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A Friendly Reminder

Jim Burroway

June 26th, 2009

As we discuss whether African-Americans are more, less or as homophobic than everyone else, we too often set up the discussion as a Black-versus-gay thing. But please remember this: the Black community is a part of the gay community:

In Washington, D.C., the anti-gay-rights movement attempted to put recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states to a citywide referendum (it was rejected by the Board of Elections and Ethics) hoping that the city’s mostly black population would come out against it. This dynamic may explain why Bishop Harry Jackson, an African American religious leader, has been put forth as the face of the anti-gay-marriage movement.

There’s only one problem: The face of LGBT leadership in D.C. is often black. Nationally, anti-gay-rights activists have had a great deal of success in encouraging black voters to oppose gay rights, partially because LGBT rights are seen — incorrectly — as a “white issue.” But in Washington, D.C., the diverse composition of the marriage-equality movement means that marriage-equality activists don’t have to “reach out” to the black community, because they’re already part of it. That doesn’t mean marriage-equality activists don’t face serious obstacles in garnering support among African Americans, but it makes racial divisions harder to exploit. The lesson is clear — when the marriage-equality movement is integrated, outreach becomes less of an issue.

Comments

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gar
June 26th, 2009 | LINK

Yep. DC has a large and strong African American LGBT community. Has for many years.

Regan DuCasse
June 26th, 2009 | LINK

No argument here Jim! :0P

GreenEyedLilo
June 26th, 2009 | LINK

As a white Southern woman with ancestors who were in the Ku Klux Klan, I struggled with how to respond to black homophobes. My Russian wife (girlfriend at the time, who never even saw a black person before she was 14) gave me what I consider the perfect response almost accidentally. “You say that black people are as good as white people,” she noted. “Can they not also be as *bad*?” Well, yeah! I felt my eyes open just a little more.

I have LGBT friends who are white Southern, black Northern, white Northern, Jamaican, Russian, and Hispanic. It’s amazing how in all our different cultures, we’ve all been treated like crap at one point or another in the name of “cultural authenticity.” (Okay, it’s more often stated as “you’re shaming your family” or “we don’t *do* that.”) Queerness spans the cultures, and so does homophobia.

Rita Mae Brown had a wonderful bit in her wonderful book “Rubyfruit Jungle” where her white lesbian protagonist, Molly Bolt, temporarily sleeps in a car along with a black gay man. They are both throwaways in their late teens. Molly’s friend observes, “White people don’t want their queers, black people don’t want their queers, I don’t even think the Chinese want their queers.”

I think that some of us may be better equipped to reach certain groups than others. I think it is *very* important for white LGBTs to avoid racism or xenophobia when we have an issue with homophobic acts by people who are black or foreign. But mostly, I think everyone has good and bad in them, in different places and amounts.

Christopher Waldrop
June 26th, 2009 | LINK

It’s ironic that I’d read this on the same day that I picked up a copy of the local free weekly Inside Out Nashville. (The URL is below, and please excuse my ignorance with HTML.)

The weekly has a regular column by a black man named Anthony Rucker. This week, under the heading, “Nobody Wins In The Oppression Olympics”, he writes about Dov Hikind, who says a Holocaust memorial in Brooklyn should not recognize non-Jewish victims. Rucker’s analysis, and how this story relates to discrimination in other areas, is very interesting.

Issues of Inside Out can only be viewed as PDFs. Here’s the link to the most recent issue:
http://insideoutnashville.com/assets/issues/iOut6-22.pdf

a. mcewen
June 26th, 2009 | LINK

Thank you Jim for that on point posting

Trey
June 26th, 2009 | LINK

:) i was wondering if you all would post on sewrer’s article…glad to see you did.

a. mcewen
June 27th, 2009 | LINK

The article in the American Prospect reads like one that SHOULD be run in The Advocate magazine as a cover story.

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