Monday, December 1, 2008

Is Gay REALLY The New Black?

I consider myself a strong gay rights supporter, but this "Gay is the New Black" argument is just bogus and backwards thinking. It's like the longstanding argument between Jewish folk and Black folk, whether the Holocaust was worse than slavery or vice versa. The ONLY answer is they were both equally horrible and devastating events to it's victims, just as they are equally important to history as they are different as historical events.

Why can't the Gay Rights Movement stand on it's own two feet without comparing or replacing the STILL on-going Civil Rights Movement for African Americans? Each movement has it's own issues, problems, and struggles. This comparison is insulting and condescending to the Black folk that suffered during the Civil Rights and Black Power eras and its completely unfair and distracting to the Gay folk who are busting their cans doing good work in their quest for COMPLETE civil rights.

We need to be very careful in these discussions or we are going to have more angry outbursts and mis-guided accusations like those that occurred after Prop 8 passed in California. We need to have open conversations on this issue by both sides. For example, I wonder how many gay black folks would be willing to admit that racism is over in America or that race is no longer an issue in America. Not many, I think. Being gay, just adds to their pressures and their anger.

And I wonder how many white gay folks hollering about being denied their civil rights have practiced and are still practicing discrimination against people of color, everyday. Not to mention enjoying their white privilege whenever the opportunity presents itself. I know first hand, I switched academic fields because of the white lesbian women that dominated my primary field of study, but regularly turned a blind eye to racism or engaged in racism themselves.

The Gay Rights Movement and the Civil Right Movements are not the same for many reasons. Every black man, woman, and child was denied basic citizen rights for decades, the Gay Rights Movement does not have this history or the sweeping denial of basic rights based on just a VISUAL representation. This does not make the Civil Rights Movement better than the Gay Rights Movement, but it sure makes it different and unsuitable for comparison.

If being denied something is the simple criteria for being considered a movement like the Civil Rights Movement, then everyone should be taking to the streets. What's next, the Single Women's Movement or the Single Folks Movement? Single folks get discriminated against everyday, all day. Single people have a hard time adopting and getting a dinner reservation. Single people pay more for EVERYTHING, taxes, insurance, you name it. Buying a house or car is a pain in the ass when you're single, some salesman is always remarking "that's a lot of car or house for a single person." Makes you wanna holla, believe me.

Let's the Civil Rights Movement be what it was and what it continues to be and let the Gay Rights Movement create and complete its own unique history.


Kim December 1, 2008 at 2:43 AM  

no gay is not the new black and i really wish gay people would stop
comparing civil rights to something
that is unnatural.

D.J. December 1, 2008 at 5:26 AM  

Gay is the new black is a white thing. I am gay and I am black and the two are not the same and never will be. While i am fully out and proud about being gay the truth is that was a decision i made to come out. i was born black raised black gonna die black and i can't keep that to myself.

And to answer your question no white gays still discriminate against black gays (unless they want to sleep with them). Don't believe me, ask anyone who is black and gay who has tried to get into a white club and is asked for three pieces of ID.

ActsofFaithBlog December 1, 2008 at 7:00 AM  

ARGH! This whole argument really pisses me off. Iactually wrote a post about how gay is NOT the new Black like a month ago. When are they gonna get this? Plus they're ignoring all the Black LGBT people by even saying this. Willful ignorance.

Professor Tracey December 1, 2008 at 8:37 AM  

@Kim -

You are free to express your opinion here, but the "unnatural" part I don't agree with. If you don't accept that one thing, I don't think folks have too, it's an individual, very personal belief, but the "unnatural" debate, is a judgment that I'm not sure that non-gay people have the right to make because we don't know how it feels. No disrespect to you intended, just standing a position.

Naturally Me! December 1, 2008 at 10:03 AM  

As soon as I read the title of your article, I thought of what Lil Richard always says... "Black folk can't have nothin!" Apparently, not even the Civil Rights Movement. lol. This blog is dead on.

When someone is a bad leader, they're compared to "Hitler" and when someone experiences bias or discrimination then suddenly they're Black. Oh! and the single girl thing...HILARIOUS and true.

BLKSeaGoat December 1, 2008 at 11:06 AM  

Gay is not, has not ever been, nor will it EVER be the new black.

