Funny thing, throughout African-American history comparisons have always been used to fight injustice. When enslaved blacks wanted freedom in America, they used the language of the Founding Fathers, who wanted freedom from the British Empire. What did the white ruling class say? "It's not the same!" When blacks demanded the right to vote, there were often comparisons to white women, who received the right to vote in 1920. What did many white women say? "It's not the same!" When another community even makes a slight comparison to the plight of African-Americans, we are now saying, "It's not the same!" The black community does not own the term "civil rights."
As a black gay man, I am constantly torn between two communities. There is the white gay community that is steeped with racism, the black community that reeks of homophobia -- and the black gay community falling in between. Three years ago I interviewed former Real World cast member Karamo Brown, a black gay man, and he said, "We have to make sure that we let our churches know we are not going to let them judge us anymore. Until we as a community get better with our homosexuality and say, 'No more!' they are not going to get better with homosexuality."
I don't think the black community, gay or straight, has said, "No more." Hip-hop artists call us fags and we still play their music in our clubs, cars, and iPods. Gospel artists damn us to hell and we still buy their records. We sit in churches swallowing hate from the pulpit, knowing the preacher isn't all hetero himself. When will we, as the black gay community, say no more? We cannot expect the white gay community or whites in general, to do our work.
I've had a difficult time understanding the civil rights aspect of Prop 8 so I really appreciate your perspective. I think some of your points are particularly sharp.
posted by NMPhotog, at
11/20/2008 7:53 PM
"There is the white gay community that is steeped with racism"
It is easy to accuse, but where is the evidence? People keep making this accusation without proof, in the very same way that homophobes make accusations about GLBTQ people without proof.
Without evidence, it looks as if all such accusations are evidence of homophobia and racism on the part of those making the claims; internalized or not, a case of assuming "they are white and gay, so they are bad and therefore must be racist".
Where is the evidence of GLBTQ churches teaching racism? Or the GLBTQ performing artists spewing racist hate speech as comedy or lyrics? Name the GLBTQ organizations that discriminate against people of color. And, pray tell, just when was the last time that 70% of GLBTQ people voted for racial inequality?
If anyone has ever come in contact with Clay Cane, they will be the first to tell you that he walks around with a chip on his shoulder holding it proudly front and center as an attempt to protect his glaring insecurity, anger and fear of white men in particular, both gay and straight. Grow up Clay Cane, you are transparent. It is true, you are not less than anyone else and just in case you need to hear it loud and clear, YOU AINT BETTER EITHER. Being able to perform a contortionist act with history is not unique, vogue or productive.
posted by mail, at
11/20/2008 11:07 PM
There is not more evidence of black homophobia than there is of gay racism. What "evidence" is there of blacks being more or less homophobic than other groups other than one unreliable exit poll?. I am an openly gay Hispanic man and I have experienced both racism and homophobia from whites (straight or not) more openly, more directly and more frequently than from black people. I am not saying that all or most white people are racist or homophobic, but to see so many white gay people suggesting that it is the African Americans’ fault that Prop 8 was passed or that they as a group are more intolerant than other groups is unfair and yes, it is racist. It is not ok to imply that most whites are homophobic because the Mormons are an almost entirely white church, but it is ok to say that blacks are homophobic because some African American pastors are antigay?. If anything, the logical conclusion would be that Christians churches tend to be unfriendly to gays, not that one ethnic group is more antigay than others. Honestly, by reading the opinions and comments on this and other sites, I feel a lot of gay white people are using this vote as a way to rationalize and justify their racism. It’s like they finally have a way to openly hate African Americans and still feel they are morally allowed to do it. They feel they can finally be racist and demand their gay rights at the same time and get away with it. They can finally let it all out. Frankly, that’s what I get from reading these messages and it’s sad because I know that’s precisely what the Christian right wants, to see their favorite minority groups fight one another. I hope we as a community get past this pointless racial rivalry so we can refocus and fight together for the common good.
posted by javy150, at
11/21/2008 8:22 AM
Javy150, the problem here with this whole thing with Prop H8 is that those African Americans listened to their pastors and voted to deny us our right to marry.
Why the hell is pointing out the disproportionate black vote in favour of H8 racist? Is the AA community now so sacred that NOTHING can be said for fear of being called a "racist"?!
posted by Merlyn, at
11/21/2008 12:42 PM
The problem is not that African Americans listened to their pastors. The problem is that they did, and so did the Mormons, and so did white catholics and baptists. One group is not more responsible than any other. Thanks, you are a perfect illustration of my previous point.
