On the Theo-Political Vision of Macklemore; Or, Why Proximity & Intimacy ≠ Solidarity

The ease with which arguments for gay marriage have found their historical analogy in comparison to interracial marriage has long given me pause. Indeed, the ease with which contemporary gay rights is articulated as “The New Civil Rights” or “The New Black,”–rather than pointing to any kind of progressive agenda or historic moment–seems to belie the increasingly nebulous and statist alignment required to make these arguments work on an analogical level in addition to shoring up of proximity to and intimacy with black bodies as the illusion of solidarity even as it reinscribes a betrayal and violation of black bodies.

One popular example of this nebulous and conservative arch of mainstream gay rights (or, as some rad queers like to call it, Gay, Inc.) is Macklemore’s song, Same Love, an indie hip-hop declaration of support for gay marriage that calls out the problematic use of the bible to oppress gay people and hip hop’s unwelcoming stance towards gay folks. This song highlights the nebulous and conservative thrust of arguments for gay marriage and the antiblackness that grounds these arguments in it’s repetition of the problematic logic that undergirds these arguments in the first place–primarily, the use of religion and race’s affective potential in order to promote secularism as the savior to our political ills. This is exemplified through the construction of fights for gay marriage as a continuation of black struggles for liberation that require a liberal theology of inclusion for their success.

What I will primarily argue here is that gay civil rights arguments that utilize the analogizing of sexuality with blackness and gay marriage arguments that use the analogy with interracial marriage, end up reifying the condition of blackness as constructed by white supremacy. In Same Love, this occurs in two movements. First, through debunking theologies that argue against gay marriage as a natural part of one’s identity and constructing a theology of inclusion and unity in its place. This theology of inclusion becomes the place from which black civil rights and interracial marriage analogies are made. Secondly, through the biologization of race and sexuality as inherent characteristics that mark one as a member of a group, this theology utilizes the “givenness” of these differences to maintain what J. Kameron Carter calls a white teleology–an end goal that is directed towards the culmination of whiteness as embodied in the legitimated citizen of the nation-state. Thus, at the same time the theological is being castigated it is being called upon to do the work of nation building. Similarly, at the same time the affective or libidinal import of the black is being called upon to legitimize mainstream gay rights, blackness is being further entrenched as the object whose captivity maintains civil society.

Religious Intolerance & Inclusion:

Taking Macklemore as our example  of the seductive, dangerous, and anti-black theo-political vision, allows us to encounter some common arguments for why gay marriage ought to be legalized, but, more than that, allows us to recognize the ways religion plays a central role even in a “secular” articulation of why gay marriage ought to be supported precisely because of its affective, and racial, implications. Indeed, what Macklemore, and other gay marriage and mainstream gay rights advocates end up constructing is a new theology that supersedes the old primarily by opposing Law to Grace. Or rather, constructing religion as a harbinger of oppressive notions of sex and sexuality and countering them with an “inclusive” version of religion that is shareable across difference and, thus, open to the unity of humanity under the new anti-homophobic state that is being fought for. In many ways it shares a Christian supersessionist logic, opposing the rigidity of the “Law” with the openness of “Grace”. The representative of the law, here, is a conservative form of Christianity (apparently standing in for all conservative religions) and what supersedes it is the nation-state. Through finding salvation in the unity of the nation-state, articulating a religion without religion, all religious difference is dissolvable into messages of the same love–a love whose strength is able to be measured by equal protection under a new, anti-homophobic law of the nation state.

Thus, Macklemore works to set up a certain form of religousity as being fundamentally unloving and one of the main obstacles to the acceptance of gay people and gay marriage. Macklemore raps, “The right-wing conservatives think it’s a decision/And you can be cured with some treatment and religion/ Man-made, rewiring of a pre-disposition,” and a few lines later in the verse, “And God loves all his children / it’s somehow forgotten / But we paraphrase a book written 3,500 years ago”.

