“I came here during a queer diaspora of gay and lesbian academics that moved to the bay area to study with people. I came to study with Angela Davis. I moved from the Olympia, WA but I’m from Oak Park, Illinois. When you show up in a city like San Francisco they embrace you like you’re from the ghetto because there’s no strong black middle class. I’m from Chicago where I have memories of back doctors and lawyers. Here…it’s zombies. We have a game in San Francisco called ‘How many black people are there’? Oh, there’s one, there’s two. But not one of those black people when you pass will look you in the eye because of embarrassment or Stockholm syndrome.”
“I’m here talking to you.”
“I know brother but you’re the only one in all my years living here that has approached me to say squat. I went to the San Francisco Art Institute. I’m an artist: a photographer and a filmmaker. My craft is in the restaurant industry as a sommelier, bartender and server. That’s how I make my cash. I’m always solo negro. Always. A lot of us in the business have to prove ourselves all the time. The folks that encounter us don’t consider class, they just consider race. They see your face and think ‘you grew up in the projects’. I grew in a Frank Lloyd Wright home! Some of these white kids grew up in complete poverty but they get pushed ahead but they get pushed ahead because of skin privilege. It’s a struggle out here because there’s this sense of liberalism but it’s one of the most racist places I’ve ever lived. There could be a rebel flag here. It’s the feeling. Look around.”


July 15, 2015