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Talk Back: Black, Gay and Smoked Out

JET wants you to Talk Back. This is one of the reader submissions that we received and opted to publish. Want to make your voice heard? Submit your commentary, TV show recap, poem, or essay HERE.  Read all the rules  so you know how it works.

Racism is alive, well, and never takes a sick day.  This past weekend at a friend’s brunch party, I received a stark reminder of racism’s perfect attendance record in the times we live in today.

My friends, who live in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, hosted a brunch party on Saturday. The premise behind our semi-annual brunch parties is to offer a safe space for fellow like-minded gay, Black men. Everyone looks forward to them because well…it’s day drinking and of course, a great opportunity to catch up with everyone, their projects, current tea, or get it to the latest dance trend. But real talk, it’s just comforting to hang out without worrying about a white person popping off at the mouth about race. But that’s exactly what happened at this month’s brunch party.

While a woman snapped pictures of my friends and other guests on the balcony threatening to report them to the landlord, a male tenant hurled homophobic and racist slurs at them referring to them as “women,” “you f****** homos” and drum roll….”n*ggers.”  He then proceeded to light his grill with coal to smoke everyone off the balcony above him. I’m going to repeat this, so it sinks in, he lit his grill to smoke out everyone. Sound familiar?

Historically, when Blacks attempted to set up communities in the South, racist Whites would smoke them out of their homes and businesses. But we live in a post-racial society, right? Stop urinating on my leg and telling me it’s rain. And while you’re at it, find some new material.

Racists have the creativity of Ziploc bags. “N*ggers” and “Homos.” Really? That’s it? This is your big climax and you deflate it with a post-colonial, 400-year-old term? Surely, ya’ll were the losers in “yo momma” jokes on the playground and in life. But then again, expecting wit from racists is like expecting self-love from Raven-Symoné. You’ve got to set your expectations. As for homos…yes I’m human. GREAT observation.

Now, how about you start treating me like one?

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of trying to convince the world that Black people are human while walking on eggshells. No one at the brunch was loud or disturbing anyone. The music was purposely kept low and guests were advised to arrive quietly. I’m not even going to go into detail in terms of the amount of education possessed by the brunch’s attendees. One’s academic level should not be a prerequisite for being treated like a human being. But I will say this, there was enough paper in that room to wallpaper the Great Wall of China. But none of that matters because we (Black people) weren’t suppose to make it this far.

We’re not defending our education, our past work experience, or any other success markers, we’re defending our humanity. There was never suppose to be a “no matter what” for us. Our past, present and what seems like our future constantly reminds us that we are considered less than human.

Black people are a reminder of the historical and current failures of the institution of racism and the architects behind it. Hell, I guess I’d be mad too if my failures were consistently thrown in my face on TV, in the workplace, and in my neighborhood. At its most primitive level, today’s racists are cocky failures who only have their arrogance to attribute to their past and future demise.

terrence

Terrence Chappell surfaced on Chicago’s media scene as UR Chicago Magazine Online’s fashion editor. Since then, he has worked and contributed to various media outlets such as Michigan Ave. Magazine, CS Magazine, and The Men’s Book. Currently, Terrence serves as the editor-at-large for ChicagoPride.com, the city’s largest LGBT entertainment and news website where he writes “Chappell Confidential,” a nightlife and society column. Terrence also heads “Chappell on Community,” the site’s newest editorial monthly series that profiles the LGBT community’s most innovative leaders.