Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


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



What's The 411 with Preston S.
Smart Advice with an attitude!
by Preston S., MSW

This article shared 5016 times since Tue Jul 1, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Black Man invisible

In the land of indivisible

Respect and honey for many

But why ain't we gainin' any?

America's 4-Century ban

Still in effect on the African Man

Bewildered in the land of plenty

Alienated 4 not lookin' like the Many. . .

Wallop no more!

'I am tired. I have been Black all day!' When one of my best friends shared this quote with me, I smiled and simply nodded my head. I understood. Thirtysix-year-old Kendrick is the sole African-American gay male professional at his company in New York. He is an articulate, sharp, and intelligent man on the meteoric rise to success. On a daily basis, Kendrick must deal with all the drama that comes with being a Black gay man in America.

The common perception that African Americans are monolithic in thought and deed often is assumed within his business practice. Kendrick combats many ignorant and ridiculous stereotypes more times than he can count. He conducts himself in a respectable fashion, refusing to let others break his stride. During these times, Kendrick simply remembers a quote from sister Oprah, who said so eloquently: 'I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. And that's how I operate my life.'

However, dominant culture still provides repeated messages regarding what it means to be a 'normal' person. What if a person of color's perspective is different than the dominant culture? White Americans can inflict their master status belief system upon others regarding 'normalness' without apology because 'our way is the best way.' It has taken a lifetime to realize this fact that our way is not necessarily wrong. Black folks have always moved to the beat of a different drummer.

Prolific scholar, Arturo Madrid, expressed his thoughts on the subject in an article entitled 'Diversity and its Discontents.' 'The first half of my life, I spent downplaying the significance and consequence of otherness,' he offered. As I read, he captured and validated my own life experiences. I, too, have felt experience of the 'otherness' struggle. As a means of assimilating into dominant culture, I tried to forget it. However, my white schoolmates always 'reminded' me consistently that I was always too something: too dark, too Black, too bold, too passionate, too dumb, too smart, too skinny, too full-lipped, too much hip, too quiet, too loud, too nappy-headed, too scared, too cowardly, too awkward, and too ethnic. As I tried to assimilate, I felt like my soul was being severed from my authentic Black self. Despite the social constructionist rhetoric that suggests that we are all equals, the essentialist American climate often treats diversity as inferior. My fellow class chums failed to see me because they believed that they were 'better' than I was.

But many white children's lack of racial awareness exists primarily because they were taught never to view other minority groups as equals. Many families distanced themselves from 'others' to suburban communities to 'protect' their loved ones from 'those improper influences.' Interestingly, some white American heritage consists of 'other' minority ancestry tucked neatly away from public knowledge.

In fact, some white Americans may believe that they have an innate 'white identity.' However, this white identity norm is socially constructed. Case in point, when dark Italians, Irish and Jewish ethnic groups immigrated to the United States, they too were thought of as 'undesirable and abnormal others.' Within one generation, each group relinquished their ethnicity to become assimilated members of the 'white and privileged' dominant culture.

And still early in their children's lives, white parents continue to socialize them that they too must swallow the dominant American culture values. In most cases, their young children stumble upon this harsh truth when s/he 'befriends' a person of color. However, the grim reality encounter is instilled when the child brings the minority person to their home. Researcher Thandeka revealed in her article, The Cost of Whiteness, that this experience is common. 'The child is appropriately ridiculed by their parents and 'learns how to disengage and shun others.' Thus, the child conforms and disengages his/her feelings and how to dissociate themselves from other racial minorities,' she revealed.

Furthermore, as most white children matured, they were conditioned that the world was their 'oyster.' Their white identity had been strengthened within their immediate family constellation but reinforced by educational, governmental, media, religious, and social institutions. Upon multi-systemic levels, white children were taught that they could excel and were intellectually astute, more desirable, born leaders. Other racial groups simply became marginalized, invisible and unworthy.

Consequently, Madrid continued in his article, 'the second half [ of my life ] has seen me wrestling to understand its complex and deeply ingrained realities; striving to fathom why otherness denies me a voice or visibility or validity in American society and its institutions.' This passage burned a hole in my soul. Many Americans would believe that Kendrick had made it. He earns a great salary as well as occupational prestige. However, in his gut, Kendrick knows the truth: he is tolerated so long as he smiles and makes no waves. Thus, the 'be quiet and do as you are told' edict is unspoken but understood. As a professional, this ongoing validation and respect struggle is tiresome and mentally grueling. Thus, the American essentialist belief that Blacks are shiftless, lazy and mentally inferior to whites remains in full effect.

When dominant culture inflicts stereotypical ideals upon other ethnic/racial groups, their true freedom to reveal their true self is extinguished. Unfortunately, this form of oppression has been interwoven in the United States fabric and has become a unconscious ideology. In order for our country to truly become a true land of the free, we must relinquish such negative ideologies, which is not easy because it means giving up one's power.

