I need to address something.
I want to offer an apology for my racism. Obviously saying “sorry” is not a solution, and I want to make it clear that this apology is offered with no expectation of having it accepted, acknowledged, or even read. But, while simply apologizing is in no way a solution, I think recognizing fucked-up actions and clearly marking them as wrong and harmful is a necessary first step towards an honest change in behavior and attitude.
I want to apologize for being racist. My pervious username here on tumblr is a reference to a significant Nazi atrocity. For a white skinned blue eyed Christian raised US citizen like me, there is no legitimate motive or rationalization possible for this. Such a reference can only ever be a reminder of racist violence by white people against everyone else. It was harmful of me to use that name and I knew it and I did it anyway. And while I am ashamed of myself, I do acknowledge that shame does not actually fix anything.
I also want to offer an apology for my presentation in a photo that has circulated a bit online. In it, my fashion very consciously echoes the style of extremist groups, specifically fascist and racist groups. Presenting like this was an obscene display of my lack of empathy and was clearly harmful to anyone who might be threatened by those groups (that is, the overwhelming majority of people). The fact that I thought at the time that such a look was a valid choice at all speaks volumes about the huge amounts of white privilege and internalized racism I have.
I am very, very grateful that I was called on my shit, but I’m incredibly bothered about the pretty clear fact that I participate in and contribute to the pervasive racism in queer culture. I think working towards making our communities less racist is vital and long overdue. What that means to me is more than simply calling out strangers on the internet. If I wanted to do that I could just spend all my time over at the Stormfront boards, wasting time, getting nowhere. When I think about making our communities less oppressive, I think about things like calling out bustedness specifically in those we love and admire and want to respect. It means being both vigilant for oppressive thoughts and behaviors in ourselves as well as being welcoming and grateful to those who call us out. Callouts, after all, are compliments, implying that the person being called out is worth spending that time and energy on. Apparently someone thought I was worth that effort. I am sincerely fucking humbled.