4. Is homophobia ‘rampant’ in black communities?

This columnist says it’s the case in Britain – and it’s time it was said out loud.

The homophobic content of some Jamaican music (especially dancehall) is well-documented. Here’s a recent letter in a local paper urging change.

Regular long-time WHYS listeners know that many of you in sub-Saharan Africa are openly hostile to homosexuality, and have no concerns about saying so.

Is that a problem? And is it fair comment to say that homophobia is particularly prevalent among black communities?

55 Responses to “4. Is homophobia ‘rampant’ in black communities?”

  1. 1 Brett
    November 20, 2008 at 13:50

    Well, for one thing I hear more homophobic slurs in rap and hip-hop than in any other type of music…

  2. 2 Roberto
    November 20, 2008 at 14:37

    RE “” WHYS listeners know that many of you in sub-Saharan Africa are openly hostile to homosexuality, “”

    ——– Dirty little secret that everyone ignores is that most every culture in history have been hostile to homosexuals.

    Yes, we’ve had a few exceptions like the Spartans, and to lesser extent the Greeks in history, and this modern phenom of western homosexual rights has it’s roots in that history.

    It’s not for me to explain explain the reasoning for history, but I do know that the whole gay politics is similar to the Evangelist Christian politics in that it tends to be very narrow, very divisive and breaks apart culture and community.

    The irony of always seeing them in constant vitriolic conflicts with each other is not lost on me. It’d be funny like a cartoon if it wasn’t so vicious.

  3. 3 Bruce Sickles, Falls City, Oregon
    November 20, 2008 at 14:45

    This is a non question. Even the slightest research will show that homosexuality has been rampant throughout history in every continent-society-nation on earth, to the point of men buying male prostitutes openly and without fear of reprisals.

    It’s true that there has always been gay bashers in the mix as well, but this hasn’t seemed to change the history any. In fact it would seem that christians, with their “we have the only truth” dogma seem to enjoy the “bashing” mentality more than most.

  4. 4 Nikitas
    November 20, 2008 at 15:16

    The only way by which ‘Prop 8’ was passed in the state of California was through the Black vote. Conservative Californians knew that the Black vote would be out in full force, thanks to the historic post of now president-elect Obama as the Democratic nominee. Conservatives took advantage by promoting the gay marriage ban amongst Black communities, who ultimately provided the deciding vote. If you were following the election totals you would have noticed that the vote to pass ‘Prop 8’ was incredibly close (‘chad’/Florida close) whereas the election of Mr. Obama to president was for more clear cut.

    So even though the Black community voted for the election of Barack Obama to the post of president (a progressive Democrat who openly opposed the Gay marriage ban), they were also voting for the removal of the gay marriage law in the state of California.

  5. 5 John in Salem
    November 20, 2008 at 15:53

    Judging by the number of states that have passed anti-gay marriage laws I’d have to say the homophobia is rampant EVERYWHERE.

  6. 6 VictorK
    November 20, 2008 at 16:01

    Well, yes, of course it is, and that’s been public knowledge for a long time.

    The question misses the bigger picture: homophobia is rampant throughout the non-Western world (e.g. Islam, Eastern Europe, etc).

    So why pick on blacks (apart from the wish to spice up the topic – ‘…race, and sex! we must be on to a winner!!!’)

    Another reason for the gay community to stop attacking the fundamental institution (marriage) of the only societies where they are treated humanely.

  7. 7 selena in Canada
    November 20, 2008 at 16:22


    Another reason for the gay community to stop attacking the fundamental institution (marriage) of the only societies where they are treated humanely.

    That is a very good point! But the point can only be redressed by removing marriage as a state institution because Gays should have the same state rights as anyone.

    In an evolving society where people’s rights are paramount, marriage as a state institution is outdated. Even people who believe fervently in this institution rarely stay married to one person for long.

    I honestly don’t think that marriage should be imposed on me because some religion (or some person on this forum) says it is God’s law. Therefore, in that same vein, Gay don’t want to be shut out of a state ceremony because some person says it is unnatural.

    I don’t think that marriage should be a state institution. As long as it remains a state institution, Gays should be as entitled as heterosexuals to the rights of the state.

    Remove marriage from the state and only religious Gays will want marriage. Let them fight that out with their respective religions. It is not my business.

  8. 8 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    November 20, 2008 at 16:46

    The BBC should NOT open debates on matters of homosexuality!


    The BBC 500-character debate rules state:

    We reserve the right to reject messages which:

    Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable”

    By reserving the right to reject homophobic comments the BBC is unlikely to or will be unable to be FAIR.

    So having a debate is pointless, unless of course the idea is to go thru the motions of having a debate, while all the time it will be a justification of homosexuality and/or an attack on those who dislike homosexuality.