If America admits that there are other belief systems just as valid, she could not have the privilege of being a powerhouse any longer. But then, America would become the home of the brave by truly embracing other minorities as equals.

Until that day, people of color must continue to fight for our respectable place at the power table of life. The struggle for equality and respect continues, but we must refuse to wallow in the negative stereotypic lies.

The question is, are we ready to claim our proper place? Judith Jamison, Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey Dance company, said it best: 'We can go on talking about racism and who treated whom badly, but what are you going to do about it? Are you going to wallow in that or are you going to create your own agenda?'


This article shared 5016 times since Tue Jul 1, 2003
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Achy Obejas' bilingual poetry book Boomerang/Bumeran explores immigration, liberation 2021-10-11
- Achy Obejas is a Cuban-American writer, translator and activist. Boomerang/BumerĂ¡n, her newest book, confronts questions of immigration, love and liberation. Like a boomerang, these ideas return throughout the collection, even ...

Gay News

POETRY E'mon Lauren Black talks queerness, podcast, Black mobility 2021-03-11
- Even though she's only in her early 20s, E'mon Lauren Black has accomplished so much. Not only was Black named Chicago's first youth poet laureate in 2016 (an honor from Young Chicago Authors, in partnership with ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: LGBTQ authors, paczki, skin-care items, Keto Mylk 2021-02-05
- —Tempest, by Ryan Meyer ( In Tempest, young LGBTQ writer Meyer departs from the horror themes in his 2018 poetry collection, Haunt. Using fictional vignettes and surreal personal accounts, he ...

Gay News

Chicago native named as state's fifth poet laureate 2020-11-25
- Illinois First Lady MK Pritzker announced Angela Jackson as the next poet laureate for the state. Jackson, a Chicago native, is the fifth Illinoisan to hold the title, an honorary position selected by a committee of ...

Gay News

MUSIC Trans singer Kyler O'Neal debuts music video, talks poetry 2020-09-01
- Kyler O'Neal is a transgender contemporary, folk artist. She officially released her debut music video for her single Satan's Tears on Sept. 1, and that is currently available for streaming on YouTube and Vimeo. Windy City ...

Gay News

'One Poem: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives' Aug. 18 2020-08-13
- On Tuesday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m., the Poetry Coalition—a network of 25+ literary organizations that includes Lambda Literary and Young Chicago Authors—will present "One Poem: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives." In this ...

Gay News

BOOKS Yvonne Zipter: Looking at Chicagoan's life, poetry collection 2020-08-05
- Writer Yvonne Zipter nurtures nature and other ideas in her new book of poetry Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound. Zipter grew up in Milwaukee and lived there until she was 24. She earned a ...

Gay News

The Queer Landscape, Chicago Danztheatre presents performance on LGBTQ+ identity 2020-01-14
- CHICAGO (January 6th, 2020) - Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble is pleased to announce the third installment of its 2019-20 Art & Activism Performance Series, THE QUEER LANDSCAPE, an evening of live performance, art, and poetry centered around ...

Gay News

Trans Day of Resilience Art, Poetry Uplift Black Trans Power and Liberation 2019-11-20
- November 20, 2019 — Ten trans and non-binary visual artists and poets of color from across the country, including Chicagoan Benji Hart, have collaborated to honor Trans Day of Resilience (TDOR) by creating original artwork to ...

Gay News

South Side Open Mic, Writing Workshop Series planned for survivors of sexual harm 2019-09-04
- Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation is producing two south side programs for survivors of sexual harm. The monthly writing workshop and the monthly open mic are intended to give survivors a brave space to work on ...

Gay News

Gene Siskel Film Center to present Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am Aug. 23-29 2019-08-06
- As a venue that celebrates all art forms and a public program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Gene Siskel Film Center mourns the loss of the celebrated Black author and Nobel ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous 2019-07-23
- Book by Ocean Vuong. $26; Penguin Press; 256 pages One quote on author Ocean Vuong's website refers to him as "the Walt Whitman of Vietnamese-American literature." Vuong's poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, was a ...

Gay News

Poetry block party July 27 in Pilsen 2019-07-22
- The Chicago Poetry Block Party (CPBP)—a free, all-ages celebration of poetry, music and creativity—returns to the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. on Saturday, July 27, 3-8 p.m. Presented by the Poetry Foundation ...

Gay News

POETRY e nina jay aims to help women shed shame 2019-06-26
- e nina jay wants women to stop feeling shame. "I think about how much we, as girls and women, waste being ashamed," the Black lesbian poet said via phone. "How many conversations don't happen and how ...

Gay News

Artist fuses video, poetry to inspire psychedelic experience 2019-06-23
- Poet, new media and sound artist Sara Naomi Goodman will perform "Deep Dream: An Evening of Poetry and Video Synthesis" followed by a Q&A at Slate Arts and Performance Tuesday, June 25. The piece combines a ...


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.






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.