I was called a faggot by a black person way before I was called a nigger.

I was called a faggot by a black person way before I was called a nigger.

Overview

by Ahmier

I never had the luxury of blending in. My blackness has always been apparent, and because I didn’t act like the other young boys my age, or take an interest in the things that they did, the label “sweet” (read: gay) was placed on me way before I knew what that fully meant.

I was called a faggot by a black person way before I was called a nigger by a white person. I cringe, even now, typing it because it’s such a harsh but solid truth.

My developmental years were spent combating inner feelings of shame caused by people who looked just like me. You see, I realize now – in my thinking back, that children aren’t anything but by-products of their parents or village. If they aren’t offered love in a healthy manner, they won’t grow up knowing how to give love, receive love, or show love. In the same way, if hate is all they know, hate is what they will offer.

So really, when we look at how this all plays out, the playground is where perpetuated stigma and the backlash of internal struggles caused by our dealings at home rear their heads. Almost as a trailer for what our life movie is going to look like in many spaces years later.

The first person to ever call me a faggot was a boy my age at the time. I was on the playground swinging on a blue and white swing set with my good girlfriends. He walked by, saw us, and yelled “why are you all playing with that little faggot?” to the girls.

One girl stopped swinging, jumped off the swing and ran up to him in response. She had always been the most mouthy, so I knew she was going to say something to him. I just didn’t know what. Her words were, and I remember this like it was this morning because it meant so much to me, “he ain’t no faggot and if he was, he is still my friend, ugly.” They then engaged in a back-and-forth exchange of insults as children do, and that was over.

Sidebar: Black girls and women, since forever, have been standing up for those who could not stand up for themselves; even when they needed someone to stand up for them. My recollection of this experience just made that understanding very personal for me.

Fast forward to middle school. This same boy, before I switched schools, cornered me in the locker room and asked me when I was going to let him hit. Fast forward to a few years ago. I went back to the town the incident at the playground took place and ran into him at the grocery store. He is now married with kids.

It is in my experience that usually the black boys I know who show any signs of feminity, get it beat out (verbally, mentally, or physically) of them or shamed out of them at home first. They don’t know how to deal with that, so they reject anything that looks like what they are reminded of in their self that has been taught to be unloveable or a sign of weakness. This weakness includes, and for sure isn’t limited to, feminity, tears, not wanting to play sports, not always acting out of anger, etc.

Further, out of rejection and the charge to reject because of that rejection, comes a need or ability to bully, beat down, overly exert hyper-masculinity, live an unhappy life, refuse to emote unless that emotion is anger and so on. It’s either that or they create a life that is nowhere near connected to the life they want to live. When shit is complex, it’s a combination of both.

Of course, my seeing him took my mind on a trip. I thought about whether or not he was ever offered a resolve for the things that made him treat me badly. Probably not. I thought about whether or not he was ever afforded the opportunity to explore his sexuality, just to confirm or deny anything he may have been feeling since his request of me was at an age where I know he was trying to figure out what that meant. Probably not. And my last thought was just me wondering if he would pass on the way of life given to him, to his little boy. Probably so.

The culture created to keep black men emotionally and socially inadequate, and black women strong in everything but still silent, allows for the cycle of abuse and trauma to continue.

It is not until we actually start being honest about not just what our familial circles have done to aide in this cycle, but what we have contributed to it is a well, that we begin the process of changing what that cycle looks like.

Source: Online