African-Americans should support civil rights for gays

I was disappointed and dismayed while watching the televised Asheville City Council meeting over same-sex domestic-partnership benefits being extended to Asheville city employees. It seems that a good part of the African-American community is in opposition to this measure, including Asheville's African-American mayor.

I find this disheartening. The gay and lesbian community has stood up for African-Americans' rights and voted in their best interests, time and time again. I heard the Bible used to justify their homophobic position on moral grounds. Do they not remember that the Bible was also used to justify slavery and keep civil rights from being extended to them at one time?

They are right about one thing: This is a moral issue. It is moral to stand up for the minority, the disenfranchised, the oppressed. Gays and lesbians have done this for African-Americans. When will African-Americans do this for gays and lesbians? From local politics in Asheville and other cities across the country to Prop 8 in California, gays and lesbians have been let down by the African-American community. I find it ironic that the issue of homosexuality is the one issue that seems to bring together racists and African-Americans to further suppress an oppressed group of people, and all in God's name.

— Angel Chandler
Black Mountain

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42 thoughts on “African-Americans should support civil rights for gays

  1. Aaron Brown.

    It is poor-taste to blanket, a Community of Citizen
    with this statement.I ask do you know the African-American Community?
    When it comes to Human Rights alone we are well overlooked,one example is out of the 1600 community that have been displace,in America,Asheville is the only City that turn a community in to a landfill.
    And by this being African-American History month,why would you state this?Is this the only community that feel this way?I feel if you work what you do with yours is your issue.And who I chose to have as a partner is one thing the color of my skin is another.

  2. Matt Mercy

    The author obviously doesn’t get out much. Why doesn’t she turn off her TV and go out and actually have a conversation with a black person about why his/her community generally opposes “gay rights.” I know black people scare her and she’d rather just watch news segments about them on CNN, but this attitude in general of taking black people for granted and acting dumbfounded when, after all your brainwashing efforts, they still think for themselves – has to end. This is REAL racism.

  3. Dionysis

    The letter-writer seems off-base in the view expressed. Many groups have stood up against racial discrimination, whether they be straight, gay, liberal, conservative (yes, even some conservatives understand racial discrimination is inherently wrong) or any other group, without expecting a quid pro quo. African-Americans are not some monolithic, Borg-like collective sharing one philosophy. And as far as can be determined, this applies to the gay and lesbian community as well. Ever hear of Log Cabin Republicans?

  4. johncopeland

    Angel,

    I thought that your letter was well written. To those who have a different opinion I would say where was the Asheville African American community during the council meetings when the African American churches condemned the homosexual community of Asheville to hell. I have not read any posts from members of these churches condemning the words of their pastors. It is a well known fact that many African American pastors,like many Caucasian pastors, condemn homosexuals because of ancient religious text but leave out the condemnations in the same text which would apply to them. Yes, there are some African Americans who support the lesbain, gay community; we need there to be more and we need to hear from them.

  5. Piffy!

    angel should set up a meeting with al sharpton. im pretty sure he is emperor of all black people, and sets the rules for the rest to follow.

  6. travelah

    What about Polish-Americans?? How come the Ukrainian community is not up in arms over anal sex rights?? What is up with that anyways?? Koreans too! How come all the heterosexuals of the world are not locked arm in arm with you on this critical and crucial world peace issue?
    Why don’t you just go back inside and close your drapes and do whatever you want without trying to go out of your way to be a public spectacle? I guarantee I won’t interrupt you privately or publicly. Extend the same courtesy to me.

  7. Mr. CRO

    The problem with our country is too many of us try to understand the ‘other’ by watching television instead of engaging in actual conversation. We sadly live in a self-segregated country. If you are a person of color and you don’t have any white friends (you invite to your house)…. YOU are the problem. If you are White and have no friends of color (you invite to your house)… YOU also are part of the problem. Get out people. Engage! Don’t tell me what I think… ask me. I am a person of color and respect is universal.

  8. Piffy!

    [B]without trying to go out of your way to be a public spectacle[/B]

    i was with ya right up to that, trav. Seriously, do you think this is about ‘teh gays’ wanting ‘attention’?

    What about just ‘equality’?

  9. travelah

    Equality is best expressed and experienced out of the glare of publicity. How somebody screws another is between him and her or her and him or them. I don’t give two cents one way or the other. In Asheville, I do believe it is about wanting to gain attention, to become that center of attention. It strikes me as a rite of passage expected of those who wish to be public homosexuals rather than seeking to live their lives as they wish.So, it isn’t their sexual practices that bother me and it isn’t about running anybody “back into the closet”. Generally, when you come out of your closet, you are still in your bedroom and that is where this belongs without it being a public political spectacle.

  10. travelah

    .. also, the “teh” is a keyboard issue with me. I use a laptop as a 6 finger typist and I commonly hit the keys wrong when I type hurriedly.

