I'm Tired of Explaining Why I'm Offended by a Racist Drag Queen

On the first of February, I awoke to quite the stir on Facebook. A popular local gay bar in my town, Eagle Portland, had booked a drag performance by Shirley Q. Liquor for March. The people of Portland were angry

As a person who must be in the know, I started to Google Shirley Q. Liquor to see what I could find. I learned that Shirley Q. Liquor is played by Texas comedian Chuck Knipp, who describes his drag character as "an inarticulate black welfare mother with 19 children." Her fictional kids children have names like Orangello and Chlamydia and she also drives a Cadillac. Stereotypes abound! As I kept watching Shirley Q. Liquor's videos, the tropes continue. Shirley is overweight, loud, and—everyone's favorite—sassy.  To my eyes, his performances are incredibly racist

As a Black woman, these stereotypes still hurt and in many spaces I feel I have to live them down. I have been called "an angry Black woman" while expressing opinions and I've been told, "Don't name your kid one of those Black names."  On the flipside I get the ideal compliment, "You are so articulate!"  It's like living the live version of "Shit White Girls say to Black Girls." 

These things change the way I behave, the people I trust, and the ways I express myself. I want to be seen as whole person. And I feel thrown back by performers like Shirley Q. Liquor. Was I surprised there was a performer out in the world who plays on Black stereotypes for laughs? No. Was I surprised that there is a White man who performs in blackface, calls it drag, and is able to book shows at gay bars? Yes. 

Now the people of Portland were angry, but not for the reasons you might guess. Certainly some were angry because a potentially racist performance was coming to Eagle, but some people in the community were angry because there were calls to cancel the show. Defenders of the Eagles' decision to Shirley Q. Liquor argued that the show was art, saying that shutting down the show would amount to censorship. In the long, messy online debate, some people posted claims of "reverse racism" in the brewing move to boycott the bar. 

The issue of Shirley Q. Liquor raises an interesting and ever-growing discussion: The overlap of race and LGBTQ issues and how minority groups often do not come to the aid of one another. The Eagle Portland has cancelled the show in light of the controversy. The Q Center—a LGBTQ community center in North Portland—has stepped into this discussion and will host a community dialogue on February 27 called "Race, Racism and the LGBTQ Community." Like many conversations like this, the event seems poised to have people of color have to prove their offense once again—check out the event's Facebook page for several vocal critiques. 

Here's my question: When people like me say that something is potentially racist, why do we have to defend ourselves to White people who act as the final jurist of the opinion? I want to discuss racial issues and the implications and stories behind them. Those are great conversations to have. What bothers me is that I often have to mount these discussions as a defense. I have to prove that I have a race-based point. In more times than not, it's a detriment to my relationships and I will often just drop it because I don't want a fight. 

A few months ago I said to a friend, "I wonder if I would have gotten that job if I wasn't black." 

She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "White people have a hard time getting jobs, too." Well, yes, but Black and Latino unemployment is 14 percent, almost twice the amount of the national rate. 

More recently I was expressing my frustration around couples casually mentioning they'd like to adopt Black babies. I was met with, "Why? Shouldn't all babies be adopted?" Well, certainly, but babies aren't accessories and you don't get to pick colors of children like you are buying a purse to match your shoes. Think of the amount to of Black parents who've been allowed to adopt White babies. I certainly can't think of any—famous or otherwise. 

These experiences in my life relate to this debate over Shirley Q in this way: When a person says they take offense about something dealing in race, gender, or sexual identity, believe them first. She's the only one who knows what she is experiencing in a moment. Do not make them defend themselves for something you have not experienced. Listen first, and then have a great conversation.

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sad that while reading this,

sad that while reading this, i am reminded of a toronto drag performer (who isn't even worth mentionning) who performed an awfully offensive islamophobic piece on more than one occasion in that city. confronting these racist missteps in queer communities is all the more disappointing when accusations of "reverse racism" come up. beautifully written article, with the strongest ending point. so many people just need to step back and LISTEN, especially to voices like yours.

