Sub- Saharan African Culture and Homosexuality

african itimacies

The book African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization by Neville Hoad, was created in 2007. Hoad is an associate professor for English and women’s studies at Columbia University. Some of his research interests are queer theory, psychoanalysis, and lesbian and gay studies. The book gives a history of sexuality in Africa.  The book goes through about 100 years of African history specifically dealing with colonialism, how “homosexuality” came about through change in African politics. He explains what sexuality is and how we can’t apply the terms that we use in our culture in the United Stated to Sub-Saharan African culture. Hoad, does an overview of time in Africa starting from the blossoming of a Christian nation in the late 19th century, into the current 21st century Africa views on sexuality.

The book discussed Africa in 1886 (before Christianity became their main religion) the last indigenous leader killed men for refusing to have sex with him. This indicates that men having sex with men was not viewed as a negative homosexual experience but instead as a masculine thing to do. If you fast forward to the 1990’s, leaders from Kenya, Uganda, and Namibia expressed how unnatural it is for anyone other than a man and a woman to get married. HIV had become an important reason for why homosexuality is looked down upon but they don’t acknowledge how HIV is mostly transferred through heterosexual contact in Sub-Saharan Africa. The book then begins to delve into what the term “homosexual” truly means. Hoad states that homosexuality is imaginary because he studied its discourse. This came about in their history and “homosexuality is a small and not obvious thread in this wider tapestry of space, desire, and identity. Race is the big one.” Sometimes it is seen as a negative thing where other times it is not.

This book relates to queer culture because it talks about how homosexuality can be viewed differently depending on the culture you are immersed in. Quoted in the book, (Will Roscoe and Stephen O. Murray) Murray and Roscoe argue that telling people to use caution when using the word homosexuality because that word doesn’t always fit into people’s practices.. In the 1980’s, when lesbian and gay studies became a field, there was a controversy over the idea of homosexuality being socially constructed. In America we tend to throw around the words “homosexual” and “gay” but fail to realize what amount of power that word has or does not have. In the case of Africa culture, before Christianity, men having sex with other men was not forbidden or looked at as odd. After Christianity appeared, rules came in place and relationships were viewed about differently. This is important because it points out how cultural change affected the outlook of the people within African communities. Christianity is that something that was projected onto a large group of people and it ultimately changed aspects of societal views on sexuality which once was not an issue.

In class we discussed Freudian and Foucault views on sexuality. Freud identified inverts as people that are lesbian or gay. He believed that inversion could be observed in childhood so it must be a result of unconscious drives common to all people. Foucault on the other hand did not like Freud at all and had views of his own about homosexuality. He believes that your sexuality becomes your identity through understanding who you are based off of a concept that was created by a medical, psychiatric discourse. This discourse is part of the colonial project, transforming Sub-Saharan Africa to a Christian nation. For example, a person identifies as gay or lesbian because we put a bunch of terms together that go under the category of the terms “gay” or “lesbian” and then we take the term and apply it to ourselves. Race is also participating in the same discursive system in Africa because race once did not matter but now it has come to the people’s consciousness partially due to this colonial project.

I believe that points made by Freud and Foucault can be comparable to the book. Freud believes that homosexuality is something in people’s unconscious and anyone is capable of it. This goes along with the idea that homosexuality is innate but it is only expressed through the culture we are in. If our environment is accepting of the behavior then it is acted upon and in Freud’s time period, homosexuality was viewed as disgust. Foucault offered a socially constructed view which the book also tried to make a point of since the term homosexuality only exists due to our society. Just as Hoad mentioned, we can’t use that term everywhere because it may lack meaning depending on the culture a person is in.

Labels and Sexuality

The heart of today’s newer generation of LGBT members beats a little differently than its predecessors. The stereotypical assumptions of queer people have started to fade as more and more of our youth choose to present themselves without trying to make a statement. This activist lifestyle seems to be losing its popularity, but there is always something to replace what we deem outdated. Instead of choosing an identity and advocating for it, the newer members of today’s community choose a more “you do you” lifestyle, rejecting labels and seeking to just be rather than be criticized or stigmatized for being categorized. No more is sexuality a structured entity containing stereotypes, but a continuum consisting of many ways of living your life and expressing yourself.

