Thursday, May 14, 2009

Are N-ggas Really that Homophobic? Part II

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Recently in The Daily Beast, Elizabeth Gates wrote an
article titled, "Does Kanye Dress Too Gay." In the article

she discusses Fonzworth Bently, Andre 3000 and the history
of flamboyant dressing amongst
African American men
through out pop history.
Gates writes,
With the current onslaught of homophobic rage
against Kanye West and his globally chic crew
(comprised of style maverick Fonzworth Bentley
and Taz Arnold of musical group Sa-Ra to name a
few), it seems like Generation Y has all but forgotten
that the ritual of expressive dress was in fact borne
of the black-male community. If young audiences
would dare to conduct a comparative study, they'd
inevitably find that Kanye West’s 2007 Grammy outfit
really had nothing on Eddie Murphy’s red-leather
get-up in his 1987 stand-up film Delirious, and that
Prince and his bedazzled unitards would quickly
render AndrĂ© 3000’s Top-Siders and patterned
suspenders meek and perhaps even typical.
Giving Kanye a little context, the way he dresses makes more
sense especially when it is seen as being rooted in the history
of African American male performers.

I see the fascination with both the way that Black men dress
and the fascination with Black male sexuality as being rooted
in American history as well. Black sexuality was central to the
development
and growth of the United States. It is perhaps
natural that
as a nation we continued to be fascinated with
what Black
people do with their bodies sexually.

The day after I read Elizabeth Gates article, Robbie Ettelson
from Unkut posted several images
of old school hip hop artist, and I was surprised to find
a picture of Big Daddy Kane wearing see through pants
with white lace underwear. I immediately thought, he
would be
called 15 kind's of gay if he were to wear that now.

In hip hop, Black masculinity has come to be so narrowly
defined
that if you do not embody a masculinity that
closely approximates
50's then you are by default
feminine and gay
. Word?

What ever happened to the range of expressions of Black male
masculinity? The *Trinity Doctrine is what happened.

Within the last two month two teenage boys have committed suicide
as a result of being continually bullied, harassed and called gay.

In April, both 11 year old Carl Joseph WalkerHoover and
11 year old Jaheem Hererra hung themselves, in two
seperate incidents, after incessantly being teased and called gay.

Lets be clear, women in general and Black women specifically occupy
a subhuman status in our culture.

For Black women there is street harassment, the under or unreported
rapes, we are overworked and underpaid, we over represented on the
poverty statistics and we are disproportionally represented in new
HIV case statistics.

There is a connection between being homophobic and hating women.
In many ways homophobia is rooted in the hatred of women.

Think about it this way, one of the stock disses in hip hop is to
say that the other emcee:
1. Is feminine
2. Soft like pussy
3. Gay
I see the rationale as being, "your a man, why would you ever
want to be like a woman, they not even human, just some shit
that's fuckable." I call it the "We don't love them ho's" doctrine.

Hence the homophobia.

*The Trinity Doctrine, by and large is responsible for such
a limited view of "true" Black male masculinity in pop culture.

If, rappers need to be Gangsta's/Thug's to move significant units,
and if hip hop is the predominant vehicle through which Black men
are presented in the media, then there is both a supply and
demand for limited, unsustainable, unhealthy views of
Black masculinity.

In 2007, I wrote a post titled, "Are N-ggas Really that homophibic?"
which led to an interesting conversation in the comments section
amongst both male and female readers about the fear and homophobia
in hip hop.

I ask again. Almost two years later:

Does homophobia seem particularly stronger in hip hop
then in American culture at large?

Were you aware of the two boys that committed suicide?

Did you follow my connection between the hatred

of women and the hatred of gay folks?
Do you agree? Why or why not?

For more reading check:
When Bullying Leads to Suicide
by [The Root]
My piece, Jeff Chang, Total Chaos and Hip Hop

*The Trinity Doctrine is based on a reading
of Tricia Roses Hip Hop Wars, and I use it to describe the
Gangsta/Thug/Ho archetype that is the dominant narrative
in 2009 corporate hip hop.