Thank you

As a queer identified Portland native I thank you for expressing so eloquently what needs to be said.. This whole situation is so sickening.

Being critical of Islam is not racism.

Reverse racism? Because it is

Reverse racism? Because it is INCREDIBLY difficult being white a lot of the time, such as....never *eyeroll*

This is best response to

This is best response to claims of "reverse racism" I have ever heard. Thank you.

Reply to comment | Bitch Media

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Yea, right. Reverse racism doesn't exist..

You are acting just like people of ignorance on this and any other subject where they have no experience themselves and are just making assumptions about other people and their lives. The hypocrisy just overflowing into rivers that they are drowning in and don't even realize there is even water around them. Just because you can't think of any examples of or experience reverse racism doesn't mean it doesn't exist and that its not very hard on those who get hit by it. I was a 18 year old white guy who lost his family overnight because they found out I was dating a guy. I ended up homeless for 2 years in Washington DC, a predominantly black city 20 years ago. I was living in SE and NE DC, these were the poor sections of the city where most of the blacks lived. I was ostracized from my neighborhood because I was white. I was robbed because I was white. The people in my neighborhood didn't trust me in our neighborhood meetings because I was white. And I almost got shot 3 times because I was singled out in our neighborhood because I was white.

You people need to grow up and act like there is a world out there that is more than just your own experience.

"black people treating me

"black people treating me like shit? Hey, this isn't the direction in which racism is supposed to flow!"

I can't help but feel that

I can't help but feel that you're dismissing the way he was being treated because of his skin color. Acting like it was no big deal because he is white.

I worry about my daughters

The combination of white folks no longer being a majority (a good thing imho) with the blithe dismissal of "reverse" racism leads me to think their generation will experience real racism.

I know there's some folks who will say, "Well, good, look at what white folks have done," well, my kids had no say in that.

Uh..

White people are still the majority. Check the census.

Those things you described

Those things you described might be racist, but they are not "reverse" racist. "Reverse" racism is some made up phenomenon wherein the powerful paint themselves as victims. It's a way of telling the marginalized group "hey, you called me out on my bigotry! That makes me uncomfortable, so you must be a reverse racist!"

This applies to many things. Hetero-sexuals scream "reverse" discriminition(heterophobia). Men scream "reverse " sexism. White people scream "reverse" racism. Christians scream "reverse" religious intolerance. The wealthy scream "reverse" classism.

It's all crap though. These are ways the powerful demonize the powerless in an attempt to justify their own bigotry.

PS. I am sorry you had to experience such horrible acts, but are you sure they were racially motivated? That robbery could have been the result of homophobia(I assume you are gay from your post) or because you were a newcomer. Low income areas have more crime in general, so people of all races regularly get targeted there.

I'm sure it's possible that

I'm sure it's possible that the attacks weren't due to race, but to say that perhaps they were due to him being gay, well, sorry to tell you but you can't tell someone is gay just by looking at them. However, I'm more inclined to think that it was due to race. Racism isn't *just* the majority culture projecting stereotypes and bigotry on minority races, by definition, it does not include that. there's racism, and then there's institutional racism. I would argue that me being treated differently because I'm white by person of X race is racist because they believe all white people are XYZ is racist, but is not institutional racism. Just like it's possible for Asians to be racist against Blacks, and Blacks to be racist against Hispanics, and so on and so forth.

You're right. You can't tell

You're right. You can't tell someone's orientation by looking at them. That is why I suggested homophobia, rather than his homosexuality. Homophobia often relies on harmful gender stereotypes and pure speculation to identify "homos." Bigots don't need conclusive proof of someone's homosexuality to target them for *perceived* homosexuality. If the neighboorhood sees him going home with men most of the time, or expressing himself in non-masculine ways....well you know what follows in some places.