“I don’t need language, I don’t need a

categorizing word”

In ant interview last October with Oprah, Raven Symoné received criticism, not only for not identifying as a lesbian (despite her current relationship status with her female partner), but for going so far as not labeling herself as a black woman either; even Oprah was a little off put by the latter. After giving an ambiguous answer to Oprah’s question pertaining to what sexuality Symoné identified with, Symoné also went on to say that she didn’t need words or language to specify what she felt or who she chose to be. She firmly stated that she did not want to be labeled gay or black, but to be labeled as human, as an American, as an unlabeled person who can connect with anyone of any culture. And she’s not the only one who feels this way; YouTube is home to countless self-made videos on the same topic. One in particular makes a very good point, saying that we naturally like to categorize and label in order to help us understand the complexities of people. Just like our feelings, our sexuality too isn’t black and white, and the pressure to choose a label can be daunting to many who just don’t feel like they need to fit into a certain type. This refusal to take on a label is becoming more popular, but isn’t necessarily new. Walt Whitman is a prime example of someone who chooses to show all the signs, yet deny anything relating himself to a certain lifestyle.

In his collection “Live Oak, With Moss”, a series of twelve poems spread throughout his third edition of “Leaves of Grass,” Whitman alludes to many intimate encounters with another person. What’s so significant though is how suggestive it is of a homosexual one. There are no specific names for this person’s role in his life (like a wife or girlfriend), only the times he refers to this person as a lover or friend. He also 220px-Walt_Whitman,_steel_engraving,_July_1854frequently addresses this person with “you,” avoiding a gender. However, there are several times when he does use a gender pronoun. In his third poem he says “…for he I love is returned and sleeping by my side,” and that seems to say a lot to John Addington Symonds, who goes on to write and question Whitman about this, the “perplexity about the doctrine of ‘manly love’” and “propagating a passionate affection between men.” Of course, Whitman replies by denying such “morbid inferences,” and just to prove he’s not not straight, he states that he has six children. Although this seems like a cover-up, I can’t say Whitman knows what he is covering up for.

Like the modern day figure, Raven Symoné, Whitman too denies certain labels without explicitly saying what he is. It seems to me that Symoné chooses to stray away from labels in order to preserve her personal life and live without criticism from the subcultures she would be categorized in. Similarly, Whitman also tries to protect his personal life, but his professional life is on the line as well. There is no denying the irony of him voluntarily exposing himself in “Leaves of Grass.” There lays a similar undertone between the two, and the thousands of LGBT members today; that undertone that speaks of being a human without having to be labeled and associated with stereotypes, nothing more nothing less.

Queering Racist Symbols

While watching the movie “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar”, I was so wrapped up in the plot that I did not notice the big details. One of the larger details that I missed that was brought up in class is the moment in the film when RuPaul dressed in the confederate flag at a drag ball. The ball occurs in the beginning of the film; the three main characters are in a competition to take the ball’s title. RuPaul is introduced as last year’s winner and makes her début donning the glamorous confederate flag gown. RuPaul is one of the most widely known drag queens. She is an actor, recording artist, television show host, and has been the face of drag queens for quite some time.

Not only is RuPaul’s dress made from the confederate flag, but also the dress is made to be very extravagant and glittered. RuPaul has taken the very negative symbol that goes against even aspect of her character – black male, queer, drag queen – and turned it into a freaking dress. If that is not a huge   to the confederate flag and its meaning, I do not know what is.

RuConfed

There has been a controversial debate around what the confederate flag represents. Some people believe it is a symbol of southern pride – while most recognize the confederate flag as a symbol of racism and a reference to the horrible acts perpetuated against black people during that time. The flag also represents white supremacy and the push that happened against the civil rights movement. In my opinion, if the confederate flag is considered a symbol of southern pride, we have to take into consideration the period in which this represents. The south openly embraced slavery and the lynching of black peoples during the time the confederate flag was embraced. It is also important to note that this era has not ended, these acts have just changed form and are still perpetrated in a different manner. Southern pride must include that history so if you are claiming to embrace racist ideals. During the time of the confederate flag, this was also southern pride:

The only difference between these two images is that this image cannot be put on a flag and be mainstream.

Why is RuPaul wearing this symbol of racism and white supremacy?

Elizabeth Freeman would describe this phenomenon in terms of “temporal drag”. According to Freeman’s piece “Time Binds”, “temporal drag is a productive obstacle to progress, a usefully distorting pull backward, and a necessary pressure on the present tense”. Temporal drag is when a specific object representing a certain culture is revamped. This remaking is meant to conjure memories of the past, but not continuing or mocking it; it is remodeled for a different reason.