23 comments:

Jeremy R. Levine said...

"Did you follow my connection between the hatred
of women and the hatred of gay folks?"

Yes, and I think you're right. The logic of calling another man gay as a diss implies that it is beneath a man to act feminine, like a woman.

And as such, by logical implication "acting like a woman" is somehow inherently beneath "acting like a man."

Homophobia reinforces, reiterates, and legitimizes gender stereotypes and inequality. Couldn't agree more.

Dell said...

"The logic of calling another man gay as a diss implies that it is beneath a man to act feminine, like a woman."

100% untrue.

Because on the flip side, I cant STAND a female who acts masculine, like a man. Using your logic, this would imply I hate men and I think it's beneath a woman to behave like one.


I have nothing against gay people, or women. I voted no on Prop 8 and believe gays should do whatever they want. But on the flip side I can't stand dudes acting like females, and I cant stand females acting like dudes.... but to say I "hate" anybody or show hatred toward a particular group would be incorrect.


But then again, this all boils down to everybody having different opinions for different reasons. Meaning, there may be other men out there who dislike feminine men because they believe homosexuality is wrong. Whereas, I don't.

Model Minority said...

Hi Dell,

Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

I have a couple of questions for you.
Why can't you stand a woman who acts masculine, like a man?
What does a woman who acts masculine like a man, look like?

It's important to understand that I write, and think in terms of power.
Society is organized to benefit men. Our laws and historically our constitution reflects that.
So, logically it doesn't stand
that "you hate men and think that its beneath a woman to behave like one."

In order for that logic work, women and men would have to occupy the same status and hold the same power in our society. They don't.

Dell said...

"What does a woman who acts masculine like a man, look like?"

I don't really see how that's relevant, masculine women come in all colors, shapes and sizes. I dislike them all equally.

You can be a strong, intelligent woman and still be feminine.

"In order for that logic work, women and men would have to occupy the same status and hold the same power in our society. They don't."

You can't push the agenda of our constitution and the ways of the society on ME. Although women may not hold the same status in society as men, they hold the same standing in MY eyes.

Sure I live in America, but I don't hold the same ideals of our people/government as a whole.

J said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
M.Dot. said...

Dell,

I am not sure whether you want to engage or beef.

As I stated my post below on Lovelle Mixon,
I write to make contribution and share wiht
the folks who are interested creating a
a more sustainable, healthy society.
I also navel gaze...lols.

I don't write to argue.
I have no need to win arguments,
as I have been trained to do so.

When I asked you before, what
a woman who looks masculine looks like,
my intended meaning was actual behavior,
examples, if you will, not racial make up.

You mention that women can be strong and
still feminine. I ask then,
what does femininity look like?

Have you considered that your dislike of masculinity in women, is similar to the dislike of femininity in men, which is closely related
to both The Trinity Doctrine and arguably the teasing that caused those two young boys to kill themselves?

I don't have to push ANY ideas about the Constitution on you. As a human being living in this country you are governed by it. It is what it is.

~M.

Dell said...

first off, im not sure where you got impression that i wanted to "beef" or "win" anything, I thought we were having a regular discussion. If you sensed anything other than that you're reading into what im saying too much.

"Have you considered that your dislike of masculinity in women, is similar to the dislike of femininity in men, which is closely related
to both The Trinity Doctrine and arguably the teasing that caused those two young boys to kill themselves?"

Are you saying that the views I have on femininity/masculinity are the kind that could have caused people to tease the two boys that committed suicide?

If that's what you're saying, I agree with you. It's totally possible that the kids who teased them share my views. But I ask you..... what does this prove other than they were knucklehead kids who should have known to keep their hands to theirselves and to respect others?

Holding a view is one thing, emotionally/physically abusing someone is another thing.

