You don't need to stand around a gay Atlanta bar for too long to hear some white queen snap, twirl and get all cutesy ethnic. Or just scroll through your Facebook feed for a check-in at Hartsfield Latoya Jackson Intergalactic Spaceport and Nail Emporium. That's the problem.
White gay Atlanta men fetishize black sassiness and gay writer Ryan Lee is taking them to task for mocking diversity and then walking away. It's all fun and games for them, he argues, but it's all life and reality for black women who are black women 24/7 and not just during play time at the gay watering hole.
Case in point: The renaming of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for social media check-ins.. Lee says in a GA Voice column that it serves as Exhibit A in his takedown of the missapropriation of ghetto-fabulosity.
As any gay Atlantan with a Facebook account knows, there is a check-in location known as the "Hartsfield-Latoya Jackson Atlanta International Spaceport & Nail Emporium." I don’t know anything about the overall demographics of people who have visited this check-in, but on my timeline, it is the exclusive habitat of white gay men.
The name contains the ghetto-fabulosity that white gay men fetishize, and while it may seem playful and innocent, it speaks to the mainstream gay community’s willingness to caricature black sassiness. There is a difference between celebrating diversity and mocking it.
In other words, white gay men really want to be straight black women without their baggage.
More precisely, most gay white men wish they could express themselves like straight black women, rather than wanting to take on ― or even consider ― what it truly means to be black and female in a white- and male-run society.
That is what is so patronizing about white gay appropriation of black female sassiness: As a white man, you can drop a little ratchet sassitude and then resume your standing as a well-adjusted adult. When an African-American female expresses similar sentiments in similar tones, she is burdened by perceptions of being an Angry Black Woman.
It's symptomatic of what Lee calls the Death of White Gay Wit.
I hate to be the party pooper for such a popular phenomenon, and I honestly have little hope that the trend of white gay men channeling their inner black female stereotypes can be reversed. But if gay people are to improve their ability to build coalitions, we must remember that cultural respect is as important as shared ideology.
Stay sassy, white gay men. But when you do, consider the consequences. And take this quiz first.