Who’s Better Than You?

We are all the same

We are all different

In sameness lies

understanding and empathy

Let differences fuel curiosity

Not suspicion and fear

But, don’t beat me over the head

With those differences

You are more than a penis

or a pussy

your sexuality

does not define you


is not a license

for fascism

you are, I am

made up of thoughts, and ideas, and conflicting feelings

Respect mine

Though we may be at odds

And I will defend the freedom

For us to fly

our freak flags



11 thoughts on “Who’s Better Than You?

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  1. To expect a person to conform with a particular set of ideas and beliefs really is new-age fascism. Some people don’t understand the concept of “live and let live”. We can only hope they make it to this poem. It’s a wonderful write. I love the message. To waving our freak flags 🍷

  2. I like the idea of this, especially the idea of highlighting our commonalities and finding unity. I think it’s important to be cautious, however, in telling someone who is marginalized for their sexuality, that their sexuality does not define them. As a woman with African heritage, who has been looked down upon and discriminated against for said heritage, I can truly empathize with those who face discrimination and mistreatment due to that thing which “does not define them.” Sometimes, we are defined by those things about us which we can’t change, whether we want to be or not.

    1. Yes, these words are “easy” for me to say as a white heterosexual male. Like it or not, I have benefitted from gender bias and racism. My intent was not to minimize the real struggles for the individual who is seeking human dignity.

      If the goal is to know YOU, then I think all of these definitions get in the way. Institutional discrimination creates all kinds of distortions and stereotypes, both positive and negative, resulting in exaggerated behaviors and expectations. Robert Townsend played out this phenomena in “Hollywood Shuffle”.

      We hear the speech at the same time every year, but how does it affect how we view each other?

      “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Progress means letting go of old ideas, even when we have become comfortable with them. Many rejoiced and took pride in the election of an African-American president, but he was as much a white president. I am not being facetious. If I look at Barack Obama as a man, and concentrate on what makes him tick, his blackness is as important as a freckle on his left cheek, and I only need worry about his smoking habit rather than getting pulled out of his car and getting his neck stepped on because he drove in the wrong neighborhood.

      The fact that we need to remind ourselves, “Black Lives Matter,” that “#me too” is not only a movement, but also a growing list of casualties, and that “Pride Month” and “Pride Marches” are required, is an indictment of our society and evidence of how little we’ve evolved as a species.

      Setting this aside for a moment; who are YOU? When I celebrate your heritage, it should be to embrace what makes each of us unique.

      1. I completely agree about your assessment of President Obama. His African heritage played only a small role in who he was, as it should, really. I wouldn’t want for anyone to completely ignore my ancestral heritage, only because it is essential, I think, for people to grasp some idea of the struggles I may have faced and obstacles I may have surmounted to get to where I am in life, as many people who share that heritage, or have physical features similar to mine, may have faced. Without understanding that, I don’t feel that anyone could really understand me.

        That said, it is only part of me. One would also have to know that I subscribe to a typical, middle-class, California culture, as one might find in San Francisco, or Marin County, or Sonoma County (important distinctions). And that I am well-read, but also love pop culture. And that I would pick alternative rock music over any other genre, and that I believe in working hard and constantly learning and growing toward achieving excellence. Only then might someone finally begin to know me. So yes, to define ourselves by only one facet is superficial and may result in further stereotyping.

        BUT. When you ask someone who they are, and their response is to tell you that they are a man who loves another man, or a woman who loves other women, then it is important that we fold that into the whole of who that person is. To downplay it, to diminish it, is to redefine that person in the image we wish to project upon them.

      2. I think I’m coming across as dualistic when I am trying to elicit a broader response to understand the shared experience of the group you identify with. I don’t want to approach you with any assumptions about what it means to be a woman of African heritage, or a member of any group that has been discriminated against because of race, religion or sexual orientation; I want you to define it in your own terms.

        I think we are sometimes hardest and most judgmental of those in our own group. We expect the members of our group to think like us and act like us, but there are so many varieties of human experience even within our unique tribes. However, I would be foolish to deny there are ties that bind each of us to our histories.

      3. I think you’re right. And that encompasses a variety of groups, whether defined by ethnic heritage, religion, socioeconomic group, or sexual identity. I have been judged hardest by other black Americans due to my inability to code switch, and my way of being, which is somehow non-conforming, and therefore makes me “too good for” or otherwise singled out and excluded. To this day, I automatically find myself steering clear of other black people, even relatives, due to fear of more misunderstandings or rejection.

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