Who is Black & Poly For?

A group members asks the Facebook group to be inclusive.

Dear Black & Poly, can we visit or revisit the question of whether all black people should be allowed in this group?

Recently, a post came up on our wall about whether it was appropriate to request a partner restrict dating to black people. While the question was simple enough, some responses (many of which have been redacted) argued that white people were enemies unworthy of our love. The idea of interracial relationships, or “swirling” makes some people here sick.

I’m mixed, so this felt intensely personal. Does the thought of me, a product of an interracial relationship, make you sick? I came here because I’m poly, and I’m tired of walking into a room of white people and feeling on the outs because a black woman like me is overlooked or not seen as beautiful or not understood. And here I walk into my black family, and in less than a month of joining this group, I feel even more rejected than I do by the white folks.

Yeah, I might be half white, but I face a lot of the same stigma. I deal with the systemic racism, the lower employment chances, the fear of police, the lack of representation in the media and government. People avoid me and assume I’m on welfare. From being kicked out of hair salons to being called the maid in my own apartment complex, I deal every day with the same mess.

But.

If this group sees the white half of me as evil – that white half of me that was born and raised in Algeria during a civil war, the white half that almost died saving Algerian kids from being killed, the white half that worked on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after it escaped to safety, the white half that devoted its life to supporting the black African community here in the United States financially and emotionally for decades – then I don’t want to be a part of this group. And I think this group should seriously consider who it allows in, in the first place, because it’s crueler to say “we accept you as people” and then present rejection than it is to just say “no” in the first place.

We all know that there is no one experience of being black. Some of us are Southern, some of us are from the cities, some are from the suburbs, some are immigrants, and some are mixed. There are many more people than I’ve listed, and a bunch of us are in this group. It would be my personal preference to be as respectful of all of these experiences as possible, in the same way as we are as respectful towards all expressions of polyamory as possible.

So if your preference is to date one race, that hurts me a lot, but I can accept it. But if you see part of us black folk as the enemy because of how we are born or how we love, then rancor aside, let’s consider this as a group so those of us who don’t belong can form another community that will include people like us. Thanks for your understanding.

Editor's Note: Black & Poly is centered around black people and those who love them. Everyone, regardless of race, is welcome to participate in discussion. What do you think of our group's mission? Let us know in the comments.

Ask Aunty: Black & What Now?

aunty

Ask Aunty is a regular feature of Black & Poly where real people ask about their polyamorous relationships. Aunty is here for you, so ask away!

Dear Aunty,

Why are there white people in the Black & Poly Facebook group?

Black Nation Builder

Dear Aunty,

Why do the admins silence white voices in the Facebook group?

Social Justice White Person

Y'all are looking at two sides of the same coin. Black & Poly was started by Ron Young to be for black people transitioning to polyamory. Not black allies, black people's lovers, and certainly not for white people. White people have their own blogs, books, and groups about polyamory. White people will even tell you they straight up invented polyamory.

The problem is, white people don't know how black folks are. We know how Aunt Clara always had "friends" who liked to visit late at night. How our distant Nation of Islam cousin was actually married to three women. How our other cousin is always talking about "nation-building." Black & Poly is a space to acknowledge and define black nonmonogamy for the black community, past and present. So when new people come to B&P looking for advice, they find people who have lived through the same stuff--unicorn hunting, jealousy, new relationship energy. Not only that, we lived it while being black, not just poly. Consider us your elders at the church who smack you upside the head if you're not listening to the sermon.

Don't get it twisted, though. Some of us are biracial or multiracial, and some of us love and are loved by people who are not black. That's why B&P is open to everyone. Love is color blind, and who am I to say your red head needs social justice classes STAT? (Well, I am, but you do you.) This isn't a fishbowl for others to examine us, but it's a good place to learn how to interact with the black community and occasionally hear from non-black poly veterans.

Because it's still a group for black folks. When non-black people comment and say our way of poly is wrong or this is the actual history, they are taking away our voices. You know how you'll argue with Uncle Mike about everything, but as soon as someone steps to him you're "brothers 4 life?" The B&P family sticks up for itself. Non-black voices are welcome as long as they recognize they are guests. Sometimes we're gonna tell you to take a seat. Maybe several seats. Maybe several seats outside the room. At the end of the day, people coming to B&P may have a lot to learn, and we want them to learn from people like us.

Editor's note: I am not an admin of the Facebook group, but the blog is an outgrowth of their work. If you've found yourself rejected from the Facebook group, browse our Poly 101 articles so that you have an idea of what polyamory is and is not. You can always reapply as long as you answer the three questions appropriately and have not broken the group rules.

Do you have a question for Aunty? Comment below or use our contact form!

Mr. & Misogyny

Email

Although the title is meant to be witty and slightly humorous in the name of starting a conversation, the people I’m describing can be quite the opposite. You know them. Or maybe you ARE them. The forced OPP couple who have deemed it “Unicorn season”. The Hoteps who insist their “secondary” single girlfriends date only them while they themselves are married. The wife who only wants to play pillow princess to, but could never marry or take a relationship serious. Even the LGBTQ couple who fall into heteronormative gender identifications in which the feminine party is viewed as less than, or subservient to the masculine or otherwise dominant one.

For some reason or another polyamorous people are sometimes looked upon as more enlightened and or evolved than the general monogamous population.

Some of us will argue that monogamy is actually the devolution of the natural order of things, but I can agree that the ability to connect to and love more than one person in these times is hella progressive.
But to think that these poly-oriented people don’t each come with a customized set of very human and sometimes downright oppressive belief systems is not a stretch, it’s just incorrect.

I can only speak for my experiences , and those that have been shared with me from other non mono people. I listen to the stories of women and men who try to love these people, only to be treated as less than, or even as some kind of disposable object, here for the entertainment of those who subscribe to these ideals. The worst of these stories end in abuse, self esteem issues and other emotional and psychological damage.

I myself have my own tales to tell, as a masculine leaning androgynous queer person in a largely hetero community, (many woman I date are married to men) I have been made to feel as though my relationships are invalid. As if my presence in a married woman’s life was temporary, a phase she was going through, and not to be taken seriously. And not just by the men in these scenarios.

I’ve seen men and women alike flip out over wives for even wanting sexual encounters with men, but won’t push to meet or otherwise interact with me in the same situation because “men are different”. As if somehow my vagina makes me safe. Or not as bad. Or anything less than capable of doing just as much damage as my male counterparts. How cute, my girl has a girlfriend!

How do we move past misogyny in a society in which rape, domestic abuse and other atrocities are often blamed on the victims? How do you convince a woman her internalized misogyny is toxic to free thinking, womanist or feminist types, and this may be why nobody wants to “inbox her man if they aren’t eating her p*ssy” as one meme I saw suggests?

Here’s an idea; by not entertaining that mess. Say no to the date with the dude that insists you wear heels and know how to cook. Don’t hook up the woman who lets you know she could never go beyond sex with a woman. Let the woman who expects you to pay for the date know, men can be treated too. Call out the LGBT folks who belittle those who don’t fall into their already marginalized hypocrisy. Y’all need to check yourselves. This ain’t the 50’s!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for living your truth unapologetically. We are in a free thinking society in which one can do what they please, and some folks are OK with varying schools of radical thought. This is all good! But instead of forcing these hyper masculinity based belief systems on the rest of us, find each other and be happy. Let Mr. and Misogyny take their forced OPP elsewhere. Let the rest of us poly in peace and equal love.

What’s your take? Share it with us!