Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's the Gay Community's Response To Racism? Silence? Well, Here's A Moment Where We Can Raise Our Voices Against Anti-Black Bullying & Violence!

This is really horrible. A sophomore on the wrestling team, an African American student at Santa Monica High School in Los Angeles County, California, was heading to practice and was confronted by the sight of a brown practice dummy with a noose around its head. Then he was grabbed by two teammates, and chained to a locker. Racial slurs were used (the TV report says they called him "slave.")

My friend Dermot (who is black and gay) who gave me the heads-up about this, and pointed out that if the student had been gay, the gay community would be, right now, in an uproar.

The student targeted by this hate crime was black, and our GLBTQ community hasn't stood up to shout about how horrible this was. Is. How unacceptable. How important it is for us to change not just anti-gay bullying and prejudice, but ALL bullying and prejudice. We have to end Homophobia, Yes. But we also have to end Racism. And end Misogyny. Gay people. People of Color. Women. Our Allies. We all need to stand up and shout that we won't allow these events to occur to ANYONE.

Also insidious is the element of the cover-up by the school and team, stories of students told to delete photos of the incident, the targeted student's own silence, all to try to silence that this happened and to avoid it 'reflecting poorly' on the team or the school.

This incident happened back in May and it only hit the news yesterday.

I want to tell my friend that the Queer community DOES stand up when racism happens. That our voices ARE raised up in protest.

But looking back to the past, I'm not sure I can point to any anti-black incident and say "Here. We, the Gay community, stood up here on behalf of black equality."

And when I realized that, I was even more horrified. I want to help change this.

This is NOW.

And I think we, and our allies, need to raise our voices!

What's the best way to do that? A petition? A call for diversity training for that team? The whole school? How can we best raise our voices? Let me know your thoughts in comments.



Anonymous said...

We could try and flood the school with postcards calling for diversity training. I don't know how effective it would be but it's just an idea.

Daniel said...

No good can come out of this. Probably the best possible outcome is happening right now: Light is being shown on this incident w/o too much being reflected back at the victim. (I'm sure he'd prefer it that way.) The victim, by withholding this information, may've had the effect of better diffusing the situation than might've happened otherwise. I'm not suggesting this course of action in all cases, this kid was damned if he did, damned if he didn't. But his life at SaMoHi will have to go on.

I agree with your point entirely, though, Lee. Support should come from all corners, esp other marginalized groups. As was mentioned in the report, this may've been a horrible case of poor judgement more than anything else. High School students, and jocks are famous for this, are often naive and insensitive to the power of such bullying, pranking, or whatever it was the perpatrators believe they were doing. But, if charges are pursued on this, the consequences are serious.

I guess my point is: I'd love to see the perpatrators taken to task for what they've done. I'd hate to see the victim further victimized as the result. I just hope all proceeds carefully from here.