Black Voices

Civil Rights, Gay Rights: Is Gay Really The New Black? (TELL US)

Daily News columnist, John McWhorter, recently wrote a piece claiming, "Gay Really is the New Black."

In it, he points to the black community as having a unique responsibility to help our LGBT brothers and sisters fight for equality. He says,

"As a consequence of its painful heritage, black America has a special responsibility: to be further ahead of the curve than whites on accepting gay people as full citizens."

Many in our community grit their teeth at comparisons between the LGBT rights movement and the Civil Rights one. It's a comparison that is regularly debated with equal amounts of passion from both sides. McWhorter's claim that the African-American community has a responsibility to be instantly more progressive than whites adds an interesting (but not so) new layer to the discussion. It raises many questions about how we as a community are expected to process our oppression and it's long lasting effects.

McWhorter's declaration also makes the assumption that we're all partners in this fight. That everyone in each group believes wholeheartedly in the rights of the other, which we know is not true. In a response to McWhorter's piece, Yesha Callahan of Clutch Magazine asked, "Why must we assume that gay people aren’t racist? There are non-black gay people who could careless or want to be bothered by the same struggles their black “counterparts” go through."

One commenter to the Clutch retort followed up saying,

"JUST STOP IT! i’m not your damn measuring stick for struggle and even if i was, YOU MEASURED WRONG"

What do you think? Is gay the new black? Should black oppression be the measuring stick for all others? Has our movement even succeeded enough for other groups to want to imitate? Should our experiences compel us to be more tolerant?

Let us know in the comments what you think, we want to hear from you on this topic.