Xenophobia and Black America

Homophobia is a huge deal in Black America as well as across Africa and her diaspora. It is spurred by the idea that same sex intimacy is a natural abomination. There are communities in Africa where it is politically mandated that such people are excommunicated or executed. Things are not much different on this side of the pond where violence against homosexuals ranges from grade school bullying to job discrimination, familial alienation, social harassment, and homicide. That’s an interesting word– homicide. It’s prefix, homo mean same. It is the same prefix that defines us as physical beings- homo sapiens. In essence, homicide is when mankind takes the life of one of his own.

That brings us to the issue of xenophobia. It’s interesting because we can easily see it when discussions of racism, the holocaust, or African genocides are raised. But we do not so readily recognize it in our daily interactions with our fellow person. Xenophobia is a fear of the foreign or strange for no other reason than that it is foreign or strange. Fear is what we feel when we feel threatened by or do not understand a thing.

With that in mind, let’s jump back to ancient handlings of homosexuals. Often, we are told of those cultures who shunned them. But let’s bring some context.  First, among indigenous peoples, homosexuality does not seem to have been as common an occurrence as it is now. It would have been a jarring circumstance for the traditional customs of the land. I’m not saying it was right for these people to be treated harshly. In fairness, though, anything that was different was treated harshly under some of the ancient traditional cultures. Still, there are others that held a reverence for those who walked in both the masculine and feminine worlds. They were considered gifted and a blessing to the tribe. I’m not seeking to say that either was right or wrong, only to add some texture to the conversation as to what our ancestors would do. Many today justify their prejudices by a skewed view of the ancestors.

We argue now that the existence of same sex intimacy breaks down the family, reduces our genetic population. But don’t we have so many other things to consider before we should feel at liberty to make more of us? Don’t we want to make amends to the family, as it has become, before we bring more members into it? As I stated before, it seems that homosexuality was a rare thing in the ancient world. You have to wonder what makes it so common place now. Many will point to the media, the air, the food, the water, the lifestyle, the politics. And they would not be wrong. But they would not be at the root. At the root we have the nature of mankind who is a natural being governed by natural law. So, often we are awed by the ability of our planet earth to reclaim her wild places after instances where we, mankind, thought we had pushed her to the brink of desolation. Always, never once failing, she proves that she thrives in our absence no matter how deeply we scar her prior to our departure. If any suffer, it is us and those living around us at the time of our folly. Disease, radiation poisoning, pollution, cancers, epidemics are all of our design. All evil dies away upon our departure. Now, wonder why homosexuality is so rampant. The people, nor their actions, are evil. Among them, as in every faction of our human family are creatives, lovers, parents. They are not here to bring the downfall of any one. They are a natural phenomenon. We are not wise to point a finger at them. Homophobia is a brilliant display of xenophobia and our unwillingness to seek and adhere to deep understanding which always lends itself to love and life.

Why am I putting so much effort into talks of gays when I am not gay? I don’t have any apparent dog in the gay fight.. The plight of the gays is one that stretches across every boundary mankind has set for himself. So, it is perfect for illustrating a singular thing that affects us all—a lack of knowing or willingness to live in accordance with the natural world, seeking instead to yell out when we are hit by the stones we ourselves have thrown and expecting the culprit to be tried and executed, yet not willing to suffer a day for our own retribution and deliverance. As above, so below. Everything we perceive on the physical plane is a representation of the condition of our own soul draped in cloaks fashioned by our triumphs and iniquities .

When we look at issues of gentrification, mass incarceration/modern day slavery, it is the same. We do not want ppl to take our properties or our freedoms, yet we do little that shows any appreciation of them. It is natural law, whether you believe in “The Secret” based law of gratitude or giving praise to an unseen benevolent being in exchange for blessings, or just basic decency, showing appreciation brings increase. To appreciate means to recognize value and help a thing reach and increase its value. Neither in our own selves, our families, or our communities do we, as a conglomerate, find ourselves acting appreciatively. So, when others show that appreciation, we should expect the yields we would have had to fall to them.

