Friday, May 4, 2007

The blame game

A recent post from blog
Black Churchies Lash Out, Question Reverend's Racial Alliance

Reverend Irene Monroe ain't no friend of Barack Obama. The black lesbian has come out against the black presidential candidate on more than one occasion. She first blasted the Illinois junior senator back in November, writing:

..[H]is affinity to conservative Christian beliefs not only informs his decision on the issue of marriage equality, but it also solidifies his decision about us in a community of believers like himself.
Though some black churches have lent their support to the lavender cause, the majority still maintain a decidedly repressive approach - an approach Obama maintains. [ More Queer Under Here » ]

It's interesting how Queerty takes the narrow-minded response of some within the black community and, in a way, make homophobia a "black" thing. Reading through the comments, I was struck by how many people declared that this only confirmed their "suspicions" about Obama and likened him to Republican candidates with questionable support for queer issues. No mention of Hillary, Edwards, and the liberal establishment (of which Obama has quickly become part) and their concrete history of voting for queer issues only when it is politically safe and advantageous. Of course I'm in no way defending Obama--I can't bring myself to wholeheartedly support any of the candidates--but I think it highlights a very real problem that's too often overlooked: the way in which interactions between the black and queer communities are represented in the media.

The inordinate amount of attention given to homophobia within the black community and racism within the queer community is not productive. Attention is warranted, and both communities, if they truly support equality, have a moral obligation to address the very real problems each has with discriminating against other marginalized groups. By exaggerating these problems, the media is in fact doing nothing to promote intra- or inter-group discussion or any resolution, but instead pitting the two groups against each other, exacerbating the problem, and excusing the discrimination of more powerful social classes.

In this example, we see how, by focusing on the homophobia of some blacks, white queers are able to ignore their own racism as well as the homophobia of whites in power (i.e. Hilary Clinton and John Edwards). These racist attacks of whites can reinforce images of a racist queer community, and increase homophobic sentiments among blacks.

The only way the black and queer communities can deal with the racism, homophobia, classism, etc., etc. etc. that plagues both is through productive criticism and discussion, and that is being undermined by irresponsible journalism.

P.S. Is anyone else insulted by Queerty's attempt to "blacken" up the post with the use of "ain't?" This coming from a usually quite progressive blog that regularly calls out racism both within and outside of the queer community.

No comments: