Sunday, June 19, 2016

Brother Deric Muhammad, An Open Letter From Karisha Shaw

Previously, I wrote this open letter: and now my sister from another mother has something that she needs to say.

Brother Deric Muhammad,

I recently read your article in Forward Times and have some concerns.

I am concerned that it is unhealthy for you, as my brother, to carry some guilt that the whole Black LGBTQIA community is some sense of failure on your part as a man. We are vast and that is a big weight to carry. I also am concerned about your reasoning. You said you weren't homophobic, but have failed to truly love the community you say you are defending.

I am first, Black. We have broken bread and organized as a part of a dynamic and diverse group of Black and Brown minds for the betterment of our community. I have marched beside you and supported your events and promoted them even in my absence. And then to call me (and so many others) a problem that needs to be fixed, is painful. And then to go a step further and say, "We stand with you Orlando." Sadly, your previous commentary clearly shows you don't.

I have a few things I would like to ask you to challenge in your mind as a man who says he loves his community. Consider that your community is a beautiful collective of varied identities that do not need your permission to be. Consider that if we say we are "for" someone, that means for them in their entire self. Whether you agree or disagree w them on certain things, degrading their very existence is not a vote for true love or solidarity.

The misogyny that I even was aware of when the news of Sandra Bland was fresh, still baffles me. Someone said, "Sandra Bland was not some 'trap queen,' she was an educated woman." This was the only reason to come to her defense? Please excuse me, but what the fuck kind of love is that? This type of talk is what killed her. This type of talk is what killed 49 innocent victims of murder that you claim to be standing in solidarity with. From the same tongue, you dishonored me as the queen, you have called me on greeting upon greeting.

The failure you talked of is a senseless need to blame someone for a problem that isn't theirs. To go a step further, it is not a problem to anyone but those who live in a world of guilt. Black men are not to blame for queers. Queers were kings and queens at the dawn of time. Queers have been Roman emperors, leaders of the Civil Rights movement and educators.

This is where the failure is:
To raise your child in a beautiful Muslim home. To reach her the value of herself and her beauty. To send her into the world with all the knowledge you could possibly imagine to prepare her for a future. She returns home to tell you that she is in love and brings you the person she is in love with, and you doubt her. You tell her she is wrong and blame yourself for failing her somehow and as a result of your guilt, you push her away and ruin years of love and wisdom simply because you cannot give her permission anymore to choose.

My partner was raised in a home of loving Muslim parents. We pray together. Celebrate together. Cry and laugh together, but we do so in secret of her father knowing who she really is. Why? Because in all of that love, there is still fear. Fear that he will disown her and leave her with no fatherly guidance. Perfect love should send away all fear.

So, tell me. Is the failure that you've not been a good guide or is it that you don't know how to truly love your community for all that it is? I personally believe you have been a wonderful father to your children, but to your community, you have to truly learn to love us....ALL OF US.


Karisha Shaw

P.S. My Black father is proud of me and cannot wait to walk me down the aisle, if I so choose to let him walk me down.

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