Michael Faris, a friend, fellow Iowan, hero, and gym partner of mine has written an amazing letter – “An Open Letter to My White LGBT Siblings.” The letter was initially published in the Oregon State University student-run newspaper – The Daily Barometer. The comments on the newspaper’s website to Michael’s letter have ranged from the bizarre (saying that Faris is a homophobe is like saying that I hate Star Wars), the ridiculous (one commenter seemed to think that because Michael’s letter was well-written that he must have used a thesaurus…umm Michael’s formal training is in writing, of course his letter is at a high level of articulate awesomeness), and the banal (the trolls brought along their dusty suitcases of unoriginality for most of their comments).
Here’s a brief snippet of the letter. Feel free to travel the info pipes to Michael’s blog for the full read…
And your party, asking folks to dress up like caricatures of Native Americans, is perpetuating the historical representations of racist images created and perpetuated by white society.
I am sure that you would say your party is ironic, that you knew these representations were racist, but you did it out of absurdity. I would reply that you are refusing to deal with your white privilege.
This is because, in case you missed it, dominant straight culture has for the last century defined what it means to be queer: a deviancy diagnosable as a mental disorder, the eunuch Will and the flamboyant queen Jack, the myths that queers are pedophiles, that bisexuals are just sex-starved sluts, that gay men have innate fashion sense, that trannies are perverts, that lesbians just need to have sex with the right man.
I would hope that you could see the connections between racist depictions and homophobic depictions. I would hope that you understand that to build alliances with people of color, whether straight or queer, you need to show that you are actively anti-racist.