To All My Privileged Black “Friends” – Pull Up

I’m sure a lot of ya’ll saw Rihanna’s brief, but direct speech during the NAACP Awards last week, but if not – here’s a clip:


Now, I suspect her speech was directed primarily towards all privileged individuals in our society as a whole, however – I’m going to take it a step further and let it be known that for the many black people in my community, it’s time to take accountability for your actions – and lack thereof relating to the further oppression of multiple marginalized identities. 

This is for all of my privileged, cisgender, and heterosexual black friends.

I’m sure you’ve gathered that this is about Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union’s daughter, Zaya who recently came out to the public, preferring to be addressed by the pronouns she/her.

I took some time and listened to the many ignorant opinions of people specifically in the black community and compared it to the thoughts of people from other races. 

What I’ve come to conclude is that black transgender and homosexual individuals often experience more oppression from black cisgender, heterosexual individuals, compared to any other race. 

And I know … many black people seem to think that because they experience oppression – they, themselves cannot be the oppressor. 

Bullshit. You CAN, you ARE, and I’m going to tell you why:

  • To be an oppressor, you must have some form of privilege that the oppressed doesn’t have. That includes black people, regardless of how little privilege we do have. In this case, it’s being comfortable and identifying with the gender we were born with and being attracted to the opposite sex.

Just because we’re black, doesn’t mean we can’t be held accountable for the privilege we use against someone else.

  • How can you be a black person repping black lives matter, but when it comes to the increasing number of black, transgender womens deaths, you’re silent. We should be asking ourselves why our protection isn’t being extended to black, lgbtq and transgender women.
  • Further, how can you rep black lives matter but have the audacity to make assumptions and speak negatively on issues you don’t understand. 
  • In Zaya’s case, this is a child – why isn’t our first thought to protect her? Sometimes, the best thing we can do is be quiet and educate ourselves before speaking on things we do not understand. Listen more, talk less!
  • And this is not just for the black people who are oppressive, but for those who have friends that are oppressive. You’re not an ally if you’re representing only in public, and most definitely not an ally if you’re ONLY supporting your marginalized “friend/family”.

 Keep the same energy you use in public and hold your friends, colleagues, and family accountable for the things they say/and don’t say relating to the transphobia and discrimination in our communities.

Black lives matter shouldn’t only represent cisgender, heterosexual individuals, but in fact represent ALL issues within the black community – regardless of orientation, gender identity, religion, and ability – because it affects us ALL.

Black LGBTQ individuals are easily the most oppressed group, but yet always finds time to pull up and protest the many issues of our community. Why ya’ll don’t have the same energy? 

Black LGBTQ issues and black issues are equivalent. Stop discussing them as if they’re different – there’s no one without the other. 

It’s bad enough we live in a country where black people as an oppressed community have to deal with racism and misogyny, do we really need to double down on oppression due to anti-black transphobia? What people in our community fail to realize is that black women – whether trans or not – are the most disregarded group in America.

Photo by T. Chick McClure on Unsplash

Although this should go without saying, we have a responsibility to protect each other regardless of our differences because who tf will? I can’t speak for every individual, but I know so many black, LGBTQ advocates that protect hetero/cisgender black women AND men during adverse situations – why is it so difficult for some women and ESPECIALLY black men to do the same? 

We need to confront the discrimination and transphobia in ourselves, as much as we do in other people. To do that, we need to have those conversations, take responsibility for the things we do, and take the initiative to learn and understand the true meaning of human rights that we are all due, but especially those of black LGBTQ experience.