I agree with what you said about racism, but I thought I said that in my post lol. I admitted that it might be a racist incident. My issue stems from this whole "reverse" racism stuff. If something is racist, it's racist. There is no "reverse." That was my point.

This is the best description

This is the best description of "reverse racism" that I've seen so far and I completely agree; racism and hatred cannot be "reversed" but can only be reiterated.

Meh.

"This applies to many things. Hetero-sexuals scream "reverse" discriminition(heterophobia)."

Seen it. It's not prevalent but it's there. I've worked in environments where hetero women are not welcome, and in environments where hiring gave preference to gay men over everyone else, generally for irrational reasons like the stereotypical assumption that gay men have better style sense than a straight person.

Yeah.

That would just be plain discrimination, like I said. There is no "reverse." It's this notion of "reverse" that I take issue with.

Racism is a state of mind....

As a white kid in a dark skinned ITALIAN family and growing up in a multi-cultural neighborhood, kids used to tease me for being so white. For my whole childhood I actually hated my white skin because I was always lighter than everyone else. I would even lay out in the sun in the winter because I was trying to get darker.

Also, remember that limbs from white albinos go for $2,000-$3,000 in africa for their purported magical qualities........being a white-skinned minority in a dark-skinned majority can really suck too.......

I feel for you BUT

"I get teased sometimes" is not racism.

Racism is the society-wide, centuries-old schema of disenfranchisement. Is it possible for a not-white person to treat you crappy, or for a different-kind-of-white-person to treat you crappy because they think you're a funny-looking-white-person? Sure. Should they do that? No, not at all. Nobody should treat anyone badly ever. Are there crappy people in a rainbow of colors out there who will beat you up just because they're crappy people and they can? Absolutely. That doesn't make it racism.

Racism is fed by a broad set of damaging and demeaning stereotypes. No, "white people don't get it" doesn't count. It is about embedded tradition of snap judgement, dog-whistles and code-words, laws from a hundred years ago that kept one group of people out and down and poor while continuously lifting another group of people up and in and towards wealth, laws and norms and standards and deeply held religious beliefs that still reverberate in how much wealth any given family has to help their kids out with and who gets what job.

The same way that a christian heterosexual "feeling bashed" by being called an ignorant hater is just not equivalent of the increased risk that a gay kid needs to feel of being actually, physically bashed into unconsciousness (or to death) whenever someone feels confident enough to yell a slur at them.

It is not the same thing. It's not the same fear. It's not the same constant awareness of potential harm and personal invisibility. It isn't. I BEG YOU to think about this.

Awe, poor you.

When whites start getting lynched, hanged, denied jobs, denied access to certain buildings and stores, and all of that other jazz maybe then I'll feel some sort of compassion. Maybe, but I doubt it.

I don't know how old you are

I don't know how old you are but when I was growing up this was not happening to anyone anymore and to push blame on whites now and saying you would not feel compassion for any human that was treated this way makes you no better then people that performed these acts back then. If you want to see the hate go away then it should never be spoken. My kids can date and play with any race and any gender they want and know that I will love them and will respect their friends as well. You are not born with hate but raced into it,

White people who are not rasict are the ones who feel affects from this now, having to watch what they say make sure they don't hurt a black persons feelings for fear that they will be called rasict thereself when the fact is sometimes you just don't like a person. I don't like the person that dressed up and made fun of black women but I don't hate them for being white or black.

It's a shame that this kind

It's a shame that this kind of behavior is accepted by people. But I'm glad that enough people spoke out against this performance that it was cancelled. I think there are very fine lines between what is acceptable in art and what is just plain offensive. It's hard to say. But this sounds like it's just plain ol' 1920s blackface offensive, and we should really throw that shit out the window by now.

"When people like me say that

"When people like me say that something is potentially racist, why do we have to defend ourselves to White people who act as the final jurist of the opinion?" <---Best point in this article, thank you for writing it.

Ditto

I'm not usually inclined to just say "ditto". But I can't think of anything to add other than "ditto". So, "ditto".

