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NAACP CEO Ben Jealous Asked About Homophobia Within Organization: VIDEO


No More Down Low attended the LGBT Town Hall meeting at the recent NAACP convention in Los Angeles. The town hall featured remarks by CNN achor Don Lemon, as well as a panel featuring Wanda Sykes, former NAACP president Julian Bond, and current NAACP CEO Ben Jealous.

No More Down Low writes:

Mr. Jealous responded saying the gay community should take the NAACP seriously because the NAACP was there with the Human Rights Campaign helping to pass the Matthew Shepard / James Byrd Hate Crimes Bill. The NAACP were champions of fighting Prop 8 in California as well as fighting alongside the LGBT community in Maine, Massachusetts, in Washington D.C. and in Maryland, and in other places. Jealous also said the LGBT community needed to do more ground work in the black community and not come late in the game with an expectation. He also said the black community needed to be treated with the same respect as the other allies of the LGBT community.

Watch their report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I wholeheartedly agree with Ben Jealous. Further, I believe that it's critical for the LGBT community to embrace our multiculturalism We can't accomplish anything anymore without it.

    Posted by: Kelvin | Aug 1, 2011 2:03:17 PM

  2. One thing we need to remember is that the black and LGBT communities are not separate. There are many people who are black AND LGBT. It's not an us and them.

    Posted by: mike128 | Aug 1, 2011 2:15:45 PM

  3. Very well said, @Mike128! I am black, gay and proud of both! It really irks me when racists and homophobes attempt to pit us against each other as if black LGBT people don't exist.

    Posted by: Ron | Aug 1, 2011 2:25:15 PM

  4. I always say LGBT people come from ALL walks of Life. color,backrounds, incomes.....seems tho - alot of people have this view of Gays as Rich/white Privilaged

    Posted by: Gay American | Aug 1, 2011 2:27:13 PM

  5. I used to work for the NAACP and I can tell you that Ben Jealous is full of it. Gay, lesbian and bisexual employees were not well treated in the organization. In fact, branches rebeled against the national office trying to take a stance on LGBT issues and Mr. Jealous gave in to there homophobia.

    Posted by: Sarah | Aug 1, 2011 2:45:21 PM

  6. I have never felt that Benjamin Todd Jealous was totally on board with LGBT rights. He's not like Julian Bond at all. Seems to me like he's not above stirring up some Black vs. Gay animus. He's like Barack Obama, somebody you gotta watch.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Aug 1, 2011 2:54:44 PM

  7. The racism WITHIN the gay community is ASTRONOMICAL. The real question here is when will mainstream LGBTQ groups get with the program and start diversifying their own organizations and reaching out into the AfAm, Asian and Latino communities. We need broader and more entrenched connections. Our communities are far too balkanized. We need to cooperate in each others movements and cultivate respect.

    Posted by: Madam Bomb | Aug 1, 2011 3:04:27 PM

  8. @Madam Bomb, You are totally right.

    We need to deal with our problems before we ask another group to deal with theirs. But as people already said, The two groups have overlap that makes this easy.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Aug 1, 2011 3:15:46 PM

  9. Maybe it's just the fatigue after keeping my righteous indignation going for the past 25 years, but honestly... I'm getting really tired of people telling me that my tribe needs to "do more outreach" in order to be successful in securing the equal civil and human rights that are guaranteed to me under the Constitution of this country. I deserve those things because I'm a human being and an American, not because I've been able to persuade a bunch of people to vote a certain way. I also don't like Mr. Jealous' generalization that black people will vote against equality just because the affected group came "late in the game with an expectation". An expectation of what? A personal commitment to civil rights and equal justice under the law? So is he saying that we can't count on the black community to make an informed and just decision in the voting booth unless some group spends months or years pandering to them? NAACP has never once lobbied me for anything, yet I still vote for equal rights and equal justice every single time I have the opportunity. Why can't we expect the same from other groups who are purportedly committed to the same ideals?