posted by javy150, at
11/21/2008 3:34 PM
Javy: This may come as news to you and whether you choose to accept it is none of my concern but quoting statistical facts is not racist. As for your statement that this is a reason to be racist all i can say is that that is rediculous. You can make as many generalizations about as many groups as you want but numbers prove our outrage and dissatisfaction with those that cast votes against us. I wish you would you would use half your energy on behalf of gay rights. Nobody is fighting with every black person just because we talk about the way a vote effected us and openly discuss which subgroups voted overwhelmingly against us. If you want to get together and fight for the common good, i suggest you go educate the "minority" as you put it, which contributed to passing Prop 8. Merlyn did not prove any point you made. There is no understanding for those that have been persecuted to turn around and do it to someone else. And the only real excuse for that can be attributed to the fact that times have indeed changed and your racist rhetoric resembles and old worn out lp vinyl record; USELESS!
posted by mail, at
11/21/2008 4:15 PM
"mail":You would be surprised at how much of my energy I've used to fight for the right to marry the person I love. But it is hard when you also have to face discrimination from the group you are fighting for. Besen talked about having an frank talk on race and homophobia, but apparently a frank talk on sexual orientation and racism is not allowed. You are yet to name a reliable “statistical fact” to support your hatred of black people.
posted by javy150, at
11/21/2008 5:06 PM
Javy, i do not have hatred for black people you ignorant fool. You are a hollow victim.
posted by mail, at
11/21/2008 5:21 PM
Listen Javy, i cannot have a conversation with someone who does not want to discuss numbers when it comes to voting. Would you deny people the right to discuss the popular v electoral college? I am not the least bit concerned with what you experience walking down some street with regards to white and/or black and/or hispanic and/or asian etc. We were discussing who voted against us with respect to prop 8 and you seem to ignore that major street protests were held against mormon fanaticism as well. You tend to have no problem with that and for that and that alone i say you are incapable of being anything except a victim when it comes to you throwing out race as a sorry attempt to silence very important facts surrounding this legal discrimination against the civil rights of gay people throughout the rainbow spectrum. I regret calling you an ignorant fool and apologize but your foolishness is ignorant and i acknowledge that your thinking is separate from your inner being.
posted by mail, at
11/21/2008 5:52 PM
Note: mail is a troll. People don't need to feed him.
General comment: Every struggle for freedom and equality is different. That doesn't mean that the values of freedom and equality don't apply to everyone. The most logical approach for people to take is to acknowledge that the queer and African American civil rights struggles are different, but the laws and values of society must be consistent or both groups get screwed over.
posted by libhom, at
11/21/2008 6:11 PM
libhom: can you come up with your own witty remarks? you may pass as more convincing. Your tired old dismissiveness to anyone who does not agree with you will not silence the quest for gay rights. It is not profound to say race and orientation have some differences. We are discussing the right to converse about the number of votes without having people quash the freedom to speak out about it and be labeled a racist. Take an african american history course. The similarities are more similar to what is happening today than you wish to let on. Obviously you are in the clouds with your delusional thinking and centrist self importance. I will take your advice and write you off now as well as hope you starve. Go bother someone else who cannot stand up to your mindless endoctrinated garbage.
posted by mail, at
11/21/2008 7:06 PM
You wrote: "There is not more evidence of black homophobia than there is of gay racism. What "evidence" is there of blacks being more or less homophobic than other groups other than one unreliable exit poll?. "
This is a completely false statement. There is a great deal of concrete evidence of homophobia from people of color, and little if any evidence of gay racism.
For example, there are dozens of black clergy who have been in the mainstream press articulating not just prejudice, but extreme prejudice, against GLBTQ people. Clergy who preach that homosexuality is a white perversion, and preach the death penalty. In California, 70% of African American voters deliberately chose to injure GLBTQ people.
No GLBTQ clergy have been interviewed in any press advocating racism, nor is there any evidence that any preach it from the pulpit. GLBTQ people did not just vote in large numbers for a constitutional ammendment that instituted racial prejudice.
Unfortunately, the anti gay hate speech from pulpits is much generalized in our nation, but again, to single out black churches is unfair. It is not a black problem; it is a Christian problem, or a religious problem. There’s not more homophobia in black churches than there is in a catholic, Mormon or southern Baptist church or in a Jewish or a Muslim temple. The 70% number from the exit polls is simply unreliable. On the other hand, what evidence do you have that gays actively support African American causes; you are very willing to demand their support, but what have you done for them?. Yes, that’ s a legitimate question. Of course I would love to see them massively supporting our cause, but seriously, when was the last time you were particularly concerned with a ballot measure or any other initiative in direct support of ethnic minorities. I’m not being sarcastic, I’m genuinely curious. The most important gay rights group in America, the Human Rights Commission, conducted a national study a few years ago among LGBT blacks and found that a third of respondents reported negative experiences in predominantly white LGBT organizations and with white LGBT persons in bars and clubs. Even the great liberal gay mecca of the Castro has witnessed blatant racism from gays, toward gays. I wonder if you were ever involved in protests against the owner of the Badlands(the popular gay bar in the Castro) for his open pattern of discrimination against blacks. Or if you protested the anti Latino incidents, also in the Castro, a couple of years ago. How often do you see gay Asians, Latinos or black portrayed on TV, or featured in magazines?.There are black homophobic singers, just as there are white homophobic artists and just as there are white, racist, homophobic singers. I refuse to generalize and I refuse to assign blame based on race. Look, I am a proud gay man I would love to see my right to have a family recognized by the government. What I have a problem with is having an ethnic group singled out as the bad guys. I can understand you not relating to that if you are white, and NO! I am not being sarcastic or condescending, I’m being honest. Racism, elitism, ageism and xenophobia exist within the gay community just as there’s homophobia among blacks(and latinos, and whites). Being gay, white or black does not automatically make you the bad guy or the good guy, period.