Imagine, for a moment, that

Imagine, for a moment, that instead of a guy in drag, this comedian was a white woman in blackface . . . I find it a little bit ludicrous that the drag element somehow counters the obvious and explicit racism of this act.

Roses are red Violets are

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Few are as good as writing detailed, insightful, and well thought essays on race as you.

How is this NOT racist?

Seriously - how can anyone look at this and not see it (the performance) as completely blatant racism? Geez louise, I've more or less accepted that I'll spend the rest of my life arguing with people's stupid microaggressions, but this is so clear & undeniable I can't imagine how anyone who considers themselves "not racist" could possibly defend it. And please let's not talk "shock art" - this is no attempt to shock others out of their existing mindset, but rather a pathetic reliance on demeaning stereotypes and- caricatures to entertain other racists.

It is an embarrassment to my community, and for every compassion

Thank you, Ms. Collymore.

As a long-time member of the Leather Community, this shook me deeply.

Even more disappointing was, when I reached out to my peers in Leather, the scales fell from my eyes about what allyship means. I have had to sever relationships as a result of people...gay / queer white people...directly stating they would not stand with me against racism.

I have written about this situation here http://www.mollena.com/2013/02/blackface-still-racist-yall/
and here http://mollena.com/2013/02/racism-in-leather

Leatherati, the "voice" of the leather community, is hosting a "Town Hall" discussion this Sunday. Get details on it here http://dev.leatherati.com/2013/02/leatherati-town-hall-race-and-racism-i...

I encourage you to join in, and raise your voices.

 

Sincerely

Mollena Williams

International Ms Leather 2010

Ms. San Francisco Leather 2009

Thank you

Thank you very much for raising your voice. I see myself as a white middle-class German lesbian feminist over 50 living in Switzerland. Quite a mouthful, yes. I certainly enjoy priviliges in a predominantely white society which still does not acknowledge that its foundations are based on the fact that said priviliges are not enjoyed by everyone. And racism abounds like a lot of other -isms. So why do I address a scandal that took (and takes) place in far away Portland, OR, in the USA which like a lot of other countries I know about almost exclusively via the Media?
Because.
Because it is a scandal - nevermind where it is at.
Because the same thing could - and most likely does - happen in "my world".
Because people suffer. People suffer? Is there a famine because of a cancelled show? Why don´t I do something against real suffering? Ha. Good one. Who gets to decide what suffering is and what hurt? But, yes, fighting famines is urgent.
So why don´t I go feeding the masses, do something against famine etc. etc. etc.? Why do I feel the urge to add my voice to the furor?
Because a famine does not cancel out infamy.
Because the problem arose in a white middle-class setting. That´s why. I choose to speak up because even though I am only on the outer fringes of the Leather World, the scandal touches my life, my situation, my circumstances. Yes, this is selfish.
What happened and happens in this situation reaches far. Much farther than the city limits of Portland, OR.
And yes, I am learning from this scandal for my own fight against a racism that is on a rampage in Germany as well.
So thank you, Ms Collymore, for your arguments. I fight better knowing them.

I'm not sure how performing

I'm not sure how performing in blackface cannot be seen as anything other than grossly messed up, whether you're in drag or not. This reminds me a little of another example of racism and splits in the LGBTQ community here in South Africa. Last year at the Joburg Gay Pride Parade, a group called One In Nine (a campaign to draw awareness to the one in nine black lesbian women in South Africa who have suffered from "corrective rape") interrupted the Parade, asking for one minute of silence to pay respects to this pressing issue. The Parade however, which now enjoys a lot of corporate funding and is very popular amongst middle class white gay men, refused to comply and things turned pretty racist pretty quickly, as things tend to do in South Africa. Here's an article that expands on the event: http://www.sacsis.org.za/site/article/1450 and another interesting opinion piece here, http://africasacountry.com/2012/10/10/gay-shame/#comments

And thank you for this magnificent article.

Thank you for the education.

