Greetings dear readers!
There’s trouble in Black paradise…
Anderson Cooper’s severe disconnect from “Black struggle” insights comes as no surprise to me. This, even after his grudgingly revealed membership with quite traceable kinship: homosexuals. Both battle the U.S.’s rationalized hammer of persecution.
35 years ago an excruciating segment of my life dunked me into fear and isolation; figuring out how my sexual reality related (or fit into) the greater hostile landscape became utmost—in essence, coming out as a gay man. Fate, though, had previously equipped me with strategic arsenal not afforded this hazard trail’s average explorer: I had two previous “coming out” episodes.
Coming out “culturally” as a man affirming his African aspect, then spiritually as a Buddhist (in a climate set to annihilate both Eastern based elements) was a powerful marriage of perspective. Stepping outside of the West’s social confinement which smothered broader insight (and cross humanitarian “connection”) was utterly exhilarating, while keener understanding of its “machinations” was almost overwhelming.
The new arsenal was honed in action with cross communal projects of building and repair. Here, I felt tons of mental chains drop from me (gaining profound physical release). Mostly unprecedented human exchange and practical resource was placed at my feet—I hungrily stepped on board.
Coming out “sexually” I was thus bringing potent enhancers to a tattered tapestry set beneath all others. Still, I was shocked to discover a double-barreled situation awaiting me.
White gay men had brought “savvy” with them, afforded from their mainstream stations, overwhelmingly dominating the scene with established business sanctuaries (bars) and in public gathering places (parks and other “cruise avenues”). In this pre AIDS era these places definitely were high risk settings. Most bars had covered windows and no signs, only an address; often in desolate locales.
The hostility and divisiveness between white gay men and lesbians (who brought a mainstream female disunity with them) screamed. On the other hand Black gay men found the same passive/aggressive antagonism (or intense sexual objectification) awaiting our visits to these venues. All brought persecution pain and damage into the fray.
I was relieved, finding drastically reduced divisiveness in the far fewer Black homosexual sanctuaries. Gay men and lesbians there mostly mixed like rollicking, good “family”; a priceless element brought in from Black family traditional survival itself. Racial outsiders often patronized these places to enjoy the sumptuous, electric welcoming fabric afforded there (much like white youth escaping “across the tracks,” indulging an earlier era’s jazz and rock-n-roll joints). Far more diminished air of this type set the stoic, self-absorbed arena of white gays.
Anderson Cooper’s posturing implies what he brings into the fray: white male class privilege, dedication to conformist views (and a desperate need of what’s crafted off the backs of “radicals”). A dropped bomb for me clicked-on the light telling this: no matter what, people bring exactly what they’ve learned into every situation—the only “perspectives” inherited.