Black Girl Obnoxious – Mia McKenzie on “So-Called Marriage Equality”

In her March 28, 2013 post, “6 Things That Happened While Y’all Were Preoccupied With Gay Marriage,” Mia McKenzie got a few matters off her chest regarding what she called the “same-sex marriage drama” and “so-called ‘marriage equality.’”

McKenzie hadn’t gotten “caught up” in the issue, she said, because she couldn’t “fathom so much time and energy and money being poured into getting one more privilege for one group of people—especially since the people within that group who will benefit the most are mostly very privileged already.”

No, you need to pay attention to that bullshit.

Because it’s not only dangerous — as in the title of McKenzie’s blog — it’s offensive.

  • It’s offensive to suggest that being covered by the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution is a “privilege.”
  • It’s offensive to suggest that some Americans should not expect fair legal and legislative treatment because other Americans are presumably not getting such treatment. (If that’s McKenzie’s philosophy, she ought to swear off food until hunger has disappeared from the planet. Or, if she has a job, she should quit because a lot of people are unemployed.)
  • It’s offensive to suggest that people engaged in a political fight for one kind of civil or moral right are ignorant of or willfully disregard other struggles or that they cause harm to other people by their work.
  • It’s offensive to imply that you know “the truth” about all queer people (a “group,” by the way, to which McKenzie belongs) or to assume that you know all there is to know about the values and motivations of its members.
  • And most of all, it’s offensive to suggest that gay people are “mostly very privileged.”

In fact, it’s not just offensive. It’s inaccurate, bigoted, and intellectually dishonest. Yeah, I know. McKenzie thinks she’s aiming her snark at those squeaky-clean HRC spokespeople and the nice, middle-class Ken-doll couples who appear on fundraising posters. I don’t blame her for that.

But I also know that’s not who gay people “mostly” are. If McKenzie doesn’t know, she needs to dig her way out from under the Rock of Righteousness where she and her so-called “radical” queer friends go to play hide-and-seek from the world where the rest of us actually live.

Here’s a fact for you. By any income-based measure, most people in the United States are working-class/hovering-near-the-edge-of-being-poor-class. In numbers, what this means is that over 57% of Americans make less than $30K per year (I’m one of them). You recall Mitt Romney’s campaign-snuffing gaffe about the 47% of American “parasites” who don’t pay taxes? What he conveniently forget to add was that they don’t pay federal income tax because they don’t earn enough money to be required to do so.

And if most Americans are working-class (ish), it stands to reason that most queer people are, too.

So when McKenzie talks about “one more privilege for one group of people,” who the hell does she think she’s referring to?

Here’s another question, Mia. If getting married is a mark of privilege, then aren’t those straight people who are married also privileged? Even the black ones? The immigrants? The ones on welfare? The ones with spouses in prison? Let’s haul off and talk some smack about them. How dare they express all that privilege! I don’t want to hear one more word about domestic violence until the women who are married to their abusers admit that they’re privileged, damn it!

McKenzie’s ridiculously trendy, radical manqué, pseudo-progressive, too-hipster-for-my-shirt, more-righteous-than-thou line of thought insists a) that we must exclusively be concerned about the “correct” causes (the ones McKenzie approves, apparently); and b) that if you do anything else, you are deliberately depriving those causes of time, energy, money, and well-deserved attention.

In other words, if you’ve ever donated a penny to save the whales, you have personally clubbed a baby seal to death. Or if you’ve ever sent an email to your congressperson about women’s reproductive rights, you are an enemy of the Palestinian people.

In the asinine analysis in McKenzie’s March 28th column, anyone who favors marriage equality is, by definition, “obsessed with single-issue gay politics,” and anyone “obsessed with single-issue gay politics” is responsible for the Monsanto Protection Act, trans-unfriendly bathroom legislation in Arizona, the progress of an AIDS-quarantine bill in Kansas, the sexual assault of 1200 women as a direct result of the sale of Rick Ross’s “molly in her champagne” date-rape rap, the arrest of nearly 36,000 Americans (not one single one of whom deserved it, apparently), and the homelessness of 2000 queer youth.

And I hope you are eating your guts out over it. If you had just stopped worrying about “so-called” marriage equality for one damn selfish privileged minute, Rick Ross would have sold three fewer CDs and at least eight queer youth would have a roof over their heads at this very moment.

Are you fucking kidding me?

What McKenzie doesn’t understand is that everything is always going on all the time. No doubt, some issues get more widespread public attention than others. No doubt, some cases go to the Supreme Court while others don’t. No doubt, a lot of the time the country seems focused on the wrong things, which has more to do with fucked-up media and not with queer folks who’d like to be able to visit their partners in intensive care without having to beg.

No doubt these things are true. Get over it. Because other than whiny “I have my finger on the pulse of oppression” cant, there isn’t any objective reason to suppose that the rest of the world is falling to shit solely and exclusively because you didn’t pay attention to what Mia McKenzie wanted you to pay attention to this week.

Meanwhile, let me get personal, Mia. When you have to choose, as I do, between the possibility of being deported in your partner’s country or watching your partner be deported in this one, then you get to say something about my desire to get married. Otherwise, STFU.

And you really want to include someone like me in your snide, I-couldn’t-possibly-be-a-bigot-because-I’m-black “y’all”? I bet I know just how fast you’d burst a seam if I started talking about you all, Mia. Your “group,” I mean. As in, how come so many of “y’all” are on welfare?

Offended yet? You sure should be. I have no business saying ignorant shit like that.

I’m the kind of person you ought to count as an ally, Mia, but you just PC’d me right out of the room. Dangerous? No, this time you were just rude.

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Posted on 27 June 2013, in Write ... che ti passa. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. A wonderful way to explain everything: “What […] doesn’t understand is that everything is going on all the time”, and everybody should champion for what’s more important to them without diminishing what’s important for others, so that all the causes (or at least all the effects of the causes) are addressed.
    Life is so much bigger than what we imagine it to be, and we (the people) could be so much more powerful if we only knew and stopped “separating”.

  2. Holy turds, Wen. This was a case of 90% inspiration and 10% Eau de Fucking Good Writing. And, with a helluva point. Love, baby.

  3. Thank you for this. I got spammed via a friend today who reposted this self righteous trolls condescending Facebook status on this historic day.

    Queer Turkish woman here who was saddened by yesterdays ruling and overjoyed by today’s. People like Mia do nothing but foster in-fighting amongst those who should be allies.

    I wish I could give her a big fuck you to her smug face. Me and my partner are far from waspy and upper class. Fuck Mia and all the entitled hipster drama queens and kings out.there that would rather be smug and condescending to others over supportive and nurturing.

  4. “Obnoxious” seems to cover it with Mia, and that’s unfortunate. I ended up on the wrong side of her (for agreeing with her at the wrong time) on twitter the other night, and I’ve been reading about her since then, seeing that she leaves a similar impression on others. A lot of others.

    I have always found it obnoxious when people feel the need to re-prioritize your issues for you. From “How can Obama do X when Y is going on?” to “Where is Al Sharpton now that Z is happening?” I’ve never understood how a) people think that there’s only enough room for one issue in the world, and b) they get to choose what matters to other people.

    I’m glad I found you in my search today. I’m going to have a look around…

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