Guest Post: It doesn’t make it all right
Posted on November 21, 2011
This is a guest post by Polly
I have, as of yesterday, an ex friend. And as with all exes, friends or otherwise, I am currently doing that thing where you mentally punch yourself round the head going “WTF did I EVER see in you?” Although the punched in the head feeling may be to do with the quintuple vodka that accompanied my extended rant to some other (still current, rant notwithstanding, patience-of-saint-like) friends about why I was SO ANGRY.
Anyways, the EF is a postgrad student, and the source of the exness (potted version) is that she thinks I just don’t understand why Ghanaian people (or more specifically a group of Ghanaian men living in England) are homophobic, and I should really really try to because it’s not because they’re Stupid and Evil, it’s just that with my “white western gay” persepective, I just don’t get it. Too fucking right I don’t.
The problems with the EFs ‘argument’ seem glaringly obvious to my simple, non academentia’d brain. Firstly, last time I looked, she is a white western straight woman from a privileged background and has no more of a mysterious insight into the black African perspective than I have. Secondly for a supposed academic, she is ignoring the basic fact that hello, somewhat inconveniently, there ARE gay and lesbian black Africans. Yes – even in Ghana. Though they’re not having a particularly great time. Pity they didn’t get the memo about black African = homophobic straight person…..
As a white western lesbian (I’m not gay, I’m not miserable, I’m angry) it is a simple fact that 99.9999% (recurring) of the homophobia I have been on the receiving end of has come from white western people. I therefore have zero tolerance for those who want to tell me that I should be specially bothered about muslims, because they’re all homophobic, or that all black Africans are homophobic, because – you know what – it just ain’t true in my experience. And even if it were – it’s the homophobia that ‘s the problem, not the religion or the race of the person practicing it. Being murdered, raped or beaten up for being lesbian/gay doesn’t get any better or worse depending on who’s doing it or how they justify it to themselves – (though if we’re doing requests, I do wish common or garden homophobes would get some original lines, at least it would be something NEW). Homophobia is as homophobia does.
It’s undeniably true that I’m in a better position in England than I would be in Ghana, since even Nadine Dorries has yet to suggest that I should be rounded up, arrested and eradicated, but it’s not an excuse for casual racism. Though it may only be a matter of time anyway. Maybe the home office will give the evangelical Christian stormtroopers funding, and Dave and Nick will pop round to check the elimination camps conform to big society standards.
There is -oh the sweet, sweet irony, – a humungous amount of racism at work in the white liberal fallacy that a human rights abuse is different when black people do it because Hey! That’s their culture! You just threw everyone who’s on the receiving end of “it” (who is almost inevitably also black) under the bus with that one. But what does it matter? You know they’re just NOT LIKE US, saith the white liberal intellectual. Black African lesbians being raped and killed? That’s just their culture, chill the fuck out.
You can take your moral relativism and make it the subject of a PhD if you like. You can argue that the end justifies the means, and we should turn a blind eye to rape by those who otherwise you know - have some really sound political views. You can say that the fact you’re gay and Anjem Choudhary is an objectionable fool means we should look askance at anyone who looks as though they might be one of them there muslims because – aren’t they all the same? But it doesn’t make it all right. It’s the worst excuse in the world, and it doesn’t make it all right.