Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

The Colorline Divide: Whose Identity is it Anyway?
by Preston L. Shumaker, MSW
2004-06-01

This article shared 3444 times since Tue Jun 1, 2004
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


'I'm supposed to be a loser. I'm supposed to be on the six o'clock news shooting people's heads off. I'm supposed to be the one that grabs for your purse when I walk by. I'm the person that doesn't vote. I'm the person that is supposed to drink. I'm the person that is supposed to smoke weed. I'm the mother- - - - - - that is supposed to fill your jails.

I'm the person that you make examples to your kids of what not to be like.' — Youth authors Jones & Leland from Our America

The late Essex Hemphill rendered in the poem Cordon Negro '... each morning I open my eyes is a miracle ... I'm the only one who values my life and sometimes I don't give a damn.' Well, I am still tired and this morning, as I glanced into a mirror and I noticed that I was still Black. I am feeling fatigued from sailing America's treacherous, deep, painful waters infested with dominant culture sharks. I am tired of being depicted as a negative symptom, stereotype, as a beast with no feelings.

WEB DuBois shared that the color-line was the greatest problem facing the past century and in the 21st century, the divide is still an active phenomenon. Like in centuries past, current racial/ethnic differences based upon color were used as a means to gain control over others whose skin shade was different. Stereotypical beliefs promote distorted images of people of color based upon this ideology. My racial identity and male gender coupled with my underclass familial history shapes my life experiences on a daily basis.

I experienced the color divide early in my life as I recalled hearing the phrases, Black Friday, Black as the night and dirty Black Niggers. At the age of five, the word 'Black' was equated with negative connotations such as 'weak' and 'defeated' in many childhood games. The children in my neighborhood on Chicago's West Side often played tag, 'Red Light Green Light' and other games, and sang jingles that we learned without a second thought:

'Eeny-meeny-miney-mo, Catch a nigga by his toe! If he hollers let him go! Eeny-meeny-miney-mo!'

Like a sponge, I internalized the sentiment within my environment. As a young child, Blacks as well as whites frequently reminded me that African Americans were simply, 'something else' and certainly not human. At a very early age, I equated Black with being weak and ugly. There had been continuous reinforcement to condition my viewing natural African features as unappealing and therefore substandard. It became a belief that seeped into my dark-skinned pores and unconsciously simmered slowing producing a poor self-concept.

I was taught well that stereotypic images and words could cut deep like a knife as others laughed frequently at your expense. How could someone cope with such an overwhelming negative self-concept and pain? It was simple: you steal another's self esteem. I gained a dependent and crippled sense of self by projecting my anger onto others as a means of unconscious self-protection. As such, I verbally annihilated and shamed others by playing the dozens before they could do so to me.

In the early 1970s, like many American children, I parked in front of my black & white television set on Sunday evenings with my brother and sister and watched Family Classics on Chicago's WGN. I was introduced to: 1 ) Charlie Chan, an odd Chinese fellow who spoke in a broken dialect along with a stephinfetchit type pitch Black chauffeur with big bulging eyes; 2 ) the Cisco Kid and Pancho, two hapless Latino males with big sombreros who also spoke funny and often behaved like keystone cops; and 3 ) the Lone Ranger, a white ranger who spoke articulately fighting crime in the west. His sidekick was Tonto, an Indian male with warpaint on his face who spoke only a few English phases.

I simply accepted the images as fact. Dominant culture has set the image standard without apology. What occurs when minorities fail to 'measure up?' They suffer mental anguish as they try to 'correct' the error. In short, dominant culture can reconstruct by changing ethnic/racial 'ugliness' to the norm. Until diversity can be truly honored and recognized as strength and not weakness, America will remain divided by the colorline standard. As I look into the mirror at my natural dark African hues and features, no longer am I willing to alter, bleach, break, color, cut, enhance, extend, reconstruct, shrink, tuck, or weave anything else on my body for there is no correction needed any longer. There is no anger projection onto others as I have discovered that an affirmative identity beaming back at me. As such, I am 'phyne' as is. Learn to love and embrace the total genuine self. After all, whose identity is it anyway?