As a Gay black man, I am utterly floored at the invalid comparisons of gay whites as well as the pervasive homophobia of straight/heteronormative and even gay, but straight acting blacks.

Quite frankly, I've extricated myself from the entire gay rights movement because I wasn't comfortable with how it was being run or where it was headed. I am also not comfortable with the rank and file Super Negroes who populate the leadership positions of black social justice and civil rights organizations.

However, when a white gay man can tell me that a policeman will stop and question him for being gay, or that a cab will refuse him service for being gay, or that a white woman will clutch her purse in fear of him for being gay, then we'll talk about comparing and equalizing battle scars.

As it stands now, at least for me, I have always been black, male and gay... in that order. No, my sexual orientation was not a choice, and I don't choose to be sexually attracted to men nor do I choose to be persecuted for being homosexual.But I have not always been gay-identified. I mean, I knew I was different when I was more interested in contact sports for the body contact - not for the competition and comraderie.

I have always been black though and have had my own experiences, no matter how anecdotal, with overt racism. It wasn't until I came out to myself that I became sensitive to the insults of sissy, faggot, punk, etc. To me, as long as I denied the truth about myself, I wasn't a part of "them". They still never hurt more than nigger.

It's a mess. Whereas black folks suffer from a peculiar "double conciousness", black folks who don't fit into the quintessential definition of what society deems to be "normal" suffer from a multiplicity of conciousness.

Imagine having to go through what WEB DuBois describes in the Souls of Black with an added layer of baggage?

Madazhell December 1, 2008 at 1:54 PM  

Dear Professor, I came across your blog via an avid reader of it. My comments come solely because I read your comment of "they should be taking it to the streets..."
Well since June 1969, the begininng of the modern gay rights movements starting with the "taking it to the streets" drag queens of Stonewall Bar retaliated against the NYPD for years and years of this now Post-Modern era of Gay rights a post-election era...a refocusing and redetermining of the Gay Rights Identity is underway...with the abhorrent outcome of the other side of the election...the west coast where the right to marry previously mandated in June of 2008-was stripped away by the the states own citizenry...and by and large by a very large uninformed African American community...holding up to Bible that 200 years earlier waws used to enslave them. Please read the recent review of the film "Milk" about murdered, first elected gay official Harvey Milk...I think, in context the title of the new refernecing a new call to arms...I'm Black, I'm Gay...but I am still not an appreciated citizen. My tax dollars are accepted with out best friend is mixed and up until 1967 her parents were married and thereby committing a felony...I cannot raise a flag on my porch...until I have the smae rights as every American...period...and I'm not a new Black I'm a fighting the good...fight...I wnat to be free, to be brave and to live in a modern soceity where I am not prevailed upon to be anything other than myself.

Madazhell December 1, 2008 at 1:55 PM  

sorry here's the link to the NY Times review of "Milk"

thank you for letting me blog

BLKSeaGoat December 1, 2008 at 2:50 PM  

Harvey Milk, yet another example of whites and the confused blacks wo support them hi-jacking the gay rights movement from its originators, black and PR drag queens.

This is typical of the gay rights movement as it exist now; gay whites take all the credit, shut out gays of color, but expect the gayness to be the common thread that motivates everyone to fight for equality that most whites already enjoy.

Fighting the Good Fight? Fight a Strategic fight and stop calling black people uninformed and start reaching out to them and EDUCATING them!

Gays need all of the allies we can get and radical gayism is NOT the way to build bridges.

MacDavid December 1, 2008 at 3:00 PM  

I'm not taking a side in response to the first comment (the one posted by Kim).

Kim may have meant (or NOT) that in strict terms of "fitness"--the way science terms the way a life forms struggle to live and thrive and perpetuate their line or species--homosexual relations is unnatural, in that human reproduction is impossible.

Outside of that, one can argue the metaphysical aspects of what makes a homosexual a homosexual until the cows come home. lol ....Aaaand that's a debate, I'll skip. Thanks!


P.S. I don't like the "Gay is the new Black" trend that's happening, and take great offense when it is compared to say the Civil Rights Movement or the Holocaust. I don't mean to parrot the same point again, but I can't resist stating that each struggle within itself stands on its own merit for importance and attention.

