Daily Mississippian Op-Ed ‘Dear White Gays’ Goes Viral, Gets Picked Up By Time Magazine

University of Mississippi student Sierra Mannie recently penned an op-ed for The Daily Mississippian that went viral for its blunt message to gay white men: Stop encroaching on and ignorantly appropriating black female culture.

The piece — republished on Time.com and currently boasting more than 1,200 Facebook likes — doubles as an open letter from Mannie to the gay male community. It is so cutting one admirer on Twitter tells Mannie she has employed her “keyboard like a samurai sword.”

As Mannie writes, “I don’t care how well you can quote Madea, who told you that your booty was getting bigger than hers, how cute you think it is to call yourself a strong black woman, who taught you to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you’ve been bottoming — you are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. It is not yours. It is not for you.”

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According to the op-ed, Mannie’s anger stems from what she sees as cultural exploitation — individuals of an outside group not recognizing the history and suffering behind the people they are casually emulating.

In her words, “Claiming our identity for what’s sweet without ever having to taste its sour is not [OK]. Breathing fire behind ugly stereotypes that reduce black females to loud caricatures for you to emulate isn’t [OK], either. So, you aren’t a strong black woman, or a ghetto girl, or any of that other foolery that some of you with trash Vine accounts try to be. It’s OK. You don’t have to be.”

Along with triggering outsized social media interest, the piece spurred a range of editorial comebacks seconding or arguing with Mannie’s main points.

One letter to the editor published by the DM — submitted by a gay white male student at UM — takes issue with Mannie’s argument that the gay community’s struggles do not equate to those faced by ethnic or racial minorities.

“I was slightly taken aback by the recent article in the DM called ‘Dear White Gays,'” writes Garrison Gibbons. “At the end of the day, gay white men, though born white and a man, are not privileged. The events of Laramie and the conversations that ensued prove this. … The fact I can’t marry my boyfriend in Mississippi proves this. Though I was born into privilege as a white man, I was also born gay — thus, I have struggled. For the DM to publish an article that suggests otherwise and furthers stereotypes is not appreciated.”

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