  9. 9 VictorK
    November 20, 2008 at 17:03

    @Selena: I’ve said more about gay marriage on the other thread. In a nutshell: state intervention in marriage – religious or secular – is inevitable and necessary. Marriage is about obligations, not rights, and the obligations in question usually don’t arise as far as gays are concerned.

    To get back on topic: I think homophobia is the natural state of affairs for most people in the world, and rights, freedoms and security for gays is the Western exception. It’s not homophobia – even from blacks – that needs to be explained, but why Western culture has, on the whole, progressed beyond it.

  10. 10 Steve
    November 20, 2008 at 17:20


    According to this 70% of african american voters in california voted for Proposition 8, banning gay marriage, in California. 70% was much higher than the next closest racial group.


    It’s very ironic. Blacks viewed it as a civil rights victory for blacks by having a black President, then voted to take away the civil rights of other people. Liberals must be in a bind over this one.

  11. 11 Nikitas
    November 20, 2008 at 17:53

    @ Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I

    Whatever your position on this particular issue, homophobia
    is assault and is illegal in the UK and many other nations. Incidents have
    occurred with homophobia as the primary motivator which have seen people
    sentenced to extensive jail terms and fined charges because of their homophobic actions. Homophobia promotes hate. Much like racism, a matter which the black community is all too familiar with in the United States. If you can have a mature discussion relating to racism, why can you have the same while focusing on the gay issue?

  12. 12 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    November 20, 2008 at 18:07

    Re: Nikitas, November 20, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    If you can have a mature discussion relating to racism, why can you have the same while focusing on the gay issue?

    You can’t have a discussion here as: as I expected comments keep disappearing as they are discarded by the moderators! Grounds are known only to them. For example, IF this comment is published, DO point out the homophobic part!

    Re: selena in Canada, November 20, 2008 at 4:22 pm
    I honestly don’t think that marriage should be imposed on me because some religion (or some person on this forum) says it is God’s law. Therefore, in that same vein, Gay don’t want to be shut out of a state ceremony because some person says it is unnatural.

    A fallacious argument preceded and followed by fallacious facts!

    Marriage is NOT God’s law. It is NOT Nature’s law, too!

    It is human created! And simply a means of having order & responsibility in Society for the offspring of mating humans. Other solutions could have been found by humans, such as the system of lion prides and so on.

    Don’t forget the Cardinal Sin of Lust from which only humans suffer! Even the animals don’t suffer from that Sin!

    Gay marriage IS UnNatural as far as propagation of the species is concerned!

  13. 13 Venessa
    November 20, 2008 at 18:19

    Steve ~ I too wonder if the black community sees the irony in this. Somehow I doubt it.

  14. 14 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    November 20, 2008 at 18:24

    Re: Nikitas, November 20, 2008 at 5:53 pm
    HYS as a 500-character debate, and/or as the WHYS blog, and/or or air and/or on TV was a laudable idea.

    However, as with most human ideas it has degenerated and is heading for the lowest common denominator, political correctness etc.

    As they say:
    “Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.”

    One can see glimpses of that in the way perfectly reasoned arguments backed by facts are NOT published. I don’t know how many comments of others suffer the same fate!

    Why lowest common denominator? If one has to consider that one’s time may well be wasted due to the arbitrary power of a moderator then more and more comments will have to just latch on to someone else’s comment and say things like LOL with a smiley, or Great with a smiley and so on.

    This is definitely not the place to have a real and intellectual argument!

  15. 15 selena in Canada
    November 20, 2008 at 18:38

    A fallacious argument preceded and followed by fallacious facts!

    Just by way of clarification, I have no facts to add to this discussion. It is merely my point of view that is being presented.

    However, if anyone has any facts, I will be happy to consider them.

  16. 16 Venessa
    November 20, 2008 at 18:42

    “Marriage is NOT God’s law. It is NOT Nature’s law, too!

    It is human created!”

    Exactly, it is created by humans so why should anyone be denied to do so? Seems a little stupid to me that only certain people get certain rights.

  17. 17 Jens
    November 20, 2008 at 18:51

    well, why single-out blacks, what about arabs or hispanics…..whenever a society is build on machismo, the consequence is a high level of homophobia.

  18. November 20, 2008 at 18:55

    @ WHYSers!

    There is no questioning homophobia in places like Jamaica, if we go only on the premise of what the music says, that is, insofar as its public pronouncements. What is interesting, however, is that these cultural productions occur in specific contexts.

    Often, it is the case that non-heterosexual people, themselves, party to these very songs. Therein, lies the contradiction in terms of whether these messages are purely hate filled mantras to destroy sexual minorities, or whether they also gesture to other elements of creativity and the complexities between racial and sexual identities in culturally specific contexts.

