Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Black, Male, Gay...and American...

"It is a particular sensation, this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.

One feels his twoness- an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

The history of the American Negro is the history of his strife….this longing to attain self conscious manhood, to merge his double self  into a better and truer self"

W.E.B. Dubois, The Souls Of Black Folk

With  all due respect to Dubois, I will add nuance to this iconic quote from him to describe the plight of being black, male and gay in America in the 21st century. This is my adaptation to his words, one that speaks to my reality and the reality of hundreds of thousands like me who languish in open, loud silence, and  yet hide in plain sight, visible to all who wish to see, and yet invisible for all those who do not.

 "It is a particular sensation, this triple consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul through the tape of aworld that looks on in amused contempt and pity. To be feared for being black and male in a society that has demonized such; and reviled as an abomination by those who share your common struggle of blackness; measuring his soul both from the lens of those who view his blackness with  disdain, and view his homosexuality as the antithesis of  their manhood. One feels the tear of three identities;  an American, a black man, and a homosexual, caught in the crossfire of divided reality, three ideals all at odds with each other, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn completely asunder.

The history of the black gay male in America has been both invisible and scorned, a walking contradiction to bigoted black heterosexuals, and a complete mystery to a white gay collective that both despises and desires him. Conflicted as to whether to side with white gays for gay rights, or black heterosexuals for human rights, he is caught in the crossfire of both, and yet feels sometimes only partially connected to either. This journey to merge three identities into one, two of whom are filled with internalized self hatred, the other an internalized loathing for his other selves, into a coherent  mass of humanity, one that can fight to be visible, loved and regarded in the highest of esteem This is the journey to be black, gay and male in America.."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Herman Cain, And the "New" Strategy of White Supremacy...

Hi guys!

For a few months now, I have observed this Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain, and his jack door meanderings, and have stayed largely silent about his rhetoric. Now, I think it is time for me to speak out on my assessment of this man, his statements, and how he fits into the larger body politic.

Let me start off by stating that I have no issue with blacks being Republican. As an Independent, myself, I don't understand devotion to either party, but I respect other people's right to choose what works for them. I am a proud graduate of Tuskegee University, founded by a black Republican, Booker Taliaferro Washington. The principles laid forth in his iconic "Up From Slavery" are some that many may describe as "conservative" at the very least.

I am a lover and student of the philosophy of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, both of whom had platforms that are soundly rooted in what many conservatives claim as ideals of their own...self sufficiency...economic cohesiveness...not wasting money...etc...building jobs and "doing for self". Welfare, as I was taught by Minister Farrakhan, if turned around  and re-worded, means "farewell"...many blacks have socially conservative views, mainly due to religious influences. So the notion that I or any other black person is "brainwashed" for not being Republican is just silly, and deserves no further comment.

Having said this, when i turn to Herman Cain, I see nothing more than the ultimate reincarnation of  "Uncle" Clarence Thomas in a political arena. Less articulate than Clarence Thomas,however, Cain presents himself in a way that diminishes what i think might actually be an above average mental capacity. His propensity for  outright dumb, tone deaf comments is so repugnant and silly, that one would have to look twice to see that he graduated from such a prestigious school like Morehouse College.

Everybody is not meant to have the gift of gab. Let's face it, President Obama's cool, analytical, intellectual tone impressed many, both black and white, in 2008. I do not sense that same cool, analytical, rational tone from Herman Cain. He comes across as the loud, ignorant, politically incorrect supervisor at your job that you wonder, "how on Earth did they get to that position?" He comes across  more like the drunk uncle at your family reunion, than an accomplished Baptist preacher.

So what makes him so popular among extreme right wing white Tea Party(tea-baggers) folk? It is simple.

This is the 900 lb. gorilla in the room few people are talking about.

He is a black man espousing a doctrine that validates for many white conservative racists, their stance on a variety of issues. He is an effective tool to go up against Obama( they believe ), because, being black while speaking an anti-black agenda, the Republican party can ( they believe ) wash their hands of the charge of being bigoted, race baiting southern strategists who don't give a rats behind about the black community, hispanics, or poor people in general.

In order for this system of racial bias, bias against woman, bias against the poor  and the "have nots" to work in the 21st Century, having a black face as its spokesman is the perfect set up. A black face that "pulled himself up by his bootstraps",is the perfect tool to demonize the poor("if you are unemployed, BLAME YOURSELF).. he is the perfect tool to attack blacks("blacks are BRAINWASHED into voting Democrat") attack the notion of racism still existing( "racism doesn't affect anyone in today's world"), and to promote the greed and imbalanced wealth distribution of the top 1%(does anyone REALLY think that lowering taxes on corporations to 9%, or his 9-9-9 plan will do anything but make the rich RICHER?)

