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Do African-Americans Have 'Special Responsibility' To Support Equality?

GayblackIn an opinion piece at the New York Daily News today, John McWhorter, author of the provocative book Losing The Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, argues that though African-Americans' opinions on gay rights are basically on par with the rest of the nation, they have a greater obligation to stand up for equality.

From that piece, called "Gay Really Is The New Black:"

The percentage of blacks who favor gay marriage is about the same now as the percentage of whites, according to a Pew poll taken during the last election season. "One of the striking results in the 2012 exit polls was the support for legalizing gay marriage among black voters," that poll noted.

However, rising support isn't enough — we must keep going. When Michael Richards spouted the N-word on stage, he was shamed by the nation for weeks. It won't do for Tracy Morgan to get a mere slap on the hand for crowing that he would stab his son if he turned out to be were gay.

As a consequence of its painful heritage, black America has a special responsibility: to be further ahead of the curve than whites on accepting gay people as full citizens.

The Bible cannot be used as an excuse to hold us back. We should remember that racists once also appealed to the Bible to justify segregation, slavery and all manners of hatred. Let's be progressive for real this time around.

McWhorter goes on to say the real test will come when a closeted black celebrity comes out, someone really A-list. "Wanda Sykes, Don Lemon and rapper Frank Ocean have been noble pioneers — but then again, none are megastars or play romantic parts," he writes.

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  1. i'd simply recommend anyone remember the words of Harvey Milk.

    It's about the USes.

    when the heat-seeking missiles of hate move to new targets, members of the previously-targeted groups or demographics will occasionally use whatever relief they've got to launch attacks on The New Undesirables.

    polish and irish immigrants turning on the chinese, then the japanese. and all against the blacks, and/or the latinos

    all one need to do is look at the racism harboring in gay conservatives, doubled over already with their own learned anti-gay shame, to see what a culture of prejudices can reduce a person to.

    you know who has a "responsibility" to support Equality? everyone with a conscience. being discriminated against for being gay doesn't stop many gays from parroting racial bigotry. many would argue their bigotry against certain ethnic minorities is a direct reflection of their own refusal to look honestly at their own struggles.

    Coretta Scott King (google her quotes, the woman is a shining light of truth) said it best, in regards to what Prejudice and Bigotry are, and always have been, and will be until we all rise together against it.

    before i was brave enough to read gay/queer literature, i turned to stories of the north american black experience for hope and inspiration; struggles over inequality and prejudice that show paths to freedom.

    i'm not sure that "gay is the new black" as black is still ...well... i mean come on. black president or not, Obama's win brought the bigots and their hate out of the woodwork.

    we aint done yet. the civil rights movement is not over, it is ongoing.

    but anyone who has felt the sting of prejudice and bigotry who then chooses to throw it at another group can congratulate themselves on having learned absolute ZILCH from their claimed struggles.

    just because you got the target off of your back and onto someone else's doesn't mean that you're safe: it means the bully you're still scared of knows they can control you, and the USes, to keep them weak and disconnected.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 24, 2013 1:42:09 PM

  2. Well said LK!

    Also -- I imagine that when Wanda Sykes reads that bit, her reaction will probably be: "Well, f*c$ you very much!"

    Posted by: Frank Butterfield | Jan 24, 2013 1:44:10 PM

  3. Black people,like any other human being, have the right to think for themselves, as free independent individual humans, not necessarily in lock-step with group-think.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 24, 2013 1:44:25 PM

  4. still waiting for Tyler Perry to come out...or be outed.

    Posted by: deedrdo | Jan 24, 2013 1:45:14 PM

  5. yet for what it's worth, i'll say this:

    any member of a persecuted (even *once* persecuted) minority group who refuses to stand up for those still facing discrimination and prejudice utterly deserves every ounce of bigotry they'll continue to experience in life.

    gay men who oppose a woman's right to choose.
    gay men against lesbians, Other Gays, the transgendered/transitioning communities.

    and, yes, members of ethnic minority communities who continue to support oppression against LGBT people, despite the galling reality that our UNITY could end this nonsense.

    and no matter what news stories come up, or which GOProud members make up stories about "being attacked by blacks", it will not shake my belief that we're all a part of this together.

    even if a black person (since Black is the subject here) opposed my freedom and liberty and right to live a life free from prejudice, i'd still continue to fight for him/her to not be discriminated against or treated unfairly in society for being black.

    being the bigger person means seeing the bigger picture.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 24, 2013 1:55:51 PM

  6. I find the logic in the article annoying. Since Blacks have a "special responsibility", does this mean other groups do not? Because last time I checked, the number of people in this country who have not faced discrimination historically or currently is quite small. If you or anyone you know has ever been poor, disabled, sick, old, female, non-WASP, etc. then you know what it's like to be treated differently, whether by people or private or public institutions, for what you are or what you do. Little Kiwi is right that if you have a conscience and are a human being then you should be for equality. Period. It's about personal character, not personal characteristics.

