit in violence. Jim Crow gave cover to the lynch mobs. Prop 8 aids the rapists.” Read full post here.
So let’s see if I understand this. I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Now if I exercise my right to voice and/or record my opinion on this issue at the ballot box, then I am not only an ignorant bigot, I am also complicit in the gang rape of an openly gay woman! AND… this accusation is not being made by gay activists, but by another Black person. I guess I should surrender myself to the International Criminal Court (since I live in Canada).
As a Christian, I do hold certain beliefs, which does influence my views on the definition of marriage and on homosexuality in general (see here). But my religious beliefs are not the only factor that influences my opinions or views on this or any other issue. Regardless, just because I have these beliefs does not mean:
I hate gay people;
I am homophobic;
I am complicit or responsible, literally or figuratively, in hate crimes committed against homosexuals;
I support the discrimination or mistreatment of others based on their sexual preference and/or orientation;
I am against gay rights;
I believe that gay marriage will lead to the degeneration or destruction of the “institution of marriage” or society in general;
and whatever else may be assumed or stated in an attempt to demonize me.
It does mean however that as people of African descent, I believe we need to be ever vigilant and not allow ourselves to be duped and used, by the so-called “left-wing” eurocentric activists to achieve their own self-interests. Furthermore, as the debate around the passage of Proposition 8 clearly showed us, they will be quick to point a finger and blame “us” when they fail to achieve their objectives (see here).
“Beware of the hand, when it’s comin’ from the left, I ain’t trippin’, just watch ya step… Can’t Truss It!” Public Enemy.