    I, for one, am all for equality. If, however, that equality means a wholesale acceptance of value systems which one finds objectionable, on the premise of seeming open, then there is also a problem. Genuine equality cannot only be about slogans and what is said. That issues like gay marriage are being debated, as per ‘Prop Eight’ in California, of all places, reminds of just how much work needs to be done on these fronts.

    Racism, sexism, classism, homophobia and every other kinds of barriers erected between people need to be dismantled, no doubt, but until that happens, hatred, fear and otherness cannot legitimately be seen as the domain of any one group, or people.

  19. 19 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    November 20, 2008 at 19:03

    Re: Venessa, November 20, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    “Exactly, it is created by humans so why should anyone be denied to do so? Seems a little stupid to me that only certain people get certain rights.”
    Well asked and already answered!

    Please see two of my comments on the page: “3. Should gay marriage be legal?”

    The comment on November 20, 2008 at 5:00 pm
    Comment # 60 on November 20, 2008 at 5:50 pm.

    Do they answer your Q?

  20. 20 marie
    November 20, 2008 at 19:19

    No. Homophobia is not rampant in the black community.
    Its too bad homosexuals didn’t take the issue to the black community the way the religious right did. The religious right framed the issue religiously and blacks voted that way. The homosexuals didn’t do anything to educate the black community about it as a civil rights issue. Most peole don’t see it that way. They see marriage as something that is fundamentally between a man and a woman. Not even the Spaartans had marriage between same sex. Gays are asking people to redefine marriage. Its like the pregnant man- she has a uterus, fallopian tubes and eggs and keeps having babies, but wants us to call her a man- give me a break!

  21. November 20, 2008 at 19:45

    @ Marie,

    I am going to have to agree with you in terms of the framing of the issue around religion, rather than race. It almost always amazes me that smart people can overlook to make keep political liasons and then cry foul. From where I sit, we are either serious about educating people about rights or we are not. Sitting around and acting defensively because we view the issues differently is not going to help any of us. There is undoubtedly ‘gays’ need to engage the “black communities” in this discussions, in much the same way that the conservative right has. Was this done? From what I can tell, apparently, not adequately enough. We are going to have to stop fighting and start talking to each other about what hails us. Hopefully, the ‘Prop Eight’ discussions will achieve this.

  22. November 20, 2008 at 20:19

    the entry above should have read: “…It always amazes me when smart people overlook to make key political liasons and then cry foul, when it does it not go in their favour…”

    For my part, I embrace the proposal for a more inclusive marriage act, same sex or otherwise. To blame homophobia as the only reason for the ‘Prop Eight’ vote is to miss the wider discussion of how mobilise public support and widen the agenda of issues placed in these fora for important consideration. Everybody has an investment in this discussion. All gay people are not white and all black people are not homophobic!

  23. 23 Scott (M)
    November 20, 2008 at 20:28

    Yes. Blacks are bigoted towards gays and more so then whites in the USA. The statistics support this. It is not up for debate. Black culture is unfortunately not self-critical enough, and the bigotry is allowed to flourish because many blacks are allegedly victims on every front. If you criticize the culture, you’re labeled a bigot. It is time black Americans were held accountable for their actions. They should be given the same scrutiny as everyone else. They should also be held accountable for their rampant bigotry towards whites, which never gets addressed. I went to a 80% black school—I know what it can be like. All cultures have bigotry—it is time the criticism was spread around objectively.

  24. 24 Scott (M)
    November 20, 2008 at 20:39

    All blacks may not be homophobic but at least 70% in California are. Just look around at all the articles written by blacks claiming it is the fault of everyone else. Pathetic. Disgusting. Apologists for bigotry. The stupidity and egregious hypocrisy of many in the black community is embarrassing and an abomination.

  25. November 20, 2008 at 20:57

    @ Scott (M),

    I would certainly not seek to argue with your claims in terms of your own experiences at ‘a[n] 80% black school’, or whether the columnists in debate on Prop Eigth in California were mostly/ all black. What is in doubt, however, is whether the columnists speak for all people, or whether there is enough outreach in black communities, beyond the condemnation. And, while we are at it let us be clear, I am not apologising for bigotry in black communities. Far from it. Bigotry, regardless of its colour, or creed, is exactly that.

    My feelings, however, as I have experienced it as a Jamaican who had to contend with a gay newspaper in Canadda who proceed to cast me in one of their stories as a bigoted homophobe is that there is scarcely little effort to know anything at all about Jamaican culture. In fact, so little was the need to know that there was vaguely implicit characterisation of all Jamaicans as homophobes because they did, at least by appearances, to support a pro-homosexual agenda in this country. That is not only false, but patently misleading, to say nothing of the judgements which it makes in its mischaracterisation of a group of people. That is tantamount to racism – the view that all people of a particular skin colour, racial heritage or cultural group are exact replicas of each other and that, that replica is no good! That approach to coalition building has got to end! If that is not racism, I am not sure what is!