This entire ordeal varies wildly depending upon our personal experiences. The way I deal with this is probably much different than the way others do because our situations and circumstances are not the same.

So here I am, someone who supports gay rights, and would never think of laying a hand on someone because of the way they act or who they have sex with. But on the flip side, i'll call my best friend gay as fuck if he wears a pink shirt.


By the way, i deliberately didn't answer your question of what femininity is. That's something that you (in the general sense) could write 20 page papers on, and not something that I could give a succinct definition of without it being picked apart. (because I get the impression that if I'm not overly thorough with my words something is going to be taken out of context and ran with).....and the last thing I want is to be misunderstood.


By the way....are you doing that rap corporations chart? I'm interested in seeing it...

Jeremy R. Levine said...

"So here I am, someone who supports gay rights, and would never think of laying a hand on someone because of the way they act or who they have sex with. But on the flip side, i'll call my best friend gay as fuck if he wears a pink shirt."

Do you think it's problematic to support a group's rights, but then also use association with that group as a way of making fun, teasing, and degrading your friend? This is an honest question, not an attack.

As a white guy, I can think of a similar scenario: I support racial equality, but I'll tell my friend he's black as fuck if he wears baggy pants.

In my mind, even though I'm not lynching anyone, I am reaffirming the idea that it's beneath "us," as whites, to be black. And it's used to reinforce a negative stereotype. Why else would I need to note that my friend is "black as fuck" for wearing baggy pants, other than to use it as a way to associate him with a group I feel is inferior to me, and by extension, reinforce a negative stereotype about that group?

Dylan Digits said...

I was going over youtube the other day looking for old Heavy D videos and having a laugh at the backup dancers in polkadot shorts and little neckties. Granted, Heavy was never pretending to be hard... I don't think he needed to at that time. I mean, his music career was built on radio-friendly tracks, and yet no one seemed to second-guess him being in Stop The Violence movement with the likes of harder folks like KRS and P.E.

Though the presence of homophobia and idealized masculinity in hip hop culture isn't new, there used to be a lot more range in expressions of masculinity (and femininity-- Latifah, MC Lyte, etc.) around the time that Kane photo was taken.

In marketing hip hop culture to be a profit-generating model, the record labels have taken what I'd call a general attitude regarding gender expression and focused it, intensifying it like a kid burning ants with a magnifying glass. Those kids that hanged themselves? They're the ants in the sun. Women in hip hop? Ants in the sun. Makes you want to get out of the sunlight, doesn't it? It's that love/hate relationship with the music coming back once again.

Model Minority said...

Hey Dell,

Thank you for taking the time to respond and engage. This is a thorny assed topic.
But I love Black people and Humans so I take my time to get it in.

It isn't that I am reading into what you have said. Intentions matter to me. Ones intentions can hamper having a productive dialogue. I am a Black woman, and I talk about shit that makes people uncomfortable and people LIKE to argue on the internet. Not me. So I said what I said to set the tone.

But I ask you..... what does this prove other than they were knucklehead kids who should have known to keep their hands to theirselves and to respect others?
===
Thank you for your honesty.
It proves that this thinking in dangerous, especially when ten's of thousands of people with Power think this way.
I am not so intersted in what you do per se.
I am interested in what is normalized in
society and the ways in which the normal shit is destructive.


By the way, i deliberately didn't answer your question of what femininity is. That's something that you (in the general sense) could write 20 page papers on, and not something that I could give a succinct definition of without it being picked apart.
======
Dell.
Hmmp.
Both my and Birkholds and Biany's theory is
that masculinity and femininity and mirrors.
In our culture in 2009, you can't have one
w/o the other. Just like a "pimp" needs "ho" to be a pimp, masculinity needs femininity in order to be masculine. Whiteness NEEDS Blackness in order to be white.

I suspect that, if you start to lay out
what femininity looks like, how it is lived
and performed, it will become clear
how much it is rooted in a dislike
of women.

I say this not to attack you.

