‘OMG you look Fierce!’
‘Oh hey gurl…’
Enter the confines of a gay nightlife establishment on any Friday night (well, any day of the week for that matter) and it will feel like you have entered an alternative parallel universe where this basic bitch lingo is uttered out of the mouths of every shady bitch in the room.
Toto, we may not be in Kansas anymore, but looking around and seeing the amount of slut droppin’, sass walking, finger snappin’ and hands on the hip action currently in operation, one would think they are in the midst of a scene straight out of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
You could actually call it performative blackface. You know, blackface, when white actors would paint their faces black to resemble black people, accompanied by a performance. It’s no coincidence that a lot of mainstream gay cultures like the contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race for example act like “stereotypical over dramatic black women.”
True, there isn’t no racist deliberate attempt at actual black-facing, but those over exaggerated mannerisms and racial typecasts certainly are.
How often have you heard a white gay guy “throw shade’’ or “spill the tea” and use these terms so effortlessly yet probably has no idea whatsoever what the origins of these sayings are or where they actually come from? Why is it that white homosexual men walk around shading anything within radius complete with raised and single arched finger like they are NeNe Leakes reincarnated?
Are white gay men crossing lines of good taste or casually and maybe unknowingly being racist by acting like black females? Is this cultural appropriation?
So, why do some white gay men think they are literal black women? Well, to answer this question, one would need to understand the root cause of the fascination and borderline obsession white gay men have with black females. Whatever it be Destiny Child urging every female to raise their hands up in the air, or Nicki Minaj simply being, well.. Nicki Minaj, black women in pop culture have mostly always been portrayed as fierce, strong, independent and overly glamorous divas who don’t give a f*uck what no man thinks of them (complete with hair flip and hand to the face) and let’s face it, gays love their divas.
As a result, gay white men seemingly feel they can relate to black women, and feel connected to them in a spiritual underdog kind of way. That’s all well and good, admiration is surely to be commended after all, however, surely black women are more than just about patting weaves, enormous derriere’s and over dramatic eye rolling attitudes, right?
Not every black female is a Naomi Campbell, Rihanna or even a ghetto ratchet Shaniqua, and that is the issue with these white gay men who claim to be expressing their “inner black woman’’ – the alter egos they are portraying are outdated racial stereotypes and are so far removed from the everyday ethnic women who have jobs and work (that’s work, not werk by the way) have an education and whom live life away from these racial clichés.
Not all black women are ghetto, not all black women click their finger and roll their neck and not all black women appreciate being pigeon holed by a minority community, who themselves are also stereotyped by mainstream society into demeaning and belittling categories.
Bottom, Top, Butch, Fem, Bear, Cub, Camp, Queen – Not so glamorous when the sparkling slipper is on the other foot.
The “connection” that white homosexual men claim to have with ethnic females is usually due to a simplification of the persona of black women. They are reduced to the “independent black woman who don’t need no man” neck-rolling archetype, which has been reduced to nothing more than sass and “hey gurl” made popular by such reality TV stars like Tiffany Pollard from Flavor of Love and Celebrity Big Brother.
“The struggle is real’’ is not just a cute catchphrase you tweet when your UberEATS delivery is 30 minutes late, the struggle has been real for black women for decades. No T, no shade, no pink lemonade, but maybe a history lesson is in order for those white gay men who continue to shamelessly cultural appropriate black women.
The white gay community has been notorious for stealing lingo, fashion, moves and trends from African-Americans ever since Tina Knowles blessed the world with the holiness that is Beyoncé. If you were looking for the prime suspects of cultural appropriation, white gay men are the main offenders by far.
A mutual appreciation for Queen B with your black girlfriends is one thing, but when you are a British skinny white gay male with absolutely no shape or figure twerking your non-existing bottom in the R’n’B room while thinking you are J-Lo in the 2002 era, then those raised eyebrows and shady stares irradiating from everyone in the room are well and truly justified.
It is not cute to call yourself a strong “black sista” when you’re actually a white gay male minimum wage hairdresser. No one cares who taught you how to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Monique, or which black male you’ve been spreading your non-meaty legs for recently — you are morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively and absolutely not a black woman.
So, who owns a gesture? Who owns a phrase? Who owns a particular style? Well, no one in theory. Cultural appropriation in itself is merely a social tool designed to create mass hysteria and riots over Justin Bieber sporting cornrows for example…
Are white gay men finger waving and talking in high-pitched cultural vocabulary and generalised racial catchphrases destroying the economy and society, as we know it? No.
Yes, you may know how to twerk or slut drop (shudder), yes, you may be able to quote each and every sentence from Drag Race (wow!), yes, you may go to basement raves and have black friends, and yes, your backside may be unusually peachy for a white guy, but that my dear is where the suitable comparison stops.
In a world of limitless possibilities and creativity, when did white gay men become so damn unoriginal?
Story By Michael Lee
Featured Photo Credit: The Odyssey Online