    Posted by: Stefan | Jan 24, 2013 1:58:29 PM

  7. @Lil' C*UNT,

    There is NOTHING 'made up' about what I've said in other posts. You are a delusional freak or just a plain, old arsehole.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 24, 2013 1:59:41 PM

  8. If you have ever been hated and discriminated against for who you fundamentally are, you should be in favor of LGBT rights, period. We look to the black population only because they are a numerically large group with a visible presence.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jan 24, 2013 2:02:19 PM

  9. Should black people [and other human beings] be for gay civil rights? Yes, because it's the right thing. But, a black person shouldn't be pressured or expected to think a certain way because they're black. Nobody should. Human beings have their own independent lives, history, and so-on. Group-think only goes so far.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 24, 2013 2:02:38 PM

  10. Stefan, well said. One of the things i loved most about Anne Hathaway's HRC Awards speech from a few years ago was that she refuses to think of herself, and her family, as "great" and "special" and "heroes" for supporting the LGBT Communities. In her words, it just means she's a "decent human being."

    Now, not everyone has a conscience. Not everyone has the strength to turn against their actual oppressors and be an adult about things. Some will choose to slink up to the bully, and hate Others in hopes they get tolerated for another day. But in the end, they know deep down what failures they've been as members of the human race.

    That's what fuels their bitterness.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 24, 2013 2:04:18 PM

  11. Isn't this comments' forum moderated? If not, it should be.

    Having just read Littlekiwi's quite reasonable posts I make it to the bottom (literally and figuratively) and see an hysterical, ad hominem attack on her in which she is addressed as c*nt. WTF. Throw that guy outta here.

    Posted by: Akrontru | Jan 24, 2013 2:07:27 PM

  12. ignore ratbastard. he's a troll who's obsessed with me. it's flattering, in a "look beneath the floorboards" sort of way....

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 24, 2013 2:14:34 PM

  13. @Stefan/LK - could not have said it any better, so I'll just say Kudos.

    Posted by: Belthazar | Jan 24, 2013 2:19:40 PM

  14. Every human being should feel they have a "special responsibility" to support equality. Period.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Jan 24, 2013 2:27:51 PM

  15. I feel "Gay is the new Jew" is more like it. Gays, like jews, get crap from all races. People are born jewish just like they're born gay, although both could live a lie and deny it or chose not to practice it. Our enemies want us to either disavow ("it's a choice"), "practice" in secret or, frankly, they want to exterminate us. And our enemies use religion to justify their actions.

    Posted by: William | Jan 24, 2013 2:31:38 PM

  16. As much as I would love for African-Americans to support the kind of equality that they fought for not that long ago, I am all for freedom of thoughts and speech. So if some African-Americans can't seem to see the similarities between the struggles of blacks in the civil rights era and LGBTs now, and stand behind us as we have stood behind them, then at the very least they should not be against us. They can be indifferent to the cause but to be against equal treatment and protection for LGBTs is just a terrible way to honor those civil rights champions who fought so hard to achieve equality. There's a subtle but crucial reason why the movement was referred to as the Civil Rights Movement and not the African-American/Black Movement even though the majority associate the struggles of African-American with the said movement.

    Posted by: gayalltheway | Jan 24, 2013 2:36:40 PM

  17. If gay people had been instrumental in furthering African American rights in the 1960s, then the obvious answer would be Yes, they do have a special responsibility to help gay people.
    But why should African Americans go out of their way to support gay people, when gay people have never done anything special for them?

    Posted by: Andy | Jan 24, 2013 2:37:38 PM

  18. thank you for that comment, "Andy", which perfectly articulates the petty, whiny, decidedly-human yet utterly shameful mindset of way too many selfish near-sighted adults.

    "why should i care about you?", says the bitter and pitiful creature who will never know love or compassion or empathy.

    your troll-post is funny in that it shows the desperate attempts to ignore logic and reason one must go through in order to hold that particular argument.

    so thanks!

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 24, 2013 2:41:54 PM

  19. Very eloquent comments here SO FAR.

    Little Kiwi, your comments are brilliant and very much appreciated.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 24, 2013 2:42:17 PM

  20. It's just oh so easy to make it all a celebrity's responsibility, isn't it ?

    Yet, "why should we do anything collective that's the right thing to do just because we don't perceive the collective you as having done anything for us" is an extraordinarily BS justification !

    Posted by: Buckie | Jan 24, 2013 2:45:01 PM

  21. @ William

    "Gay is the new Jew"...that's an interesting analogy. I think I like it.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Jan 24, 2013 2:52:43 PM

  22. This is stupid why would black people have some special responsibility?Black people don't owe anyone anything.

    Posted by: James | Jan 24, 2013 3:02:01 PM

  23. "Gay Is The New Black" is a hella offensive title for an article! If you don't think so, try on a phrase like "Muslim Is The New Gay" and see how you like it. Dude won't win African-Americans to his cause throwing that kind reckless language around. This tendency among Gay pundits to be racially or sexually provocative just for the sheer Hell of it is really wearing thin. Provocation can be a learning tool, or it can be an unnecessary irritant. Too often, we use it for the latter purpose.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Jan 24, 2013 3:11:10 PM

  24. also offensive: Stuffed Animals beliefs about Non-Christians.


    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 24, 2013 3:18:22 PM

  25. Andy - You really need to do some homework. There were gay people involved in and in assistance to the black civil rights movement. But even if there weren't, what would it say about a group that would only see the call to action if they had gotten assistance in the past?

    James - Blacks don't have a special responsibility, they have a responsibility and ought to have a special awareness.

    I know that as a gay person, when a law is proposed, I look for the loopholes to see what they are trying to allow in addition to what they say they are prohibiting. It's like the birth control thing: Yippee that they want to make them over the counter.... oh wait, won't that mean that prescription coverage won't pay for them? You have got to watch all the weasels.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Jan 24, 2013 3:18:27 PM

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