Thursday, January 28, 2021
A White Gay’s Guide for Dealing with the Black Community
By Jasmyne A. Cannick (Columnist)
Published December 25, 2008

 The following article is Chapter Four in Jasmyne Cannick's ongoing series "A White Gay's Guide to Dealing with the Black Community for Dummies."

At a time when gay leaders should be apologizing to and trying to build bridges with African-Americans after exposing their closeted racism towards Blacks over the passage of California's Proposition 8, the gays are at it again.


President-elect Barack Obama isn't even in office yet and they are all up in arms over the inaugural invitation of evangelical pastor Rick Warren simply because Warren opposes gay marriage.

Now me personally, I'd have much rather seen Dr. Jeremiah Wright tapped to give the invocation over Warren, but then I guess they'd have a problem with that too. Because while Wright is one of the few Black pastors on record supporting equal rights for lesbians and gays, most Whites consider him a racist.

Instead of denouncing Obama's choice to invite Warren, gays should be hailing it, as it shows a continued effort on Obama's behalf to reach across the aisle in an effort to bring everyone to the table, the very thing that the gay leadership hasn't even made an effort to learn how do post Prop. 8. You would think that after running a horrible campaign that was predicated on assumptions about how Blacks would vote that the gay leadership would have learned that preaching to the choir will get you about a far as West Hollywood.

Newsflash. Contrary to their belief, the world doesn't revolve around gay marriage. If it did, let's face it, Obama wouldn't be the President-elect, now would he?

It's no secret that Obama isn't exactly the poster child for gay marriage, and for the record, neither was Hillary Clinton. However, that didn't stop them from voting for her in the primary or me as a Black lesbian from voting for Obama. Add to that, we've had 8 years under an extremely anti-gay Administration and I don't recall all of this anger being directed towards our current President.

The inequalities that exist between people like me, a Black lesbian, and White gays, who believe that marriage will give them parity with their heterosexual counterparts, are crystal clear when you consider that last week three Black gay men were murdered in New Orleans.


While gays are protesting Warren, last week New Orleans police identified three Black men who were gunned down in a 7th Ward home. The men were apparently gay, one possibly transgender, and police "believe the three victims knew their killers."

The victims were all from Mississippi and living together in a home. They were identified as Felix Pearson, 19; Kenneth Monroe, 27; and Darriel Wilson, 20. News reports said that the men were found after the building manager "said he saw the lower half of a man's body through a window and called 911."

I know that Pearson, Monroe, and Wilson, aren't Matthew Shepard or Brandon Teena. however I'd think that in a post Prop. 8 world and in the spirit of reconciliation and being at the edge of each other's battles, the loss of life of three gay men, one of whom was possibly transgender, would be more important than some mega church pastor who doesn't want gays to be married attending President-elect Obama's inauguration.

I wonder if they had been three White boys would I even have to say this.

Then there's the small issue of workers being laid off, families losing their homes in foreclosure, not to mention California's never ending budget crisis where cuts in public education and social services are imminent all services that are also utilized by minority gays who are as much affected by the current economy as their heterosexual counterparts.

Criticizing the first Black president before he even takes the oath of office for doing something that White gays themselves haven't been able to do, bring everyone to the table, isn't going to win them any fans in the Black community. Neither is reminding us that they voted for Obama as if they did us a favor when in fact, they did themselves one. And I'm sorry, there's no reward for that nor does Obama owe White gays for their support.

As politically incorrect as this is going sound, I feel it needs to be said. The White gay community needs to go somewhere and just STFU already and let Obama get into office.


Jasmyne Cannick is a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who writes about the worlds of pop culture, race, class, sexuality, and politics as it relates to the African-American community. Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times and Ebony Magazine. A regular contributor to NPR's 'News and Notes,' she was chosen as one Essence Magazine's 25 Women Shaping the World. She can be reached at

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