The Compulsory Forgiveness of Respectability Politics 2/2

Let’s also consider the many problems with responding to abuse with comfort. Let’s think about how coddling the emotional sensibilities of abusers has never worked at any level, from spousal abuse to genocide. Let’s contemplate the disgusting message white gays send when we “forgive” racism and slavery as if it were our place or right to do so. 

No amount of ass kissing has ever earned respect. The best equality respectability can achieve is for the dominant power group to tell some hated minority members “You’re one of the good ones.” Respectability politics let’s a few minority members provisionally slip through the cracks in the ceiling, so long as they throw the rest of their group under the bus. 

I have no plans to forgive unrepentant bigots, the people who cause queer teen suicide and justify school to prison pipelines, police brutality, and wide scale sexism. I don’t want to comfort people who think I should starve rather than use food stamps, who don’t want “retards” and “faggots” and “n*gg**s” getting healthcare or education or human rights. 

They are not sorry. 

They have made no apologies. They are unrepentant. Hillbilly hanky waving Southern homophobes are not seeking our forgiveness. They don’t want it and nothing good will come of offering it. Forgiveness absent repentance is taken as permission to keep it up. Here are some things this Forgive meme, this pathetic submission display, won’t get us. 

  • Healthcare. Many Southern states refused to implement the Affordable Care Act. There is currently a human created estrogen shortage, a health crisis for trans women this won’t solve. This won’t save us from our doctors calling us sinners.
  • Employment. Hugging a bigot won’t give us jobs or economic security, but it does get you within physical beating distance, a more likely outcome. HB2 and other discriminatory laws won’t be repealed if we mollify queerphobia. 
  • Housing. This “forgiveness” won’t stop heterosexual parents from throwing out their queer children. It won’t pay rents to get homeless queers off the street and out of shelters. It won’t end housing discrimination. 
  • Safety. 2016 is already the deadliest year on record for trans women, and there are months left to go. This ass kissing won’t stop that and it won’t prevent the next Pulse. 
  • Anything. There are exactly zero group benefits to a “higher ground” defined by not fighting back, not demanding repentance, not even waiting for the murders to stop to “forgive” the crimes of queer bashing, slavery, and secession. 

    Making ourselves smaller, quieter, and less seemingly gay won’t protect the biggest, loudest, and rainbow pasties wearing of us. Hugging a Confederate flag is gross, and suggests slavery can and should be forgiven, by gays. It’s an insensitivity to black people – including southern black queers still in danger after your feel good meme is posted.  This image does harm but no good. 

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