“Gay Is the New Black” (Monique Ruffin)
Recently, Monique Ruffin wrote a provocative piece in the Black Voices section of Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/monique-ruffin/gay-civil-rights_b_1168897.html)
about the questionable and subtle relationship between the Gay Rights Community of America and the
black community. In the contentious post aptly titled “Gay is the New Black”, she claimed that signs of
homosexuality are as prominent in Blacks as they are in Whites. Monique also added that homosexuality
in blacks has not attracted the attention of the public eye thus far simply because blacks have been
reluctant to own their practices and have kept it from the public eye.
This isn’t the first time that the sexual orientation of some blacks has been placed under the questioning
glare and scrutinizing eyes of the public. Similar cases have been rumored in the past but have only been
brushed under the carpet for fear of shame and oppression by the black community. There are many
blacks who have been unable to reconcile their sexuality with their faith under fear of facing oppression
from their own families and the larger community.
The ensuing battle for gay rights on issues like same-sex marriages and equality has gained pace in the
last few years. Increasingly, people have been eager to search for the the point of congruence between
the gay rights movement and the Black Civil Rights movement of the 60s. Since then, the smear seems
to have defiled the Black community to some extent as they have been dubbed increasingly intolerant
However, I personally believe that this whole issue has been insensitively blown out of it parameters.
Firstly and most importantly, I should ask how the acts of a few can possibly define the acts of the many.
Although some incidents of homosexuality within the black community have been observed lately, they
are not as pronounced as in other races. Secondly, we may see with a slight change of perspective that
being gay would be as normal as being a taxpayer for a majority of people. After all, how can a person’s
sexual orientation become a social issue?
It should be understood that the black race is as complex as other human races and they have
their Achilles’ heel too. Therefore, it is insensitive to label the entire black race as homophobic
and “intolerant”. Perhaps, the writer found it to be an easier and more controversially popular debate
to write on the black race because it lacks the social power and political voice to lash back. After all,
the more powerful institutions such as State Assemblies, Congress, Church and mostly white anti-gay
lobbies have been equally active in this whole affair. Why not highlight their role for a change?