  26. November 20, 2008 at 21:09

    The post above should read in the second paragraph: “…In fact, so little…of Jamaicans as homophobes because they did NOT, at least by appearances, support a pro-homosexual agenda in this country….”

    This effort, however, to demonise black culture as the ultimate embodiment of all that is evil as regards homophobia is a largely inaccurate view which is a product of the racist ideologies which refuse to see people as different or as recognising the need for tolerance in terms of how we engage with other. If I assume I know something about you before meeting you, then, I have very little premise on which to complain when any semblance of a relationship breaks down between us. Where is the outreach? Where is the compassion? Where are the bridges of understanding? Anger over disenfranchisement cannot be a basis for public hatred. And, from what I can tell there have been various reports of the liberal use of the “N” word in the ‘Prop Eight’ demonstrations, recently. Does one form of hate trump the other?

    My view is that where columnists use their media as a platform for spreading homophobic propoganda under the guise of ‘racial unity’ that there is need for the advancement of a similarly powerful response. That cannot come from alienating black people but by putting the pressure on those who dare to speak on their behalves to explain and justify their positions. The issue here, in my humble opinion, is a lack of an appropriate education, not race!

  27. 27 Scott (M)
    November 20, 2008 at 21:15

    TO: rawpoliticsjamaicastyle,

    Either we use statistics to talk about things or we don’t. So statistics that say blacks are underpaid and over-incarcerated—should we not look at those either—saying, well they don’t speak for all blacks, so why try to help! Hogwash.

    Sorry if blacks are embarrassed that 70% of their race in California are bigots, but those are the facts. I think the Germans who weren’t racists were also probably embarrassed with the Nazis. I’m not going to ignore the big picture because there are exceptions.

  28. 28 Steve
    November 20, 2008 at 21:45

    @ Scott
    While what you write isn’t very politically correct, I saw a TV program about the HIV rate in Washington, DC, and they looked into the various reasons, and one they listed was the homophobia that blacks feel. Wish I could find the talkingpoints on that show. They interviewed several black gays and they would describe how despised they are by other blacks.

  29. 29 Lydia
    November 20, 2008 at 22:07

    Isn’t this a presumption akin to assuming racism is ‘rampant’ in white communities because there are white people who are racist? Or is the wording meant to be provocative? I’ve lived in predominately black communities for great chunks of my life, and not found homophobia rampant. Present, certainly, and loudly articulated, unfortunately, but rampant overstates the case considerably. I’ve also been in a law school, where the population was less than 10% black, and there was homophobia, alive and kicking.

    It’s top down, it’s a function of zealotry and ignorance from various church pulpits and podiums (the govenor of California’s ‘girly men’ comment comes to mind) and it is ugly and unfortunate. But to paint a whole nation (Jamaica) as homophobic disserves that nation and the quietly unbigoted people who live there, the same as the notion of ‘rampant’ homophobia in the black community disserves African American, British Blacks.

    If you’re finding a great deal of homophobia among the Black people you know, find some other Black people, or ask yourself if you’ve attracted what you want to believe about a group of people.

  30. 30 Lydia
    November 20, 2008 at 22:28

    By the by, everyone, there is no monolithic Black Community or black community in the U.S. Every time I read that it makes me want to scream. We are not of one mind any more than we’re of a single religious faith, income group, educational aspiration, marital status, health and fitness level or eye color or any other trait or characteristic you can name. We are as diverse as any other ethnic group in the world, and our responses to same-gender love is as diverse.

    Blacks are not bigoted as some monolithic group.

    And yes, Vanessa, many of us individual African American people are swamped by the irony of the outcome of the 2008 election. Dead chuffed. Gobsmacked. Floored. And saddened, as some of our siblings, some of us, were affected by an outcome influenced by some of our other siblings, parents and children. Once you stop imagining us a monolith of the Black Community, you can see that this trend disturbs Blacks as much as it disturbs Whites.

  31. 31 Scott (M)
    November 20, 2008 at 22:39


    That is a good philosophy—find the blacks who aren’t bigoted. I am sure this logic would have been great had it been applied to black civil rights—oh just move by the white people who aren’t bigots. If 70% of blacks are bigoted towards gays, it’s a problem. The subjectivity on this topic is shocking.