This article shared 3444 times since Tue Jun 1, 2004
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWS How same-sex couples can ensure parenting rights if Supreme Court reverses Obergefell
2022-06-30
By Jeffery M. Leving - After the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last week, many are now wondering if the court would go after same-sex marriage next. Justice Samuel Alito, in his majority decision, wrote that nothing in its ...


Gay News

Supreme Court justice says marriage-equality ruling should be reconsidered
2022-06-24
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argued in a concurring opinion regarding the revocation of the constitutional right to abortion that the U.S. Supreme Court "should reconsider" its past rulings codifying rights to contraception access, same-sex ...


Gay News

Marchers aim to 'reclaim pride,' shed light on issues facing LGBTQ+ community
2022-06-14
About a hundred people marched through streets in Lake View on June 12 to call attention to social-justice issues affecting LGBTQ+ people while centering the Black trans community. "Some people don't understand. They're, like, 'Why such ...


Gay News

Chicago queer community and allies to march for justice in Chicago in 'Reclaim Pride March'
2022-06-10
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (June 12th, 2022) - The Chicago Reclaim Pride March will begin on June 12th at 1pm at the Belmont CTA station in Lakeview, Chicago. The LGBTQ+ community and allies will march in support of abortion ...


Gay News

Chicago abortion-rights advocate warns of emboldened right-wing
2022-06-08
The only aspect of the recent leak of Justice Samuel Alito's leaked opinion attacking Roe v. Wade that surprised longtime abortion-rights activist Terry Cosgrove is that anyone else was surprised by it. "Donald Trump said he ...


Gay News

VIEWS Another 'Handmaid's Tale,' or sex and the supreme Catholics
2022-05-24
Amy Vivian Coney Barrett was confirmed as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 26, 2020. Barrett is only the fifth woman ever to serve on the Court. She is also the sixth Catholic ...


Gay News

Batavia public school rally to call for equity in education
2022-05-24
-- From an Equality Illinois press release - BPS Parents for Equity and Justice and Batavia Public School (BPS) students to host a rally and call to action in response to ongoing inequities in the treatment of all marginalized groups and the district's reluctance ...


Gay News

Los Angeles LGBT Center mourns passing of legendary LGBT activist, leader Urvashi Vaid
2022-05-15
-- From a press release - LOS ANGELES, May 14, 2022—"The world has lost a giant in the movement for LGBTQ freedom, justice and equality. After a valiant battle with cancer, Urvashi Vaid died today," said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri ...


Gay News

Nat'l Association of Black and White Men Together to hold July 6-9 conference
2022-05-14
The National Association of Black and White Men Together—described on its website as "a gay multicultural, anti-racism organization committed to fostering supportive environments wherein racial and cultural barriers can be ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Urvashi Vaid dies, The National LGBTQ Task Force releases statement
2022-05-14
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC……Legendary attorney, LGBTQ activist, and author Urvashi Vaid, known for her extensive career an advocate for LGBTQ rights, women's rights, anti-war efforts, immigration justice and many other social causes ...


Gay News

Pro-choice coalition to rally May 14 in Chicago's Union Park
2022-05-13
-- From a press release - 'Rally for Abortion Justice,' part of a nationwide 'Bans Off Our Bodies' day of action will takes place in Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St. on Saturday, May 14 at 9:30 a.m. The crowd may be 25,000 strong according to organizers. ...


Gay News

Lightfoot announces a 'Justice for All Pledge' based on equity and access
2022-05-09
-- From a press release - CHICAGO — Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined reproductive justice leaders to announce the Justice For All Pledge, in response to the leaked draft opinion by the majority of the Supreme Court of the United States ...


Gay News

NBJC celebrates and remembers trans journalist/activist Monica Roberts on her birthday
2022-05-04
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) celebrates the life and accomplishments of Monica Roberts, a revered transgender journalist, activist, and founder of the award-winning publication TransGriot. ...


Gay News

Leak of U.S. Supreme Court abortion opinion stirs local reactions
2022-05-03
The U.S. Supreme Court has reportedly voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that Politico obtained. The 98-page draft opinion overturns ...


Gay News

DoJ files suit challenging Alabama's trans youth law
2022-05-02
The U.S. Justice Department (DoJ) filed a complaint alleging that Alabama's controversial law banning gender-affirming care for youth is unconstitutional, according to AL.com. In the complaint filed in federal court ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.