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7 comments | Monday, August 03, 2009

As the NAACP celebrates 100 years in existence as the largest organization working on behalf of civil rights for people of color many are wondering if the century old civil rights group is still relevant, and many in the gay community are disappointed that the NAACP isn't taking a national stance on LGBT rights, specifically marriage equality.

In an interview with CNN last month NAACP president Benjamin Jealous shocked the gay community by saying" the NAACP didn't take a national position on gay marriage."

Jealous expounded on NAACP's position on LGBT rights and his thoughts on the lack of outreach to communities of color in an interview in the New York Times over the weekend.

From The New York Times:

The N.A.A.C.P., which just held its 100th annual convention amid much fanfare, was founded to advance civil rights. Why has the organization failed to take a stand on same-sex marriage, one of the most urgent civil rights issues of our day?

Jealous: We’re engaged in fighting a whole range of issues of urgent relevance to the gay community and people of color in our country, including school bullying, hate crimes and employment discrimination. But we’re a barge, not a speedboat. We’re not going to repeat the mistakes of so many other institutions that have literally torn themselves apart over this divisive issue.

Exit polling suggested that 70 percent of black voters — the largest by far of any minority group — voted to make gay marriage illegal in California by voting in favor of Proposition 8 last fall. How do you explain that? The bond between black culture and church culture?

Jealous: You’re looking at this from 50,000 feet. I’m looking at if from the ground, and I know that church leaders are on both sides of the debate. Black voters have been scapegoated — so many pundits blamed the passage of Proposition 8 on them. But it would have passed even if 100 percent of the black voters had voted against it.

Why do you think it’s such a divisive issue in the black community?

Jealous: If gay rights groups want to change the opinion polls in the black community, they have to invest in it. It’s a long-term conversation. The battle to oppose Prop 8 could have been much better run. They came to the black community late, with the expectation that they were going to get certain results.

So you think gays should mobilize blacks instead of expecting you to?

Jealous: That’s exactly right.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I believe that there is a lot of truth in what he is saying. I am still at odds with so many people looking at the black community as the reason for prop 8 results. When, as Jealous states, blacks had less of an influence statistically. Also, that fact that some SGL people assume that all blacks are going to support every fight with them(us). Which seems a bit discriminatory.

August 03, 2009 3:15 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I agree with him. Blacks have been unfairly targeted for the passing of Prop 8. For what ever reasons we were disregarded and not really included in the campaigining process. They treated us as if our vote didn't matter and now they're blaming us for the negative results. It's my feeling that the black gay community has much deeper social issues to contend with. I'm all for gay marriage but it's not at the top of my list of priorities. One hand washes the other. If the greater gay community really wants our unwavering support then they should take more interest in our causes and really make a sincere effort to be united and bring everyone to the same page.

August 03, 2009 6:26 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

@ Ty

I agree.

I no longer expect much from the Black community as it pertains to gay rights. This is OUR fight, PERIOD. We can't look to the Black community for hand-outs, support, or anything else. The Black community has shown us time and time again that the gay community is an alien group they don't understand, accept, or tolerate. Screw 'em.

August 03, 2009 6:32 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

His position is a way of giving "cover" to black homophobes without appearing to be homophobic himself.

The argument that blacks in California voted for Prop. 8 in such high numbers because the "racist white gays" didn't campaign in black areas is a bogus argument. It's a way of blaming white gays for black homophobia. Straight black people, and straight black people alone, are responsible for their homophobia. Even if some white gays are racist, does that justify straight black people's homophobia?

August 04, 2009 8:53 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

NAACP policy is: HEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP shall pursue all legal and constitutional means to support non-discriminatory policies, and practices against persons based on race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or cultural background.

That's what the NAACP believes - that's what the NAACP does.

Julian Bond
Board Chairman

August 04, 2009 11:42 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

The link says this is an edited interview. Is the full version available?

August 04, 2009 5:50 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Those same "people" who blame us
Blacks for the passage of Prop 8, would n-o-t be thanking us Blacks
had Prop 8 failed. Same old story.
If they have no sexual designs on us, they rarely even know we exist,
yet want to lay blame at our doorsteps when something they want
does not go their way. Yeah, it was 70%.....but that is misleading,
as overall it was a small percentage of total votes. 70% of a dime, is 7 cents, and a great part OF that dime, but that dime is
still just 10% of $1.00.

August 04, 2009 9:02 PM


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