Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Gay Racism Must End
By Darryl James (Columnist)
Published July 23, 2009

The gay community has gone too damned far.

I tried to be cool. Even through their “Gay is the new Black” slogan, which offended me deeply.

After all, I think it’s silly for oppressed groups to compare oppression.

But it happens. And every group seems to come directly to African Americans to compare their hard times to ours.

I’m sick of it and now I’m angry.

In addition to comparing their oppression to ours, many in the gay community have now been making demands of the Black community, as though we owe them something.

The gay community is angry at the Black community for not fighting for their marriage rights.

And, gays around the nation are expressing anger at President Barack Obama for not moving faster on gay issues, even though he’s been less than swift on Black issues, because there are NATIONAL issues that must be addressed first.

But in case you didn’t know, Barack is Black and he is not gay. He has a full plate and minority politics will come around.

And I never heard such outcry over the non-gay activism of George W. Bush or any of the other White presidents.

To be clear, for every gay person who supported the Civil Rights Movement, there were and are Blacks who supported the Gay Rights Movement. Many of us have marched in your parades and many more of us have protected our gay relatives and friends.

And now, we are hearing from gay people who are also Black that there is racism inside of the gay community. We openly acknowledge that there is some anti-gay sentiment in the Black community–why can’t/won’t your community acknowledge its own prejudices?

Many of us have even encountered racism from gay people who are quick to assert their Whiteness above their status as members of an oppressed group.

My first encounter with gay racism was in 1992.

I was working on a magazine that I would later purchase. My partner at the time had a rainbow coalition of employees, including one gay man who had just come out of the closet to his parents with a letter. That letter was in his desk when two other employees decided to pass it around the office and make jokes.

I took the letter from them and forcefully discouraged any further mirth at this man’s expense. He profusely thanked me and ranted on about how the gay community and the Black community are kindred spirits and must stick together. Without openly countering his position, I assured him that it was a human issue for me.

That was in 1992 after Rodney King got the dog dirt crap beaten out of him at the hands of the LAPD for being Black in Los Angeles.

Flash forward to the verdict of the cops who beat King and when the “Not Guilty” verdicts came in–the gay man who spoke volumes of a Black/gay alliance went immediately to his Whiteness, spewing: “I’m glad there is justice in this country. Who knows what that King guy was up to.”

Attempts to explain the wrong-headedness of such a sentiment fell on deaf ears. This gay man who gushed of the unity of the oppressed, now proclaimed that there was no racism in America and that Black people simply needed to “get over it.”

This was the same gay man who, after OJ Simpson’s “Not Guilty” verdict angrily cried: “There is no justice in America.”

My point?

This White man was clearly racist at the most and blind to racism at the least. Yet, because of his status as a gay man, he not only wanted to claim minority status, but also wanted an alliance with the Black community to support his issues.

I get it.

For many factions in America, the Black community is to be called upon for support, but not answered when support is needed.

Such sentiment has created bad relationships analogous to one of my ex-girlfriends who treated me horribly and abandoned me in a time of need, but called upon me to defend her from her new boyfriend who was abusing her.

I quoted the rapper Common, when I told her what I’d like the gay community to hear: “I’m not hating, I’m just not paying you any attention.”

And that’s where many in the Black community are right now with respect to gay issues. We’re not hating or homophobic, we’re just not paying any attention.

Many of us just don’t care.

Sorry, gay folks, but your desire to have a legally recognized partnership pales in comparison to my desire to not have the police kick the crap out of me for having Black skin.

Your apples. My oranges.

Perhaps we could have had a real alliance if your community was intrinsically active and concerned from 1964 forward. But somewhere along the way, when more of you were able to garner public recognition, you cared less about our issues.

I’m okay with that as long as you don’t expect me to care about yours.

And lately, I’ve been reading about how your community, just as many other communities in America, allows racism to rear its ugly head unchecked.

Yes, I’ve heard about how the “N” word is tossed about freely at gay pride parades and in gay bars, and even at demonstrations in support of gay marriage.

And, you have the nerve to demand our support of your issues?

To be clear, gay is NOT the new Black-Black is the new Black as well as the old Black, which is why it’s Black and NOT gay. Got it?

In an effort to destroy the comparison of your oppression to the oppression of African descendants in America, here’s some stark divergence:

While some in your community have behavior that makes them stick out like a sore thumb, most look as regular as anyone and are accepted as such unless and until they announce their difference.

On the other hand, I can not simply be quiet about who I am and pass through society the way most of the members in your community can.

Because my magnet for discrimination is outward and immutable, while yours is more behavioral, there is no intrinsic comparison.

You were never enslaved, you just can’t get married.

I’m certain there will be gays who decry my ignorance of gay issues. My reply will be: “So what?”

Be angry if you want, but I don’t give two craps. There is no reason for any other oppressed group to proclaim that they have the same oppression as Africans in America and when you make such comparisons you create a schism instead of fostering harmony.

Perhaps you should have chosen a better cornerstone for your current activism.

You’d get more alliance mileage out of the beating of gay men and women, because many of us are keenly concerned about the beating of young Black men and the mistreatment of young Black women.

But gay marriage?


While we search for common ground and common concerns, there is something you can do that will make more of us open to an intrinsic alliance:

In efforts to stop discrimination against you, make good effort to stop discrimination against us.

Especially when it comes from you.

Categories: Opinion

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