What does casual racism look like in LGBTQ spaces? A lot like casual racism everywhere else.
Casual racism thinks mixed race people are “exotic,” penis size is determined by race according to “some studies” that probably don’t exist, black women are aggressive, and just about every other common racial stereotype under the sun.
Really, stereotypes fuel casual racism in all its forms.
Casual racism also thinks that LGBTQ people have transcended all responsibility for dealing with racial issues.
For example, if you’re a queer person of color who wants to vocalize a racial concern in a predominantly white queer space and casual racism rears its head, you could be accused of being divisive (extra irony points if you were pointing out divisiveness that actually exists).
Sometimes casual racism masquerades as inclusion or open mindedness. For example, there are some gay people who go out of their way to date someone of another race just to say they’ve done it.
Such gays then receive the Congratulatory Cookie of Open Mindedness from people of color for letting us sleep with them.
But not really, because dating someone because of their race is as ridiculous as rejecting someone because of their race.
The same applies to predominately white gay groups that go out of their way to snag token people of color (oblivious to the fact that these spaces don’t always feel inclusive to the people of color in question).
Tokenism may seem progressive on its surface, but it’s really just another form of othering.
So if you see casual racism, remember it. And talk about it.
Notice if you’re ever guilty of it and, if you are, take responsibility for it.
I would say explain it to other white LGBTQ people, but it’s frustrating when it takes a white person saying the same thing people of color have been saying for ages to convince other white people to change their actions.
Instead, tell them to take the race related concerns of LGBTQ people of color seriously – as in listen to us.
As LGBTQ people, we get silenced all the time, told we’re too sensitive, told not to flaunt our sexuality.
Sexual minorities of color can find themselves silenced further when their concerns about race are dismissed by the predominantly white, mainstream LGBTQ community.
Let’s keep working to change that.