Time Magazine recently posted an opinion piece by Sierra Mannie, a senior at the University of Mississippi, titled “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture.”
And this is how I initially felt after reading the title, because I knew exactly where Mannie was going.
You see, not too long ago, a gay white man told me that he loves to channel is inner “black woman”, and when I told him, I didn’t take that as a compliment, he followed it with a “bitch, please”. If there was ever a time I wanted to inflict bodily harm and not face the repercussions of becoming “Orange Is The New Black”, that was definitely one of those times.
I don’t know when this phenomenon started, but it seems as though sassy gay men, just love them some sassy, eye rolling black women.
I need some of you to cut it the hell out. Maybe, for some of you, it’s a presumed mutual appreciation for Beyoncé and weaves that has you thinking that I’m going to be amused by you approaching me in your best “Shanequa from around the way” voice. I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t care how well you can quote Madea, who told you that your booty was getting bigger than hers, how cute you think it is to call yourself a strong black woman, who taught you to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you’ve been bottoming — you are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. It is not yours. It is not for you.
I’ve always wondered if gay white men only wanted to channel their “inner black woman” when they want to do something they perceive as being ‘ghetto’. Is it like a light switch, that goes off and one? When they want to be respected, do they channel their “straight inner white man or woman”? Or, how about their “inner Asian woman”? When they head to out for dinner at the new tapas restaurant, do they channel their “inner Rosie Perez”?
I’m quite sure they don’t.
Like Mannie, I’m all for equal rights for everyone. But don’t take that as meaning I want you to appropriate what you think is black woman culture, or think that I’ll take it as some for of flattery. Because at the end of the day, I can’t channel my “inner privileged white male” whether straight or gay.