BEING YOU

Jamal Miller

THEATRE thesis: In spite of my hopes and all that I’ve done, my greatest fear, has become my destiny. But even if  it becomes law of the land and establishes a new world order, I am determined to….

Jamal Miller

 

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Trying
by MRF, Lisa Bello, Justin Waithe feat. Yasko  Kubota

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TAG AN ANTHOLOGY VOL II
developed by Kendall F. Person
produced by The Neighborhood

Ed. IV LGQBT
BEING YOU
By Jamal Miller, Gays in the Life

Jamal MillerThe feeling of needing to provide explanation for simply being you can be a dark and daunting burden. Imagine always being told “you’re black, so you  need to work ten times as hard just so they notice  you” just to lose an internal job opportunity to a bubbly white woman, and be forced to face the thought of “did she, an external employee, get the job because she’s a white woman?

You see, this is water cooler talk for people of color – anyone labeled different. We’re used to doing more and hoping for the best possible outcome. Hope is what drives our spirit and what fuels the fire to push us closer to our dreams; dreams of existing as people beyond our differences or simply trying to survive.

I think back to the days of separate water fountains and wonder where queer people would need to grab a drink. White, colored, queer. The latter would not be an option, simply because there are complexities even within the black community and how we accept or reject queerness.

In spite of my hopes, my greatest fear seems destined to come alive. But even if rejecting natural differences establishes and new way  of life, I am determined to influence representation and understanding.

In today’s America, Trump’s America, I’m forced to consider the fact that life as a black, queer man can only become more of a challenge moving forward. I’m not the type to roll over on the social issues we face as  a country and see multiple angles as my husband is a white male. I’ve always been hyper aware of how people (could) view us. If there’s an opportunity to educate or share perspective, we’ll do it

In the workplace, there’s a great amount of commentary on the state of America and the issues we face – particularly around the water cooler. The water cooler is the place we go to throughout the workday to sustain our energy, health, and grab a bit of refreshment away from our desks.

Quick comments are shared about the tax debates, black lives matter, healthcare, taking a knee, and who could be doing whatever better. My favorite is when the conversation becomes hushed because “the black, gay man just entered the room and I’m not sure if we want to invite him into this quick exchange.” Let me not jump to conclusions though. Just last week I was at the water cooler with an executive VP when the fact that I was married to a man came up. She was very supportive, asking how long we’d been together,  and said “We love who we love, and that’s beautiful.”

In that moment I was appreciative to have a place at the water cooler to share that interaction. It’s a welcome reminder that allies and understanding are still alive and well, and that it doesn’t take much to connect with someone in a place as simple as a breakroom while getting some water. We can forget as humans that we all share the same basic rights and who you love shouldn’t decide the levels of success you may or may not encounter.

I picture a scene with Africa’s most dangerous and most delicate creatures drinking from the same small body of water – simply existing amongst one another for a brief period and going on about their business when they’ve had their fill. It’s too easy to be afraid, close-minded, and to jump to conclusions when known differences are perceived as less than or threatening. It’s harder work to show up, represent your views, and engage in civilized conversation for the sake of being open – for the sake of growing as people

— Jamal Miller

this is…. The Neighborhood



  • Up Next: Millennium

5 Comments on “BEING YOU

  1. That was so well written, honest and touched me deeply on many levels. It is a much better day, life, and social climate when we actually sought to perceive others through the eyes of one who adheres to the ‘Golden Rule’. But then again, we must do better, and raise our consciousness to a level that embraces empathy, compassion, and respect for the range of expressions of individuality as one species, undivided-but acknowledged.
    The previous comment addresses the real issues, for certain. I would just like to add that people don’t ‘wear’ labels…they are assigned. We should take care to avoid wearing labels, because that tends to confirm stereotypic narratives, and we know that stereotypes reflect negativity. Nonetheless, I appreciate and agree with that comment-in reference to a famous dream!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Pamela! I do my best to exist and perform for no one but myself. Their opinions and perceptions are theirs to have, but in the end, no one can say I’m one thing or not; I get to decide that 🙂

      Thank you, JaDonnia. I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to want to place everyone in a box – from the first moments of introduction even! – but that’s a battle I plan to keep tending to. I try my best to be as open as I can, without sharing too much and gauging a person’s reaction to a follow up question I may ask in response to their remarks, and go from there. If they aren’t combative, I know I’m very close to possibly making a difference in this person’s life understanding.

      Liked by 2 people

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