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-The Five Spot

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pride and Prejudice

So depending on how much you care about HBCUs and civil rights and/or liberties, by now you that Morehouse College, the only HBCU in America for Black men has instilled a dress code for class and other campus events. Apparently the dress code is more about what you can’t wear instead of what you must wear. And what you can’t wear are: hats indoors (not bad), sagging pants (okkk I'm liking this) purses and dresses. SCREECHHHHH!!!!!

No purses? No dresses? This can’t really be a mandate, you ask. Oh but it is. So the blogosphere has been all atwitter with several views on this issue. You can check ‘em here. And here. And do a google search and find many more. Now, while I’m all about people’s self expression. I’m also in agreement with this dress code because I’m hearing from recent graduates and current students that it has gotten bad. Real bad, Michael Jackson. Heh. And students, aka the consumer, expressed their discomfort to administration of men rolling up to 8am classes in skinny jeans and pumps.

But this post isn’t even really about the dress code. Or self expression. It’s about why do Black gay men gotta be so extra with theirs? I mean honey we know you are gay from 100 miles away, in your sleep – do you need to be rocking those stilettos? As soon as I heard about the dress code and what was not allowed – I got a visual of what must be happening and it looks a little something like this:

Only what I really envisioned was 10 times worse, but I got tired of trying to find the image I had in my mind of flamboyant gay men during spring break in Daytona Beach. But I can relate to the Morehouse students cause I see it all the time in DC. Youngins’ takin over the block in droves, struttin through Chinatown in pumps and weaves. And I wanna be like is that what being gay means to you? That's a problem. And so I know it’s way worse in the A, gay Black man capital of dare I say the world. Don’t believe me? Ladies, go to Lenox Mall on a Saturday and get your feelings hurt.

And I know we all go through our period of self definition and expression, but I wonder, why gay Black men gotta be doing the most? Compare and contrast Cyrus from the show King of the Crown on TLC.
And Derek J, who has made guest appearances on Housewives of Atlanta.


Now, I think it’s safe to say that we all could have guessed Cyrus is gay without him even opening his mouth. Or putting on a dress. And while I’m obviously not a homosexual, it seems that Black homosexuality is becoming a little one note – donning Gucci/Louis/Seven, wearing stilettos, and uttering catch phrases like, “fierce” and “you better work, bytch!”

It’s the man who sews my weave and then puts in some tracks of his own. It’s Dwight on Housewives with the arched eyebrows and the fussiness (although even he remarked he didn’t do the heels thing). It's Luther Vandross. Soft and effiminate. Non threatning. It’s “safe” because it’s in your face. And you know exactly what you're getting. And us black folk don’t like our gay men to be “regular”, blending into the crowd and such. While at Spelman, I recall a Morehouse student saying, “I don’t wanna know the guy I play basketball is gay.” Ahhhh yess.

And yet it’s not “safe” because as my mama would say, “everyone’s not ready for that" in your face, deal with who I am attitude. And so "rules" of conformity are set & enforced and people feel like they can't be themselves. But more importantly it's not "safe" cause it's a caricature. I echo someone who commented to the root article and ask - where are this generation's James Baldwins? Bayard Rustins? Countee Cullens? Am I the only one who thinks their voices should be a little louder? That they should set the tone. But maybe I need to be more hip to the homosexual happenings, cause I mean I'm sure they exist. But that ain't what I see on a daily basis. What I see is this:

That's my time y'all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!

Just for Kicks!


Amaretto said...

LOL @ the Kanye crew and many many other things about this post!

The sheer numbers of gay black men wearing dresses and heels makes me wonder if this is true expression or just a mere fashionable trend. I think on a whole folks ain't ready for this form of expression en masse.

I know when IT and I went to Popeye's the other night we were both taken aback by the three men who were rocking their heels, tracks and sucking down greasy chicken and biscuits. I was like really ya'll in freaking Hyattsville, MD?

I think the worst part is that I can't look at these men as people or Black men-I already know their sexual orientation and I have a whole host of preconceived notions to that go with Black gay men in heels.

Rum Punch said...

HAHAHA @ Popeye's suckin down greasy chicken and biscuits! But yes girl! Nails on head! Thanks for being in my brain. You highlighted some of my main questions/thoughts/concerns: 1. what kind of statement do you think you're making vs. what you're really making. 2. Yes, I'm not "seeing" you as an individual person, but more like a glob of stereotypes. And that's not a good look.

mcsquared said...

But do you truly "see" any person as an individual, when you are just onlooking from afar? A white man in his 90's who sees me (young, black woman) walking down the street could also see a glob of sterotypes walking his way?

I think it is unfortunate that flamboyant men have become the face of black homosexuals, when they are indeed a minority among "the children". It's no different from assuming all young black men are like Lil' Wayne & T.I. Whether it's lipstick & pumps or guns & bling... it's all a silk screen. Underneath it all are some seriously torn and disturbed people who need some love and psychotherapy (IMO).

There are just as many women walking around with sagging pants and wife beaters.. But gay women are safe (that's a whole 'nother topic lol).

I feel that our learning environments (on a college/adult level) should reflect the real world. How can you prepare a student for the world by teaching from inside a bubble?

Amaretto said she can't look at them as people... if Derek J had been her study partner in English 201 and they shared cold pizza and cliff notes during late night cram sessions, that view may be different.

Amaretto said...

@McSquared-I didn't mean I can't look at them as people...I know that they are people!

I was trying to say that a black man in heels and a dress strongly correlates to a homosexual. Not saying the black man in a white tee is not a homosexual but it's not a flashing neon light letting me know so. I like living my life not knowing a person's sexual orientation before I even get to hear them state their name. In your example I would have gotten a chance to know Derek J as a person first right?

No one knows a person until they really get to know a person, but if I see a group of Black men in heels walking down the street I'm strongly doubting any of them have girlfriends.

mcsquared said...

Amaretto, yes I see what you mean... It is hard for me to discuss such a topic in snippets. Lol.

By using Derek J as an example, what I was trying to say is that getting to know someone like that allows you to be more tolerant when you encounter others of that similar group. It doesn't necessarily change your opinion of them, moreso than your compassion for and acceptance of these folks and their lifestyle choices.

I think that most black women get especially mad when they see said queens in public, as if these men are the reason they're ______(single, unmarried, without child, etc).

Also, cross dressing is not really related to sexual preference. Most people associate the two, but neither is a result/product of the other.

Localicious said...

Ok, CLEARLY i haven't spent much time at home. And the last time i was in the A i was in the airport for a connection. but i'm gonna go ahead and put it out there that i DO have a problem with the overly flamboyant black gay man (FBGM). just as i have a problem w/ the overly "masculine" man spewing bytches & h0es every other word. the extremes of any group don't help promote understandin for those in-group or those looking in.

in today's society of "this is me, take it or leave it" i think ppl have taken things waaay to far. i mean how can u expect someone to be open enough to accept u if u present urself in a way that instantly shuts them off? but let's not get too deep in that. i really feel for the non-flamboyant black gay men b/c they basically they don't really fit anywhere. they're definitely not straight BUT they also don't fit with what FBGM wld have us believe is the face of black gay men.

on a different note, that no homo video is HIGH-LAR-I-US!!! that joint had me rollin! i never understood how that statement came about. and it's use with EVERYTHING is crazy, ppl aren't assumin ur gay at EVERY moment of the day, lol!!