Monday, December 15, 2008
But Wait! There's More...
Okay, so this blog has taken a serious turn. I promise I'll get back to the bullshit sooner than later (if you truly need to be appalled in the interim, check out that Keyshia Cole/2pac collabo...), but this struck a nerve.
I remember being in college and one of my roommates making a comment about Carson from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" -- yes, I was in college when that show was on; I'm old, let's get past it -- something to the extent of "Does he have to be SO over-the-top about being gay?"
And in the moment I was really taken aback 'cause how do you answer that? Some guys are just really feminine. And some of them are even straight. But you know that's not going to satisfy the question.
So I tried to explain that this is what you have to do in the beginning; you have to put the stereotypes out for public consumption before they can handle the nuances of reality.
And, being black, I pulled from my history: there was a bit of a gap between Hattie McDaniel in Gone with the Wind and Sidney Poitier in In the Heat of the Night, wasn't there?
So it was interesting to me hearing Jon Stewart's response to the concept of a "Stater Negro." It is something that caused dissent in the black community. Look at what came next, the Blaxploitation films of the 70s. Look at how we responded to what we saw as a slight, that we were only acceptable so long as we were dressed up and eloquent, as long as we were, essentially, "white."
Why is it then that we would put the gay community through the same ringer?
I know the California stats. I know that even though a high percentage of blacks voted Yes, blacks don't make up a high percentage of the black population.
But I also know what it is to grow up in the black community. And we can hide behind numbers all we want, but the fact is homophobia is bred in us at such a young age we don't even process it.
When Larry said black men on the "down low" aren't trying to hide from their wives, they're trying to hide from other black men, I wanted to cry. There are so many layers of sadness in that statement, and all of them are true.
But it's the American way, isn't it? The only way you can rise up in this country is to step on someone else.
Ain't that about a bitch?