Here Macklemore puts the conservative right on blast, primarily for disbelief in the biological naturalism of homosexual attraction and ignoring a message which says God loves everyone by holding tightly to the bible, an outdated book from which to derive social norms, we might infer. Perhaps of even more interest than this common critique of conservative Christianity is the way Macklemore’s theologizing in this verse bookends a comment on America’s understanding of itself “Ahh nah, here we go/ America the brave/Still fears what we don’t know.” This works to articulate religion as a kind of subconscious of the country’s repressive sexual politics which can be remedied by another common argument–that “knowing” gay people is the way to cure homophobia. If we simply put people in close enough proximity to one another, if straight folks just see that gay folks are normal, if people would just talk to each other, they wouldn’t fear homosexuality. This fear of homosexuality is both characterized as an ironic blemish on America’s identity as brave and as the product of allegiance to a religion that is not “inclusive”.

Instead of this conservative religiosity that harbors an exclusive theological framework which contests the predisposition of gayness, Macklemore articulates his own understanding of what kind of theology is necessary for a world where gay marriage is accepted. First, rather than letting a conservative notion of Christianity stand as a correct interpretation, he argues that it is bad religion, “When I was in church/They taught me something else/If you preach hate at the service/Those words aren’t anointed/And that Holy Water/That you soak in/Is then poisoned”. Instead of this poisonous religion, we need another kind of religion that works in conjunction with this liberal articulation of what society needs. “Whatever god you believe in/We come from the same one/Strip away the fear/Underneath it’s all the same love/About time that we raised up”. Here, Macklemore peels away the hatred of one brand of religion and reconstitutes religion as being, primarily, about the “same love” just as gay marriage is about the “same love” that heterosexuals share. That is, any form of religion that seeps into public life ought only be about uniting people with the same love.

The point here is not to suggest that a conservative Christian articulation of sex and sexuality is good theology and Macklemore offers bad theology–to try to redeem conservative theology against Macklemore’s bashing. Nor is the point to suggest that Christianity has not had something to do with structuring homophobia, violence, and dis-ease towards queer bodies. Rather, the point here, is that the religion that gets set up in opposition to conservative forms of Christianity is an extension of the policing work conservative Christianity has been employed to do. It, too, invokes a nationalism in religious garb and the Christianity that is debunked stands in for any religion that oversteps its private boundaries and seeks to influence society in any way that is not just about how we all share the “Same Love”. It is a front for a nebulous “love” that finds its unity in sharing equal rights under the law of the nation-state. That is to say, Macklemore sets up religion as a scapegoat that enables him to rely on the violence and fear religion creates in order to ignore the nation-state as a source of violence against gay people. Instead, the state (when it finally accepts gay folks) becomes the savior and is able to model the bravery that we need to embrace difference in unity while religion must remain an empty signifier in order to do the work of joining people together through its affective force.

Symptoms of Supersession: The Antiblackness of Gay Marriage

But the scapegoating of religion is not the only work this song does. Rather, this scapegoating of religion works to produce symptoms of racialization and antiblackness. The antiblackness in the song, Same Love, is present is the lyrical content already, but the affective work the music video does further entrenches blackness as America’s primary visual signifier of difference and utilizes this white supremacist understanding of blackness to further a neoliberal vision of America as progressing towards gay marriage–as the continuation of black civil rights and as that which supersedes it. This supersession occurs through analogy–that being black is equivalent to being gay. In the case of both, one is oppressed because of an identity that is inherent to one’s self.

Race and sexuality in this logic become inherent parts of people through a biological naturalism that says we are “born this way”. Indeed, the quintessential analogization comes through comparing the inherent nature of one’s sexuality to the nature of one’s race as in “I could no more change my sexuality than you could change the color of your skin.” This inescability of blackness is what enables the use of blackness (black music, images, and other black performances) as the limit against which a white conception of sexuality is able to be articulated. Thus Macklemore’s is able to lamabast “hip hop” for being homophobic. This is seen as problematic because hip hop is an artform that comes out of oppression. Thus Macklemore uses hip hop and images of black oppresion to articulate his message even as he demonizes hip hop and performs an erasure of the many hip hop artists who have articulated support for queer folks and an erasure of the queer folks who already enjoy, participate in, an consider themselves a part of hip hop. Indeed, Macklemore is able to be the exceptional hip hop artist through the suspension of himself as a hip hop artist. That is, his whiteness enables his ability to distance himself from “hip hop”. Thus, for “hip hop” here, one reads black, and notes Macklemore’s proximity and initimacy with hip hop is precisely what enables his ability to deploy blackness in this way so effectively. He is seen as a white insider who ‘gets it’ and is able to translate the problem to the white outside of “hip hop”.

Interestingly enough, the deployment of hip hop, here as a representative of homophobia converges with the religious deconstruction Macklemore undertakes when one considers the figure of the black church. Frequently depicted as exhibiting the same problematic homophobia as hip hop–that is, a homophobia that does not make sense because of the black church’s relationship to oppression. In the case of black churches, it is frequently too much religion–too much of the wrong kind of religion–that inhibits it from occupying its former throne as “prophetic”. Black liberation is displaced from “the prophetic” because it has not evolved enough with the times to include gay people. Thus, one’s “prophetic” potency is increasingly measurable by one’s ability to check off whether or not one is (able to be perceived as) “gay-affirming” at the level of the individual, the church, and the state. A baptism in the theological waters of inclusion must take place, then, for people, places, and institutions. And this baptism is capable of redeeming everything–from bodies to couples to corporations to products to police (Put a Rainbow on It!).

Thus, in this theo-political vision of inclusion black churches and hip-hop become the primary limit against which the transformative baptism of an inclusive theology is able to be constructed.

In this way, these analogies between race and sexuality, between black civil rights and gay rights, or interracial marriage and gay marriage maintain an essentially conservative conception of race that reinscribes blackness’ as the currency by which non-blacks are able to purchase freedom. That is, rather than race being something that comes to be of necessity through white supremacist regimes of power, race becomes a part of one’s identity as a result of biology. Race gets taken up as the ultimate given. It is written on the skin–especially black skin. In these analogies, then, one never has to deal with the ways race was invented and is maintained as a way of delimiting subjectivity and citizenship in modernity. The violence directed towards the black is understood as emerging out of a misunderstanding or bigotry towards the inherentness of blackness, not as a policing of a body that is a boundary. That is, black struggle is read, in these analogical uses, as a struggle to have humanity recognized through this morphological condition we inhabit just as gay struggle is seen as a struggle to have humanity recognized through the orientation to the same sex. Blackness is not seen as an invention that allows whites to see themselves, to order their lives and societies. An invention that coincides and enables the invention of sexuality.

Due to these misunderstandings of race, these analogizations actually rely on a white supremacist fantasy of race in order to construct an “inclusive” politic of neoliberal progress and its theological counterpart.

They require black lives and black histories become slaves to articulating white gay subjectivity. This use of the black in order to announce ones self as subject and citizen before the law is not new. That is part of the US project. Until recently, though, it was primarily utilized to shore up heteronormative ideals of white bloodlines and familial bonds. These days, with the increasing capital and wealth mainstream gay rights represents, the potency of blackness gets used to create a coherent gay rights movement that joins together as the next wave of civil rights–the next frontier.

The Effects of Equality

Several things happen through this logic. First, black civil struggles against white supremacy are reducible to the civil rights movement. This is not altogether surprising. It’s the way black history gets told in this white supremacist state. Black folks were slaves, then they got free but not really, then MLK came along and made everybody friends. But, following this reduction, black struggles for equality are then necessarily announced as mostly over or, overshadowed by gay struggles for equality. There’s some sense in which black folks still face racism, but people should know better, is the point. What else was the 60’s for if not to shame racists into hiding? The mainstream gay rights movement thus co-opts the rhetorical and visual force of blackness in order to articulate it’s argument for gay marriage. No matter that it is an extension of the privatization of care and rights to those who have benefits and rights to share, what matters is that we conjure up some images of black bodies being violated in order to stir up affective connection between white straights and gays, primarily.

