A recent comment by NAACP President Benjamin Jealous had me saying here we go again:
In an article from ThinkBig:Jealous is also attuned to the civil rights struggles of another minority group--gay Americans--and aware of the public perception that black activists have been lukewarm in supporting their cause. Yet for his own family as well as the NAACP, he says, gay rights are not only important but "personal"--and if there's a gap between the movements, it's a product of insufficient outreach from the LGBT side.
I remarked "here we go again" because I can predict what's going to happen next.
Some in the LGBT community are going to be get defensive instead of maybe assessing the fact that Jealous's words have a ring of truth. Already, terms like "hater" and "homophobe" have been thrown around.
The black community will most likely have another "if we ignore it, maybe it will go away" moment that it always does when it comes to issues of the gay community.
Meanwhile, LGBT of color, who are by now are so used to this sort of thing, will wonder yet again "will these turkeys ever get this issue right?"
I'm sorry if I sound cynical but when it comes to the tired old argument of black community vs. gay community, I feel as if some entity out of a Roger Corman movie has attached itself to my side and has sapped the energy right out of me, putting in its place a kind of weariness.
So let me be succinct. I'm tired of the arguments. It doesn't matter if the gay movement for equality is the same as the African-American civil rights movement (it is). And it doesn't matter if sometimes, well-meaning white gays and lesbians refuse to acknowledge that they take unfair liberties in assessing the two movements without knowing the inner workings of the black civil rights movements (they do).
We are going to continue to have this tired argument until both communities stop clinging to past symbolism and acknowledge the present and probably only true connection between the black and gay community - me and the rest of my lgbt brothers and sisters of color.
Speaking for myself, I get a very low opinion of both communities when this tug of war of position takes place. I don't feel like a person to the black or gay community. I feel like a commodity, a frozen asset. Both communities seem to be so busy with trying to use what tie I have to them for their own purpose that neither want to look at me as a person whose African-American heritage and lgbt sensibility mingle together to create something rich and unique which would be an asset to both communities.
I am useful to the LGBT community because I am gay. I am useful to the African-American community because I am a black man. But I don't seem to be useful to either community as a gay black man.
There are some of us who cannot separate being black and being gay into two separate camps because we encompass both identities.
But the problem is that neither community seems to get that point.