I agree with partially with Freeman’s concept of temporal drag. I agree with the notion of an object of the past being created into a new entity, however, I do feel like RuPaul was mocking it. I believe she was showing that the flag meant absolutely nothing and was just another piece of fabric. Drag queens are known for two actions: performing and “reading”. Reading, in drag queen terms, is a form of publicly making fun of someone. I believe RuPaul was definitely reading those individuals who embrace that flag by making it into a dress and performing for those at the ball. She was demonstrating how much she did not care about the meaning of the confederate flag and showing the lack of respect for it. The flag means the world to some people and she was showing them that the flag and it meaning actually meant nothing.

In carrying out this performative reading, I believe RuPaul is concurrently reaching for something else, something deeper. As Jose Munoz said in his novel “Cruising Utopia”, “Turning to the aesthetic in the case of queerness is nothing like an escape from the social realm, insofar as queer aesthetics map future social relations. Queerness is also a performative because it is not simply a being but a doing for and toward the future. Queerness is essentially about the rejection of a here and now and an insistence on potentiality or concrete possibility for another world.” In a way, I believe RuPaul was performing the acceptance of all people. By making that flag into an extravagant gown, she is rejecting white supremacy and the systems that are created by that supremacy which oppress groups of people.

I believe there are many reasons why RuPaul decided to wear that dress instead of verbalizing her opinion. However, the main reason could be that she did not want to spend time explaining how she felt to those who would questioned her.

Audre Lorde said it best, “Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.” Why should those that are oppressed explain their plights and their feelings to the oppressors? In order to avoid that explanation, RuPaul decided to wear that gown instead of speaking her feelings. If the oppressors want to understand the oppressed, they need to do research of their own instead expecting the oppressed to explain everything.

#LoveisLove CondividiLove

If we take a look at at world map of same sex marriage, we can see how progressive western Europe has been. But there is one country on the map that has not had the same progression.

Since 1890 in Italy, for both males and females homosexuality has been legal, but same-sex couples and households are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples. Although discrimination regarding sexual orientation in employment has been banned since 2003, no other anti-discrimination laws regarding sexual orientation have been enacted yet. This is largely due to the influence of the Catholic Church in Italy.  The church has been strict with its laws concerning homosexuality. Even though Pope Francis has made efforts to reform the church and make it more open, saying that the church should support gay families, he has encountered resistance from some traditionalists. With the issue of gay marriage being talked about all over the world, a new campaign has been launched in Italy to get the conversation started in their country. CondividiLove is an internet campaign on Facebook, Youtube, and website. The name translated into english means “share love” and that is the main goal of this campaign.

This video features couples, gay and straight, embracing and showing their love with their arms and shoulders creating a heart. The video was also turned into posters that made their way to tumblr.

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Tumblr has a pretty substantial LGBTQ+ community and so photos and campaigns like this tend to get many “notes”: similar to likes, shares and comments on facebook. Tumblr’s format allows for users to blog anonymously and customise their blogs to their tastes and I think this is why many people in the LGBTQ+ community has found refuge in it. The users of the site consider themselves proactive for the most part with many issues like gay marriage, gender equality and racial issues.

One of the issues that several tumblr users brought up was that all the couples featured were white. The popular of Italy is largely white and the campaign was for the citizens there. A user spoke on behalf of this issue:

Not everywhere is as mixed as North America. You go to places like Japan and it would be really weird to see a white person in their ad, it’s no different for places like Italy and Germany where people are mostly white. In North American we seem to have a decently even mix in a lot of areas so it’s a little off-putting when there’s only a certain race -generally all white people- depicted, where it’s completely normal and would appear really strange otherwise for other countries. Like you wouldn’t go to China and demand they show white people in their ads there, so why would you do the same for a country that has very few PoC compared to it’s population?

One Italian user was very upset about that someone brought up the race issue.

Seriously, I am Italian, and FUCK YOU. Our country has huge problems with homophobia, there isn’t even one single law to protect homosexuals. Most European countries have legalized marriage and adoption (or at least talked about it), but not Italy. The Catholic community does everything they can to block the law against homophobia. Last month, a 14 years-old killed himself because he was gay. You have no idea how much that kind of thing matters in Italy, all you can fucking do is whine about Tumblr about the fact that they are all white. Yes, in Italy the majority of the population is indeed white. Not the rest of the world is like fucking North America.