I'm a fairly ignorant American and I don't have a television and I read almost no news on the internet. Thank you for bringing this situation to my attention. :( I should know this.

drag queens = sexist?

Disclosure: I'm a straight white male (aka: a dummy in regards to these issues). I'm wondering if drag queens, in general, are offensive to women. Since it is men dressing up and behaving as women, often very stereotypically. It strikes me as being sexist. Is it that men dressing up and acting like women = OK, but also wearing blackface and acting in a stereotypical black manner = NOT OK?
Am I off base here? Thanks!

Drag is sexist

You're spot on with your comment.

Performing in blackface used to be regarded as art and its blatant racism was rationalized away. Of course, blackface is racist and shouldn't rear its ugly head again.

Performing in drag used to be (and unfortunately still is) regarded as art and its blatant sexism is rationalized away. Of course, drag is sexist and shouldn't rear its ugly head again.

When I've tried discussing the issue with folks in the LGBT community I've been shouted down and told I was too ignorant to appreciate the true artistic nature of drag performances.

As a straight woman

I don't find it offensive, because drag is over-the-top characterizations of women. they perform in outlandishly loud, striking, and glamourous costumes with over-the-top hair and make-up styles, and I think it's fabulous. It's a performance art. They're not mocking women, but emulating an overly-stylized femininity. I am not a member of the drag community, so I can't speak for them, but as a woman, I have to say, it does not offend me.

Yes and no

I think it is possible for a performer with privilege (especially the kind with an improv/comedy/sketch routine) to portray or evoke a character of a different less-privileged status without it being a racist/sexist/homophobic caricature. It depends on what message they're appealing to.

If they're appealing to a view of that minority that is essentially othering, where the point is to laugh at rather than laugh with, to revel in social power, then no, that's really not ok. There are drag performers who do this, and I don't think it's ok.

If they're revealing insights that have been passed on to them in a lighthearted way about what it's like to be the other, if they're presenting a rounded human character who has funny things to say, who you can laugh with rather than at, if they're using their privilege and their voice to convey the idea that this other group ought to have more of a voice, that is ok.

The only problem is, you have to be smart and funny and perceptive and culturally literate to pull it off, so most dumb mean people looking for an easy laugh go for the crap caricatures that let people laugh at the less-empowered. I think there are lots and lots of drag performers who Get It. I think there are a hefty handful that don't, and who need to be called out.

Thank you

As a queer, while ally who worked professionally in the LGBTQ movement for 15 years, I'm still saddened and angered by the amount of racism (institutional and individual) in the LGBTQ community. Thank you so much for your powerful, personal piece. I also live in Oregon (Silverton, for now - though we're moving to Portland within the year)...so please let me know if there's anything I can directly related to this situation. Please also know that I'll continue to work on issues of racism within myself and the community through education, conversation and direct action.

Degrading and painful

This performer's act is degrading and painful for all sides of the issue of race and anger isn't enough of an emotional expression to deal with such an offensive depiction of African Americans.

I followed the link to Youtube and the two videos I saw, Church Lady and Thanks for the Welfare Check, are inexcusable and deeply offensive. This act goes right back to the Jim Crow days of social and cultural oppression by depicting such a grotesque character as common.

Shame on whoever saw this act and said nothing, this is way beyond going along to get along. African Americans may tolerate things like the Confederate flag with rolled eyes but it's a different situation when it's burning in the middle of your front yard.

Kelly Beaton

Totally Out of Line

This is racist and unoriginal, and I'm offended on both counts. And while he has a right to claim this as art and outrage as censorship, the more enlightened among us have the right to not show up, to protest, and to reject the notion that this is okay.

thanks.

thank you very much for this post. it's a very clear and understandable explanation of why we (white people) don't get to decide what is "racist." i'm def going to share it. i know that it is not the job of POC to educate us, but i always appreciate a first-hand anecdote that reminds us all that POC are human, have emotions, and should not have to constantly defend their feelings ... i genuinely appreciate you putting yourself out there to help those of us who have not had these experiences better understand. thank you.