When someone said this shit to me I was like
Uhhhh, negatory. But please believe,
the more I have lived and read, I have
noticed, damn homie, hatred against woman
is just as normal as breathing air.

Yes, I am doing a rap corporations chart.
You want to help? Its tedious as shit and I have a BIG assed post to write to accompany it.

~M.

Model Minority said...

Dylan,

Thank you for stopping by and sharing.

You a poet? Imma hug you!

In marketing hip hop culture to be a profit-generating model, the record labels have taken what I'd call a general attitude regarding gender expression and focused it, intensifying it like a kid burning ants with a magnifying glass. Those kids that hanged themselves? They're the ants in the sun. Women in hip hop? Ants in the sun. Makes you want to get out of the sunlight, doesn't it? It's that love/hate relationship with the music coming back once again.
======
Ants in the sun?

Beautiful.

Super Hussy said...

Yes, I knew about the two boys who killed themselves. Sadly, there are others who have taken their own lives and we'll never hear their stories. Sadly, there are LGBTQ youth who are also being murdered by other young black folks because of their sexual orientation. Hate is the ultimate black on black crime.

At this point, hip-hop is the most visible form of black self-expression so we are constantly bombarded with homophobic/misogynistic images and lyrics.

I completely agree with your argument re: hatred of gays and hatred of women. I am so tired of hearing about black men being left out, at the bottom of the totem pole, etc., when our culture, whether in entertainment, religion, education, and then some, supports and approves of the denigration of women and gays.

Putting your foot in the neck of women and gays is no way to elevate yourself, because it winds up hurting us all.

Model Minority said...

Hey SH,

Glad to see that you stopped by.

I criticized Hip Hop publicly about a year ago,
for the first time on Racialicious.
It was scary and necessary.(No Dyson).

When I read these words,

I am so tired of hearing about black men being left out, at the bottom of the totem pole, etc., when our culture, whether in entertainment, religion, education, and then some, supports and approves of the denigration of women and gays.

I thought of how...we go slow, then we take off the training wheels, then we soar.

Kandeezie said...

"I see the rationale as being, "your a man, why would you ever want to be like a woman, they not even human, just some shit that's fuckable." I call it the "We don't love them ho's" doctrine." - TRUE!!!!

The side chatter I hear: Preserve the male right to dominance. Black men are missing out on their patriarchal rights. Masculinity defined as dominance and oppressive power. The end of racism means the acceptance of black men as equals in the oppression of women, gays, and other sub-humans.

Can we redefine masculinity now please. (as a culture) Thanks.

M.Dot. said...

I hear you Kandeezie.

The side chatter I hear: Preserve the male right to dominance. Black men are missing out on their patriarchal rights.
=====
I hear you, however, I try and meet people where they are.
I didn't understand how I WAS PROPERTY of the Black community until I ran around Bed Stuy w/w a white man last year.I understood the theory, but I didn't understand what it looked like on a day to day basis.

That was simply something you CAN'T explain to me. I knew of people being treated like property, BUT I didn't get the subtleties until last summer. I had to live it, get the theory then put the two together.

Peep this post.
Preganant and Feeling like Erykah Badu.
http://modelminority.blogspot.com/2008/07/pregnant-and-feeling-like-erykah-badu.html
You can see how the thinking evolved since last summer.

Can we redefine masculinity now please. (as a culture) Thanks.
===
T Shirt. Yes. Thank you.

Rafi said...

can you explain the trinity doctrine in further detail? i haven't read the tricia rose book.

chace said...

Yo...Interesting post:

A. Why do the men take all of the blame within the trinity framework? Why haven't we looked at the responsibility of women within the framework. I have done a ton of gender exercises with men and women and we are all responsible.