The rift between gays and the nation state is sutured through the use of analogy while at the same time reifying the ethical relationships of the black and its liberation as that which cannot be sutured because the use of blackness is required for the analogy to gain potency in civil society. That blackness is available for this analogy in the first place suggests the precarious and fungible position of the black as the founding logic of difference against which the whiteness of the national teleology depends.

In this way, gay equality seems farcical at best, as it requires the exacerbation and further entrenchment of antiblackness for its legal legitimization and social acceptance. Even as movements for “gay equality” continues to shore up the unequal criminalization and demonization of blacks in order to carve out “safe space”.

Perhaps what is needed is not more equality but a better analysis of the ways equality in the US is dependant upon the ability to incarcerate and violate the black body, to deploy and conjure up black performances and artistic expressions, to capitalize upon the captivity of the black by making it sing and dance for the legitimization of the national project.

In the end, the theo-political vision Macklemore offers continues the most effective kind of white supremacist work by sacrificing blacks in order to shore himself up as a progressive white male in solidarity with gay struggles for freedom. He, again, repeats the intimacy with black bodies that white people, especially white men, love flaunting or hiding, whichever is most beneficial to them. He is able to, once again, recenter the white male as exceptional in his ability to transcend race, to wield race for his own gain in social capital and wealth, to be the best interpreter of black people to white people and the priest through whom the state’s salvation and redemption flows.

In this way, Macklemore represents white desire to maintain the flows of power through straight white men (especially as those white men become increasingly adept and skilled in the rhetoric of privilege and progressive politics), to maintain the uses of blackness in order to comfort and soothe the wounds of those excluded from inclusion in the national project, and to reinscribe blackness as the limit that cannot be transgressed because it is always already open to violation and use at any time for any purpose.

Sources and Further Reading:

Race: A Theological Account by J. Kameron Carter

Freedom With Violence by Chandan Reddy

Terrorist Assemblages by Jasbir Puar

The Myth of Religious Violence by William Cavanaugh

The Problem with Grace by Vincent Lloyd

“Precarious Life”: The Obligations of Proximity by Judith Butler

Put a Rainbow On It

Against Equality

24 thoughts on “On the Theo-Political Vision of Macklemore; Or, Why Proximity & Intimacy ≠ Solidarity

  1. Excellent post, Amaryah.

    I think Lady Gaga’s Born This Way also articulates this theology although not necessarily by using black cultural forms.

    This is a slightly different topic but what do you think of Eminems use of hip hop to spout an exceptional level of homophobia? (I really can’t think of a mainstream rapper as homophobic or as misogynistic as Eminem.) Interestingly, Eminem won mainstream fame in the era before gay marriage became a cause of the left. I guess I’m wondering if he is like the late nineties inverse of Macklemore… He hides behind/ enlists the white supremacist stereotype of hyper violent black masculinity….

    Would class macklemore in the minstrel tradition or is he doing something else?

    • Yeah, Lady Gaga’s Born this way is also weird in this way. Even though she doesn’t explicitly utilize blackness as Macklemore does, she does have some really weird use of race in the song where she does the same kind of biologizing logic.

  2. I get your criticism of Macklemore, but….

    If you see comparing the fight for rights for African Americans and LGBTs as illegitimate, where does your analysis leave black LGBTs who are fighting for equal rights? On what basis (if any) do you think they can argue for equality *as LGBTs*?

    Thanks,
    Doxy

    • This question is asked as if I understand black queer folks to simply be black + queer and that their politics must follow from that arithmetic. This makes sense, but is not how I understand the two. Thus, for me, blackness and sexuality are not separable, but are, rather, constituted through one another.

