Jim Crow or Nah?
The views and opinions expressed in this article solely belong, to- Terrance Hopewell
I have been mulling over on how to approach this topic and even write this post. Over the past few weeks, my social media and TV have been exploding with one topic: transgender persons using the bathroom. Pat McCrory, the governor of North Carolina, has been a pioneer in implementing House Bill 2, a law which, while extremely multifaceted, and maybe to some people is well-intentioned, attempts to truncate basic liberties, particularly for those in the LGBT community. Aside from requiring people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their birth sex, the bill also prevents municipalities from implementing anti-discrimination legislation (not just those policies pertaining to LGBT persons but any federally/locally protected group), setting a local minimum wage, and regulating child labor. I will attempt to tackle the latter issues as this goes on but, obviously, we’re chiefly concerned with the primary issue of transgender people using public restrooms. Oh, and to my Black folk, you will be addressed specifically in this post a little later.
In an interview with Megyn Kelly, Gov. McCrory stated, that he had a concern for privacy. And he is right; there should be a concern for individual privacy when certain matters dictate. However, following in the faulty stead of many of his other Republican brethren, he espouses a particular doctrine and philosophy but only in relation to those that he “deems” acceptable. That is privilege: the ability to, as a person of the majority, champion a stance that, in the end, violates none of your rights, liberties, and the pursuit of happiness, but does so to someone else, and then hide behind a facade of “protecting privacy”. And that’s the benefit of being a White, heterosexual, cisgender, middle-class male. Megyn Kelly continued, asking what was the concern. And again, because like many conservatives, he fails to explain what evidence or issue he has that these policies would actually fix, exposing a lackluster and rather an ill-gotten conclusion with no basis whatsoever.
At one point he even says “It wasn’t [a problem]; it was a respect for privacy”. The same party that advocates for smaller government and less regulation and civil and individual liberties (all traditionally Republican principles), is the same party that uses big government tactics to decree what people can get married, what people should have access to health care, who should be able to go to college and on what basis does one get accepted into university, and now, where people should take care of a bodily function that EVERY. ONE. DOES. At the end of the day, your digestive system is the same whether you are black, white, tall, short, male, female, gay, straight, homeless, a war veteran, rich, poor.
Now yes, men and women have different parts, but we’re not talking about sex; we’re talking about bodily excrement. This, in and of itself, is, in fact, a private matter, and it is not the job of the government, local, state or national, to decree such concerns.
And to my Black folks that even remotely agree with such regulation. Just remember that it wasn’t too long ago that legislation was in place that prevented YOU from using the same bathrooms as your white counterparts. That it was the government that told you that you were and could be owned and sold off like nothing more than cattle. That it was the government that prevented you from marrying someone outside of your race. And now, you have the audacity to try and tell someone else where they can excuse themselves? Here’s what Black people need to understand: White people, particularly powerful and very privileged White people, want all the “others” in society to fight amongst themselves. You see if you can get the Black to hate the Latinos to hate the Gays to hate the Atheists to hate the Poor to hate Women, if you keep all the “others” fighting amongst themselves, pitting one group against the other, you, as the privileged, keep your power. And that’s the sad truth of history: those of us that are the “others” are made to feel that there are…limited seats at the table, that those who have the full rights of citizenship still retain. So what do we “others” do? We compete with one another, rather than banning together and fighting the good fight. As an “other”, they tell us that we must reject the other “others”, that that is the only way we can get ahead.
We Black people let ourselves get pitted against (especially) the Gays (and I’m using this as an all inclusive term for any non-heteronormative person). We try to “designate” whom amongst us is best to represent us. And to my Gays, you do it as well. Trust me. Sometimes the racist bigot you don’t know is actually much kinder than the racist bigot you do know. To my Black folks: how f*cking dare you. I oftentimes find myself flabbergasted when a (white) gay male has the gall to me he doesn’t date black guys or thinks we should do away with affirmative action. But, I digress. Let’s get back to the main point.
The same people that want to “respect” privacy and be sure no grown man is going to throw on a wig and dress and molest their kid are the same people that aren’t there when their daughter gets raped on a college campus and the university simply covers it up or gives the perpetrator a slap on the wrist. “You shouldn’t have been wearing that, sweetheart.” “You shouldn’t have been walking home alone”. These are the same people that allow their daughters to get objectified before the age of 13 and won’t fight for equal pay. These are the same people that say “boys will be boys” when their son does something reckless and stupid and coddle them to no end, allowing them to have a sense of entitlement, including what’s in between a woman’s legs. But, to let someone us the bathroom that corresponds to their preferred gender?! Outrageous. Statistically, and I know these new things called facts and algebra might shock some of you more conservative people, your child is more likely to be violated by someone they already know (i.e. a friend, family member, person in the community, etc.).
Let’s take a poll. How many of you know someone that has been molested by a transgender person….? It’s ok, I’ll wait.