Monday, November 24, 2008

It's All About Milk

I am sorry that I do not have a memory about Harvey Milk. I was 10 at the time of his death, and I was probably more excited about becoming a big brother (my brother was born in October of 1978). I look forward to seeing the bio-pic of his life, because I recognize the important place he has in American history generally, and GLBT American history particularly.

I am glad that "Milk" is out now. It's a visual reminder of how far we have come as a nation with regard to gay rights. It should also serve as a reminder of how far we have to go. Too many people still believe that one makes a decision to become gay (yes I am pointing particularly at black and Latino communities). I just need some str8 person to let me know when he/she decided to be str8. At the same time, I wish more folks would follow Milk's lead by coming out of the closet and jumping into the fray (particularly in black and Latino communities). Milk once defended the closet. It took moving to San Francisco, and working to defeat the Briggs Initiative, to recognize the freedom that coming out could provide.

It's interesting that the 30th anniversary of his assisination falls on Thanksgiving. Like most people, I will give thanks for family, friends and my health this Thursday. But this year, I would like to add that I give thanks for being a beneficiary of the sacrifices that people like Harvey Milk made to help make my life easier. Harvey Milk was a genuine hero for me precisely because he was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things; he is a reminder of what each of us is capable of giving to our communities.

The Coming Onslaught

With the arrival of the Obama administration, I think my town of Washington, DC needs to get prepared for something that it thought it was familiar with: the black overclass. Black folk with degrees out of the ass will be descending on the city trying their best to join the Obama team. I mean even the new White House Social Secretary has an MBA from Harvard (and a bachelor's from Wellesley).

Now DC is home to one of the most educated populations in the country. I always have to remind myself that only a quarter of the U.S. population has a bachelor's degree. But living in DC will skew one's perspective. I knew a number of administrative assistants who either had, or were working on, advanced degrees. Lord knows I've seen a number of job descriptions that include "Master's preferred." Yet, many of these new folks will probably be black folk.

I think I will call it the rise of the Huxtable Class or the Black Nerd Class. And that is the beauty of an Obama administration. This country has a real opportunity to beat back that multiplicity of negative stereotypes about black folk. Too many people are comfortable with those stereotypes, so much so that they think that telling someone that they don't see him/her as "black" is supposed to be a compliment. I doubt seriously that people don't see the Obamas as "not black"; for too many, the very fact that they are black prevented them from supporting BHO.

Huxtables and Black Nerds are about to be all over Washington (and hopefully the affirmative action assumptions will "die, just die"). They will also be comfortably black. Is the nation really ready for all of that? I know I am.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh, Hold Up

The number 2 man in Al Qaeda called BHO a "house" Negro. LOL. Really? Is that all you have in the shadowlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan? And the fact that old boy brought up pre-Mecca visiting Malcolm X to prove his point shows just how 1962 his perspective is. They gonna need a new clue, because house negro is played.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You Go Wanda!!

I was so glad to see that Wanda Sykes decided to come out of the closet fully (the rumors were legion). I love the fact that she is a Virginian (Portsmouth), a Hampton U. alumna, and an AKA to boot (I know that her sorors are talking about that right now). We need others.

The protests on Saturday were just the beginning. I hope that the GLBT community and its allies will take full advantage of the momentum that is building. And I really hope that more black folk will look to Wanda Sykes as an example, and come the hell out of the closet!

Friday, November 14, 2008


While I was crying like a baby as I watched the nation elect BHO as POTUS, I was wondering how the propositions in CA, FL, AZ and AR were doing. Sadly, each measure passed. So, my wonderful day of celebration was marred by the realization that the GLBT community suffered more losses to the popular ballot.

What I did not expect was the aftermath of the decision in CA. CNN reported the findings of ONE exit poll, and it noted that approximately 70% of African Americans supported the ban on gay marriage (incidentally, that percentage ticked higher among the African American women polled).

Baby, "The Gays" lost it. The gay blogosphere went up in arms, and black folk were maligned as I've never seen before. Dan Savage would no longer support black issues. Andrew Sullivan stood atop his soapbox declaring that "African Americans are the most homophobic" demographic in the nation. White gays could not believe that black folks "threw them under the bus." Comments throughout the gay blogosphere were littered with anti-black vitriol that would have made the Klan weep tears of joy.

The black blogosphere hit back, particularly those who support gay rights. Continually pointing out that this animus from the gay community was based on one exit poll reported by one news source, the black blogosphere attempted to add reason into the maelstrom. "The Gays" were not having it. Meanwhile, the black gay voice essentially was ignored.

A few truths have come to my mind. First, there is no question that the black community is painfully homophobic. I see that homophobia as similar to the homophobia of the conservative Christian community (meaning I don't see the black community as the most homophobic; that's a red herring). Second, there is no question that there is a prejudice against black folks (regardless of sexual orientation) that has not been sufficiently addressed by the gay community. Third, too few black gay folks have come out and been honest with their family and friends. I think that the act of coming out within the black community would work wonders at mitigating the homophobia that we see. Finally, the gay community has to deal with the fact that it has been its own worst PR enemy. It's conventional wisdom that gay = white in the minds too many within this country, and we in the gay community know that it isn't true. Yet, by looking at our collective output to the world, it would be hard to deny the "whitewashing" of our image.

There is a great deal of work to be done. And I have to admit that I think that there are other issues that the gay community needs to address just as vigorously as marriage. However, until we get our act together with the issues of race and representation, we will see sad displays like we have seen in the last week. Bridges will be burned, understanding lost. The gay community has come so far so fast, and momentum is on our side. But we need everyone who supports us to feel as though they are an equal part of this fight. That is the lesson from the Civil Rights Movement that the gay rights movement needs to understand in order to succeed.

Okay, I'm done. Kill the hateration and holleration (thank you Ms. Blige); we don't have time. I have a march to attend here in DC on Saturday for marriage equality.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. I cannot put into words the magnitude of my feelings right now. I am so proud that I played a small part in making the historic moment come to pass. And as an African American, and historian, I, like all of those who have gone before me, am proud of my fellow Americans who believed in a country that promised equality. Today is a good day, and as for the future, I hope that he will be blessed with prudence, intelligence, and wisdom. I pray that BHO is a transformational POTUS in all of the right ways.

Here We Go

Well, I just got back from voting. I have to admit that my hand was shaking as I cast my vote for BHO. I am still in awe of the fact that I had an opportunity to vote for an African American candidate for POTUS. I can only imagine the feelings of everyone who went through the Civil Rights Movement, regardless of color. This truly is an historic day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The McCain Campaign Comeback Strategy, Maybe?

Anyone remember the Chris Rock movie "Head of State?" Here is the scene in the movie when it's up to California possibly to prevent the election of a black man as POTUS. And here is the Outkast video for the song in the film.