  11. Ken Hanke

    So, it isn’t their sexual practices that bother me and it isn’t about running anybody “back into the closet”.

    So long as you don’t have to see anything, huh? Or would seeing two men holding hands or exchanging a kiss in public be okay with you? And if not, then, yes, you want them back in the closet however you slice it.

  12. jimmytwotimes

    “How come the Ukrainian community is not up in arms over anal sex rights??”
    This exemplifies the problem when debating with someone unsympathetic to the civil rights of the lgtb community. This isn’t an anal sex issue, it’s an issue of whether they get to enjoy the same rights you do. I agree that the letter is tasteless, but the sentiment has some merit. It’s just incorrectly applied.
    The entire religious community has let them down, not just the african american one. If this same community came out against divorce, or menstration, or eating rabbit, shellfish, pork, etc, they might be able to make an antigay point without being blatantly hypocritical.

  13. travelah

    Pay attention, Hankie. I could care less about it. It only becomes an issue when you attempt to turn your affinity for taking it all the way to your colon into a political flag.

  14. travelah

    jimmytwoes, it IS all about what I stated and that in my view is not a civil rights issue.

  15. jimmytwotimes

    But your assumption is that this is about how people have sex. In that assumption you are incorrect and are being obtuse, and intentionally so judging by the quality of certain of your other posts.
    This is about a relationship between two consenting adults that has all the qualities of a heterosexual relationship between two consenting adults with the exception of, as you say, what happens in the bedroom. That one set of consenting adults is denied the same rights as another is a civil rights issue.

  16. Ken Hanke

    Pay attention, Hankie. I could care less about it. It only becomes an issue when you attempt to turn your affinity for taking it all the way to your colon into a political flag.

    So how much less could you care, travelha?

    And in any case, you seem to be being faux ingenuous here. You want them to keep their sexuality in the bedroom. You say things like “Equality is best expressed and experienced out of the glare of publicity” and “Why don’t you just go back inside and close your drapes and do whatever you want without trying to go out of your way to be a public spectacle? I guarantee I won’t interrupt you privately or publicly. Extend the same courtesy to me.” If that’s not saying keep your gayness to yourself and out of my view, what is it?

  17. JWTJr

    The African American and Hispanic communities have always voted largely against gay marriage. It is nothing new. Moreover, 70% of Americans normally vote the same way. Every time there is a vote, the percentages are similar. Bellamy’s opinion shouldn’t surprise anyone. Making her a pariah is ignoring the larger facts.

  18. jimmytwotimes

    Jr, just because 70% of people vote that way doesn’t make it right. They are still voting against something that happens between two consenting, tax-paying adults. It’s an unfair intrusion into people’s lives. Nobody is trying to make a pariah out of Bellamy, she’s obviously just lost some votes.

  19. JWTJr

    Jimmy. I am for gay marriage. I understand though, its a big, complicated, divisive issue.

    Lots of people, however, are hammering Bellamy right now like she’s on the kooky fringe when she’s really not. That’s my point.

  20. jimmytwotimes

    And so they should. She seems to want to curtail the civil rights of a portion of her constituents. I don’t know if it’s for political points with the people who likely didn’t vote for her or if it’s part of a belief system based on an archaic set of rules. Either way I think that it’s wrong. What should they do, give up on or minimize this issue because it isn’t the will of the majority? It’s a civil rights issue, all men and women are not being treated equally, and that needs to change, regardless of what the polls say. That’s my point

  21. Bambino Noir

    The author of this opinion piece is right on target. She did not make a sweeping, indiscriminate charge against ALL African-Americans. Read it again. She said: “It seems that a good part of the African-American community is in opposition to this measure”. Based on the coverage of the issue that I have seen, that is, indeed, how it seems. Moreover, the animosity of many African-Americans to gays has been widely documented. Surveys indicate that there is a higher proportion of African-Americans opposed to gay rights than is the case with Caucasian Americans. By contrast, the overwhelming majority of gay Americans are outspoken opponents of racism and strong supporters of African-Americans’ rights. As the author points out, there is a definite blind spot here. The victims of historical oppression ought to be empathetic and supportive of other victims of oppression. The mayor’s position that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice betrays her abysmal ignorance of the facts. Yes, granted, gays have a choice as to whether or not to engage in homosexual behavior. But they have no choice as to whether or not they ARE homosexuals and attracted to members of their own gender. They are born that way. Turn it around and put yourself in their shoes. Suppose gays were in the majority and straight people were in the minority. How would you feel, as a heterosexual if you were asked by the gay majority to either refrain from engaging in sex with other heterosexuals or to engage in homosexual behavior instead? How would you feel if you were not permitted to marry a heterosexual you were in love with and not even permitted into the hospital to see your romantic partner if he or she were on his or her deathbed? The treatment of gays in this country is a disgrace, just as the historical treatment of African-Americans has been a disgrace. Members of oppressed minorities need to ally themselves with one another to fight bigotry and discrimination wherever it occurs, instead of hypocritically denying to another group basic human rights that their own group has had to struggle and die for.

