Mia McKenzie on “Love, QPOC style”

A friend pointed me towards the Black Girl Dangerous tumblr, and there I found various articles by Mia McKenzie, who identifies as a writer, smart, Philadelphian, “a black feminist and freaking queer,” among many other things, and who is brilliant. On this blog are many writers who are brilliant, and you should go read them all.

This here’s a quote from Mia’s article “Love, QPOC style”:

It’s scary for everyone. For us, for queer people of color, it is exceptionally scary. As POC, we are taught by the people in power in this world that we are less, and are therefore less deserving of things like freedom and justice, education and employment, respect of our minds and consideration of our bodies, and, surely, the best thing of all—love. As queers, the messages we get aren’t much better. As queers of color…well…

As queers of color, we are both invisible and reviled. The world sees race and sexuality as mutually exclusive. You are black or you are gay. You are brownor you are a lesbian.  White people are the only people allowed to be complex enough to be queer. Because white is the default, the normal, the expected, white people can be anything, and more than one thing simultaneously. The rest of us, not so much.

If you think you know what the conclusions are going to be based on these paragraphs, you don’t.

Do yourself a favor… read the whole thing.

A personal addendum: I’m white, my writing reflects that, and I have a concern that my personal background will unduly influence this blog. I want this blog to be a good, constructive space for all bi, pan, nsng, fluid folks, and others of this ilk who may have different labels along the same lines. But if race goes unaddressed in our queer communities, if structural racism goes unchallenged, then queer people of color get left out, hurt, and stomped on, and that sucks BIG TIME. It just won’t work, in terms of creating a movement that works for all of us.

In terms of this blog, I hope that I’m able to recognize where my white privilege is influencing my experiences, and to not universalize my experiences in a way that is alienating. I hope that this blog is felt as a space that is not just white people’s space, AND I recognize that there are a lot of reasons why bi / pan / + people of color might not feel like it is, might be marginalized, might have lots of hard experiences with white-people-run queer spaces. I would like to challenge this blog (and myself) to make this more than white peoples queer space. I also recognize that I am limited in my ability to do so, and that trust building across lines of history, white supremacy, historic betrayals of queers of color by white queers, among a lot else, is gonna take time.

I’ve been in some queer spaces where people (lots of times white people) seem to think that race just isn’t, or shouldn’t be, an issue, because hey, we’re all queer. The issue of race is all pervasive in society, and I am very, very suspicious of the attitude that “we don’t have to worry about race because the issue is sexuality” or something like this.  It sounds to me like a way to leave the centering and normalizing of white queer experiences unchallenged, to the marginalization of everyone else. That doesn’t work in movement building.

There is much to write here. And, I don’t want to take too much focus off of Mia’s article. Gonna put in another quote and let y’all CHECK IT OUT RIGHT NOW: 

We do all of this while carrying the nearly incalculable weight of oppression, while resisting racism and heterosexism and transphobia and xenophobia and colonialism. In the face of all of these things, any one of which by itself should be enough to shut us down, we find ways to love each other more and better. Which really, when you think about it, makes us great at love.


2 responses to “Mia McKenzie on “Love, QPOC style”

  1. And one more concern: I am sometimes concerned that when I use words like “marginalized,” it sounds, to people who have never been marginalized by society because of their race, like some PC bullshit.

    It is not. It has real consequences, that extend beyond feelings being hurt and selves being de-valued. Like, never having the needs of your group studied… or addressed… to name just one thing that happens. I refer the readership to this article in the root on LGBT people of color and health care:


    There are about a million more ways that racist marginalization has direct consequences for people of color. Like the fact that people of color make up the vast majority of inmates in our prisons, are depicted widely as criminal, deal with higher rates of unemployment and poverty, in spite of being minorities in terms of population of the country, to name just a very, very, very few. There is so much more, this paragraph is so sadly inadequate.

    Don’t just say “marginalization” to yourself, if you’re white, reading this. Think through what that means. Begin to think through what the consequences of racist marginalization are for the lives and futures of people of color, and then add being queer on top of that.

  2. I have a difficult time expressing what racist marginalization is for me as a bi-poly queer woman to my current white male partner. i’ve shared some readings, but he takes stuff personally, assumes that i’m somehow attacking him simply by asserting my perspective and trying to explain who i am and why i’m attracted to the queers, and then he gets upset and projects stuff that isn’t mine unto me. i can’t read his mind, and must take his anger at face value and accept that he’s not in a space to understand or appreciate my perspective. still, it hurts.

    my instinct, as usual, when things get difficult, is to cut loose. but i’m trying to break a bad habit – recommendations would be welcome.

    thank you for your perspective and for your words. they mean a lot to someone who’s struggled and hasn’t found the words quite yet to articulate why this uncertainty and unsettled feeling persists.

    take care of you, you awesome inspirational ally, you.

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