      Also, I’m not saying that a black person will perform a certain kind of politics because they are black or that a queer person will perform a certain kind of politics because of their sexuality, or that a black and queer person will perform some kind of combination of them. In fact, I’m trying to disrupt the ease with which we assume that because someone identifies in a certain way, we can trust their political aims. Instead, I try to imagine that fighting for equality looks like fighting for the least of those, always. Which frequently happens to be queer folks of color, but not the Anderson Coopers and Kurt Hummells of the world. More like the Cece McDonalds, and other queer folks of color who have been incarcerated.

  3. Fantastic post. So much to think through and with here. A couple things:

    “The antiblackness in the song, Same Love, … further entrenches blackness as America’s primary visual signifier of difference and utilizes this white supremacist understanding of blackness to further a neoliberal vision of America as progressing towards gay marriage–as the continuation of black civil rights and as that which supersedes it.”

    Great point. We need to hear this lesson over and over: thinking is a history and has a history. Likewise, oppression is/has a history that impresses itself upon the bodies of oppressed/oppressor. In both this post and the last one, you’ve done a great job of showing the importance of the history of the construction of race in the Western/U.S. context. Any repetition of oppression, and the struggle against that oppression, will be a repetition with a difference, a difference that makes a difference. These differences are too often left unthought.

    As to Macklemore’s problematic in/out relationship to hip hop: I once heard Emilie Townes tell a guy that he couldn’t be a womanist. Of course this was frustrating to all of the guys in the room, but the more I think about it the more I see the wisdom in her point. White rappers (most of whom are terrible anyways) will always have a problematic relationship to hip hop and they should be more up front about. I wonder if you have more thoughts on this point.

    So much else here to think with, thanks for the provocative post.

    • Thanks for the comment!

      I think there are plenty of good white rappers, but they usually eschew the moralizing for actual solidarity. Which is, I think, the primary difference here. But, you’re right. White folks will always be able to distance themselves from the black deviance hip hop represents.

  4. Just remembered this awesome bell hooks quote that I wanted to share which I think is pertinent:

    “American culture is obsessed with transgression and to the degree that blackness remains a primary sign of transgression, one could talk about American culture and mainstream culture as being obsessed with blackness. But it is blackness primarily in a commodified form that can then be possessed, owned, controlled, and shaped by the consumer, and not with an engagement in black culture that might require one to be a participant, and therefore to be in some way transformed by what you are consuming as opposed to being merely a buyer…

    Anecdotally that to me is the difference between a young white male whose consuming black music in the form of rap, and whose wearing the same kind of clothes as the hip hop musicians, but then in fact when he encounters a young black male on the streets feels the same racialized fear and demonizes that person as any white person whose had no contact with that music, so that there’s no correlation often between the consumption of the commodity that is blackness and the culture from which that commodity comes…

    And that’s no different than us thinking of third world countries. There’s a way in which white culture is perceived as too wonder bread, right now. Not edgy enough, not dangerous enough. Lets get some of those endangered species people to be exotic for us… when blackness is the sign of transgression that is most desired it allows whiteness to remain static, to remain conservative, and its conservative thrust to go unnoticed. So as we’re having a mounting Fascism in the United States that is perpetuated increasingly by young, moneyed, liberal white people, if they’re wearing black clothes or listening to black music, they can be perceived as transgressive, as radical, when in fact, once again we see a separation between material aspirations and cultural and social interest. So, at any point in time they can drop their interest in blackness and do whatever they need to do to reinforce their class interest, the interest of white supremacy, the interest of capitalism and imperialism.”

  5. This is a very brilliant essay. I did however tweet about it with the proviso that I found it “problematic.” I wrote a bit about that, but then I erased it. not sure my disagreements are particularly interesting.

