A college student sitting at home listening to 6 Underground by Sneaker Pimps watching their cat run circles around herself completely sober on a Saturday night sounds a little odd. Not saying there’s something wrong with whomever does that in their college experience. Shout out to you if that’s you’re daily. For me however, it’s pretty weird.
It’s Pride month at my school so there’s no real reason for me as an active member of my community to be blogging it out on a party night. I can recall the first time I got involved in anything queer related surrounding pride. Someone somewhere was having a party or drinking and we were all together having the time of our lives. Somehow that’s lost its rigor and we’ve all decided to pander to the masses (like most things in society). But no no no I’m not going to complain about my lack of invites to cool kids parties or the fact that our community isn’t really a community because we base solely on the number of views our Facebook events have and how many people RSVP to an event. I want to talk about the blatant disregard and erasure of a specific collective of students: queer students of color.
I’ve been on my death bed from a sudden temperature change so I haven’t been able to be as involved as I usually am but when I see something that needs my presence, I’m absolutely there 100%. Last week I sat in a council meeting listening to a conditionally white queer whine about how no one was helping boost pride month or participating in making it a good experience for all queer students who may feel isolated in their queerness. You can bet your green wave ass she was not referring to any queer students of color. In fact, a number of white students went around the room after this conditionally white queer posed the question should we rid ourselves of pride month all together (because that’s a good way to pull at the heart strings of a guilty conscious: don’t present solutions, instead say how you want to eradicate something so everyone will guiltily say, “Awww, don’t do that. I’ll be better.” But her whiteness is a condition? This ain’t what the blog about…).
I digress, they all went around the room stating how they had friends who identified as queer and seeing pride month on campus validated their existence as queer at Tulane. That’s fucking lovely considering only three people out of the ten there were qpoc and there are in fact,zero events about or even highlight the life of queer people of color. Sit with that for a second as we’re also in the wake of the Stonewall movie nonsense and the erasure of qpoc.
I was heated in that meeting. I got out of my fucking bed for this. The meeting ended up just being me telling the conditionally white queer how to be a better leader going about pride month and involvement seeing as how I was the only person in the room who’d been around for pride festivities for the last couple years. Mind you then there was also no celebrations for queer people of color. If we wanted that, we had to leave campus, which we highly recommend anyway.
Last year there was an intersectionality round-table discussion that consisted of myself and qpoc in my sorority telling white “allies” how not to be fucks. I don’t think the conversation stuck as well as it could have seeing as how we weren’t exclusively asked or approached about doing something else to lift up our experiences as brown and queer during this time that’s supposed to be celebrating all queer identity. I don’t feel so proud to be honest. To be frank, I’m fucking pissed. Every single effort queer students of color have made to show that we exist on Tulane’s campus has been ignored. And not overtly, which I would honestly appreciate and could stomach more. Beyond pride, the white queer progressives introduced Audre Lorde to campus to seem radical and cool. Students volunteered and flooded in for the student expo or whatever the fuck. However, when queer students of color decided to market and do programming for it we were met with a hostile welcome. We had people asking if white students were allowed to come and so on and so forth as if fetishizing our Lorde Audre wasn’t enough, they had to go and act like we took something from them.
Then I sat in another meeting wear the advisor for this council psoke on all our behalf as “dissolving Audre Lorde week because last year was too stressful”. None of use said it was stressful. One of my homies was having a bad time and all of a sudden we were all stressed. No one else reported to him that we had a problem. We were only mad that once we made Audre Lorde week ours, white students pissed us off. But don’t let the coloreds get too upset they might start breaking shit. Any other time you might be fucking right…
But we are already scary. So I digress. My issue with the white help of these students is they sit in on panels, discussions, classes, meetings, protests and demonstrations alike where we talk about the space and visibility we need yet for the entirety of pride month we couldn’t get a single event. What really burst my bubble was when we all got called into that meeting, we were threatened to have our organizations reported as inactive if we didn’t show up. That was some serious white woman shit because they know if I ran in there and said the council was racist due to lack of diversity in programming, they’d be willing to contest it in court (as if it were that serious). As a queer person of color who does so much work on this campus, I should have to wait for someone to ask me what I want or need to see in programming, I shouldn’t have to get mad before something gets done and I shouldn’t have to question whether or not I will see QPOC representation. Something this office has been doing in the time I’ve been here is relying solely on the students of color to voice what we want. That would be fine if they didn’t know what the fuck to do but they’re had years of practice. As self proclaimed allies, I should be able to look up events and find something that piques my interest. These people are so obsessed with looking good they can’t even fake it until they make it. Instead they’re still asking me “What do you need black person? What will make me look like a good white?”
There is absolutely no issue with accommodating white queers. Everything that was scheduled is something any white queer could identify immediately while we were all like who is this month for?
Well I’m glad to say this is my last year at Tulane and I’m stepping down humbly from my leadership as well as back out of this office. The few semesters my presence was acknowledged was a good run but I can stand to see my work erased after I’m gone, just like they erased the queer people of color’s work before mine. Tulane and especially queer Tulane was not made for people of color even though it was our work that was the stepping stone to get them up there. Nice to know I’m the footstool of queer organizing…