A YouTube video of the wedding of Robert Brown and Nathanael Gay, yes two men, have been making the rounds on the black blogosphere and all the reaction hasn’t been kind.
No I’m not talking about the reaction from YouTube posters, who historically have always leaned towards douchebaggery, but the reaction from commentarists, who while not having a problem with a gay wedding, seem to only focus on whatever negative reaction the video has spurred.
Overall the reaction to the video, which shows a slideshow of Brown and Gay, donned in red and white celebrating their nuptials, has been the same reaction that you would except from a wedding; some hate and jealousy but most congratulatory. However among bloggers the comments like, “Beautiful LOVE is LOVE and people need to realize that. I wish Robert and Nathaniel the best, CONGRATS!!!!!” from YouTube user Va2ga have been overshadowed by reaction to comments like this:
“To each his own, love who you want to love. HOWEVER, this is really a punch in the gut to show Kappa Alpha Psi in a position that , majority, would not appreciate. As a whole we stand for brotherhood but not for gay individuals to infiltrate our fraternity and feel that it’s ok. Once again, love who you want but it would be wise for you not to wear any items showing that you’re a Kappa.”
Coincidentally, this YouTube user is named Smartazzit, which is probably more of an indictment on the user than the content of the actual video. However this hasn’t stopped some writers from addressing full on the negative comments like, Jenee Desmond-Harris for The Root, who wrote:
“Without going into all of those, we’d like to gently suggest that anyone who’s outraged rather than touched by the video (watch it below) should consider pledging Hater Phi Homophobe.”
And then there was Britini Danielle from Clutch Magazine who wrote: “It’s clear when it comes to sexuality (and race, and sexism, and several other hot-button issues) people conveniently forget the adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself.” But in this case, I wish they would. Not only are they taking shots at a couple’s special day, but they’re also slandering a 101-year-old institution in the process.”
There is not overtly wrong with either of the ladies thoughts on the matter. However by focusing solely on the negative reaction to the video, they have inadvertently creating a false dichotomy that the only response was negative, when in fact, the video received over two thousand likes, which is by far more of an indication of response than the 110 or so dislikes. So in essence, even though these writers might be well meaning in their attempt to show that a gay wedding is not a big deal, by focusing solely on the negative reactions, they have ultimately ended up making it into a big deal.
This is what I like to call the Gabby Douglas effect, where a few negative comments via one social networking site spurred a month long (and it is still going on in some circles on the web) discussion about the “controversy” over Gabby Douglas’s hair. After much debate and in some cases bitter divisive attacks, the mainstream media caught wind of it, picked up the story and soon Douglas’ hair became an official national black issue. Then, in an effect to disassociate ourselves from this new “black issue” we had a new round of commentary, which had writer after writer, expounding on why Douglas’ hair doesn’t matter. Well if her hair didn’t matter, how the hell did we end up talking about it in the first place?
The funny thing was, I hadn’t an opinion on her hair until the topic started to show up ad nasuem in blog posts, columns, news articles and on television news program. I was too busy looking at her medals. And apparently, so was Douglas, who responded, “I’m like, ‘I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ My point exactly.
As a writer and a commentarist, I have come to learn the difficulty in towing thin line between addressing a controversy and actually creating one. And quite frankly, even I don’t always get it right. Heck, in some ways this post might be as guilty of over-emphasizing the negative. But I would hate for this couple’s beautiful nuptials to be overshadowed with a slew of false outrage, which I am sure is soon to come. If we are as progressive as we say we are and it doesn’t matter that two gay men get married than let’s just make it not matter. And if the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc hasn’t issued a statement condemning the wedding, which I hope not, and a band of bigoted homophobes didn’t crash their wedding with picket signs and pitch forks, than who cares about a few negative comments over the internet? Let’s just wish them well.
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