He can be used as the perfect attack dog for going after Obama( "Obama isn't a "real" black man..he is a socialist, and a secret Muslim", Cain has said in the past). It's too shameful that he cannot see, that not only is he being used as the attack dog, but as an agent of the same cold hearted corporate demons that care nothing about blacks, hispanics, poor people, or the middle class. He can play his Sambo routine all he wants, but only those in the tea party will want to hear that tune come November 2012.

Monday, October 3, 2011

When The Lights Go Out: Glossary of Terms


So as not to have the heterosexual men and women that read this book be COMPLETELY lost in the sea of slang terminology used particularly by the Black gay male inmates, I have added a glossary to help guide you to interpret each term in the context of the interviews provided. Here goes:

Aga:  A form of pig Latin developed by African American gay men in the early days of the ball scene to communicate when amongst heterosexuals, in this context heterosexual inmates, without details of the conversation being revealed.

Ball scene: A circuit of “balls,” or pageants, wherein gay men compete against each other in a myriad of categories, from “best face” to “fem queen realness,” to all types of vogueing categories. Many fem and masculine Black/Latino gay men in prison have been or are associated with this scene at one point or another in their lives on the street.

Boots: A Black gay slang term typically used at the end of a sentence to add emphasis to the intensity of the subject of the sentence itself. For example, “Girl, I was drunk boots!” means that the individual was highly intoxicated. Derived from the phrase, “to boot,” an old idiom to describe “in addition to,” or “besides” the verb highlighted in the sentence.

Butch queen: A gay male who exhibits a masculine veneer or outer appearance, but conducts himself in private in a manner not unlike an effeminate gay male.

CO: Abbreviated term for correctional officer. Also called the police.

Cunt:   Black gay slang/slur to anecdotally describe a female. Typically not spoken or said in a malicious context. Also used to describe, in equally as shady a manner, other gay men of whom the “queen” does not approve.

Diking:  Black gay slang for two effeminate gay men (queens) sleeping with and/or dating each other, akin to lesbian sex. Usually used in a “shady” or condescending manner.

Fem queen: An effeminate gay male, often displaying some or all of many inmates’ preconceived stereotypes of gay men in general (speaking in what most would consider a “feminine” voice, flamboyant mannerisms, etc.).

Fi-Fi : Another slang term for “pocket pussy,” or a homemade device made by heterosexual inmates to simulate the walls of a vagina.

How to make a Penitentiary Pussy (Vagina) aka Pocket Pussy aka Fi Fi:                 

There are several ways to make this device, and I will show you the most effective way that I know in my personal experience, and that of other inmates I have interviewed. You will need the following ingredients:

1 towel (you can set it on top of a light to heat it up before using…nothing like a nice, “warm” feel when you begin your fantasies)
1 latex glove
Vaseline (used sparingly)
Lotion (to give it that “wet” feel)
Rubber bands (if you want a tight grip)

Please take the towel and lay it flat on a table or some other sturdy surface. Lay the latex glove at one end of the towel, with the opening to the glove exposed, laying about two inches outside of the edge of the towel. As you begin to roll the towel, with the latex glove inside it, as you would roll a newspaper, please keep in mind that if you want a tighter, more “virginal”  feel for your “fi-fi” or “pocket pussy,” then you  should roll the towel in as tight a manner as you possibly can.  If you want a looser and more open feel, then roll the towel accordingly. Once you have rolled the towel up, with the latex glove out in the manner listed above, then you can take the Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly and begin to lubricate the opening of the glove in the manner you feel most appropriate for your taste. Some men enjoy a wetter simulated vagina, in which case you can put both Vaseline and a touch of lotion in the glove to give it that “soaking wet” effect.

Fish: Black gay slang/slur to anecdotally describe a female. Typically not spoken or said in a malicious context at all, but can and is considered offensive to most natural-born women.

Geesh: Regional term used to define a male who dresses in a full woman’s outfit. For example: “I got up in geesh to walk K street, honey,” translates to, “I got dressed up in a woman’s outfit and walked down a street to turn tricks.” It can be used in place of, or interchangeably with the term, “up-in-ems.”

Get my life: An expression meaning, “I thoroughly enjoyed myself.” To use as an example in a sentence: “I went to the club last night and got my life. I didn’t get home until seven a.m.” It is an affirmation of a pleasurable and enjoyable experience.

Girl: Slang terminology with multiple meanings, but generally used anecdotally in casual conversation. Also used to describe effeminate gay men in prison or those men who, for whatever reasons, have entered into relationships with men and have assumed the “bottom” or anally receptive position in said relationship.

Gunning: The act of public, open masturbation by heterosexual inmates when observing female correctional officers and staff.  An inmate pulls his penis out, no matter where he is, and begins to fantasize about sexual intercourse with the female whom he is watching.  Looks, age, size, and position are irrelevant in the inmate’s mind when engaging in this practice. The inmate is only interested in the fact that that female has a vagina. This practice, if caught, comes with stiff penalties, and if convicted, carries, in some states, a criminal charge and registry in that state as a sex offender.

HAART: Acronym for "Highly Active Anti Retroviral Treatment", the medical term to describe the now well known "HIV/AIDS cocktail", taken by hundreds of thousands of HIV positive patients throughout the known world. Its effectiveness in keeping HIV positive patients healthy has greatly improved over the years, and is now streamlined to minimize the harmful side effects that plagued earlier versions of the treatment.

Hooch: Also called jailhouse wine. It is a homemade alcoholic beverage made by inmates typically using some form of fruit, sugar, and yeast (when they can steal it), and allowed to ferment for about two days until the yeast eats up the sugar, thus creating the chemical byproduct of alcohol.

Institutionalized: The syndrome often spoken of by inmates that develops when an individual has adapted overly to the prison environment, and has not learned to effectively transition that adaptation once released from prison. For example, in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption,” one of the supporting characters was released after serving decades in prison. He had no way of figuring out how to cope with the changing world of which he was now a part. For him, prison represented a safe zone, one that he had become so accustomed to that he couldn’t handle being free. The character committed suicide. His was an extreme case of institutionalization.

Jody: Penitentiary nickname for a man or men on the street who provide sexual fulfillment to the girlfriends or wives of inmates while those inmates are incarcerated.  Men who are incarcerated use this term to play upon other inmates’ insecurities in relation to the fidelity of their wives or girlfriends.

Lifer: One serving a life sentence.

Meat on the gate: Can be used interchangeably with the term “drop it in the hole,” depending on the region, and is a reference to the solicitation of oral or anal sex in exchange for some benefit, either money or drugs.

Pocket pussy: Artificial apparatus made by heterosexual and bisexual inmates to simulate a woman’s vagina while incarcerated. See the term “fi-fi.”

Prison MAC: Term used for using candy or other colored confection as makeup, primarily M&Ms dipped in minute amounts of water and applied to the lips, cheeks, eyelids, etc., in the same way as the popular “MAC” make-up on the street.

Same-Gender Loving: Politically correct term for the LGBT community in the twenty-first century.

Swole: Prison lingo for a dish made by inmates consisting of Ramen noodles, cheese, pickles, either a singular meat product, or variety of meats and seafood items, and depending on the inmate and his culinary acumen, many other things as well. Generally extremely high in sodium and carbohydrates.

Trade: Multi-purpose term used initially to describe a hetero-identified man who may occasionally engage in same sex encounters for a price, i.e. a pair of sneakers or money. Over the decades, generations of gay men have re-defined this elusive term in many ways, but among the most consistent definitions include: a thuggish , hyper masculine male completely undetectable to the heterosexual world, that messes around with other men, as well as women; sometimes interchangeable with "DL"; Can also be used to describe a masculine man's penis endowment. "Chile he had trade(dick) down!"( meaning he had a large penis).

Up-in-ems: Black gay slang term to describe a drag queen or trans-gendered person dressing in a full female outfit and makeup. Regional term used in the Eastern Coast prisons and by some Black gay men.

Visitation method: When an inmate gets a visit from a relative or friend from the free world, who slips him drugs via a latex glove or balloon. The inmate swallows the latex-wrapped package of drugs, as latex is highly resistant to many of the acids in the stomach and intestine. The inmate, hours later or perhaps the next day, gets the drugs out of his body by “taking a shit,” and then, with a latex-glove-wrapped hand, sifts through the fecal matter until he finds the package. He then cleans the latex package off, unravels it, and begins to smoke and/or sell it.

Werk or werq: A Black, gay, slang derivation of the word “work,” usually spoken by some gay men to emphasize appreciation and awe for a high level of skill and talent  in an individual or group. Popularized in American pop culture by drag queen icon Rupaul (“You betta werk, bitch!”).

Slang terminologies may vary greatly depending upon region, facility, and security level of prison. This glossary is to aid mainly heterosexual men and women who read this book to understand the language and terms from non-hetero inmates. The definition itself is more important than the term, and I respectfully ask that you keep that in mind when referring to this glossary.


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