Friday, March 8, 2013

Gay Will Never Be the New Black...?

In Todd Clayton’s article “Gay Will Never be the New Black,” two things grabbed my attention: first, the title, simply because it is so jarring, and second, the short synopsis included James Baldwin. After reading the article, I was saddened by the final statements, that, according to Clayton, "gay will never be the new black, and that the fight for racial equality is far from over." There are many conflicts to being gay in today's society. Often times, gays, particularly if white, are cheated because they are in a society in which they are supposedly protected, however their sexuality offsets them and subjects them to danger, according to Baldwin.
We live in the 21st century. I cannot get past the fact that while we can grasp the advances in technology and social media, we have a difficult time accepting people for who they are. This is the same fight we have been battling for centuries. Ignoring civil rights has come to ignoring basic human rights. People are treated like dirt simply because they are different. Clayton’s realization that being white and gay is completely different from being black and gay, merely due to the color of a person’s skin. The most difficult part to swallow of the entire piece was Baldwin’s statement that “they gay world is no more prepared to accept black people than anywhere else in society.” Shouldn’t they gay community, as somewhat of a minority, be accepting to another minority group?
The problem whites have with being gay is the issue that had they been straight, their lives would have been drastically different. Their lives would have been void of hatred and fear, and they would have been entitled to more privileges. Unfortunatley, these privileges are basic civil and human rights.
What is the root of this conflict? Does the conflict within minority groups fuel the actions of others outside those groups? If the fight against racism is intertwined with the fight against homophobia, as Baldwin suggests, shouldn’t these groups network with outsiders willing to help in order to overcome this discrimination?


  1. I love the questions that you have posed Lees and I would say yes, Minority groups should definitely be willing to join together in order to help the other. At the end of the day, minorities are persecuted due to qualities which I believe are determined at birth. This is very important for the elite who create laws and unjust practices in order to maintain the hierarchy in the United States.

  2. I also agree that the minority groups should work together to overcome their oppression. Professor McKinney's point about the white people who joined the Freedom Rides and supported black rights were targeted differently and sometimes more violently than their fellow black activists. It was seen as being a traitor to one's race. In today's world, though, I feel like groups are more intertwined than ever before, making it easier for a person of a majority group to support a fight for minority rights. I read somewhere recently that this woman was not a proponent of gay marriage and believed it to be awful, but when her son came out, she became the strongest supporter because she believed it to be even worse that her son could not have the same rights as everyone else. More and more people are aware that members of their family are gay. Interracial families are also growing allowing for the previously racist or even just indifferent white (or another majority) family members to support black rights because the fight has become more personal. I believe as minority and majority groups continue to intertwine, the supporters for equal rights of minority groups because they can now place a face to the people that are victimized by inequality.

  3. I think you brought some great questions about civil rights and equality. I agree with y'all that the minority groups do need to work together to overcome oppression. Additionally, I think that people have forgotten that even though we have made great strides towards attaining total and equal civil rights for all citizens, we have a long way to go! Unfortunately, I think that civil rights is going to be a reoccurring issue in our society for years to come. Thank you for posting this blog entry; it definitely made me think more about civil rights in our society today.

  4. John McWhorter, a columnist for the Daily News, recently wrote an article entitled “Gay Really is the New Black.” In the article, he presents the notion that the African American community has a certain responsibility to support and fight for the LGBT community in their struggle for equality. He states, “As a consequence of its painful heritage, black America has a special responsibility: to be further ahead of the curve than whites on accepting gay people as full citizens.” However, as with the article you mentioned above, McWhorter only states that minority groups SHOULD support one another, not that they necessarily do. In fact, he even pointed out specific examples in which minorities did not stand together in the face of oppression, such as feminists fighting for women's suffrage refusing to support the black community during the Civil Rights Movement.

    Basically, what I'm taking away from both of these articles is that human beings are inherently selfish. If the oppression of one minority group has no direct effect on a certain individual's life (i.e., a white person remaining indifferent to the plight of African Americans or a straight person remaining indifferent to the issue of gay rights), he does not feel the need to support it. Unfortunately, this is a very flawed outlook. Oppression effects EVERYBODY. If African Americans can be denied equal protection under the law, then so can any other group of people. For hundreds of years, the United States government denied black people their freedom and the right to vote. Then, during World War II, Japanese-Americans were forcefully interred based solely on their appearance and the color of their skin. Until less than a century ago, women were not granted suffrage. And now, in today’s modern, so-called “progressive” American society, homosexuals are fighting for their right to marriage. Therefore, it is vital to consider how easy it would be (and how easy it has clearly been) for the government to deny any individual his rights at any given time, unless people are willing to band together and fight for them.