    What I was left with was this, which is more just some notes of a more affirmative nature:

    What I love in this piece is the analysis of whiteness, and the way in which Macklemore’s status as white rapper authorizes a brand of “mansplaining” that is redolent of a certain strain of liberal racism. That’s very important. But I don’t think you need to frame that critique via a condemnation of analogization of one struggle with another. I would position myself as *for* such historical analogies and comparisons–e.g., the gay rights struggle as akin to the African American struggle– to the degree that they speak to the cultivation of empathy (a force that enjoys an underservedly poor reputation on the Left and in the academy–empathy, to be sure, isn’t great, but it’s about as good as humans can muster; much better, in fact, than most do muster). I’m pro cross-cultural empathy. If that makes me something terrible, so be it.

    What your piece hits on, brilliantly, is the way that such analogies can work, however, to arrange civil rights as a linear historical process: “first African American won rights, then women, then people with disabilities, then gays and lesbians…” That, as you point out, makes “America” the protagonist and author of progressive change, and suggests that there are reasonable historical stopping points for each struggle, beyond which each movement “went too far”: affirmative action, radical feminism, etc. Exactly the way that the Right has appropriated King’s legacy and re-written civil rights history, and that corporate feminism has narrativized the struggle for women’s rights. It is this fantasy of linear progress, and indeed, in psychoanalytic terms, service and tribute to the Big Other, that I would love to see explored more in the terms you lay out here.

    • Hey, I think why I highlight analogies here is because it seems especially susceptible to a certain kind of supersessionist logic that is really unhelpful. I don’t think analogy is altogether bad, and in many ways I think I try to work the analogy differently in this post without explicitly naming it analogy.

      I think empathy can be good, but I’m also hesistant to put all my eggs in that basket because of some really entrenched ways race and empathy work together to reinforce white supremacy. (Saidiya Hartman’s Scenes of Subjection is extremely good at highlighting this.)

      Thanks for the comment!

  6. Thanks, Amaryah, for a really fascinating and meaty post. I’m still thinking through a lot of this, but I have two questions right now–one about the “nationalism” of mainstream marriage equality rhetoric, and one about the use of blackness within that rhetoric. [Sorry this is so long!]

    “The state (when it finally accepts gay folks) becomes the savior and is able to model the bravery that we need to embrace difference in unity while religious must remain an empty signifier in order to do the work of joining people together through its affective force.”

    You give a really compelling description of the way “religion” often gets simultaneously lifted up and emptied out. I see that move a lot. (I was thinking about it yesterday while reading this piece.) The state-as-savior idea is more foreign to me, though. Equal recognition under the law is obviously an important goal for mainstream marriage equality advocates, but my impression is that those advocates are also pretty wary of setting up the state as any kind of arbiter of “legitimate” forms of partnership or family. Legal equality seems like a pragmatic or tactical goal, though a very important one, rather than an ultimate or certainly soteriological one. Even when there is some appeal to “the American narrative” or some recognizably American ideal to achieve that goal, it never seems to me like anyone’s taking “the state” as a savior, or even seeing bigwig political allies as special models of bravery.

    I guess this is less a question than a counterpoint: mainstream marriage equality rhetoric seems less in thrall to “the state” than you’re saying. I see how critique of state violence against lgbt folks sometimes gets problematically displaced onto “religion,” but there’s usually plenty of animus left over for “secular” politics and politicians. What am I overlooking here?

    “The rift between gays and the nation-state is sutured through the use of analogy while at the same time reifying the ethical relationship between the black and its liberation as that which cannot be sutured because the blackness is required for the analogy to gain potency in civil society.”

    This is more properly a question. I’m confused about how exactly you see blackness being put to use. In the paragraph just before this quote, you say that the analogy between the black civil rights movement and the marriage equality movement depends partly on seeing the former as already completed (which requires, as you say, reducing mid-century black insurgency to a relatively tame demand for civil rights). I see that; I find that critique persuasive. But then in this sentence, and in the rest of the piece, you talk as if the analogy depends on a continuing disjunct between (or maybe even on actively disjoining?) “the black” and the nation-state. I’m not sure I’m reading that right, but if I am, I don’t understand how those two uses of the black — as already sutured and as that which cannot be sutured — are working at the same time. Could you spin that out a little further?