Thanks

I just want to disclose that I am gay white male who is 28 and I find so much of "my" gay white male culture offensive. I have a friend who openly hates Asian people because he doesn't find them "attractive." He talks about them like he's "just joking" but an insult is an insult no matter the circumstances. I do not find that funny, and I do not laugh at his jokes. But, I admit that I am afraid to stand up to him. I don't want to lose a friend, but I can't bring myself to say more than "oh you, you're ridiculous. stop that." But clearly that's not enough.

I also really like what you have to say here regarding the LGBTQI community and racism. I also have a black partner so we kinda "put up" with a lot of B.S. every day and we certainly aren't openly affectionate in our predominantly black neighborhood (Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn). That's because - no newsflash here - many African-Americans are not very nice to gay people (the fault of religion, of course, not their blackness).

I also like the comments below that cite drag as being sexist. I can honestly say I'd never thought to articulate what it was about it that was so disgusting to me (NO, I do not watch RuPaul's Drag Race or whatever else is out there). Also this is the first time I've seen so many thoughtful comments in one place and I really enjoy that. Maybe I'm going to have to come out as a "bitch" too and keep reading this magazine and sharing it with as many people as I can. ;-)

Sincere thanks again!

RuPaul on S.Q.L.

Reverse racism

I think an alternative approach to the question of whether or not the piece should be considered racist/sexist/antigay is the mindset of the individuals that would patronize the show or adimately defend it. I'm a heterosexual [black] male and am curious to view the show as this gentlemen produced it. If it is considered as Art and we mock and poke fun at ourselves for what we deem to be humorous, then should there actually be tolerance in allowing a performance like this to continue. A similar show, that I would not know how to catagorize, that involved a group of [black] high school males portrayed as KKK members, I found to be entertaining quite entertaining as well as the other races that viewed it. I fully respect the dialogue presented and will remain openminded to all points of view; isnt that what living is?

RuPaul on S.Q. Liquor

RuPaul: When people do comedy you have to check your gut and say, “Are they coming from a place of love or are they coming from a place fear?” The opposite of love is not hate, it’s fear. Hate is a subcategory of fear. So, you have to check in and when I heard his act, I could tell there was nothing but love there — nothing but love there. I have heard people who do rountines on comedy and it’s coming from a place of fear or hate. he was not. I realized the people who came out against him were using him as a tool to confirm their role as a victim. They needed figures to reconfirm their own misconception of themselves as a victim. It’s going to be interesting with Obama in the White House how the black community responds to that because you can no longer say, “The world has made it so hard for me and there are people out there trying to keep me from moving forward.” So, I think Shirley Q. Liquor-Charles Knipp is brilliant, funny. You can’t do those kind of impersonations without a certain amount of love that it takes to really get it right on the nose like that.

What you just said amounts to

What you just said amounts to a couple squares on the anti-racism bingo card.

"But it's a POSITIVE stereotype, therefore it can't be racist." First of all, lots of nice, kind, sweet, likeable people are racist, every single day. Judging someone to have or not have certain qualities by the color of their skin - "I love _____ people because they're so ______" - isn't any less racist because you said "love" instead of "hate".

Next, intent vs. impact. It really doesn't matter *what* the person intended - that doesn't make a racist act any less racist. Lots of well-intentioned people are racist, every single day. Think of white missionaries trying to clean up the 'heathens'. That was in the name of god, so it can't have been racist, right? Or complimenting someone on their "exotic" features. Hey, it's a compliment, so it can't be racist, right? Consider that people's actions can have impact far beyond whatever they intend. Anti-racism calls people to be accountable for the impact of their actions, not just pleading ignorance on their part or sensitivity on others.

I'm So Upset Cuz I'm A Victim...Boohoo!!