My thing is that if a cause is really true, it will stand. As truth, being what it is in nature, will always inevitably break through to be revealed, blotting out falsehoods. So if a movement is to be, it will be, otherwise it will falter at some point.

RiPPa December 1, 2008 at 3:10 PM  

There is no way both struggles are comparable. However, I do believe where the problem lies is in people not knowing the difference between CIVIL RIGHTS and CIVIL LIBERTIES.

The proposition 8 debate has more to do with CIVIL LIBERTIES than anything else. Yes it can be said that the removal of same sex marriage in California to be prejudicial. But its really an infringement on a LIBERTY that was granted by the gov't.

Although there is no comparison as far as "struggle", its important to note that the removal or erosion of our CIVIL LIBERTIES are a grave concern.

bbgcmac December 1, 2008 at 3:52 PM  


I agree with most of what you have here. I argue with my other friends who stand up for gays as I do myself about this all the time. Trying to latch on to another movement is whack and is inaccurate targeting.

It hurts their argument in my opinion to compare their plight to that of black people. It also diminishes in effect the argumnts black gays like James Baldwin struggled with - being black AND gay - hell double jeaporady.

Someone within the gay community needs to take the lead and reorganize this flawed strategy.

BLKSeaGoat December 1, 2008 at 4:16 PM  

Kim and Mac David,

Ummm Science can explain perpetuation of species without copulation. Parthenogenesis is what it's called.

There are other species who posess both sets of gonads and can auto-fertilize their own eggs and some species where the male carries and conceives while the female provides fertilization.

So Prof is right and your philosophy has nothing to do with science. Jus sayin'.

MacDavid December 1, 2008 at 6:08 PM  

Hi BLKSeaGoat

Please read carefully. I didn't espouse Kim's "philosophy." I stated a possible frame a reference from which she may have been making her argument. If I phrased it in such a way that presents my remarks as my own beliefs regarding homosexuality, you stand corrected, with all due respect. :)

You do, however, present a fabulous point that you and Kim might enjoy debating.

Finally, I'm well aware of parthenogenesis in certain species. I'm simply not aware of it as a common phenomena in humans. In regards to the latter, I suppose I should do some research on that. Project!! lol

Thanks for the kind comment SeaGoat.


Miriam December 1, 2008 at 6:31 PM  

I admit I don't know much about the topic. But definitely obvious gay is not the "new black".

On so many levels this phrase is not right. For one, it seems to make "black" static. An established "bad thing".

Kim December 1, 2008 at 7:01 PM  

I certainly meant not to offend anyone,I like Ellen just as much as the next person, but I stand by my statement. To love another person is natural, but homosexual sex is not what our bodies were formed and designed for. Plain and simple. Lather,Rinse,Repeat.

robusta barista December 1, 2008 at 7:28 PM  

I've come to realize that no matter what rights or equality a group of people obtain, there's ALWAYS something to discriminate about.

Comparing our struggle with that of gays is like comparing apples and oranges. Both are fruits, but of a different flavor. Besides, many gays can pass as straight, we cannot.

Christopher Chambers December 1, 2008 at 10:57 PM  

Besides the ignorance of black preachers, this Gay is the new black stuff was likely one of the reasons black folks put Prop 8 over the top. A sense of detachment or displacement from the stereotypical white "yuppie" gay man or lesbian. It does a diservice to the gays of color who are struggling, beseiged. It's they who we should help and embrace, and perhaps they should tell their white brothers and sisters to open their minds from stupid hip white catchphrases.

On the other tip, it is a civil rights issue, not civil liberties. The basic tenet of this argument is the equal protection of clause of state constitutions which is based on the 14th Amendment--the crux of why the Civil War was fought. That is NOT civil liberties--which implies law enforcement.

RiPPa December 2, 2008 at 8:55 AM  

For the person, or persons who say that this is a CIVIL RIGHTS issue and not about CIVIL LIBERTIES....

"Civil liberties are freedoms that protect the individual from the government. Civil liberties set limits for government so that it cannot abuse its power and interfere with the lives of its citizens.

Common civil liberties include the rights of people freedom of religion, and freedom of speech, and additionally, the right to due process, to a fair trial, to own property, and to privacy.

