I once got into a big fight with a friend of mine, another white gay guy. After reading about a Black minister spouting off anti-gay remarks in a service, my friend pronounced,
The Black church is so homophobic.
Me: Yeah, but the white Evangelical church is much worse.
He: How can you say that? Read the ugly things this Black minister just said.
Me: Yeah, I know, it is awful, but he is not running a multi-million dollar para-church organization that reaches millions of Americans through daily radio programs. He does not have weekly briefings with the president in order to influence policy and legislation that affects LGBT people. He does not influence local and state and national elections through his nationally televised sermons. He does not have the economic and political resources to sway members of congress. He does not regularly feed thousands of ministers, youth workers and Christian counselors lies about LGBT people.
He is being loud and ugly, and that is wrong, but the folks at Focus on the Family and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and Concerned Women for America and the American Family Association and the Southern Baptist Convention (all white owned and run organizations) and in the White House itself engage in systematic and organized oppression against LGBT people and their families everyday.
He: I’m just saying…
Me: RANT, RANT, RANT (for a long time until I utterly exhaust him. It is one of my more effective and obnoxious strategies.)
Keith Boykin writes about it better than I can.
Yes there are some well-known black homophobes out there who get a lot of attention and a lot of criticism, as they should. But let’s not use those examples to prove that all blacks are much more homophobic than whites. The irony is that the famous black homophobes are taking their marching orders from the homophobic white society that taught them. So let’s stop asking why black people are so homophobic. Black Americans didn’t invent homophobia; they copied it from the white society in which they live. And if we focus only on the black homophobes, we lose sight of the more influential white bigots in power who quietly perpetuate the status quo every day with their words and their policies.
Boykin (who spoke at last year’s True Colors conference–only four more days!) explores the Marine Gen. Peter Pace’s recent statements on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, where the General “compared homosexuality to adultery, which he said was also immoral, and said the U.S. armed forces should not allow gays to serve openly in the military.”