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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. paraphrasing slightly what was just said...I used to fervently believe that the plight of gays and African Americans were the same. Then I began facing racism from many white gays (and not sexual rejection, plain ol' racism). Now, I really don't care whether African Americans support the gay movement or not and in truth, can see why they don't. Gays want it both ways, the "cover" of minority status, and at the same time the freedom to be racist.

    Posted by: Ain't it Funny | Jan 25, 2013 12:03:56 AM

  2. There's a correlation between homophobia and racism, and the point needs to be made to the black community that Conservative groups like NOM are manipulating them in the most racist manners. With letters to prove it!!

    Posted by: Dynex | Jan 25, 2013 5:33:35 AM

  3. I'd argue, compared to straight people, or most other demographics that come to mind, gay people (yes, mostly gay white people) have been MORE sympathetic and supportive of the black community and less racist. I say this as a biracial gay man. There's racism in EVERY group of folks (muslims, middle easterns, asians, whites, heterosexuals) every grouping. But based on my personal experience, gay people are more compassionate toward everyone's struggles and resent discrimination of all kinds.

    Posted by: Kevin G. | Jan 25, 2013 5:42:40 AM

  4. I'm gay, white and completely have empathy for what black people endured and would absolutely be out in the streets with them hand in hand fighting for their rights. Of course, I wasn't born then. But my 60 year old gay uncle was around in the late 60s and did attend marches and protests and showed his support.

    I truly believe where there's discrimination in one segment of the population, the other segments are not safe nor are they free.

    Posted by: NY Kid | Jan 25, 2013 5:46:06 AM

  5. Aint it funny-
    In another thread, you boldly state you'd support a candidate who is against gay rights and gay mariage. Are you really qualified to comment on here?

    Posted by: T.t | Jan 25, 2013 5:51:03 AM

  6. It's always amusing to me when some black gay folks think gay rights and equality don't apply to them, and gay rights failing is really "sticking it to em' white gays" ... It fascinates me that they see gay rights as strictly benefitting gay white men (not millions of gay asians, latinos, middle easterners, or themselves) and in a deep rooted desire to get back at white gays, they adopt an indifferent approach to combating homophobia and promoting gay rights.
    I mean, when you say "I can see why black people don't support gay rights and might be homophobic" you do realize that not resolving some of that homophobia hurts you first, right? Black people are no more homophobic than others, but black homophobia directly comes in contact with black LGBT more than any other LGBT, so I would think you'd be more engaged to challenge it, and not use it as a justification to get back at those 'evil white gays'

    Posted by: Siox | Jan 25, 2013 5:56:03 AM

  7. Why can't everyone just be for everyone else's fair and equal treatment in society and under the law?

    Did the sentence about not perfectly sum all this up without all the filter from previous posts? It's a really basic concept.

    Posted by: Patrick Reece | Jan 25, 2013 5:57:24 AM

  8. The point hardly being made in these discussions is the fact that NOM and it's ilk are actively racist with memos out there of them clearly stating they want to USE thr black community as props. I may be white, but I can comfortably say that NOM and it's groups do not have the black community in their best interest, and are far more aligned with racist groups like the tea party.

    Posted by: JoyRideStan | Jan 25, 2013 6:44:08 AM

  9. Sorry, let me rephrase that. NOM does not have the black communities best interest at heart.

    Posted by: JoyRideStan | Jan 25, 2013 6:45:12 AM

  10. To the poster who said "why should African Americans stand up for gay rights? What have gays done for African Americans" there are so many flaws in your statement, but let's tackle the most basic. First, you assume gay automatically equates to white an not the many other backgrounds gay encompasses. Secondly, as others have noted, gays have stood up for civil rights in the past, but let's just imagine none ever did to entertain you; you still realize at the core of being a humane human being is to help not just those who benefit you, but help for the sake of helping. For the sake of equality. For the sake of it being the right thing to do?

    Posted by: BearNFurry | Jan 25, 2013 8:04:29 AM

  11. James, you have a chip on your shoulder the size of a monument. You've already decided gay means caucasian. Caucasians are bad. African Americans not supporting anything gay means caucasians lose. You are the exact reason progress can't be made in areas in both groups and frankly, it's people like you who just take up space on our planet.

    Posted by: Carlos | Jan 25, 2013 8:06:28 AM

  12. A more rational argument is: it's one thing for the African American community to be indifferent on LGBT equality... But to be campaigning against is is an entirely different issue, and it would be an issue, given it's irony. All movements are different, but at their core they stand for the same. Fairness and justice for all. If your idea of justice is conditional and limited strictly to your kind, then you have zero grasp of the true definition of the word. Period.

    Posted by: Lionsseatfertune | Jan 25, 2013 8:10:06 AM

  13. The Churches role in the black community is heavy and thick. I know because I'm black, and openly gay and know whats up. But i think we as black gays need to be the educators and step up and teach our AA community about who we are. We can't let the pastors at our churches be telling black folk who gays are. They'll twist and spin us for their gain. And if straight black folk only hear gay is evil, gay is evil, gay is evil all their lives, how you gonna expect them to not buy into that mess? Thats why its our job to come out and then start the dialogue within our own community. I see it happening and I did the same and I'm proud to know it makes a real difference.

    Posted by: J. jordan | Jan 25, 2013 8:15:58 AM

  14. I've heard some black people often say "this is SKIN not SIN" or "I didn't choose to be black. You chose to be gay" and I just think that misses the whole point. The point should be that no group of people should tell others who they are and why they are who they are. So long as those people pose no harm, why block their place in society and happiness? We should strive for a society where we embrace all forms of diversity and not just some. That is the ultimate form of humanity to me.

    Posted by: Michelle | Jan 25, 2013 8:25:16 AM

  15. Do gays have a special responsibility to blacks? Lol sexual racism is rampant in the gay community.

    Posted by: Paul | Jan 25, 2013 11:02:13 AM

  16. Let's just be honest here and say it brought bigots out of the closet. Where people could see where all the hate came from initially. As gay man taking care of my lover who happens to be an amputee. We live in Tulsa, Oklahoma in a 1 bedroom Apartment together. A year ago he had to have one of his legs amputated due to blood clots. Ever since our neighbors learned we where a gay couple they go behind our back to let every new resident that moves in know that we are gay and they don't like us here. We lost a friend because his neighbors kept asking him stupid questions like "are you all sleeping together now", "are you a gay enabler", and "are you one of them now"? We understand why he don't come around to say hi anymore but he was honest and said he couldn't handle there harassment anymore.

    Posted by: Justin | Apr 18, 2013 7:05:13 PM

  17. We have many neighbors here who come around only to sponge off us. They rarely ever offer to return what they have used or taken. This is destroying our dreams of getting out of this hell hole. The sad thing about Tulsa is that it is separated. Most all the poor have been shoved to the north side of town. They say that's where all the black people are. Although I've seen too many Employers use the N word in casual speech. The Black community is angry and I don't blame them. There are some white people living on the north side but the wealthy here treat the poor like an infectious disease in this backward thinking state. The mentally ill have been shoved into the housing projects, and people are hateful toward anyone that doesn't think the same way they do. I've experienced people attempting to correct me when I quote something that came out of a book as factual knowledge. I would have thought anyone would want to learn something they don't know. Instead they talk about something they don't know and make believe as they go along. Because they feel it makes them feel important I've been told.

    Posted by: Justin | Apr 18, 2013 7:15:17 PM

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