Blacklight 3,1

 

 

 


Blacklight Vol. 3 No. 1

Blacklight Vol. 3 No. 1
Blacklight Vol. 3 No. 1
August 1981

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Blacklight Home Page

Homophilia Semantics

By Dr. Charles Drake-Long

There is semantical irony in a title for an organization bearing the phrase "Black Gay." This irony is intelligible only when we look at the political etiology of the two words in the phrase.

"Black" rose out of the Black Power/Black Muslim movement. The Black Power Movement, with its machismotic Carmichaels and Cleavers locked homosexuals into closets. But that treatment was generous compared to that of the Black Muslims. A few months ago, as though past were prologue, a Black Muslim representative publicly called for the mass extermination of all homosexuals.

No sane homosexual would want to identify himself with the word "Black" as long as it will associate him with the oppressive politics of the Black Power Movement and the psychogenic religiosity of the Black Muslims. "Gay" rose out of the Stonewall Bar revolt in New York city's Greenwich Village.

Except for a few token "oreos" it is doubtful if there were as many as ten non-Whites in the Stonewall when police raided and closed it that night in 1969

Then, as today, White Gay males are disinterested in perpetuating anything other than separate homosexual communities, giving comfort to their compulsive ageism, genderism and racism. It was out of this compulsion that the word "Gay" was euphemized.

It applies that the word "Gay" is applicable only to White males and no non-White homosexual proud of his or her own ethnic heritage would identify with the word "Gay."

I must add that the word "homosexual" also carries negative connotations. It is the semantical referent for every traditionally negative interpretation. The World Health Organization, as opposed to the American Psychiatric community, continues to classify homosexuality as a "mental disorder."

We ought to be reminded that Andre Gidé was the author of some of the most profound literature in defense of homosexuality without ever labeling himself a "homosexual."

How shall we deal with such a quagmire? One must deal with it through semantics. This ought to pose a challenge to non-Whites to identify themselves semantically with labels which are free of established societal stigmas.

The words "Black" and "Gay" continue to carry negative connotations for aware, non-White "homosexuals." It is ignorant, myopic and naive to think that a non-White organization can reverse those negative connotations and suddenly imprint "Black Gay" into a positive image.

It is the time for the invention of a new phrase, new meaning and the implementation of a new order in the best interest of the life style of those who are non-White and homosexual.

What does one seek in a organization designed to represent those non-Whites? One seeks an organization which is unequivocally supportive and protective of one's ethnicity and sexuality. One looks for programs which promote positive images of that ethnicity and sexuality.

An atmosphere is then created for an identification alternative to what is "White," "Gay," or "homosexual." It is an atmosphere which is conducive to what is beautiful, worthy, respectful and exceptional about being non-White with a "homosexual" lifestyle.

AFRO-AMERICAN

The phrase "Afro-American" better identifies one's indigenous national origins than does the word "Black." Semantically there is no difference between the words "Black" and "Negro". Linguistically, Negro is Spanish for Black. Slaves from Africa were identified by their complexion rather than by their tribes, language or religion because Europeans were just as ignorant of African tribal principles and practices as African slaves were of European colonialism.

Historically, slaves from Africa were identified as "Negro" because their first exporters were Spaniards. It is because of these Europeans that the descendants of African slaves do not know if they were of a Yoruba or Swahili heritage. Full cognizance of the rich, grand and varied African heritage should make a descendant proud to identify with that heritage through a prefix such as "Afro."

AN AFFINITY LIFESTYLE

In the place of homosexual or Gay, I choose "Affinity." An organization bearing the words "Affinity" and "Afro-American" challenges the worn, scorned semantics of the past and present. It is fresh, new and liberating.

It is at least the level of inventive semantics which Afro-Americans with Affinity lifestyles need to begin to think about and apply to their organizations.

Citing two definitions of affinity as found in Webster's: [1] sympathy marked by community of interest and [2] a relation between biological groups involving resemblance in structural plan and indicating community of origin.

Then an "Affinitus Lifestyle Society" for Afro-Americans establishes and defines "affinity" as an attraction or marriage between two men. If that is the case, Webster will have to reflect that additional meaning by addendum.

Here are some titular variation: "The Affinity Lifestyle society for Afro-Americamen and/or Afro-Americawomen." "The Affinitus League for Afro-American." "The Affinitas Guild for Afro-Americans."

An affinity nomenclature can then be invented. A couple is "affined," rather than married. There relationship is an "affinal" rather than a marriage. One's mate is an "affinitus," or "affinita" rather than a husband or wife.

Homophilia semantics for Afro-Americans can bring about ethnic and affinitic unity and solidarity. Afro-American certainly cannot afford to aggravate the already existing oppression against them because of their heritage.

This does not mean that we have to become co-opted into the heritage of Whites. There is an Afro-American genius that is unique and potentially powerful. We ought to capture and command it.

END