Batten down your hatches, batches. Y’all know who it is.
Poseidon. Gay. God. Of. The. Sea.
I took a year off to cope with a GLOBAL FUCKING PANDEMIC, which WAS NOT MY FAULT or AREA OF EXPERTISE, but if you thought that meant I was gone forever, you need to get your got-damn amygdala checked.
Yeah, it’s June, and yeah, I’m rocking that sourdough-starter-sponsored post-coronavirus dadbod, and yeah, your SCREEF (that’s SCRUFF for people who live on coral reefs) app says I’m +/- 150 fathoms away, so that can only mean one thing:
Me. Poseidon. Swishiest of the Swishy Fishies. Lordt of the Surfboardt. The A-List from Atlantis, high on lionfish toxin, PRePped up, and about to dump my truth load Baltics-deep in your Marianus Trench.
Been hearing a lot of bubbling in these here waters about how 2021 Pride is cancelled.
BITCH YOU THOUGHT. 2021 and Pride is back again, like it’s freakin’ Motownphilly.
We’re vaxxed and waxxed like your hot Dad’s back. Maybe it’s too late to get a parade poppin’ off, but that doesn’t mean you can’t power-chain some poppers and catch up on most of the bullshit we missed out on last June.
But also a year where we hopefully learned some stuff. I know I did. And that’s mostly what I’m here to talk with you about. Owning up to some history and behavior I’m not proud of, when it comes to Pride. My life. All of it.
That’s starboard (aka right). We’re gonna talk about PRIDE and RACISM and the sea-foam-white-privilege nonsense I’ve been complicit in, for far too long.
Let’s bait the hook before we fish in my own historical depths: It feels to me a lot of y’all want to pretend racism, let alone racism in the gay community, is extinct. Which is some coelacanth level fuckery. Coelacanth? Yeah. Coelacanth..
That nocturnal piscivore. The old-bitch-fish-with-legs everyone thought was extinct for like a million years, until, in 1938, people started recognizing that regular ol’ subsistence fishermen across the world were still catching it all the time.
Turns out, it was very much not extinct, instead, you dumb idiots jUSt DIdN’T WanT To LOoK HArD EnOUGh.
Racism is like that. A thing people in power decided they didn’t want to deal with, so they called it extinct. Even though it’s been swimming around in the ocean since the beginning of fucking time. And still is.
So, let’s talk about my part in that. Some typically white under-sea-soned food for thought. What Poseidon needs to take responsibility for. The unfathomable behavioral fathoms I’ve sunk to, in the past.
I’ll admit, it took me more than a tide-cycle to recognize that racism was a thing. Few reasons why. Don’t get it twisted, this is an explanation, not an excuse. My dumbass shoulda done better.
For starters, I’m from the pantheon I’m from, know what I mean? End of the epoch, I’m one of the Greeks—the thought-merchants reasonably responsible for Western Civilization, and therefore colonialism, and therefore the construction of whiteness and Blackness as values and identities.
Add to the mix that I was raised in a certain way by certain Titans, born a god, with sub-sea-quent god-level white privilege.
Big Daddy Kronos and his titandick kronies weren’t exactly concerned with making overtures to humans , let alone providing guidance or correction when it came to the melanin-based hierarchies and xenophobias that homosapiens were developing. They were more into typical Titan shit, like having gross, gross, gross amounts of incestuous volcanotornado sex.
Aaaaand what did we do once we overthrew BDK and his pals, once we buried them in a hell underneath the oceans, the very same oceans over which I now hold Rainbow Dominion?
Sea-sentially, a few thousandz of years of me and Zeus and the rest of them not giving a single shit about anyone except ourselves.
Some days, I tell myself I wasn’t the worst Olympian (actively pursue race wars much, Ares?). But who knows? I was definitely as bad as the second worst (actively promote phrenology much, Athena?). Looking back, it’s hard to tell.
I played that silly, lazy game where I pretended to be straight for a millenia, only slept with gods who looked exactly like me, told everyone I was “just really focused on my career” when they asked me personal questions, then showed up “fashionably late” to visibility and activism (after I had abs, got some money, and fixed my teeth).
Sure, once I burst out of the clamshell closet, I spoke out about anything that I felt oppressed ME specifically (discrimination at work, marriage equality, overfishing, asymmetrical bangs, taupe colored clothing), but it was embarrassingly performative and self-congratulatory, entirely reliant upon my wealth, my trident, my social capital, all while expecting people to thank me for making their lives easier.
During that era, I ignored subjects and people that made me feel uncomfortable, shitting on anyone and everything that wasn’t easy or fun. I said terrible shit like, “All whales ever want to talk about is whaling, it’s so exhausting,” “Red Sea? Black Sea? I don’t sea color,” “I can’t be racist, I’ve slept with plenty of Egyptian gods,” and “All Oceans Matter,” every time there was an oil spill.
Meantime, I was spite-fucking every Corsican sailor I could lure off the dock, gentrifying entire city-states in Tunisia, and still finding time to sit out on my front porch and tonguecluck at my sub-Saharan neighbors, thinking awful things like “iF THeY diDN’t WanT tO Be ENslAVeD tHeN MAybE ThEY shOuLD HaVe iNDusTRiALiZeD” but knowing just enough to not say it out loud. Unless, of course, I was in a place where other people would understand (e.g. at a dinner with other white professional gays, say, at the Human Shipwrights Campaign annual gala).
Worse than shitbags. We were basically on par with people who throw plastic bottles off a boat. Maybe not as bad as people who used boats to casually attempt to ethnically cleanse entire continents… but it’s fair to say that we were at the very least vibin’, if not full on gellin’ with Magellan.
I would like to use this space to formally apologize for my behavior and for the way my godliness was lacking in holiness. To state that I understand my desire to Master and Commander this allyShip will only be proven through my actions from here on out. To call on my fellow white gays—gods, mortals, and anything in between—to take a real hard look at your behavior and thought processes, and recognize the ways you can step the fuck up for someone besides your white, gay self.
I get how it can bring on a tidal wave of tidal wave emojis. Especially when it’s June and it’s Pride and we’re emerging from a lost year searching desperately for that slice of Hot Girl Summer we’ve been craving for so long. It’s still no excuse to get distracted.
I’ve said my driftwood piece, and I’ll leave it to you to figure out how you wanna surf the wave.
If you think I’m right, great. I am. Now do the work.
If you think I’m wrong, that’s your choice. But perhaps take more than a second to consider why. Why you may be feeling defensive. Why you might seem to have more space in your heart to care about whether stupid fucking baby sea turtles get eaten by birds on a nature show than you do for any of the Black men and women we’ve seen die on cell phone video in the past decade. And when you’re done thinking about that, what you have the power to do to make the world a safer, happier place for some folks who may not look exactly like you. And when you’re done doing that, taking 10 seconds to listen to those very people, many of whom who’ve been kind enough to give you an actual playbook to work from.
Grand scheme of things, I think it’s a plankton-sized ask. Poseidon OUT.