B. I remember a post you did about the La Lakers and seeing them in person and that gut reaction that you felt when you saw them. That reaction is what men want women to have when they see them. What you are reacting to is that perceived "masculinity", strength, and physical power. That's the "basketball" masculinity versus a 50 cent masculinity which is purely power. He basically is a rich gorilla. But people react and women scream for 50 to take his shirt off every concert, and wish that they could partake in some of 50.

c.So whats the framework for women?

d. I think men act in certain ways because women respond to it. And emasculating another man in front of his peers is one way to prove your manliness in to women.

e. Dope post my random thoughts...

MDUBB said...

I'm not going to ramble on, but in the context of America and the world, we should really stop thinking our insulated world of hip-hop and young black culture is as large as it is.

The reality is that being gay is just as unacceptable in say country music as it is in hip-hop. Don't get me started on how homophobia is rampant in the military and law enforcement communities.

It deserves to be discussed but it needs to be put in proper context.

Males in America are homophobic, generally speaking, period. Theirs not a big difference in this sentiment regardless of weather it's 4 black guys wearing hoodies or 4 white guys wearing tight ass wranglers.

BeautyinBaltimore said...

What up M.Dot

long time sis, thiw ole rusty dell and I Just trying to make it.

Anyway, I think this issue of being gay has intensified because of the down low phenonom or at least DL being brought to mainstream America.

I also think that because so many young Black men have gone to prison, many of them know of other Black men who had sexual contact with other Black men or have had thoughts themselves ,and as a result have become paranoid about "gayness".

Model Minority said...

@ Rafi,

Hey dude, thanks for stopping by.

Ummm.

The Trinity Doctrine.

Tricia Rose argues that the
Gangsta/Thug/Ho narrative currently dominates hip hop. Hip hop was never 100% positive, but this shit has gotten outta pocket.

5 Elements that give us The Trinity Doc.
-1.The Chronic
2.Sound scan
3.The white consumption of Black death in Hip hop
4.Black midwifery of Black death in Hip hop,
5. The Telecoms act (Clear Channel in the 10 Hot 97's across the country)

I have renamed it The Trinity Doctrine,
cuz explaining that ish over and over again was a prollem.

Model Minority said...

@ Chace,


Thank you for your kind words.
First of all, you don't need to be REMEMBERING me running into the Lakers. LOLS.

Yo...Interesting post:

A. Why do the men take all of the blame within the trinity framework? Why haven't we looked at the responsibility of women within the framework. I have done a ton of gender exercises with men and women and we are all responsible.
Yes Women are just as patriarchal
as the men. Yes we are responsible.

B. I remember a post you did about the La Lakers and seeing them in person and that gut reaction that you felt when you saw them. That reaction is what men want women to have when they see them. What you are reacting to is that perceived "masculinity", strength, and physical power.
-------
Ummm. I was reacting to being,
ahem, gazing at a tall drank of water,
only to have him return it,
at a time when my self esteem had done
downward dog because of the shit I was going through w/ my relationship at the time.


c.So whats the framework for women?
===
Framework for what?

d. I think men act in certain ways because women respond to it. And emasculating another man in front of his peers is one way to prove your manliness in to women.
====
BINGO.

e. Dope post my random thoughts...
===
Big {TEEF} Smile.
Glad you like it.

Brother OMi said...

dope post btw..

a few things...

we need to have a working definition of homophobia. ALot of folks get defensive when you throw it around.

I like Michael Kimmel's definition: "fear of being outed..."

it changes the dynamic. It makes sense.

growing up in the 'hood, it was a long series of constant attempts to prove my manhood by

a. not being stepped on
b. sleeping with alot of women
c. never getting played out.

this meant oppression of women on so many levels as well as those weaker than i was.

I remember when Kane wore that purple outfit on "don't curse" folks dissed him left and right. to be honest, that was like the beginning of the end for him after he began to make tracks with R&B artists on them...

Luna said...

I have a lot to say about this, but will do so once I can adequately organize my thoughts in a cohesive manner.


Until then,

peep the Boondocks' "The Story of Gangstalicious, Pt.2"
If ain't the truth, I don't know what is..

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