Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gay Isn’t The New Black


I remember watching a gay rights activist on a television interview discussing the importance of “natural alliances” in the struggle for equality. He stated that “African-Americans” were a “natural ally” for gay people as a result of the similarities in our shared experiences. I also remember thinking to myself, “Good luck with that one.”

While Blacks and homosexuals have clearly endured similar injustices and encountered innumerable expressions of hatred and disregard, there is a human tendency, in my opinion, to place one’s own plight and the plight of one’s own people above that of any other group, particularly when the plight has been particularly horrible.

Of course, things get complicated when speaking of people who belong to more than one historically oppressed group (i.e. Black women, gay Blacks, Sammy Davis, Jr., and so forth); however, even under those circumstances one group tends to insist that the individual choose a side, as it were. And what about those sides? Why must we assume that gay people aren’t racist? There are non-black gay people who could careless or want to be bothered by the same struggles their black “counterparts” go through.

In an article for the New York Daily News entitled “Gay Really is the New Black,”  John McWhorter discusses homophobia in the Black community in particular and outlines how Blacks can and should participate in the struggle for gay rights. Read more here

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