  32. November 20, 2008 at 22:42

    @ Scott (M),

    I take no special offense at the remarks you have made. Far from it. I am actually speaking out of my own experiences of racism, at the hands of a particular arm of the pro-gay lobby right here in Jamaica, because I did explicitly appear to be in agreement with the sentiments encoded in the evident racism that all black people are bigots. That you seem to feel that I am either defending or harbouring hurt feelings on account of what you have said is further testimony to my point, in this regard.

    Race is a real concern in this discussion. I live in Jamaica and can only, in a real way, speak to my experiences in that space. It is deeply unfortunate that blacks in California find themselves in this position. However, I am not sure that there is any real way that the issue of the presumed lack of a “self reflexivity”, as you claim, is likely to develop from:

    1) the view that all black people share the same position;
    2) that such a position is inherrently unreflexive; or
    3) that racism, as evidenced by the claims made by some that the “N” word was being used in liberal abundance in the protest marches re ‘Prop Eight’, invalidates the point I raised earlier.

    I don’t especially care to defend “the race position”, in this position. Nor, do I feel that the two issues are mutually exclusive. Much to the contrary.

    I am speaking out an experience which tells me that it is inherently easy to demonise a group of people because they do not share your position simply (?) on a specific issue, which though important, does not elide the significance of the point I raised earlier.

  33. November 20, 2008 at 22:53

    @ Lydia,

    Thank you so much for your most insightful interventions. I am often amazed at the way that this discussion has been couched in explicitly racist terms, which as you noted, disserves an entire nation or group of people. I am always of the view that we seek that which we wish to find, in many instances.

    As part of the racialised sexual politics of twenty-first century America, specifically, there is a feeling that racial and sexual categories are the same and not only are the same but that the boundaries of identity are largely constructed through the ethnocentric ‘enlightened modernist’ lenses. These are largely configured around hegemonic, white male privilege, which by and large seeks to see the world as one homogeneous block – with no variations. In that regard, we are all ‘either/ or’ of each other. Sounds hardly “reflexive” to me.

    That does not change the fact that there is need for a more developed space for criticism within the black communities/ cultures in the ‘modern west’, as well as elsewhere. Does that mean that they must accept ‘the gay political agenda’ as it is currently constructed, no questions asked? I am not sure! Does it also mean that, to say that because I am objected to this position that makes me into a bigot or a racist, or both? No, it can’t! That is very poor reasoning!

    It would suggest, however, that there is need for a greater forum for discussion between the groups and to see if and where there are areas of overlap. Sounds idealistic? Perhaps. I am not sure. But, I do believe in our power for good much more than I do for hate! Further more, are there not other groups involved in this conversation as well? Why the preeminent focus on black cultures/ societies, in this regard? Oh right, 70% of them are bigots! Gotcha!

  34. November 20, 2008 at 23:18

    Oh my oh my!!!

    @ Scott and others who see bigotry in the black community.

    Although I believe that there is bigotry in every society, i do not believe blacks are more bigoted than others.

    Moreover, if 70% of blacks voted for prop 8., one has to wonder about the rationale of this vote. I have an impression that this blog is either full of bigots (blindly prejucided against blacks) or full of folks with no sense of history.

    Let me open your eyes for a second.

    1) The Bible is the most important book in the Black community. The Bible is central to the Black Church in matters related to marriage as it was in matters related to freedom and equality. You should know it by now.

    Where would the black community be without the intervention and heroic, selfless actions of the Church and mainly the black Church? I would not respond to that. The most prominent black leaders who represented that Church-going, Church-centered black community were Ministers. Blacks are more conservative as a group than most people think.

    Blacks would vote for marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

    2) How could anyone characterize Black folks as being hypocritical for voting for prop 8 and de facto forgetting that they were once fighting for civil rights themselves.

    My little knowledge of history tells me that Blacks were chased by dogs, suffered police brutality for the right to vote, mass-poisoned etc… The last time I checked, gays and heterosexuals ate in the same restaurants, they worked in the same companies, they lived in the same neighborhoods. Gays are majors of cities and are even enjoying many civil liberties that Blacks could not enjoy in the sixties.

    The only thing black folks said thru prop8.,

    “marriage is a union between one man and one woman”.

    They also said there should be no re-definition of an institution (marriage) that is so central to the Bible and hence central to the black Church.

  35. 35 Scott (M)
    November 20, 2008 at 23:33


    “White male privilege”—what standards of discourse you have. I forgot that term is acceptable—but saying 70% of blacks in California are bigoted towards gays is racist. Just to clarify something that apparently is going above many heads, stating a large portion of a group are bigoted is NOT bigotry. For instance saying many Muslims are bigoted towards gays doesn’t make you a bigot. It is so asinine how so few can make this important distinction.