    Posted by: The Milkman | Aug 1, 2011 3:27:54 PM

  10. I am all for progress, but until the hip-hop and rap community and black churches stop demonizing and using antigay slurs & put downs nothing will change.

    Posted by: Dairyqueen | Aug 1, 2011 3:32:37 PM

  11. What Wanda Sykes and Patrick Ian Polk and other Black Gay folks were doing at that NAACP convention was a form of "outreach". Somebody should've pointed that out to Mr Jealous. There's no need to seek "outreach" from hostile quarters.

    Black people's views on Gay marriage equality are pretty much the same as the White Americans they share a common religious background with: Southern Evangelicals. Black people's roots are in Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama, Missisippi, etc. same as White Evangelicals. Even Southerners who haven't been to church since they put on their new Easter suit at age 7 still base many of their views on the Old Testament--a lot of hypocritical views.

    That poll that Andy posted last week showed that 60% of Blacks were against marriage equality while 71% of White Evangelicals were against. Yes, there's work to do--but it aint just a Black thing.

    I was impressed with that 40% who were for equality. That tells me "It Gets Better."

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 1, 2011 3:44:15 PM

  12. Sorry folks but Jealous is no friend of the GLBT community and those of you patting him on the back would do well to learn more about him.

    Julian Bond has always been, and continues to be, an amazing hero of the civil rights movementS, black and gay. Jealous will never hold a candle to Mr. Bonds legacy, character or understanding of justice.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Aug 1, 2011 3:49:45 PM

  13. Allies?..

    Posted by: John Normile | Aug 1, 2011 5:13:02 PM

  14. Milkman is the epitome of white make privilege. That is all.

    Posted by: sugarrhill | Aug 1, 2011 5:18:30 PM

  15. Milkman is the epitome of white male privilege. That is all.

    Posted by: sugarrhill | Aug 1, 2011 5:19:28 PM

  16. @Milkman-exactly. There is way to much racism in the gay community when there is more than zero. But you would be very unlikely to find many LGBTs who would vote to take away marriage rights from any minority.....or preach that minorities are less than equal. Wish the same could be said the other way around.

    Posted by: StillmarriedinCA | Aug 1, 2011 5:20:08 PM

  17. I too agree with Ben Jealous. Well stated, and it's time for us to hit the pavement in support of equality for everyone. . .not just for ourselves!

    Posted by: Keith | Aug 1, 2011 5:27:24 PM

  18. I agree with Madam in this thread when she said, "The racism WITHIN the gay community is ASTRONOMICAL."

    As a Korean-born lesbian person I see this racism acutely, especially directed at gay Asian guys.

    But at the end of the day, LGBT problems should be the concern of all "races" and ethnic people.

    I thought Ben Jealous' answer to the man's question was unnecessarily combative. He made the issue bigger than it is by not having a gracious TONE.

    And it MATTERS when a board member of a major black civil rights organization is homophobic.

    I wonder what it would take to kick the man out of the NAACP's leadership?

    Posted by: brenda | Aug 1, 2011 5:28:12 PM

  19. The NAACP appears to be a homophobic organization. If anybody needs to fix the homophobia, it's the NAACP itself. Jealous's comments reek of deflection. He seems to be deflecting the homophobia issue.

    Posted by: jason | Aug 1, 2011 6:11:22 PM

  20. @Keith- "it's time for us to hit the pavement in support of equality for everyone. . .not just for ourselves!

    The thing is, there are already laws that protect racial minorities. And gays and lesbians were there to help fight for those rights. Those laws go a long way to combat inequality. You can't erase bigotry in everyone's mind, but as long as the law treats you as equal, it makes it much much easier. We don't have those same protections under the law. So we need to hit the pavement for ourselves. Changing attitudes within the LGBT community is important but what is most crucial right now is getting our own rights recognized. And by our own, I mean ALL LGBT citizens. That includes racial minorities who are LGBT. People forget that when we fight for our equal rights it automatically includes every person of every color who is gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual. So we are advancing the cause for racial minorities when we "hit the pavement.... just for ourselves."