I think this users harsh reaction shows just how important campaigns like this are to the citizens of Italy. It brings issues like gay marriage into the spotlight so that conversations can be opened up. Hopefully the CondividiLove campaign will continue to grow and will aid in allowing for more gay rights in Italy.

 

Still Black: A Portrait of Black Trans Men

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Still Black: A Portrait of Black Trans Men is an American documentary produced in 2008 by filmmaker, artist, activist, producer, writer, entrepreneur, and trans man Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler. Much of Ziegler’s works focus on race, sexuality, and transgenderism. Ziegler was born December 15, 1980 in Compton, California, and currently resides in Oakland, California. He was the not only the first graduate, but the first African-American to receive a PhD from Northwestern University in African-American Studies. He also has received a master’s in African-American studies, and ethnic studies, as well as a B.A in film and digital media. Ziegler has received numerous recognitions and awards. He was nominated in 2012 for a transguy community award for best blog, was nominated in 2013 for a GLAAD Media Award for outstanding blog, and was honored in 2013 for the Authentic Life award by the Transgender Law Center. He is a strong advocate of social justice, and empowerment of the transgender community, specifically with black trans men.

His movie Still Black: A Portrait of Black Trans Men is one of his most cherished and credited  works. The documentary features the stories of six black transmen from diverse backgrounds in different parts of the United States at different stages in their lives. Ziegler interviews activists, teachers, students, and more to tell their story of transition, the relationships they have with family as well as the outside world, and how being a black trans man has negative stereotypes and stigmas not only from being trans, but also from being a black man. It aims to empower black trans men while also making their struggle known to heteronormative society as well as the LGBTQ community. It shows how the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality all come into play in the LGBTQ community as a whole.

Queer culture is evident throughout the entire documentary. It shows the lives of men living outside of the rules of a very heteronormative society. It shows them bending and pushing the boundaries of a rigid gender binary simply by having each man tell their story. Each man, though in different stages of life carried a sense of pride about being a trans man and openly own that identity. Kylar Broadus, an interviewee in the film, mentions this about being transsexual when asked if he ever regretted transitioning:

I never look back a day. Never regretted one day my decision because it was life or death for me at that point, and it wouldn’t be worth living if I wasn’t living who I am.

This blatant acclimation of self-pride and recognition that to conform to societies norms would be his downfall, automatically puts him and every other trans man outside the box. I believe making this an interesting addition to the archive.

A common theme within the documentary was the issue of what being a man is and learning how to become the man you want to be, as well as the discrepancy they felt pre transition. Leslie Feinberg states “Our lives prove that sex and gender are much more complex than a delivery room doctor’s glance at genitals can determine, more variegated than pink or blue birth caps.” The documentary and the stories of these men prove Feinberg’s point that gender is complex and cannot always be simply divided into male and female based off of a person’s biological genitalia. How a person self identifies and feels is just as important as biological sex enforcing the theme of how discrepancy and dissonance pretransition can arise within transmen. Louis Mitchell simply put it “Being an man and having a period sucks”.  Most men mention feeling the need to conform to societies views of gender by initially portraying themselves as lesbians, all the while feeling like that wasn’t who they truly were until they’ve had enough

I’m beginning a relationship with my body after so many years of pretending it wasn’t there

– Louis Mitchell

 Judith Butler states “Gender performativity is not a matter of choosing which gender one will be today. Performativity is a matter of reiterating or repeating the norms by which one is constituted”. Performativity has been a part of everyday life since birth, which was evident in these trans men’s stories. Each one in some way stated how figuring out what type of man to be or how to change their mannerism’s was a struggle and learning process.  This performativity had lasting effects on these individuals, as one man mentioned that as a female he was taught to not look people in the eyes, but as a man it is the opposite, but he still has trouble looking both men and woman in the eyes. Then as the documentary began to intersect race it became more complex. Ethan Young mentions that the only depictions people see of black men are either criminals or gangsters but he was neither of those, leading him to question where that leaves him. Each man had to learn to shake off the performativity aspect and learn to be a man of their own.

I’m already the man I want to be I just have to live it. I’m not doing this to make my life easy or hard. It’s not a choice that I have it something I have to do to be comfortable and live.

