This nonsense about "Is Black The New Gay," just reached another plateau of bullcrap today.
L.Z. Granderson, an award winning columnist and a gay man of color has written a piece that, while I agree with in some parts, is indicative of the division mentality that I find so mind-boggling:
Black is still black.
And if any group should know this, it's the gay community.
Bars such as The Prop House, or Bulldogs in Atlanta, Georgia, exist because a large number of gay blacks -- particularly those who date other blacks, and live in the black community -- do not feel a part of the larger gay movement. There are Gay Pride celebrations, and then there are Black Gay Prides.
There's a popular bar in the heart of the nation's capital that might as well rename itself Antebellum, because all of the white patrons tend to stay upstairs and the black patrons are on the first floor. Last year at the annual Human Rights Campaign national fundraiser in Washington, D.C. -- an event that lasted more than three hours -- the only black person to make it on stage was the entertainment.
When Proposition 8 passed in California, white gays were quick to blame the black community despite blacks making up less than 10 percent of total voters and whites being close to 60 percent. At protest rallies that followed, some gay blacks reported they were even hit with racial epithets by angry white participants. Not to split hairs, but for most blacks, the n-word trumps the f-word.
So while the white mouthpiece of the gay community shakes an angry finger at intolerance and bigotry in their blogs and on television, blacks and other minorities see the dirty laundry. They see the hypocrisy of publicly rallying in the name of unity but then privately living in segregated pockets. And then there is the history.
He does have a point about how the visibility of lgbts of color is minimized in gay community at large and the madness of some lgbts after the Proposition 8 vote.
But in all honesty, he splits hairs in an ugly fashion with that comment about the "n-word" and "f-word." I mean it's like saying if a gay black man is attacked by both a racist and a homophobe carrying baseball bats, he is going to run away from the racist quicker than he would from the homophobe. And that point about the "hypocrisy of publicly rallying in the name of unity but then privately living in segregated pockets" is also a good one to make.
But the hypocrisy of talking about unity but ignoring a segment of your population because of religious beliefs and ridiculous ideas of masculinity and femininity is an equally good point.
For me, the part that stuck out in Mr. Granderson's piece in a bad way is the following:
The 40th anniversary of Stonewall dominated Gay Pride celebrations around the country, and while that is certainly a significant moment that should be recognized, 40 years is nothing compared with the 400 blood-soaked years black people have been through in this country. There are stories some blacks lived through, stories others were told by their parents and stories that never had a chance to be told.
He would have a point except for one thing; as I understand it, some of those gays at Stonewall were black. That's yet another thing about lgbts of color you don't hear about during Black History Month.
The fact that he didn't mention the inclusion of black gays in Stonewall but rather contrasted it to black history (wouldn't Stonewall be considered a part, albeit a small part, of black history) emphasizes the basic emptiness of his piece.
Why is it so hard for folks to say that gay rights are African-American rights because lgbts of color are touched by both communities? Why is it so hard for folks to say that there are times in which the black and gay struggles intersect?
That is why I am so damned weary of this argument about "is gay the new black" or "can the gay rights movement compare itself to the civil rights movement."
For one thing, the argument is so self-defeating.
You generally don't end up with an intelligent discussion. What you end up with are folks who compare abuses like they are marks of honors. Getting your head busted open for being black or gay is not a trophy and should never be seen as such.
So blacks say that gays can't compare their struggle to the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s because they didn't face slavery and segregation. Big deal. If you wanted to be stupid about it, some can say blacks can't compare themselves to Jews. Remember this country kept blacks as slaves, but the Nazis tried to exterminate Jewish people.
I say we are losing touch. In the long run, the forms that oppression take is not as important as the harm it can do.
Or, if you want to be direct about it, did Mamie Till and Judy Shepard cry different tears when they learned about the deaths of their children?
Is the hurt of a black girl who has been told that she is ugly because she does not fit the European standard of beauty any different than that of a young white lesbian who has been bullied in her school because of her orientation?
Is my worth as a black man more important than my worth as a gay man?
Are we so damned wrapped up in talking about how we have been oppressed that we forget that all oppression must be stopped?
It's sad that Mr. Granderson did not ask these critical questions.
Yet another wasted opportunity.