One of the many subtle forms of racist ideology is the tendency to lump an entire race of people into one category. The belief of Angel Chandler [whose letter appeared in last week's Xpress] that she has been "let down" by the African-American community, and her viewpoint regarding our "homophobic position," oversimplifies and makes assumptions that an entire race of people upholds a single viewpoint. Chandler's sweeping statements neglect to address the fact that there are gays and lesbians within the black community. This suggests the existence of racial divisions within the gay-and-lesbian community as well.
The black community cannot be oversimplified. It is made up of individuals with varied lifestyles, moralistic values and beliefs, and a great mixture of ancestries and life experiences. Finger-pointing or placing blame for the outcome of public policy serves only to deepen the divisions that already exist between races. Until misunderstandings such as these are openly addressed, both white people and people of color will continue to suffer the consequences of division.
It can be painful to look racism in the eye, and for some of us, it is neither a choice nor a privilege. I thank Chandler for the opportunity to address this issue at a public level and for bringing to light the issues of racism and homophobia within "oppressed" communities. It is only through dialogues such as these that true healing can occur. Perhaps in celebration of Black History Month, individuals may put forth an effort to gain a deeper understanding and respect of difference and, as President Obama says, "chart a new course for America."
— Tamiko Murray