    (P.S. I had never thought about the way that “biologizing” sexual desire was, because of this analogy, feeding back on the “biologization” of race; but that’s a fantastic point.)

    (P.P.S. Thanks for the link to Against Equality. I hadn’t seen that site before, but it’s a gold mine.)

    • Hey Brian, great comment. It’s very helpful.

      I think I understand your confusion. And I think my sentence structure could use some more clarity, but basically I’m trying to say that while the marriage equality analogies try to construct black civil rights as already completed, the ways they utilize the analogy actually reveals the opposite. So black liberation becomes increasingly unthinkable as the analogy becomes more entrenched. Instead, a certain gay subject’s exclusion is able to be sutured precisely through the maintenance of the blacks position in society as available to be used by whites or the nation state for whatever purpose. This means the black position is unable to be sutured in effect, even though, rhetorically, it is depicted as being completed for the purposes of marriage equality arguments, because without the black being able to be used in this way, the analogy would fall apart as would the rhetorical weight and the affective potency.

      Does that make any more sense?

      Thanks again for your comment!

      • Yeah, I think I’m understanding you better. Thanks a lot for your response. I guess my first inclination is to say that I hope there’s a difference between “using the black” in a way that reinforces blackness as the foundational marker of difference and appealing to the black struggle as a model and source of social power. But that’s probably a more delicate distinction than I had considered. I’ll have to chew on this for a while.

        Again, thanks.

  7. Also, just realized I completely missed answering your first point. While I think there is some truth to the tactical or pragmatic goals of gay marriage, it’s hard for me not to read it as a panacea in most rhetoric. I’m trying to find links, but I’ve read what seems to be an increasing amount of writing on how gay marriage will remove the stigma of being HIV positive, how gay marriage will give gay kids something to look forward to so they know their life won’t suck thus ending gay suicides, how gay marriage will be good for adoption, for the economy, etc.

    Basically, I think this is the work gay marriage primarily does because this and DADT is what mainstream corporate money has gone into. So, even if the everyday gay (teehee) has more serious material struggles to worry about, the narrative that’s getting spun is that we can end homophobia and violence against gay people through access to marriage and the benefits it includes, and access to the military. So that gay people can be exceptional American citizens, too.

  8. Thanks for an interesting post Amaryah! There are alot of people who think that this Macklemore song is the first hip-hop song to speak about LGBT issues , but that is not the case. Common has a song on the topic : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUOUL80PQZU

    How do you think the Common song compares with the Macklemore song?

  9. This is a great post, and I’m curious to see how you would read Macklemore outside of “Same Love.” How would you interpret his song “A Wake,” for instance, in which he somewhat addresses the issue of being a privileged, white male?

    • Hi Andrew,

      I think the point of my post is to show how even when white folks have this rhetoric of white privilege or are “aware” of it or “awake” to it, that is not the same thing as being in solidarity with black people. Because there is always the possibility for white folks to leave and escape the violences that follow black folks around. Simply talking about how one is aware of white privilege and waxing poetic about it does not make a person an ally of any sort. And in this age when so many educated white kids have taken diversity 101 classes that it’s almost a given they will have this language and use it as a told to further their own cultural capital.

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  11. Thank you for this very thoughtful and thought-provoking piece. I found the connections between biblical/post-biblical Christian supersessionism and the “supersessionist” rhetoric in parts of LGBTI movements particularly interesting.

    In case you haven’t seen it, you may be interested in this bit from Wanda Sykes. She plays on some of the biologism and “bad religion” that you discuss, though in this genre in is not as clear how she is making use of these dominant motifs.

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