(Penn) State Secrets

Last week, after I had finally purged all I had to say about Frank Ocean’s letter into a post, I once again returned to reading some of the responses that had been sent to me in the time since Ocean published his Tumblr post. Most of them did as I had lamented in my piece. That is, rather than focus on what Ocean had actually–and eloquently–said, the pieces obscured his words with (not so) implicitly self-congratulatory remarks about being straight-identified and finding bravery in coming out and being a “hip-hop” artist. There were notable exceptions to that rule, though. One of which, a Thought Catalog piece by Mensah Demary, did a really elegant job of deconstructing the power that secrets hold over us and connecting how Ocean’s beautiful divulging of his own secret was a reclamation of agency:

On Moral Obligation

What happened at Penn State was a great travesty. None of us doubt that. I hope that each of the boys and families involved, some of whom were probably black, have gotten or soon get the care they need to recover from this abuse. (Granted, race is not necessarily central to this situation. But since I tend to have an image of white boy scout troops when I hear news like this, I thought the race of at least some of the victims was worth noting.) Each person involved in covering up these horrendous crimes failed to meet his moral obligation to those young boys.

But let’s stop acting like not meeting a moral obligation is surprising.