So 70% of blacks who voted on Prop. 8 in California voted for it. They voted to rescind the right for gays and lesbians to marry. Is that sad and trifling? Yes. Is it surprising? No.
The black gay community is a silent one, not because they want to be silent but because in the black community they have no choice. This vote was a vote of religion to many, and as I have said before, the black church is very conservative, and the black church is the cornerstone of politics for many black americans. To be black and gay on par with being republican and gay, most black people just don't get it. There are still folks walking around slapping their kids for no reason so they don't become "soft" or "sissies". They are still using the term "sissies" to describe effeminate men. My dad won't even say the word "gay" or "homosexual", he just does the Fred G. Sanford signal for "gay", which can be seen in this clip around the 2:37 mark:
Just an off topic FYI, Rippa did a phenomenal analysis of Lamont Sanford over at his blog. It was insightful, poignant, and gave truth a brand new light. Bravo, Rippa. Bravo.
The stereotypes that many whites have for gays and lesbians, blacks have for gays and lesbians. That being gay is a choice. That other gay people recruit or "can turn you gay". That gay people are pedophiles and predators looking to "turn out" innocent children and those down on their luck who can be easily swayed. That being gay is a mental illness.
Then let's talk about the "down low" phenomenon. This has been a major discussion for years, and I do not know the reality of how big this issue is within the black community, as I don't see it being an overwhelming issue, as I don't think MOST black men are gay, but I think with the attention it has received, it has fueled the discrimination against homosexuals within the black community.
I find it disheartening and somewhat insulting that we as black people have the audacity to be hateful and judgmental to another group of people, when we have had this done to ourselves for centuries. In the same breathe, I am not going to pretend gays and lesbians are innocent lambs.
One of my first posts on this blog was about a white lesbian who asked me why black people can't get over slavery. The one lonely response I got from that post was from a man who basically said black people aren't the only people of the world to suffer. Better known as the good old "get the hell over it" diatribe that is so often used by angry people mad when I discuss race or the concept of white privilege. He identified himself as a gay man in Kentucky. The days following the vote on Prop. 8, some black gays and lesbians felt threatened by their white counterparts when the news stories came out showing the black support. The n-word was thrown around liberally by some, and the stereotypes about blacks flew. Was the anger rightfully directed? The black vote wasn't the largest portion of the support, it was the white vote, but only about half of the white vote supported it, only about half of the asian, and a little over half of the hispanic vote supported Prop. 8, but the racial slurs and nasty diatribes were directed towards blacks, and why when this does happen do all blacks get painted with the same ugly brush? Why must our whole race get the rath of your anger and frustration? That is like me using Chuck Knipp as my example of why I can't like ALL gay people. I would hope not all gay people support this moron. Do all gays and lesbians enjoy white men in black face and drag as great entertaining comedy? Apparently so, since this guy seems to sell out his show on a regular basis and has a strong gay and lesbian following. Is that a fair assessment for me to make? Over at the Huffington Post, Raymond Leon Roker felt the LGBT communities backlash to the black community was unfounded. The comments there were disheartening. Most from people identifying themselves as gay or lesbian throwing around stereotypes and generalizations towards black people. Many people of color in the LGBT community have stated that racism has been and will be an issue, and as with all things in America, in "mainstream" gay culture, the focus is on white men and women in the community. It seems for the most part, the need for diversity and representation within the LGBT community seems to have fallen on deaf ears within that community.
Lack of empathy and compassion is a big issue in this country. The lack of understanding between the LGBT community and the black community is a perfect example of this.