He said that there have been times when he has been the only Queer person in heterosexual rooms, the only Black person in White rooms, the only plus sized person in rooms full of skinny people, and the only neurodiverse person in a room full of neurotypical people. Because of this, Crowder noted, his brain “is sometimes a remote.” In other words, it switches between identities as you would switch through the channels on a TV.
Crowder’s code switching began at a young age, he noted. As he was trying to understand the world, the world was simultaneously trying to understand him and people like him. Crowder shared a personal anecdote about these experiences.
He said, “I remember when I was younger, [my brother] would take me to summer camp – I went to summer day camp, and he had a purse. I didn’t realize that he, you know…some things you kind of see as normal until you go into the world and people make you realize, ‘Oh, that’s not supposed to happen’.”
Today, there are androgynous male celebrities like Young Thug, Jaden Smith, and A$AP Rocky, but things were different when Crowder was growing up. It was 2004, and a man wearing a purse was a huge taboo, he noted. Because of this, Crowder was bullied at summer camp. Yet, times have changed, and not just in terms of homo- and transphobia.
The tone-deaf post insinuated that being fat negated being a trainer because you’re supposed to be skinny if you’re healthy. Really, that is the narrative that has been spread for a long time. On NPR’s “Short Wave” podcast, author and sociology professor Sabrina Strings said, “We can think about a new way of allowing people to have a positive relationship to their bodies and to cultivate health within themself and their communities that does not rely on fat stigma.” In other words, we can reimagine conversations about health that do not perpetuate fatphobia.
For The Grio, Shanna Pinnock wrote that these respectability politics are “deeply entrenched in white supremacy and whitewashing” and that so-called “Aunties” of Black culture expect younger Black women to fit into “stifling expectations we never asked for.”
Really. there is a generational divide when it comes to respectability politics. Crowder said, “It’s kind of weird being my age because I remember when certain things were taboo, but we’re also the generation that’s destigmatizing a lot of things.”