Wednesday, November 03, 2004

a thought about blacks and gay rights

Chris pointed out something that has been commented upon before: that African-Americans, especially religious ones, are either tepid about gay rights or vociferously oppose them. In fact, I've heard that the percentage of blacks voting Republican has slightly increased (not necessarily on the Presidential level), and largely due to this. I find this odd. I do understand blacks' frustration when gay rights advocates use the rhetoric of the civil rights movements - like invoking the holocaust for something less worthy (I realize that gay rights is very important, but I don't know if it can compare to the civil rights movement). But it seems that African-Americans were opposed to gay rights before gay advocates started using the civil rights language, and in any case the latter's use of the language cannot be the sole reason for blacks' animosity towards them. The source, of course, is the conservative ethics that come from their version of Christianity. Nonetheless, how can they ignore the parallels between discrimination against people of color and discrimination against homosexuals? I realize, of course, that they would make a clear distinction between the two - that being gay is "wrong," whereas color doesn't mean someone is "good" or "bad." Of course, white racists disagreed with the latter assertion! So how does one know when one is right? This, of course, is a very complex question that cannot be answered here. My only point is that when there are so many parallels between two social movements, beneficiaries of one should think long and hard about the latter - they should give it "deference" and be inclined to support it. Maybe they will end up disagreeing with the latter movement's goals, etc., but they shouldn't do so as reflexively as it seems some African-Americans have!