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Maybe you read Callie's article, Is It Disingenuous to Write a Gay Anthem if You're Straight? You should. Callie points out the potentially problematic nature of outsiders being framed as champions of a cause. I think it's definitely a worthwhile subject and, more importantly, worth an extended discussion.

Not too long after digesting Callie's piece, I headed over to Gawker and read Fifty Years After the March, White People Are Still a Disgrace, a piece by Tom Scocca, who I generally enjoy. The article, alone, is fine, I suppose. Actually, fuck that, it's really, really good. But despite all of its goodness, it triggered something in me. For some reason, at that moment, I began having metaphorical hot flashes; perhaps I reached a point of overload due to reading what felt like a windfall of articles by white people about how white people are failing/racist, and why that's not a good thing.

Then the two themes morphed.

Both Gawker and Jez, by virtue of subject matter, tone and audience, often take on race in a way that, one could say, positions themselves as a champion of/authority on racial issues. They often seem offended on my behalf. I should add, since honesty is best, that I generally am in complete agreement with most of the authors. Not always, but still, agreeing mostly is a good thing.

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Nevertheless, the following was the result of the trigger and the morphing: Gawker/Jezebel are kind of the Macklemore of racial discourse.

I'll let Callie explain, using words straight from her Macklemore piece. You may have to shift around the words a bit to translate (e.g., straight white dude = white person; gay person = black/latin/native american/east + south asian; "Same Love"/gay anthem = race articles, etc.), but you should get the gist.

  • "There's something unsettling and frustrating about watching a straight, white dude step in from the sidelines and decide to champion an issue." — Callie Beusman
  • "'Same Love' is Acceptance for Dummies, essentially, a song for those who need to be told by one of their own that those who are different from them are human beings, too, and deserving of the same respect as anyone else." — Tyler Coates/Flavorwire
  • "The song's existence is a good thing, no question. But we have to ask ourselves: at what point does advocating for someone turn into speaking for them?" — Callie Beusman
  • "Macklemore is free to champion gay rights because he doesn't have to endure all the vitriol that gay rappers must endure on a daily basis. I think it's fairly telling that he declares himself straight in the opening lines of the rap." — Callie Beusman
  • "It's wonderful that a gay anthem written by a straight man for straight people has entered cultural consciousness! But we still have a long way to go: a gay anthem written by an actual gay person that explores the queer experience with more nuance and realism would be even better." — Callie Beusman

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There's a fine line between speaking for someone else and speaking up for the values you hold dear. I completely recognize the difficulty; it's a difficult balance. But thankfully, by doing a solid job raising questions about gay champions, Callie flushed out some important questions about this here GawkerMediaLand. It isn't a perfect parallel, but I do believe it raises some interesting questions.

Any thoughts?