    It would be a different story if someone said “they hate all black people” because the majority are bigoted, but this is nothing like what I have said.

  36. 36 Scott (M)
    November 20, 2008 at 23:45


    These conversations always turn to who had it worse. Pointless. Even if you could prove one group had it worse, what would it say?

    You suggest blacks can’t possibly be more bigoted towards gays then some other races? Why? How absurd. Can blacks be more religious then other races? You just said the bible is “the most important book in the black community”—how can you make a statement like this and not allow me to say that 70% of blacks in California are bigoted towards gays—when the statistics support this? You can’t pick and choose what statistics are relevant and discard the rest. If you can speak about a majority of a group collectively—so can I, especially when I have statistics to back it up.

  37. November 20, 2008 at 23:45

    @ Patou,

    A most insightful entry! Thanks for the history lesson, please!!!

  38. November 20, 2008 at 23:59

    Scott (M)

    Where did you got your stats from? Please do not draw your stats from the 70% of blacks who voted for prop 8.

    I am asking you now. Where would the black liberation struggle be without the black Church? the Church and thus the christian Bible have been so central (which is my argument)in black people decision making when it comes to matters of national prominence. Do i need proof for that? So, read a little bit about the Black leaders from Sojourner Truth to jesse jackson and Al Sharpton. I would even go as far as to say without the Black Church, you could forget about Obama being the president.

    Moreover, your comparative analysis of Blacks and Gays presupposes that you have no Black person who is gay. Which is not true.

    I should reiterate the point i am making here: the Church is what is still organizing the black community. The Church is behind the black vote.

    Just my 2 cents

  39. November 21, 2008 at 00:03

    @ Lydia:

    Thanks for your very insightful observations. I raised the same concerns in an earlier post regarding a presumed “black victimhood” last week and am now recieving the “cold shoulder” from one of the bloggers who I criticised. Such is life, I suspect! However, I do believe that these efforts to conveniently define ‘blackness’, as a monolithic identity, continues the racism (premitivism/ atavism) of slavery and before it the destruction of the Amerindians in the Americas. The refusal to see the linkages between the two things is telling. All part of a philosophy which says that we “know” ‘them’ (all) anyway and what they are thinking already. The contempt is real, clear and dangerous!

    To argue that if I do not support a proposition that defines marriage in a particular way makes me a racist is the heights of ridiculousness! But, more importantly, it masks the extent to which the current tone of the “gay rights movement” is seeking in many ways to undermine and undo the gains (?) of the civil rights movement. Let us not forget that, notwithstanding sexual identity which, in many instances, is declared, black people often do not have the luxury of defending or escaping notice of their ‘objectionable’ skin colour (culture), in many instances. The comparisons, though real in some respects, are very different at best. There is no “gay type” that is readily obvious and can, therefore, be seen to be treated in the same way that black identities have historically evoked racist responses, even right here on this blog. So, I disagree that: black cultures are not “reflexive” and that, a vote against redefining marriage in any other way outside of the heterosexual ‘norm’ is bigotry akin to racism. It is something but racism, maybe not so much. Bigotry? Well, let’s talk some more about that.

  40. 40 Just A Comment
    November 21, 2008 at 00:15

    If only Scott(M) could sort out his bigoted self and his bigoted points!

    “For instance saying many Muslims are bigoted towards gays doesn’t make you a bigot. It is so asinine how so few can make this important distinction.”

    Indeed it is! It is asinine to call many Muslims or many Blacks or many of any group as bigots while the homosexuals use the term bigot simply because those opposed to homosexuality are opposed to homosexuality!

    Can you sort that and yourself out?

  41. November 21, 2008 at 00:15

    @ Scott (M),

    While you clarification may, indeed, be useful especially where you have pointed out Patou’s error, I would wish to think that if you can see that position as flawed then it is also useful to see your position as also flawed. I am surely not making a case for who had it worse. I am, however, arguing that these efforts to construct black cultures and black identities as mononlithic are inherrently racist. So that, within that framework there is no room to manuever (?) in terms of disagreement. We are either all agreed with you or we are disagreed with you. If we are disagreed then we are bad (read bigoted/ bigots/ guilty of bigotry), or we are all good (free of this vice). This is exceptionally simplistic type reasoning.

    Furthermore, to suggest that I am offended by your remarks or somehow embarrassed takes the argument one step further to personalise this as a “war” between us. First off, and with respect, I do not know you beyond what you have said in this forum. There are elements of your position that I am agreed with and there are others that I take issue with. To suggest that I am embarrassed because I both disagree with your premise, as well as the implications of same position is, actually, offensive. How could you know anything about me beyond what I have said here?