– Ethan Young

blackademic

For all of us in this crowd who fuck with ideas of masculinity, femininity, maleness, femaleness, boy, girl, man, woman, sir, madam, Mr., Mrs., and Ms.–and look incredibly sexy while doing it.

  • Kortney Ryan Ziegler, Trans March 2013

“Del LaGrace Volcano: A Mid-Career Retrospective”

Del LaGrace Volcano is a visual producer and cultural producer born in California, but based in Sweden. Del LaGrace was born with male and female characteristics and was raised as a girl, but now Del lives life as a man and a woman. Though Volcano is not as well known in the United States as they are in Europe, they came back to the United States with the intention of broadening our horizons and exploring the nature of gender and different sexual identities. Volcano’s art exhibit “Del LaGrace Volcano: A Mid-Career Retrospective” in particular is what I aim to explore because it makes the viewer think about what gender and sexual identities are and how they relate to race and other social constructs. This exhibit began in September of 2012 and ended in November of 2012 in the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, located in New York.

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Del LaGrace’s exhibit explored many aspects of what gender is and how it is portrayed in today’s society. One of the portraits on display, entitled “Del LaGrace Volcano, Self-Portrait Collaboration with Gerard Rancinan I, Paris, 2004” is of him/herself wearing a skirt while still maintaining his/her sense of masculinity. This piece is meant to display how masculinity and femininity do not have to take turns being displayed; rather they can be displayed at the same time and can still be beautiful and empowering. Del LaGrace is also holding a body-building pose which plays more into the masculine aspect of this piece, like they are saying “skirts do not make me anymore feminine or masculine, and neither does this pose.” Volcano wants to defy the norm and show that normality is what is weird.

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Del LaGrace also explores drag in black culture. Their piece “Dred: BigDaddyMomma, New York City, 1997” is a picture of a woman dressed as a man, which shows that these things go both ways. It is not always a man who wants to be a woman, but rather women want to be men too. Another thing that is so prominent in this piece is the fact that, whether she wanted to keep them intentionally or not, she still has breasts and utilizes them with her drag. She still exudes a confident masculinity. Volcano wants to display that even in black culture—which tends to be stereotyped as a culture in which women are overly sexual and feminine and men are overly masculine and dominant—there are people who deviate from a perceived norm.

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The last piece that I looked at was Del LaGrace’s “Liminality (Self-Portrait), 2004” the symbolism in this piece is much more prominent than the other pieces that I have looked at. In the first one, it was more a display of confidence and acceptance. In the second one, it was more a display of the act that there are exceptions to the norm in different cultures and amongst different races that may not get as much representation as they should—and it was important to see it displayed. This final piece is another self-portrait and he/she is pressed up against a piece of glass and he/she is absolutely covered in shaving cream. The thing that draws the most attention is the fact the Volcano is pressed up against this piece of glass, almost as if being pressed into society and symbolic of being almost forced into societal roles. This piece is so indicative of how Del LaGrace feels about the norms that dictate society. It also looks like he/she is pushing away, as if he/she is trying to become his/person. This is supposed to be symbolic of what it is like and what it was like for him/her to accept the intersex aspect of his/her life and adjusting to it to become his/her own person.

These pieces on their own and as a collection display the differences in intersex and transgender culture and portray them in a way that they would feel and look beautiful and symbolize something on a deeper level. This art exhibit pushed the limit of how people think about people and this community in general. Del LaGrace knows what he/she is about and knows that pushing people to realize that there is now such thing as a normal gender, or even a normal sense of gender, brings attention and representation to intersexuality, drag, and transgender culture.

Mia McKenzie – The Thing About Being A Little Black Girl In the World: For Quvenzhané Wallis

“To be a black girl in the world is to be nothing. To be a black girl in the world is to be dismissed and dehumanized at every corner of the globe, every single day. To be brilliant and a black girl is, in many people’s minds, an oxymoron. An impossibility.”

Mia McKenzie, a black feminist who identifies as queer, uses her experiences through the intersection of her identities to write inspirational novels. She also created a blog titled “Black Girl Dangerous” which is an open forum for Queer and Trans* people of color (QTPOC). This blog is the only online forum of its kind. This blog tackles issues dealing with race, resistance, transgender, queer, current events, gender, feminism, wellness, community, solidarity, education, family, and even some humor. It features 200 writers who fall under QTPOC from 3 different countries who constantly share their life experiences and thoughts, which averages about 500 readers from every continent.

