In her new documentary, The New Black, debuting later this month at AFI Docs Festival in Washington DC, Yoruba Richen explores the relationship between the gay civil rights movement and the African American community. Richen hopes to countermand the narrative that African Americans are more homophobic than other segments of society, a notion that took hold after the passage of Proposition 8. She tells Politico:
"This [idea] was largely because of an incorrect exit poll that initially
reported blacks voted for the measure by 70 percent. That these reports
later proved false — and multiple researchers later showed it was around
58 percent — was not enough to counter the narrative...
“The reality is that the African American community and the black church is diverse and opinions on this issue have reflected that. There were some black public figures who took stances very early on in support of gay rights — look at Jesse Jackson’s rainbow coalition in the 80’s — while others spoke out against it. Also in terms of polling, African American support (like other groups) has varied depending how you phrase the question and the religiosity of the respondents.”
Richen also points out the similarities between the struggle for marriage equality that both gay Americans and African Americans have faced:
“[Like] the gay community, we also weren’t allowed to marry who we wanted to, build families or have the societal legitimacy that entails. We were also denied rights based on who we were and treated as second class citizens. And of course a lot of the arguments that you hear against marriage equality are similar to ones used to justify miscegenation laws.”
Check out the trailer for the film AFTER THE JUMP...