Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Robert Jones on 'Is Gay The New Black?'

"As a man who is both black and gay, I can tell you, with all certainty, that gay is NOT the new black. If it was, racism would be a suitable word to describe the discrimination I face as a gay man and homophobia would be a suitable word to describe the discrimination I face as a black man.

If gay is the new black, what does that mean for gay black folk: that we're DOUBLE black? If gay is the new black, does that mean racism is over? If gay is the new black, does that mean gay folk have to sit in the back of the bus, drink from a separate water fountain, or be forced to pick cotton? If gay is the new black, does that mean white women will grab their purses whenever a gay man walks into an elevator? If gay is the new black, whenever a white person does something criminal, will they now say "A gay man did it!" and the whole nation will participate in the hunt for the fictitious gay man? If gay is the new black, will the NYPD now Stop-and-Frisk a disproportionate amount of gay people? If gay is the new black, will the prison industrial complex now focus its efforts on capturing, imprisoning, disenfranchising and exploiting gay people? If gay is the new black, is the United States now going to go around the world bombing countries with primarily queer populations?

This is not to say that there aren't any similarities between the practice of racism and the practice of homophobia. There are also similarities between an apple and an orange, but we don't say, "Orange is the new apple" because, well, that would be factually incorrect and it would give you the wrong impression of what both an apple and an orange are. And that is PRECISELY what we do when we refer to gay as the new black: we give the wrong impression of what both racism and homophobia are. A circle is not the new square. A cat is not the new dog. A fish is not the now fowl.

Find another slogan, please." --Robert Jones (@SonofBaldwin)

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