    Posted by: StillmarriedinCA | Aug 1, 2011 6:51:04 PM

  21. Miss Stuffed Animal said:

    "Seems to me like he's not above stirring up some Black vs. Gay animus."

    So says the so-called "blended gender" who wears wigs and makeup, refers to hirself as an inanimate asexual object and attacks women with hir gender queer patriarchy!

    Seems to me like YOU'RE not above stirring up some gay vs transgender animus. Stop bashing trans sisters such as Ashley Love and Autumn Sandeen! Stop attempting erasure of our own self identified trans narratives! Stop with your obscene and sexist attacks of Taylor, Pam and Autumn!

    Let go of the hate speech! Lay down the master's tools. Reveal your own queer plushie/furry transgender identity. And while you're at it, put some new material in your act, sugah.

    Posted by: Cognitive Dissonance | Aug 1, 2011 8:50:16 PM

  22. Sorry, but combative or not (and I didn't feel he was combative, just firm) Jealous made EXCELLENT points. White gays love to go on ad nauseum about black homophobia but say little about white racism in the gay community. Say what you want, but if you know a community is racist against black people, you are deluding yourself to think that black people would give two craps about gay rights. Also, this whole thing about prop 8 and black people is a LIE first told by white racist Dan Savage (It's Get Better ....but only if you're white).

    Even Julian Bond took the speaker to task along with Jealous when asked what the NAACP has done. The "gay community" needs to get off it's collective asses and DO something for once.

    Posted by: Marty | Aug 1, 2011 9:54:19 PM

  23. "The racism WITHIN the gay community is ASTRONOMICAL."

    No Madam Bomb, it is the homophobia within (part of) the black community that is "astronomical." Black men beat up gay men, not the other way around. Black men (primarily Jamaicans) sing about killing "batty boys," not the other way around.

    Much love to those in the black community who are trying to change this. I'm not sure that includes the NAACP.

    Posted by: Max | Aug 1, 2011 10:12:53 PM

  24. Max seems to conveniently forget that his white brethren are the ones not only actively denying your rights, but they also bash too.

    Posted by: sugarrhill | Aug 1, 2011 10:33:07 PM

  25. And gays and lesbians were there to help fight for those rights.

    Posted by: StillmarriedinCA | Aug 1, 2011 6:51:04 PM

    UMMM StillmarriedinCA Can YOU tell me who are these gays and Lesbians who fought for Blacks rights? And PLEASE no damn statments from Coretta,or Bayard. I want to know from YOU the names. And also are you telling me that these people were Caucasian Gays at a time if that if it were known they were gay back then they would be found in a river dead???

    Because if they do REALLY exist one thing is perfectly clear. Some of you Caucasian gays of today are certainly NOT THEM. You're no friend to The African American Community let alone Black gays. You all use those statements when justifiably appropriate to do so. So you need to cut the Bull you know damn well you could care less about Black people.

    And one thing you said is correct "Changing attitudes within the LGBT community is important" Yes because us African American Gays are sick of the racist attitudes of some of you Caucasian Gays! White folks says homophobic statements and some of you respond by talking about their religion. But when it's an African American. We have to hear how the entire race is like this and this is why we have alarming rates of HIV, etc like you care???? BECAUSE YOU DON'T and you know you don't!

    The white church has villified our community worse than anybody.All of these Exodus Int'l and Miss Marcus Bachmann ex-gay clinics but you seem to think that Donnie McClurkin is worse than them????? Why because of his skin color???

    Gurl make it stop now! And as for Miss Max she was born from a racist family she needs counseling!

    Posted by: CHRIS DACHOCOLATEBEARCUB | Aug 2, 2011 2:32:20 AM

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