Sifting through the archives of Mia McKenzie’s Black Girl Dangerous blog, I searched for something that spoke to me but still related to gender. I came across an article on a young Black girl by the name of Quvenzhané Wallis that spoke to my heart titled, “The Thing About Being A Little Black Girl In the World: For Quvenzhané Wallis”. Mia McKenzie wrote it on February 25, 2013. For those who do not know, Ms. Wallis is an actress who played roles in 12 Years a Slave, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and the newest rendition of Annie. In addition, she is the youngest person EVER to be nominated for an Oscar Award.

I am lucky. Because I know what I am.

And knowing makes me dangerous.

I see this article as queer culture and as queering normative culture. I deem the article queer culture because an individual who identifies as a queer person of color wrote it. In addition, I view it as queering normative culture because it describes Quvenzhané and the plight she experienced for playing Annie. The writers of the revised Annie took “normal” little orphan Annie (a little freckled, White, redhead) and completely changed her to be a Black, brown-haired girl. The norm was taken and flipped into something different – something queer. Lastly, I view this piece as queering normative culture because McKenzie is doing something mainstream media refuses to do: she is telling Black women they matter and she is expressing just how inspirational and important they are. While normal culture is trying to change Black women, McKenzie is telling them they are amazing just as they are.

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“The thing about being a little black girl in the world is that even when you are the youngest person ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, many people will use the occasion not to hold you up for all of the amazing things you obviously are, but to tear you down for the ways you don’t look like them, the ways your name isn’t their kind of right, the ways you don’t remind them of themselves, the ways you are not blonde or blue-eyed, as if those things could possibly matter when set against the otherwordly talent and beauty and brilliance you possess.”

McKenzie’s article describes just how hard it is to be a Black girl (or even woman) in America. She begins her piece by describing how despite the level of greatness a woman holds, in particular Black women, because they don’t look like the perceived norm, people will find reasons to discredit these women and make them seem worthless. This relates to a class discussion on the ideal woman and what we believe a woman is. Since Wallis doesn’t fit into that category of white, skinny, housewifeness, she tends to be seen as less than a woman. (In her case, less than a girl). The fact that Quvenzhané is the youngest PERSON, man or woman, to be nominated for an Academy award is an astounding fact in and of itself, so why isn’t she treated as greatness? Instead, she was faced with this ignorance. Quvenzhané has made large strides for someone of her age and that fact should be recognized.

“The thing about being a little black girl in the world who is already, at nine years old, confident enough to demand that lazy, disrespectful reporters call you by your name, is that most people will not understand the amount of comfort in one’s own skin it takes to do that, will not be able to grasp the sheer fierceness of it, the boldness, the certainty, the love for yourself, and will not be blown away at seeing you do it, though they should be.”

Mia McKenzie continues her piece by describing the confidence and courage Quvenzhané had to correct an Associated Press reporter who said she would just call her “Annie” instead of attempting to pronounce her name. This reminded me of a quote I heard once from Uzo Abuda, “Without missing a beat, [my mother] said, ‘If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.'” Why didn’t the reporter attempt to say Quvenzhané’s name? Is it because she is Black? Is it because she is a female? Successful white men haven’t had an issue with individuals giving them nicknames because their names were too hard to pronounce, so why must women be subjected to such disrespect?

“The thing about being a little black girl in the world is that your right to be a child, to be small and innocent and protected, will be ignored and you will be seen as a tiny adult, a tiny black adult, and as such will be susceptible to all the offenses that people two and three and four times your age are expected to endure.”

Quvenzhané has been attacked from many sides, but mainly in regards to her race and to her gender. At the time when most of these attacks occurred, she was 9 years of age. McKenzie describes the harsh reality for women and men of color: they have no innocence; they are just seen as little adults. Wallis is expected to defend herself and deal with all of this ignorance at such a young age and she handles herself extremely maturely.

The issues of this article mainly pertain to women, women of color. Men don’t have to deal with these issues because they hold power in society. But why? What is so special about gender that allow men to be able to live life without having to worry about such issues?

Kirsten Savali says it best,Shirley Chisholm once said that ‘the emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, “It’s a girl.” For Black women, go ahead and add racial objectification to the list.’ And if the case of a 9-year-old Black girl has taught us anything, it’s that when it comes to combating intersecting cases of racism and sexism, don’t be surprised if we’re all we got.”