My friend C. thinks so. He's half-white, half-black, and all gay. "I've had people come up to me in predominantly white gay bars and say, 'Shouldn't you be at the black bars?' he recalls. "I constantly overhear gay men say, 'Eww, I'd never date a black guy.'"
C. is upset, and rightfully so. Nobody wants their individuality not to count. He's convinced that gays are more prejudiced than straights, but I'm not so sure. While nobody would deny C.'s experiences, he doesn't have anything to compare it to. He didn't really know how to react when I asked him, "Do you have black straight friends who hang out at predominantly white bars? I bet they hear as much or more racially tinged remarks."
I seriously doubt gay people are any more racist than straight people. I just think witnessing or experiencing racism is more profound when it comes from us. After all, we're a group that is systematically discriminated against at all levels of society. When we see or experience members of our tribe doing what's done to us, it has a powerful impact.
There's a double whammy when the discriminated-against discriminate -- and it's therefore more memorable. And if it's more memorable, then you project out and think there's a lot more of it than there really is.
It's quite a sight to see the discriminated-against discriminate. You don't soon forget it. I have a good friend who is gay and Latino and has an Arab-sounding name. He's like a triple-threat to bigots. He's heard it all ("You're nothing but a dirty Mexican," "Your people flew jets into our buildings") and experienced it all (constantly stopped at airports and pulled over by police drug dragnets). And yet he constantly uses the n-word and spouts off some of the most hideously stereotyped, racist garbage you've ever heard. How is this possible? It's the equivalent of watching an innocent man get beaten by a bat turn around and smack the innocent man next to him with it. You'd think my friend would stop as he raised the bat to strike and think, "Wait, isn't this the same bat those haters use on me for no good reason? Why am I doing the same thing?" But he doesn't. And neither do other prejudiced gay men. The different are not so different with the different than we think.
But are we any worse than our straight counterparts? I don't think so. It's just more repugnant when we do it, because we should know better.
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