A Modern Woman on the Move

in hot pursuit of the great green light…

Posts Tagged ‘queerness

Yes, it’s AWFUL! But, no, it’s not Jim Crow.

leave a comment »

Dear queer loves,

I get it. The shit that’s happening in this country is super scary regarding  laws coming forward that would allow businesses, employers, housing, etc. to discriminate against queer folks openly based on their religion. I partially grew up in Arizona, I was assaulted many times for many reasons. Because I was a girl, because I was hanging out with my latin@ friends, because I was queer. I understand the pain and frustration that comes with the threat of violence and discrimination. Guess what though?

It’s not the same as Jim Crow.

As a friend-of-a-friend said, “I don’t think it’s a good comparison and I think it’s actually harmful to the work we do and the alliances we say we care about. Jim Crow laws were a broad set of measures created specifically to make it impossible for black people to participate on any equal basis with white people. Jim Crow has a unique legacy and Jim Crow is about race. Framing these religious exemption policies as ‘gay Jim Crow’ suggests that the LGBT community is engaged in some kind of parallel experience to black people who lived under Jim Crow. I hope that’s not what we are intending to do.”

These laws are horrible, they’re painful, they’re troubling, but it’s also horrible, painful, and troubling for white folks who are queer to appropriate the term “Jim Crow” for queer causes. The origin of the phrase “Jim Crow” has often been attributed to “Jump Jim Crow”, a song-and-dance caricature of blacks performed by white actor Thomas D. Rice in blackface. That right there begins to differentiate the situations. There is no “gay face” and we’re not fighting a legacy of slavery of gays and an incredibly segregated society. We are fighting attempts to legally discriminate and there are many queer-protective laws in this country. The situation is bad in its own right, which is incredibly worth talking about, but to call these anti-gay laws “The New Jim Crow” is appropriating, alienating, and ignorant.

Please don’t.

It deepens problems marginalized communities already have in fighting with each other, it shows a lack of mutual respect and understanding.

DO PLEASE TALK about those bits of legislation in their own horribleness. Talk about how it might hurt YOU, talk about YOUR history in those states, if you have one. Talk about YOUR fears and pain in seeing such laws coming into our society. You can do this without appropriating the traumatic experiences of other communities.

Love,
Blue

Written by lovemotionstory

February 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm