Most people who know a little something about African-American history know about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). This organization was founded by Bayard Rustin and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the late 50's. It was instrumental in coordinating the efforts of the black civil rights movement throughout the following decade. I just read an article in the Advocate which talks about current homophobic actions of the organization.
Apparently the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the SCLC is a bit too progressive for the group. Rev. Eric Lee has been a friend of the LGBT community for years. However, some of his more recent advocacy has placed him on the radar of other SCLC leadership. Rev. Lee was one of those individuals that worked hard to prevent the passage of Prop 8 in California. Because of this he has received notice from the national board of directors of the SCLC. They have threatened suspension or removal to this ally of our community.
But it's not the article itself that makes me weak. In reality, most people have not been aware of the SCLCs existence since the 70s. It's just not a group we pay much attention to nowadays. So although I am concerned about there homophobic stance, I don't think they have enough clout to be relevent today.
What makes me livid are the many comments I read regarding the article. It's not the homophobia of the black community thats raising my blood pressure. It's the racism of th LGBT community that's pissing me off. I have to share some of the comments.
Eric Hollander of L.A. writes:
YOU KNOW SOMETHING......I FOUGHT IN VIETNAM SO BLACK SOB'S LIKE YOU WOULD HAVE THE RIGHT AND FREEDOM TO SAY AND DO WHAT YOU LIKE. ME AND MY BUDDIES PAID A HELL OF A PRICE SO YOU CAN OPEN YOUR BIG BLACK MOUTH AND SAY WHAT YOU WANT WITHOUT FEAR OF RETRIBUTION. IF YOU CAN'T ACCEPT ALL PEOPLE ON AN EQUAL BASIS........I SAY BRING BACK THE KKK.......THEY WILL TEACH YOU WHAT EQUALITY IS.
Mike of Cincinnati writes:
Blacks are anti-gay. They always have been.
John from San Francisco write:
where do black people get off discriminating against anyone? do they have short term memory loss?
Okay, let me get this straight. This is an article about a black man that was an advocate for the LGBT community. He worked to stop the passage of Prop 8. But black people hate gays. He is being threated to be ousted by other leadership within the SCLC. But let's keep it real - the SCLC was founded by Bayard Rustin (a gay Black man) and Rev. Martin Luther King (a man that stood as an advocate for all oppressed people). Dr. King AND his wife Coretta would put a stop to this action of the SCLC if they were here today.
I'm getting tired of hearing that all black people hate gays. Is membership to the gay community excluded from Black people? I guess so because all black people hate gays. Have we not forgotten that there are many black leaders (and that is straight black leaders) that have been vocal about their alliance in our race for equality. Julian Bond has committed the entire NAACP to the cause of justice for gays and lesbians. But all black people hate gays. Of all 50 governors in this country, only two have been supporters of same-sex marriage since they took office. That would be the nations' two African-American governors. But all black people hate gays. Some of the greatest leaders we've seen in the gay community have been black. Historic leaders like James Baldwin and Barbara Jordan and contemporary leaders like Keith Boykin and Angela Davis have worked tremendously to advance our cause. But all black people hate gays.
It's difficult being a citizen of both villages (the black community and the gay commuity). It seems that often I'm pushed into a corner where people want me to decide which side I'm on. Well to paraphrase my favorite poet Audre Lourde, "I can't divide myself from myself." I cannot deny my blackness nor my gayness. I know there are gay people that don't like African-Americans. I also know that there are black folks that hate gays. But I refuse to define an entire group by the ignorance of a few (like the ignorant people that made these comment did).