Zero-Sum Bullshit

Ernest Owens, editor of G Philly, Philadelphia Magazine’s attempt to make money off the demographics of the LGBTQ community, just published a manifesto in the opinion section on where he continues his barrage on “white people.”

Owens’ manifesto has five points to it.  They are:

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“For sincere equality to happen, someone will have to give up something. White people will have to be in the   first  round of the draft here.”

“A seat at the table” means people of color will actually have some power (also inevitable).

“Imagine if you were invited to a birthday party where you were a special guest but weren’t allowed to have a piece of cake.  That’s how awkward it feels for people of color to be invited but never included.”

Diversity requires intentional redistribution of power.

“If white institutions are sincere about making their spaces representative of the population, they must actually seek such changes proactively.“

Egos may be hurt, but doing the right thing is more important.

“Yes, diversity scares white people.”

Prioritizing diversity isn’t an option, but necessary for our survival.

“Community division isn’t started by people of color who call out the marginalization they face, but by those more privileged who are complicit in their disenfranchisement.”

Owens believes that to achieve diversity we must first discriminate (against white people) to realize it. His reasoning produces a zero-sum logic of racism that precludes complex conversation that is required by all at the table, and if our table is too small then we need a larger table with more chairs.

Owens desire to remove white people from the table to make room is rooted in something deeper than race relations.  Owens has an issue with white people, especially white cisgender gay men.  One needs only to see his constant attack on Rep. Brian Sims to see the direction from which Owens comes.

His Facebook page reveals many posts directed at, or about, “white people.”

White “allies,” stop expecting black & brown people to fight your battles for you. (May 2)

White people who act as though their racist “free speech” is being “suppressed” — it’s not, it’s just now going to be met with responses that you may not like. (May 1)

White LGBTQ complain the community is “now” divided as if they were ever united with QPOC. (April 29)

Does someone have a grandmother’s number for some of Brian Sims racist followers? (April 29)

If only white gays defended LGBTQ of color as they do Brian Sims… (April 28)

White “allies” admiring my courage privately means nothing if not fought for openly. (April 21)

White people quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. to remind a crowd of white people how “our” community must come together. (April 9)

White people at these events referencing Trump as the source of division in our community as if we didn’t have racism, sexism, and transphobia prior. (April 9)

Wealthy old white donors talking about how they supported Obama as if that makes them a savior. (April 9) (A reference to Mel Heifetz I presume, who does more in one month for Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community than Owens will in his time on earth.)

Being the prop white folks love to use for their “diversity pic.” (April 9)

I wish white “allies” would stop quoting MLK to shield their blindness. (April 9)

Be weary (sp) of white folks who are only concerned with racism when they’re not culprits. (April 9)

FYI: Won’t be sitting on any token “diversity” panels for majority white events. (March 27)

Institutional racism is a white problem that they need to fix within themselves. (March 26)

Owens’ writes that “it’s perplexing that white people would accuse me, a black millennial journalist, of having the power and ability to take anything away from them — I’m a small black fish in a huge sea of whiteness that has yet to diversify to a level anything like its actual share of the population. The notion that what little impact I do have could scare a community into “submission” is more than just a ridiculous claim . . .”

Well, I’ve been on the end of one of Owens’ threats when he threatened to unleash his 4700+ friends to troll me because I dared called him out when he wrote “WHITE PEOPLE are selfish.”   When I stood up to him and his followers he blocked me.

On April 4 Owens posted the following, “I don’t have followers, I have foot-soldiers.”

He has many in the community, both POC and white, in fear of him and his approach to the issues that face our community, lest he release his “foot-soldiers” on them.  And that should bother all of us.

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1 Comment

  1. So familiar. I got into it with Owens several weeks ago when he was spouting off on Facebook complaining that when Nellie Fitzpatrick was ousted from her position as Philadelphia LGBT Outreach Director she gave an exit interview to Natalie Hope McDonald. For some unfathomable reason, Owens seemed to feel that he was entitled to that interview and that the reason he didn’t get it because he’s black and Natalie is white.

    When I pointed out to Owens that if he’d spent the better part of the last year using his media platform to try to get me fired from my job, as he had with Nellie, I probably wouldn’t be inclined to give him an interview either, he called me a racist and blocked me on Facebook.

    This is apparently Owens’ SOP for dealing with white people of any stripe (I’m a white lesbian trans woman) who disagree with him in any way. What you write above is exactly in keeping with my experience of him.

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