It is obvious the Shirley Q. Liquor is probably an idiot and that his act is racist. Get over it. The guy is so obscure. Everyone would be a lot better off if they just realized that a lot of people are just not nice and that a lot of people are racists. So who cares. Ignore Shirley Q. Liquor if you find him beneath contempt.

I'm so tired of everyone in the gay community being so perpetually hurt by everything. You're are all a bunch of whining sad victims. I've been a homosexual since day one but I 'm not a victim. I realize that people are idiots and I realize that the world is not a nice place. If people don't like me because I prefer the same sex...so what? You all act like wilting hot house orchids that just can't quite tolerate life outside the greenhouse. It's really pathetic. It's also boring.

Everyday I can walk out of the house, chat some guy up and maybe even bed him...so what's the problem? How am I oppressed? I'm not unhappy. I'm a guy and I like guys and some people in the world hate me. I'm not gonna cry about it and I'm not gonna spread my misery across the entire internet.

I understand rejection and I understand outrage but really in the scheme of things who cares if some white guy dons badly done black face and performs a rather stupid bit of performance art? It's not like anyone is forcing you to watch him. I mean how many homophobic and racist videos are on youtube? Many.

Just get over it already.

This blog post brings up some good points but I would just say the same thing to the woman who wrote it. People are not nice and they are racists. This does not reflect on you because you obviously know who you are. If someone doesn't hire you because you're black take action or just realize that you are better off without this person as an employer.

It is possible to rise above the rather juvenile level that Liquor is operating on and just conclude that you are more evolved than him. I think expressing so much outrage just gives him more press and more credibility.

Stereotypes

"As a Black woman, these stereotypes still hurt and in many spaces I feel I have to live them down."

Why? You are obviously not a stereotype. It is very easy for someone to pick on anything about someone else if they don't like what you are saying. They say stuff like...Oh you must feel that way because you are...a woman, black, gay, etc.

I walk into a gay bar and see many very effeminate gay men and that is the very common stereotype for gays. But they do exist and I certainly don't think that that is me or feel like I have to live it down.

It would be a bit dense not to admit that there are lots of flaming gay men and that that is where the stereotype comes from. Queenie gay men certainly don't offend me or bother me and I've had sex with many of them.

There are black women who have lots of children and don't speak well. But there are also white women who are exactly the same.

When I see trailer trash on TV or Honey Boo Boo's mom I don't feel like I have to defend the poor white trash stereotype because I'm not from that background. It isn't me but I can't deny that such people exist.

Shirley Q. Liquor is I realize another story...but I fail to see how a performance artist whose work is so obviously insipid can you make you feel bad about yourself.

I don't understand why the stereotypes hurt if they have nothing to do with who you are as a person. If someone applies them to you...that is their ignorance and their baggage not yours.

Honestly you just sound too intelligent and well adjusted to be bothered by lousy performance art that relies on shopworn stereotypes that will probably always haunt society.

adoption

" Think of the amount to of Black parents who’ve been allowed to adopt White babies. I certainly can't think of any—famous or otherwise. "
Nicole Richie

I have no idea how she

I have no idea how she identifies, but according to her biological aunt, the world-famous Afro-Latina drummer Sheila E., Nicole Richie is Latina, not white.

Well, plus, with Nicole

Well, plus, with Nicole Richie, her parents knew Lionel Richie as her biological father was a musician in his band for a period of time. They personally knew Lionel Richie and his wife. I think the writer is speaking more of anonymous adoptions.

Don't condemn what you don't know

In general I found this piece thought-provoking and intelligent. Most of the comments were well worth reading as well -- Bitch at its best.

I have not watched Shirley Q Liquor's "art", so I will not comment on it. I am in the middle of reading Salman Rushdie's memoir Joseph Anton, though, which goes deep into the furore over The Satanic Verses, the ensuing fatwa and the long and dramatic aftermath. All of this because a lot of people were "hurt" or "insulted" by his book. These were of course people that had for the most part not read the book.