This is when talks of Black Wall Street, Jim Crow, Modern Day Jim Crow, etc. enter the conversation. You are not wrong. We are beset on all sides. Our culture has been stripped. So many of us don’t even have an anchor to hold to know for what we are fighting. We’re in a bad fix. Just living to eat, not eating to live. What do you do when your best efforts and your brightest stars have fallen? Common knowledge says, if you can’t beat em’ join em’. But they don’t really let us in, do they? Left in squalor we have become degenerate and bitter. All we know is that we are Black and the way we are living is unnatural and we want up out of that hole.

We lie, cheat, steal, kill, assimilate. We organize, patronize, lionize. Wear dashikis and headwraps. Say chants, perform séances tryna get our groove back. But the problem is, we don’t know where our groove’s at. We think it’s behind the gilded walls of those who would silence our voices until our throats are sore with words unspoken, spirits broken by actions not taken. By us. Or them. But our groove, our soul is in us always and it comes from a place that does not begin, does not die at the whims of men. We want to bring down our fellow homosapien, as though we are unware that our current plight is brought on and sustained by man’s disaccord with natural law. It is not what a man has done to us. But what we do as mankind. Humankind or whatever you call this physical form. We simply have forgotten our own soul.

Our spirit is one that is beautiful, strong, and wise. We have forsaken it under the guise of defeat. It is one that cannot be possessed by another. Yet, we put the ideal of our salvation into what the actions of another will look like. The actions of another are not our concern except in that we should know our own nature and thereby know the nature of all and be prepared to deal wisely with all. Who told you that you are black and another is white or Asian or Mexican? Colors, nationalities, ethnicities. What is all of this? There is man and beast and earth. All resonate at a frequency that is telling of a certain character. Color has it’s place in determinations of character or being. But a red rose is not a red tulip. To form conclusions based on one characteristic is not wise or scientific. To follow those who do so simply bc they used such prejudice as a ploy to gain power only means that, if you are to gain power, you too will have the results that they enjoy and suffer. This is not a time of ‘if you can’t beat em’ join em’. This is a time to live in accordance with something greater ‘by any means necessary’.

Perhaps, there are not enough who would support living in accordance with the law of love and life. Perhaps such a union would draw the ire of the powers that be and the plight Black Wall Street would replay itself. I say that Black Wall Street is a triumph in that we saw what the most downtrodden of people can do when they put their full effort into it. Also, it is a triumph because it taught us what a coward will do when he knows the jig is up. The only flaw I see in it, which is mor a circumstance of the time than a miscalculation of the people is that it would have done well to be more dispersed and diverse. Fortunately, that is the very state in which we currently find ourselves. What did he who you would call your enemy do on 9/11. He said he would rebuild. He did not cower. We have so many veterans trained by him. Appreciate his lessons. Is being alive so much more important than living. Our prison is one built and kept by our own compliance. Yes, we have an enemy whose trademark is genocide. We may all suffer. Our story may become obscure. But it is not a story with an owner. It is the story of Life. If we have not appreciated this life, we will suffer anyway. Is there any honor in prolonging the inevitable if our demise is to be? But what if a miraculous thing happens and for each time the torch wavers there is one to take it up. Mankind and the earth that is his home is dying. Will we continue to do the same and expect different results? Or will we join creating that thing that we innately know is for us.

I wrote this with Black people in mind. In truth though, the injustices so apparent in Black life are happening all over the globe to every shade of man. Black people, in my humble observation, should, then, be the very ones to say that the 1st thing we will shun is prejudice based on a xenophobic mindset and instead embrace and nurture all things discerningly from all people that are appreciative of love and life. Many will say that original Africans are the prism through which the spectrum of man is shown. How appropriate it would be to embrace ourselves in a new light. This seems so much more genuine to the nature of man and Blackness than adopting the bitterness and abusiveness of one we would call our open enemy for the very reason of said bitterness and abusiveness. Indeed, it seems much more reasonable to embrace that which is admirable.

I’m not saying to reject the world. I’m saying to accept and appreciate all that is good in the world regardless of the package in which it is delivered. And, I’m saying to do so with great fervor as the scourge is upon us. Just as with our Mother Earth, no matter what has scarred us, when we are true to the best of our nature, we thrive.


Liza Nicole

Liza Nicole Epps is owner of Trinichi Unltd., LLC. She is a mother of 2 and lover of art, culture, and history.

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