You know that feeling you get in the bottom of stomach when you're watching the news and there's a particularly horrible story about some gruesome crime and all you can think is, "I hope they aren't Black?" Just then a photo of a Black person is flashed across the screen as the prime suspect and your worst fears are confirmed. Yeah that feeling. Well, that's the feeling I've felt for the past few weeks reading Dr. Firpo Carr's asinine columns regarding gays.
With all the things going on in the world, in the U.S., in California, and in Los Angeles, you'd think there'd be more pressing issues to write about, but I guess not for Carr.
I can put up with a lot of things-hey I do live in L.A. and I am a Black woman. But what I can't sit by and support with my silence is just plain old fashioned ignorance. Ignorance as in "God Pays Gays with AIDS." I mean really. Is this how far we've come as a people? I would think by now that it's pretty clear that AIDS is not a gay disease, it's more like a Black disease these days. And that's thanks in part to article's like Carr's that are less rooted in the reality and read more like fiction…really bad fiction.
For Carr and people like Carr, your Bible is yours and yours alone to thump and interpret, don't force the rest of us to join in.
Now Carr's articles are so far out there, that in my opinion, it's not worth my energy or time to debate him on the merits of his claims, nor am I willing to subject you to having to participate in that nastiness…unlike others. I'd much rather focus on trying to reason with those who aren't as far gone as Carr.
How many times do I have to say that Black people make up less than 6 percent of this state's population and that we cannot afford to be divided. What? You think I'm kidding? Take a look around.
You can think what you want about gay people. Like I said previously, if you think I'm going to hell and your God is so magnificent, then let him do his job. He really doesn't need your help, now does he?
We have to stop dividing ourselves over issues we have no control over. You can't make me heterosexual anymore than I can make you gay. We are who we are, and what we are regardless of our sexual orientation is Black. So what that means is that when the state's budget crisis begins to affect the Black community-it's not going to skip over some and affect others-it's going to affect all of us. When it's time to head to the polls to re-elect or elect Black candidates into office, I can guarantee you that those candidates are going to benefit just as much from Black heterosexual voters as they are Black gay voters. Are you beginning to see my point? We need each other.
Look I'll be the first to admit that there are some issues in the gay community-mainly White gays and their racism. But I'll also be the first to point out Blacks and their homophobia. Ask me which one I care about more and I'll tell it's the latter. We're all we have and if we turn on each other then they win. They being "the man," Republicans, and anyone else who benefits from Black people being divided.
Anyone who claims to love Black people should not be actively working to divide them-especially in times like these.
Dr. Carr was once a man that I respected, but he lost that respect when he decided to take it there causing me to question what's worse? Racist White gays or Black Bible thumping homophobes who are intellectually challenged.
Black people all I am asking for is a little common sense and an understanding that while you have the right to dislike gay people don't let that dislike become a distraction from the bigger issues that we as a people-gay and heterosexual.
The issues we face today as a people are bigger than you and they are bigger than me.
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 www.jasmynecannick.com.