So while everyone is entitled to their art and others are equally entitled to call such art racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic or whatever, I'd be quite hesitant to condemn something without reading/watching/hearing and -- most importantly -- analysing it myself. Ms Collymore appears to have done it in this case, so kudos to her, but I wonder if the people who cancelled the show did so.

Re.: I'm Tired of Explaining Why I'm Offended....

After reading the article, I'm offended by the tripe this "comedian" peddles and I wouldn't go see him, either. Not because there's a boycott or not, but simply that I would be offended for my friends who I know would be hurt, and I don't want to put my money into such offensiveness.

I think your last paragraph is excellent advice to all.

Thank you.

Please let me add my thanks for this welcome post.

I was horrified when I heard about this planned performance. I've lived here in Portland for more than two years and, frankly, it's a pretty clueless town when it comes to racism, but this was beyond the pale. I let lots and lots of things I hear and observe go past, but I could not believe this engagement was defended in any quarter, let alone the Leather/LGBTQQI community.

It made me sad and angry and embarrassed and ashamed -- but your post cheered me. Thank you.

ProTip: decent comedy punches UP, not down...

Thank you for this, Karol.
Yeah...um, I thought comedy was supposed to be, you know, funny. But this act is punching DOWN the privilege gradient in so many directions, the guy looks like one of those Hindu gods. There are not enough *head desk*s.

this post

Uggggh...

The only thing more embarrassing than white people who don't get that racism (or in this case the racism/sexism/classism trifecta) is hurting people and making the world a crappy place are the white/upper/man-splainers that just have to jump out of the wood work and shout down any attempt to freaking educate them.

The use of averages for the

The use of averages for the job question is misleading. First, it's more applicable to black males. Second, the average is being used to persuade the reader that the unemployment figure is due to racism. Unfortunately, the poor condition of the black community is due to prior, institutionalized racism; however, current job figures are because of the effects of that prior racism, not current racism. Poor children are simply less likely to be educated and prepared for stable jobs. Because black people re disproportionately poor, they are going to be disproportionately unemployed. However, the author writing this piece, I presume from her writing, is well educated. So she actually escaped the general reason for underemployment of the black community. So when she asks whether she would have the job if she were white, she probably would not.
But I totally agree with the rest of the piece.

THANK YOU! I too was

THANK YOU! I too was extremely sickened by this occurrence. Racism is in all of us, because it is so deeply integrated into our culture. Our job is to recognize it and do our best to correct it in ourselves and not pass it on to future generations. That is the essence of cultural and social evolution! Anyone who says they aren't racist, point blank, is missing that essential point. Its in all of us. Education is the key!

Correction

I agree with the writer in large part. But I think it's important to say that it's more accurate to state that SOME people were offended. The politically correct people who cannot laugh were offended, that's for sure. But this gay person of color thinks there should be plenty of room for politically incorrect humor, even the kind that offends us, because it prompts us to challenge our assumptions and ask critical questions. It may even give us a chance to laugh at ourselves when we get too serious!

Because people who claim

Because people who claim "reverse racism" don't exist are usually, racists.

Well, now you know how

Well, now you know how Caucasian people feel about the movie "White Chicks".

I'm Tired of Explaining Why I'm Offended by a Racist Drag Queen

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I find it amusing that a

I find it amusing that a comedian, as long as they are not white, straight, republican, athletic, or intelligent, can be as racist, heterophobic, and idiotic as tgey please and no one raises an eyebrow. Good work perpetuating seperation by attacking those who poke fun at it. Stereotypes would not COULD NOT be made fun of if they were not true or didn't exist.

stfu

STFU IM TIRED OF HEARING ITS RACIST ITS THE FUCKING PAST ARE YOU A SLAVE CURENTLY ARE YOU NO STFU PEOPLE DO ASIAN FACE AND SPANISH DO YOU SEE US BITCHING ABOUT IT NO GET THE FUCK OVER IT YOU SENSETIVE PUSSYSTOP THINKING EVREYTHINGS RASCIST YOU DUMB FUCK