As someone who doesn't really know Mackelmore or heard his song "Same Love", would you mind telling me why he's not a good spokesperson for queer rights?
Because he’s straight.
He inherently cannot be a good spokesperson for queer rights because he’s not queer.
And he’s not even a good ally because he has repeatedly spoken for and over queer voices instead of shutting up and letting us speak for ourselves. A good ally helps to share the voices and ideals of the group they’re supporting, not try to be the voice of that group.
EDIT FOR CLARIFICATION: This isn’t to say to that straight people cannot be good allies. This is to say that Macklemore can never be the face of the queer rights movement because he’s not queer. Much in the same way that a white person cannot be the face of the racial justice movement and most male-identified people cannot be the face of the feminist movement. This is not to say that these people do not benefit from these social justice movements, or that they do not have every right to support it. However, as members of said marginalized groups, we reserve every right to call out our allies when they act in manners that are inappropriate or speak over us.
When Macklemore delivered his acceptance speech at the VMA’s heralding “gay equality,” he did not give queer people the opportunity to speak for our own cause, despite the fact that there was a queer woman standing right next to him on stage. Not only is that a matter of silencing queer people, it also centers our movement around the voices of straight people, and that’s no way for us to make progress towards genuine acceptance and liberation.
Allies are great, and a much needed people for any social justice group. But they will never be the center of any of those movements, and it’s important to listen to the voices of those directly affected by these movements. Queer people are plenty underrepresented in mainstream media outlets as is. We should herald, celebrate, and listen to the voices of artists like Le1f and Angel Haze, not let them be overshadowed.
The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.
The rape joke is that you were eight.
The rape joke is that at the time,
you didn’t know people had sex to express love.
The rape joke is that the only other person
who’d seen you naked was your mom.
The rape joke is that he called you ‘beautiful’ first.
The rape joke is that he held your hands together
and told you to ‘try harder’ when you struggled.
The rape joke is that you believed him
when he told you were overreacting.
The rape joke is that your grandma
called him a nice boy and asked him to stay for dinner.
The rape joke is that he winked at you
when you apologized to your parents for not coming
downstairs the first time you were called.
The rape joke is that his friends
high-fived him for “getting some.”
The rape joke is that you still don’t feel like
you’ve regrown the pieces he stole.
The rape joke is that he was conceived when his
dad slapped himself into his snoring mother.
The rape joke is that her friends told her
she was lucky someone wanted her.
The rape joke is that each year in the United States,
32,000 other women’s bellies
ripen with life against their will.
The rape joke is that he never learned
to touch without scarring.
The rape joke is that your classmate thinks
‘have you seen what asses look like in yoga pants?’
is an argument.
The rape joke is your new boyfriend kissing
you and telling you he ‘raped’ his math test.
The rape joke is that ‘Why are girls so scared of rape? Y’all should feel pride that a guy risked his life in jail just to fuck you’
is a popular Tweet right now.
The rape joke is that you wake up to
the memory of him laughing,
“now that wasn’t so bad, was it?”
The rape joke is that it’s been twelve years and
you still quiver when someone touches you.
The rape joke is that he hasn’t stopped laughing.
The rape joke is that you forgot how to.