Question: Why is the news obsessed with what the black community thinks about same sex marriage?
I mean, they don’t ask the community about their feelings on the economy. Nor are we invited to share our thoughts on topics related to foreign affairs. But every since President Obama pledged his support for same sex marriage the spotlight has been put onto black community as political pundits and journalists alike wait with baited breath to hear what we think about it.
I don’t know about the rest of yall but I’m kind of offended. Two months ago, when the Black community was all a huff over the Trayvon Martin case, I don’t recall CNN or MSNBC rushing to get a comment from the likes of GLAAD and the Human Rights Coalition. Sure both groups did put out statements taking a strong stand against the injustices around the Martin case. But those statements never made it to the press. Nor were their cameras in what could be classified as traditional “gay spaces” asking them their opinions on Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence. I’m willing to bet though, that if a poll were done, like the many CBS/NBC/Gallop/New York Times polls we’ve seen about the black reaction to Obama’s announcement, we probably too would see a diversity of thought from the LGBT community including those who supported justice for the Martin family to those who downright thought he had it coming. I mean, just because you are gay, doesn’t mean that you can’t be racist.
Of course, it would be illogical to think that if a number of gay and lesbian, transgender and bisexual folks believe that Zimmerman was innocent than the entire LBGT community must be condemned. But that is what is happening to the black community now on the issue of same sex marriage. No matter how internally diverse we are, in the eyes of the mainstream it is one for all and all for one. The obvious explanation is that this is an attempt to drive a wedge – or at least exploit a supposed wedge issue that is already there – between the two communities, especially considering that the long standing narrative is that black voters let their Bible-thumping ways get in the way of any sense of justice for the LGBT community. We’ve seen that vilification of black folks in 2008 with the passage of California Prop 8 and we see it most recently in North Carolina with Amendment One – even as new evidences proved that other factors such as geographical location of the voters and generational differences in attitudes proved to be much more determining factors than actual race.
But the media needs its villains and scapegoats. And instead of putting the blame squarely on the state and federal governments, who choose to derail or flat out refuse to enforce the basic promise of equality under the 14th Amendment, they use the tried and true arguments of state rights and majority wins, which is as old as struggle for equality itself. First off, black folks have never been that politically powerful. And secondly, do you honestly think if a law, in regards to civil rights for black folks, were on the ballot today it would pass by the majority? Heck no, that’s why federal mandates were created to force the hands of states, who seek to deny people basic rights.
But all of that is secondary to the discussion at hand. More to my point: black people are a monolithic group, similar in kind to the Borg from Star Trek. We look alike, talk alike and therefore must think alike – at least by the mainstream media standards. Never mind the hundreds of free thinkers, black intellectuals, college professors, and ordinary blacks who’ve spent their entire lives either living or pondering on the intersection between being Black and being gay. Their views don’t matter. The only opinions that do matter belong to those, who the media has deemed the sole authority on the black experience: mainly the Southern black conservative church.
For the last few days since President Obama’s announcement, many mainstream news media, along with several black media outlets have been tripping over themselves to parade every single conservative preacher, Deacon and brother in a Christian barbershop in front of the cameras to give their brimstone and fire accounts of why President Obama and “the gays” are going to Hell. These people are scary and often feed into the political theater that the black community is largely homophobic, thus throwing their support for President Obama’s reelection campaign in jeopardy. It’s good fodder for 24-hour news stations, whose main objective is ratings, but bad for our community, who just can’t escape having our thoughts and images marginalized to fit someone else’s agenda.