    You have used examples of your experiences in a mostly black school and I am telling you my experiences with a gay rights newspaper. Which is not my imagination, at all. Yet, in all this, yours seems to trump mine, insofar as your seeking to invalidate the substance of the experiences which I have also talked about. I do not understand how you could make a case for equal rights in this regard and not see that even by virtue of this approach there is no effort to achieve that noble objective?

  42. 42 Boneheaded Dunderhead
    November 21, 2008 at 00:30

    @ Brett

    “Well, for one thing I hear more homophobic slurs in rap and hip-hop than in any other type of music…”

    So be it. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. Que Sera, Sera! There is nothing you can do about it.

  43. 43 Logical_Neanderthal
    November 21, 2008 at 00:48

    “Regular long-time WHYS listeners know that many of you in sub-Saharan Africa are openly hostile to homosexuality, and have no concerns about saying so.

    Is that a problem?”

    No it isn’t and it is!

    It isn’t a problem for the vast majority of humans (Chinese, Indians, Hispanics, Moslems, …..). They are in the majority and they couldn’t care less what homosexuals thought of them. In fact, some may even wish that more and more Whites became homosexuals so that they breed themselves out. Not a particularly racist thought, just a tribally competitive one.

    It is a problem for the homosexuals. They are in the minority and forever will be. They are entitled to their views. Even if those views are immaterial to the majority.

    Nice and logical isn’t it?

  44. 44 Scott (M)
    November 21, 2008 at 01:45

    Just A Comment,

    So you are calling me a bigot?! How funny. How fantastic. I can’t understand the grammar of your third paragraph or I would respond to it. People aren’t seriously this lost? I am just flabbergasted at the lack of clear thinking with many of these comments. We make so many collective statements about groups of people on this show, Americans, Europeans, Africans, Chinese, but we can’t say anything about 70% of blacks in California or American black culture, because that makes us bigoted, it is outrageous!

    According to this logic I couldn’t even say many Muslims are religious! How insane. Sorry but if a religion teaches bigotry towards homosexuals, by definition it means many of its members are bigots. If I had lived during slavery I would certainly have had no problem calling many whites bigots. I would also call (today) many whites in certain US states bigots. I won’t support the economy in Utah by going there and some other places, because I believe many of the whites are bigots. There are also some countries I wouldn’t go to because of they way they treat women. These views do not make me a bigot.

  45. 45 Scott (M)
    November 21, 2008 at 01:58


    Sorry. Making assessments based on statistics about a culture is not bigoted. If this were the case then all the books of history would be considered books of bigotry. It is perfectly acceptable to make assessments about differences in a culture, similarities in a culture and flaws in a culture. The problem arises if you then used these assessments to say that everyone in a culture was a certain way and there were no exceptions, that would indeed be bigotry.

  46. 46 VictorK
    November 21, 2008 at 08:01

    The point that I disagree with Scott (M) on is that he seems to assume that opposition to gay marriage is, by itself, absolute proof of bigotry. It may be, and perhaps often is; or it may just be an indication of opposition to gay marriage without any particular hostility to gays (which is my position). I want to see gays protected from violence and incitements to violence. I support civil partnerships for them and using the law to grant them things they currently lack but ought to have such as rights of attendance at the hospital bedside of a partner. I deplore insulting comments directed at them. I’m all in favour of non-discrimination in employment regarding them. But I’m opposed to gay marriage.

    But apart from the qualification I’ve made, I can’t fault Scott’s argument.

    Doubtless some blacks who voted to ban gay marriage did so on principle, not out of bigotry. But it’s only commonsense, given what we know about black views on this subject, that a good proportion, and probably a majority, voted for it out of simple dislike of gays, i.e. bigotry.

    African-Americans do form a a fairly monolithic community for certain purposes. Politically they have always voted as a block (in one NY district I understand that 100% of blacks voted for Obama!). They are monolithic in their attitude to whites (which is bigoted). They are monolithic in their distrustful attitude to the police. They are monolithic in their attitude to gays. They are monolithic in their attitude to the Republican party. And they are monolithic in their attitude to criticism, which is to rage and go into denial about any criticism made of them.

  47. 47 selena in Canada
    November 21, 2008 at 14:11


    The point that I disagree with Scott (M) on is that he seems to assume that opposition to gay marriage is, by itself, absolute proof of bigotry.

    Your comments remind me of the darling, sweet ladies in my life who will leave no stone unturned to help the poor and disadvantaged. They are horrified if any child goes hungry and will launch fund raising campaigns to make sure the needs of the poor and sick are met.

    They do this from a position of strength in the full realization that they are above it all.

    Bigotry is not a word I would use when referring to them??

  48. 48 VictorK
    November 21, 2008 at 14:24

    @Selena: they don’t sound like bigots, but like…’darling, sweet ladies’!

