It’s barely been a week since I wrote about racism in the LGBTQ community and here I am writing an article because the Prancing Elites are getting a reality show and negroes are PISSED.
The Prancing Elites are an all-male majorette squad based in Mobile, Alabama and they sparked controversy in December 2013 when they marched in a Christmas parade in their hometown. Videos of the Elites doing their thang have been bouncing across the internet with a variety of reactions accompanying them. While they give some people, myself included, life, others see them as a source of shame for the Black community, namely Black men. I’ve said this before and I will say it again: the worry of the supposed emasculation of Black men is a crock and a manifestation of respectability politics.
I’ve talked respectability politics on this blog several times but it’s usually about the slut-shaming of Black women. Respectability politics surrounding Black men rarely gets discussed unless we’re talking sagging pants. Femme presenting Black men get a lot of shit because while they may not sag and act like a “thug,” they’re equally reviled. The only thing worse than a Black man being a thug is a Black man being feminine. Many brothers treat it as a betrayal at best and a piece of white supremacist weaponry.
The latter is almost understandable because Black men just earned the right to be able to decide how to perform masculinity. In slavery, they were treated as chattel and post-slavery until the Civil Right Era, they were expected to bow to white men as if they were children. My own grandfather told me stories of having to call white children sir and ma’am and move off sidewalks to allow white men to walk uninterrupted. Still, my sympathy ends there because I’m sick of femme men being the scapegoat of a bunch insecure immature men. Brothers, if you are offended by the mere sight of femme Black men, I implore you to question why. Why do the Prancing Elites offend you? If Black masculinity is supposed to be strong, how is it so easily punctured by femme presenting men?
While I agree white supremacy is actively conspiring against us, it isn’t in the form of femme men or any other non-normative Black person. If anything, pushing people to conform is colonized and oppressive thinking. Society sees femininity as weak and undesirable. That view is what fuels sexism, misogyny and homophobia. The Black community is a microcosm of American society and hypermasculinity, misogynoir and sexism regularly go unchecked in the Black community. And frankly, I’m sick of it and as a community organizer, it frustrates me to the point where I’m unwilling to do work for Black folks that aren’t queer or trans. No one is trying to force a lifestyle on anyone or change opinions because at the end of the day, your opinion is irrelevant. Queer and trans Black people just want to live and be liberated like everyone else in the Black community. We want to belong and be received and that’s difficult when you’re too queer for Black folks and too Black for queer folks. If the Prancing Elites offend you brothers, they aren’t the ones with the problem.