Stay Sweet this Summer

By Deanna Davenport

Summer has made it to us (finally) and with warm weather fast approaching, there will be a lot of concerts and festivals, but there will also be a ton of rallies and parades. The ones I’m specifically references are the BLM rallies and the gayest event of the year: The Pride Parades. So, let’s take this opportunity to discuss something that will be a small and sad part, but still a part of those events, which is unintentional discrimination.

For those of you wondering “what’s unintentional discrimination and how does it happen when referencing BLM and LGBTQ”, I’ll tell you, curious soul. Unintentional discrimination is when people overlook the fact that there are other demographics that fit their demographic and make it difficult for those people to bring light to other issues that affect them. An example would be a Democrat who believes in the right to bear arms. They wouldn’t have a voice with other Dems because they don’t have majority opinion.

So, let’s get a little deeper into this particular issue by telling a story. I went to a convention with my college’s GSA called Show Me Pride. It’s an event that involves the college level GSAs of Missouri, but we don’t exclude the high school students that want to attend. A few years ago, I went to a QTPOC (Queer/Trans Person of Color) caucus and a young Black lady talked about her experience at a Pride parade in her area. She, and a group of Black LGBTQ+ youth went to the parade to let their queer peers know that BLM stands with them because that organization has plenty of people that identify as non-straight. When they arrived with their sign and walked with the others, they were greeted by the ending of some music /applause and a few voices saying, “All lives matter”. They were ultimately humiliated and went home with what I assume to be the feeling that they don’t actually belong.

As a small side note and to explain why “all lives matter” is anti-BLM, here’s a hypothetical: If you are at a table with people who have plates of great food, and your plate is empty, the last thing you would want to hear in reply to your “I deserve to eat” is “everyone deserves to eat”. They aren’t the ones going hungry, so they don’t need the assistance that you needed when you spoke up. You are not the ones fearing for your life when being pulled over, so you don’t need the assistance that is still needed when people chant “Black lives matter” in the streets. End of metaphor.

Back to the point I was making, I’ll tell a story highlighting the other side of this problem. This time, it’s mine. During an event for the young Black people of Illinois, I had a very in-depth discussion with another woman about some of the ways for people to get involved and change their paths besides going to rallies and protests. She said I had plenty of great ideas and that I should speak to the group about them. I told her I had more and she was excited to hear them until a woman from the other side of the room came over to me and handed me her number, flirting. I took it and after she left, the woman I was speaking to asked, “You’re going to throw that away, right?” I responded by saying the girl was cute and she got up in the middle of my sentence to scratch my name of the list of impromptu speakers. She returned to say, “This is one cause. We can’t have it derailed by someone fighting for another.” Those words stuck with me.

Here’s the thing. We all have multiple causes. I’m Black, so I support causes that uplift Black people. I’m a woman, so I support feminist causes. My great-aunt died from pancreatic cancer, so anything that funds cancer research has my attention. We are not one-dimensional individuals with linear personalities. We have different feelings, demographics, and opinions that nobody else fits perfectly. The only thing we can do is respect each other and listen. Being into the same sex in a room of people fitting your race doesn’t make you less of that race and being that race in a room of people who aren’t straight doesn’t make you any straighter.

I know the summer comes with high temperatures and sometimes high tensions. I had been beyond irritable on some days that landed over 85 degrees. Keep in mind that others have feelings and personalities that can’t be considered irrelevant just because you think it’s inappropriate for the day. Almost everyone has a story of discrimination. Try not to be the star of someone else’s.