  49. 49 Brett
    November 21, 2008 at 15:08

    @ Boneheaded Dunderhead:
    @ Brett

    “Well, for one thing I hear more homophobic slurs in rap and hip-hop than in any other type of music…”

    So be it. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. Que Sera, Sera! There is nothing you can do about it.

    I was simply stating an observation which has relavance in this topic….

    I don’t care to do anything about it, there are bigger fish to fry than people expressing their own ignorance and hatred towards groups of people to the masses by way of their ‘music’.
    While I love hip-hop and rap, I don’t take to heart the countless ignorant lyrics from the countless studio gangsters. Music, its what it is, though some would debate rap and hip-hop being even that. I take it at face value, its good to listen to, often has some catchy beats, but it’s not anything I’m out to change, its not my culture, I don’t embrace it. I don’t spend more money on wheels than my car is worth, my life doesn’t revolve around money, women, drugs, and violence, but you can bet I’ll have occasional songs from all sorts of hip-hop artists on my Ipod, why? Because its nice to have variety to listen to. In addition artists like Mos Def and others provide hope that the industry can change for the better (though it’s likely not to).

    Again, just an observation, I’m not out to change it change comes from within, it’s not my culture.

  50. 50 lydia nayo
    November 21, 2008 at 19:34

    There is a level of discourse here that is pretty intense, given the limits of the medium. We are relative strangers to one another, yet we’re managing to snatch offense from a phrase in a paragraph, IMMEDIATELY respond with our own offense, our own perspective, our own right way of seeing the world. The method of discourse is often thrust and parry, charge and countercharge, challenge and assume, and I don’t know if we’re hearing each other as much as would benefit this particular topic.

    I wonder how we’d respond to each other over coffee, where gesture and inflection could add depth and full meaning to what is said. Where an exploration could be accomplished beyond defensiveness and without presumptions that may be entirely false. How differently would a recorded transcript of such a conversation look from the word flurries on this page?

    Life is not a dichotomy. All is not that clear. Life is messy and textured and complicated, with nuance beyond a post on a blog about a subject that may be too personal for that kind of articulation.

    Peace be still. Peace be still. Peace be still.

  51. 51 Just A Comment
    November 22, 2008 at 13:18

    @ Scott (M)

    The meaning of bigot as per W……’s dictionary is:
    1. A person who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed , opinion, etc.
    2. A narrow-minded, prejudiced person.

    It was Steve who said:

    According to this 70% of african american voters in california voted for Proposition 8, banning gay marriage, in California. 70% was much higher than the next closest racial group.”

    Steve did not use the word bigot. Just because 70% of Blacks voted the way they did does not mean that they “hold blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed , opinion, etc.”. They have their reasons some of which are based on the Bible or what they understand the Bible to mean. Other Blacks within the same 70% may have different reasons.

    It is you who’ve made a value judgement and jumped to the conclusion that due to the way the Blacks voted they’re bigoted. That in itself is the essence of being bigoted!

  52. 52 Syed Hasan Turab
    November 22, 2008 at 21:46

    Because of media advancement world is shrinking, varity of openions & classification’s are exposing to isolated peoples & societies, this is what they never heard before.
    Being an humminist I support there peacefull approach to convey honest messgae to the world without any hipocracy, now this is our competancy how we accomodate them in prevailing society.
    No doubt this is begining of an emotional sitution & provide us solid grounds for justification as reaction in our society is available evidance.
    Why not UNO establish a Commission of common Intrest or any kind of task force to listen the issue.

  53. 53 Emile Barre
    November 23, 2008 at 15:25

    I ask myself why is the question only asked about the black community when homophobia is still a clear and present danger to the natural equality of all human beings. There is a confusion about what constitutes the disease of homophobia and other social phobias and what constitutes the cure. Our civilization is defined by how that confusion is resolved. It certainly will not be resolved if you do not identify all the locations where it rears its head.

  54. November 23, 2008 at 23:33

    Gays do not have any special rights. These homosexuals only have the rights of being citizens of the USA, nothing else. These homos or sexually deviated people are not normal people, they are immoral, disgusting and despicable people. Marriage is only between one woman and one man, period. California’s people said twice that they don’t approve of their marriage, the Supreme court went against the will of the people and gave the invalid marriage license so CA has to amend that to the constitution. Still these people do not believe in democracy and cannot tolerate people who do not share their view and they turned violent and anarchist. If they don’t like it, get out of CA, get out of the country, go to France. They are trying to impose their disgusting way of life on us, no thanks.

  55. 55 DENNIS
    December 4, 2008 at 06:25

    Yes, it is “rampant” in the “black communities” about being homosexual aka gay….

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