Hello and welcome to The Black Experience 2.0: Giving White Comfort The Backseat.
The Black Experience 2.0 is the second edition of The Black Experience which was held last year in February. The Black Experience is a month long blog series held in honour of Black History Month, which features Black authors and Black bookish content creators and aims at highlighting Black stories and experiences.
TBE 2.0 is especially about giving Black people the space to be fully them and share their stories while centring themselves and their experience of Blackness and without care for the white gaze.
Today on TBE 2.0, Rogier (he/him) shares a raw post about rediscovering his Blackness and queerness and how they come together in his experience.
This post will be chaotic and I’m sorry. I talk about being mixed Black and queer in Suriname. A South American nation with a Caribbean culture.
I’m Black and Indigenous. I live in a lower middle class neighborhood. Growing up, we only spoke Dutch at home, rarely Sranang (the language developed here during the colonization). My mom was scared we wouldn’t do well at school and that we would be seen as the ‘rowdy black and brown kids’. I find it funny, how in a majority POC country whiteness is still upheld.
I’m Black. My family on my mother’s side is Black but I never felt Black enough growing up. I could not hold a conversion in Sranang, wasn’t aware of idioms and didn’t listen to local music/ American rap. My music taste ran mostly white. I mostly listened to Pop, Punk growing up ( Paramore, Avril Lavigne, All American Rejects, Panic at the Disco) and whatever Lykke Li and Florence are. Only in recent years have I become aware that it’s okay to only love the songs I do and I’m still Black despite it. And to not be afraid to listen to rap and local music.
I had to learn that colorism exists and how it was presented in my life. My mom was afraid that darker skinned Black people could be criminals and were too loud. I had to unlearn that. I had to unlearn immediately imagining white people when reading fiction. That’s still an ongoing process, still sometimes when reading a Black or Brown character on page, for a split moment I imagine them to be white.
Society is flooded with white body ideals and this has definitely influenced my romantic attraction. Now I find myself thinking “Are some white guys really attractive or are they just white?”.
I know this sounds weird but I had to sit with myself why I would not date Black men and why Black guys were not even in my mind. Now that I’m nearing 30, that has changed and is changing. I’ve noticed that there are so many cute Black and Brown guys.
I knew I was gay at age 12, asexual at 22. Discovering I was gay was a lot easier than figuring out I was ace. Romantic attraction came first and sexual attraction sporadically. I also did discover that I’m sex averse. I haven’t enjoyed any sexual encounters really. Cute guys are cute, some nicer than others but I find sex acts generally boring. I find people attractive but I don’t want to have sex with them lol.
Talking about my sexual orientation, homoromantic and asexual is a mouthful. So I just use queer or ace instead.
With exploring my sexuality; Suriname has a decent gay night life in normal times. Although, I haven’t been to any because I don’t feel safe and its very sex driven. Homophobia is still a thing here, although it’s not as bad as some Latin countries and other Caribbean nations, it exists. Someday, I hope that queer cafes or pubs will be a thing that are cozy and ace inclusive in the future.
How sexuality and being Black come together for me? It’s that I have become comfortable with my feminine qualities. I’m neither really masculine or feminine. More in the middle really. Who knows what the future will bring but I know that a guy is out there that will accept me being ace.
You can find Rogier on Twitter @rocapri