Check out my full #BADASS video interview and more photos from the shoot here: Dame Inspired
Check me out on the new episode of Stereotypes talking about “Good Hair”. I even get some jokes in at the end with Ryan Hall. ;)
Check the preview of my #BADASS feature up now on dameinspired.com!
Written by Karlie Hustle [@thekarliehustle on twitter]
I’d like to first make it clear that I am not some moral high ground nor am I an authority on anything. I am simply a human being who has stopped trying to change the world and started trying to change a few minds. I have been outspoken on the topics of racism, classism, sexism and homophobia since the late 90s, using the internet as a tool to share my thoughts.
In my work as an activist and ally, I have made mistakes. I have used improper terminology, even in my effort to advocate for a person or a group of people. I am lucky enough to have had individuals who either publicly or privately pulled me aside and said “Karlie, you’re wrong. And here’s why.” Instead of being or remaining defensive, I listened and I learned. I apologized. I changed.
As a result of the Mister Cee “scandal”, homophobia and transphobia have been allowed to run a muck in many circles in hip-hop, particularly online. The clear effort to dehumanize people due to their gender expression or sexual preference is real and, even scarier, accepted as the norm. In the event that homophobia and transphobia are challenged, silencing is used as a tactic to sweep the issue under the rug. Apparently that’s “just the way hip-hop is”. This brand of blind acceptance and complacency has remained the enemy of progress for centuries.
Homophobia in hip-hop is riddled with the notion that oppression toward the LGBTQ community is somehow totally disconnected from the race and class oppression addressed in the contents of so much of hip-hop’s music. My argument is not to align the perils of racism/classism with the perils of homophobia/transphobia and make them the same. They are not the same. What is more appropriate is the acknowledgment that the hatred and dehumanization of any group of people is problematic and the consequences are very real across the board.
Rather than suggest that the experiences of all marginalized people are homogenous in order to relate, we are better served to simply confront the core issue of oppression itself. Oppression need not be measured, compared nor contrasted in order to surmise that it is detrimental to humanity regardless of the targeted group. My story does not have to be the same as yours in order to see merit in the idea that categorizing people within a hierarchy based on race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc. is dangerous.
Hip-hop understands the constructs of race and class very well, but is in clear denial about the consequences of sexism and homophobia. There is a lack of willingness to address how detrimental these constructs are due to the *perceived* benefits reaped by the oppressors. How do many oppressed people cope with oppression? Find someone else on the totem pole of oppression to oppress. As long as there is another person or group to dominate, we feel somehow satiated. Needless to say, this is a backwards hustle.
The cycle of oppression will continue as long as we cope with being disenfranchised by heaping our angst on the next group in line. Oppression can only exist as an ecosystem. Racism cannot exist unless it is shaking hands with sexism. Sexism is over there high fiving classism. Classism is in bed right now with homophobia. They are interdependent. The goal is to stratify and separate people for the purpose of instituting the control required to facilitate capitalism. But that’s another blog entirely.
Offering a problem without a workable solution is equivalent to baseless complaining. Therefore, I’ll offer two remedies: education and empathy. Take a moment to step outside of your comfort zone and actually talk to different people. Do a little research. Learn about the unique struggles they face. Put yourself in their shoes. Swap stories. Validate the experiences discussed without trying to place your own higher on the spectrum of pain and suffering.
The end game here is that we begin to conceptualize the reality that there are no winners in the game of oppression. We all lose. From the top of this bogus hierarchy on down.