posted by javy150, at
11/21/2008 10:36 PM
Nice lie, javy "but again, to single out black churches is unfair." No one is singling out black churches, in fact, over all, GLBTQ people have been far, far less willing to criticize black churchs - because the minute we do, we're falsely accused of racism. The overwhelming majority of criticism of homophobia in churches over the years has focused on white clergy and predominantly white congregations.
It is no coincidence that white Christians did tend to vote no on 8 more than black Christians, the people who have been criticized and challenged consistently have experienced more change, than those whose homophobia was excused and pandered to.
"The 70% number from the exit polls is simply unreliable."
That is an empty dismissal.
Yeah, there have on occasion been instances of racist behavior by GLBTQ people - all promptly and soundly repudiated by other GLBTQ people, myself included. I have participated in more than one protest, boycott, campaign. The consistency of the internal policing by GLBTQ people to remove racism from our community, repudiates your lies. But instead of repudiating the overt homophobia many people of color still have, apologists have spun every discussion into a false accusation of racism instead.
"What I have a problem with is having an ethnic group singled out as the bad guys."
Which is not what is happening, so you are not being honest, at all. Instead, for a brief time, the homophobia expressed by some (70% in CA) African Americans is being examined, and then apologists show up to accuse GLBTQ people of racism to shut down discussion and examination.
GLBTQ people have supported and fought for people of color for decades, to the point of supporting a presidential candidate despite the fact that he cuddled with an advocate of ex-gay ministries and repeatedly rejected same-sex marriage in the press, in support of racial equality.
We got used and abused, again. If you or anyone else is truly interested in a 'frank discussion' about race, and not another game of crying wolf - better pay attention to what is really being said.
We did the loyal ally thing yet again, supporting someone who didn't really respect our relationships in support of racial equality, and we got betrayed for it, yet again.
Javy: fyi: The LGBT center in NY where Clay Cane is employed would not even be in existence if not for white gay men so there is one example of white gay men collaborating with people of color regarding employment, social networking, cultural affairs etc. The list is enormous. Oh yes the white gay man who was instrumental in opening the Center and created the space for all of us cuts the check and keeps the center afloat that Mr. Cane enjoys. Never mind the fact that Clay Cane was probably all of two years old when the Center opened up. That is one major example sweety. You probably cannot name much in the reverse order that you ignorantly condemn others for without knowing anything about what you spew. Oh and the center is still in operation mostly because of white gay men, not people of color, not lesbian women, not straight men or women but MOSTLY white gay men. Try and prove that statement false with some true statistics. I dare you. I use that example strictly because this blog post is about Clay Cane being celebrated for doing what you would condemn if it was done by a gay white man. You are an idiot. You now open yourself up to answer what the hell you do for white gay men? So where are your examples girlfriend? Thankfully i need nor want anything from you because you still do not get the fact that what we are addressing is percentage points regarding which way a group of people voted. So stop thinking you are gonna silence people with your simple guilt trips. It is such a sore spot with you, that you attack others who wish to speak about it by doing exactly what you say you are against. You hypocrite! Prop 8 IS ABOUT MINORITIES so theres another answer to your pathetic approach at condemning people based on their race as some sort of protected status that bars any type of analysis. You keep repeating yourself as if people will not address the fact that certain subgroups are exempt from scrutiny because they are minorities. Gay white men are minorities too sweety and you have no problem demeaning them with your inaccurate generalizations. Practice what you preach. Who heads the Human Rights (CAMPAIGN) Javy? He is not black, he is not hispanic, he is caucasian so maybe next time your institutional examples could possibly detail and display the minority you fail so miserably to defend. I don't hear you quoting ACLUs Anthony Romero as your ally. He probably does not agree with you anyway. Don't blame FriendsofJonathan for white gay men who are attratcted to other white gay men in gay bars located in your massive closet called the Castro. Go after the owners who charge the rents. Your problem Javy is that you defend only one group of people from being talked about and then say you are open to full disclosure except of course what Javy has determined is off limits for the rest of humanity to talk about. Get Real Queen. Stop covering for the groups that you label the BAD GUYS. You are so incredibly dysfunctional, one sided and mirror exactly what you say you are upset about. You have managed to get so off topic that we have to focus on what you have deemed important. It isn't and never will be because you are in denial about how we got where we are today and still prefer to keep your head up your ass and your face in the dirt.
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