Thursday, January 10, 2008

What?! You Mean There's No Single Black Spokesperson?

I'm confused.

African-American civil rights leader, and head of the NAACP, Julian Bond supports marriage equality, calling it a "civil rights issue."


"Rev" Ken Hutcherson, a Black ex-NFL player, opposes marriage equality, saying that it's not a civil rights issue.

Well, is it a civil rights issue or not?

And, do Black people support marriage equality or not??

Okay, clearly, I'm joking here. Neither of these men no more speak on behalf of all African-Americans than, say, Queen Latifah Ellen speaks on behalf of all lesbian women.

Yet, I *love* it when conservatives definitively deny that there's an analogy between the gay rights movement and the African-American civil rights movement. They usually do so while quoting a Black person, as though he or she speaks on behalf of all Black people. Or, the person speaking is an anti-gay Black person speaking about how "insulting" the analogy is to all Black people. Hutcherson (who is proof that even racial minorities can be bigots) for instance, says that he's "here to tell" us "that the gay community is not the new African-American community" and expresses outrage at the comparison to the Black civil rights struggle.

Welp, that settles it then. There's no comparison.

The implication following such a statement is that all Black people, then, are opposed to gay marriage and gay people, in general. (I guess they forget about the Black people who are not heterosexual).

Yet, what Hutcherson and others ignore is that by definition, an analogy means that comparisons and contrasts can be made between two things that are not exactly alike. To deny that there are any comparisons between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement is just intellectually dishonest and irrational. (I address the analogy in more detail here).

Now, while neither of these men is The Black Spokesman, I have a hunch how history will view both of these men and the "sides" that they are on, as well as the tactics they use to promote their beliefs. One man, Hutcherson, is a delusional (he sees himself as the "Michael Jordan" of Christianity) bully (saying football was "the only sport where I could hurt white guys legally") who seems to think that his race makes him immune to legitimate criticism that he's a bigot. One man, Bond, is a recognized leader in the civil rights movement who has done more for civil rights than Hutcherson ever will.

Yes, time will tell, I suppose. But I know whose side I'm on.

Anyway, I realize that talking about race is touchy and many people don't coment at all on articles regarding race out of fear of being called "racist." So I hope people comment honestly (yet respectfully, of course) here.

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