The formal concept of civil liberties dates back to the Magna Carta of 1215 which in turn was based on pre-existing documents.

Republics or liberals such as the United States have a Constitution, a bill of rights and similar constitutional documents that enumerate and seek to guarantee civil liberties. Other states have enacted similar laws through a variety of legal means, including signing and ratifying or otherwise giving effect to key conventions such as the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

It might be said that the protection of civil liberties is a key responsibility of all citizens of free states, as distinct from authoritarian states.

The existence of some claimed civil liberties is a matter of dispute, as are the extent of most civil liberties. Controversial examples include reproductive rights, same-sex marriage, and the right to keep and bear arms. Whether the existence of victimless crimes infringes upon civil liberties is a matter of dispute. Another matter of debate is the suspension or alteration of certain civil liberties in times of war or state of emergency, including whether and to what extent this should occur."


Umm, I suggest you do your homework!

queenofhearts559 December 2, 2008 at 2:15 PM  

Wow, I have really enjoyed the commentary on this blog. So many passionate ideas and viewpoints have been stated well. I will simply echo some of the things that have already been said. NO, gay is not the new Black because we're still Black and we're still struggling for equality! It completely discounts the plight of African Americans and I am never for that. To put a spin on a popular phrase, "Can't we all have our own individual struggle?" Peace.

wisdomteachesme December 3, 2008 at 6:17 PM  

God made science. so whater scientists know is what they have been allowed to know. which ain't much.
and before i go further - kinm is not the first person to say that she feels that way and she will not be the last.

our advancements as humans in technology and other material conviences have far surpasssed our advancements of self- growth i.e.- not hating, nor feeling the need to discriminate, or oppress which all go back to self growth. or a lack of.

self hate is also a factor. not knowing the true definition of Love--which should be uncondtitional for all but is not.
So our advancements are not really that great as humans when you look at it truthfully.

many people are stagnant and stuck at the level of knowledge they feel they need to have feel good about themselves with.

still, how a person treats another person when the first has nothing to gain is what i watch for.

to answer your question prof- no i don't think gay is the new black.

i feel that both are overlapping groups of people and separate groups of people involved.
just like everything else in life.
many People-not all- that attack another group with the words like unatural
and worry about who is having sex with who are not secure with themselves.

to keep your mind on others and to make such a big deal out of same sex people wanting to get married when it will not bother you and your family baffles me. anyone can get maried in the eyes of God--it's the conty that make you get a marriage lic. so the two are not really connected.

these people have many more fears then are seen. and i'm alright with them thinking that a same sex relationship is all about sex - which is it not. maybe that is all their relationships are based on--but not mine.

and not the lesbians and gays i know--i dont' deal in riff raff whether gay lesbian or straight. so we don't veiw sex as the end all--lolol esp at our ages.

i don't hang with white lesbians or gays that have hatred for anyone tha tis not white--they have deeper issues then not being accepted as a gay person.

a time ago, it was also thought that 'God' made black folk to be inferior. based on ignorance, fears, the uneducated, lies, power and control and money issues.

we were thought to be unnatural by many whites also. and some of them still think this of us.

infact i'm a light skin black woman--i am truely thought to be unnatural by many. heard them say it to my face years ago.

sex is not everything and it is not the fullness of unconditionaLove! which many feaful people do not possess in their hearts.

BUT I DO-- which is why i can forgive them in the name of Jesus and keep right on working for The Father. I don't have time to teach those that have been oppressed to NOT oppress and hate esp when they do not want to learn.

can't teach anybody who does not want to learn.

i also wonder what these people who deem gays and lesbian unnatural and say we made a choice to be this way= i wonder when they have children,
what will they do to their children who reveal they are also lesbian and or gay?
i pray the Lord be with those children of these people.

science says this and that--lololol
funny to me--God made science...oh i said that all ready.

finallyko December 6, 2008 at 8:48 PM  

Gay is definitely not the new black. I worked on the papers of a gay rights activist earlier this year. At the time when they compared their movement to the civil rights movement they always made it clear in their literature that they were referencing the strategies those in the movement used to advance the people and not the actual discrimination. The new leadership has it wrong.

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