  22. Ken Hanke

    Lots of people, however, are hammering Bellamy right now like she’s on the kooky fringe when she’s really not.

    The point is that she’s an elected official and as such she is responsible to those in the community she serves. Whether she’s on the fringe is a matter of some indifference. If you are outraged over this supposedly progressive politician’s stance, it’s your right — perhaps your duty — to hammer her. To the people who are hammering her, she is on the kook side, regardless of how big that side is.

  23. travelah

    When a person considers most of the world a bunch of kooks, it is only reasonable to call into question that persons judgment.

  24. jimmytwotimes

    Call my judgement into question all you want, but it hasn’t been that long since “most of the world” considered African Americans and women less than equal.

  25. Piffy!

    [b]Generally, when you come out of your closet, you are still in your bedroom and that is where this belongs without it being a public political spectacle. [/b]

    but that NOT the issue AT ALL. This isnt about ‘special rights’, as you repeatedly insist on attempting to re-frame the issue. It’s about whether or not same-sex couples should have the same rights as opposite sex couples.

    As Jimmyjimmy has already stated, you are clearly being intentionally obtuse. (I’m sure tut-tuts from THEM are soon to follow.)

    Your desire to try and make it about what sort of sex they have speaks volumes about your own hangups and possible closeted desires, though.

    oh, and ‘teh gays’ is not a typo, or a reference to your possible typo. Feel free to use teh google to learn more.

  26. Ken Hanke

    When a person considers most of the world a bunch of kooks, it is only reasonable to call into question that persons judgment

    So you believe that a majority of persons thinking one way is proof that that is the way to think, huh? Considering that Obama won the 2008 election, I would assume that you question your own judgment.

  27. Ashevegasjoe

    I would also add that having a majority vote on the rights of a minority is preposterous, we would still have slavery

  28. JWTJr

    “I would also add that having a majority vote on the rights of a minority is preposterous, we would still have slavery”

    I seriously doubt that. Congress works on majorities. Citizen votes work on majorities. In most cases, majority rules.

  29. jomama

    It always troubles me when people are lumped together as one homogeneous group. Not all gays stood up for African-American civil rights, not all African-Americans have an interest in gay rights. As for the Bible thumping…it was the radical Christian movement quoting the Bible that were our country’s first advocates for freedom and civil rights for African Americans.

  30. travelah

    Hankie, you don’t pay attention. Deal with what I actually stated rather than the words you wish to attribute to me:

    When a person considers most of the world a bunch of kooks, it is only reasonable to call into question that persons judgment

  31. travelah

    It is all about how the nut is got …. stop trying to coat it with something else.

  32. Ken Hanke

    Hankie, you don’t pay attention

    When you learn to spell my name, maybe I’ll bother to split hairs with you. Maybe not.

  33. Ken Hanke

    I seriously doubt that. Congress works on majorities. Citizen votes work on majorities. In most cases, majority rules.

    Make it less dramatic then. Do you honestly think the civil rights legislation in the 1960s would have passed based on popular vote?

  34. Ken Hanke

    Ken. Who knows? I bet it would have been close

    Either you lived through a very different 60s than the one I did, or you weren’t born yet.

  35. JWTJr

    Maybe it was the crowd you hung around with?

    Anyhow, Congress passed the legislation and didn’t get voted out. The public must have not hated it that much.

  36. JWTJr

    If you insist on comparing the civil rights movement in the 60’s to the marriage issues of today, then its obvious that that the marriage issue has a ways to go yet.

    Congress is not even close to being ready to touch this the way they did with civil rights in the 60’s.

  37. johncopeland

    Bambino Noir,
    Your post of 2-22 is very well written and informative. I appreciate your stance.
    John Copeland

  38. travelah

    When you learn to spell my name, maybe I’ll bother to split hairs with you. Maybe not.

    Perhaps when you learn to place the “a” before “h” I would afford you a degree of seriousness. Until then you are just another cousin of the Ent.

  39. Ken Hanke

    Perhaps when you learn to place the “a” before “h” I would afford you a degree of seriousness.

    You should note (perhaps you don’t pay attention) that that only occurred after you awarded me the extra “i.” It hardly matters. I cannot imagine ever taking you seriously.

  40. Alan Ditmore

    As zero African Americans spoke in favor of SSDPB at the meeting, every last one of them failed to support ending discrimination when it counted, without a single exception. A blanket action, or inaction, deserves the blanket condemnation that it got.

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