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More colors, please: Black Cracker muses on Pride and its evolving flag

The American expat examines the division of colors in the rainbow

Jul. 13, 2017 – “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.” Pride is defined as a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, from the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired. Pride is a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in conduct, and a pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself.

Are we so full of ourselves at this stage that we are contentedly and constantly pooling in our own glory? A handful of laws amended and a number of corporations deeming us worthy while capitalizing on our perpetual splendor. Investing in public displays of our collective exquisiteness. Parading us into the most triumphant white light. We float like colorful angels, clothed in the trendiest of wares down avenues across the globe and into oblivion. But from which retailer did we buy our made-in-(insert problematic nation here) flag, and more important, how many stripes does it have?

We often compare discrimination: sexism is like racism, racism is like homophobia and the next. These notions illuminate a systematic privilege, reducing the experiences of those who endure a multiplicity of oppressed states to a singular. Even more problematic is the historically well documented evidence of members of marginalized communities, further marginalizing its own members. Imagine going to the gym, sitting on a slimy rower, the previous patron too oblivious to clean. Discrimination is indeed an issue within the queer community, because, despite attempts for cultures to isolate us and, in my opinion, our own attempts to isolate ourselves, we are still reflections and cross-sections of the experiences we have lived and witnessed. The suffering of one has unfortunately never guaranteed the understanding and accountability of another.

To suggest that it is racist to add a black and brown stripe to a rainbow flag shows a full failure in understanding the difference between discrimination and systematic racism, and it may be all the proof needed to articulate why a community like Philadelphia's might choose to do so. Additionally, to suggest that bringing awareness and attention to the concerns of some of the members of a community is not “inclusive of all members” clearly illuminates the privilege that obviously only some are experiencing.

Let's add a new stripe to the flag every year, month, day, second, until the flag is as intricate as tapestry. At what cost does a “community” continue to show its truly divided colors? We must go beyond pride and recommit to working toward a fully inclusive future for all members. There is much work to do – and I'm not talking about bicep curls in front of a full-length mirror listening to Beyoncé.

Black Cracker is an artist working with text, music and video. His latest album 'Come as U R' is out now



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