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Friday, October 10, 2014

Gay black men

I've been called racist, because I'm honest about race and IQ, as well as race and crime, on this blog. I've also been called bigoted against gays, because I once described a group of them in (accurate) detail.

Given which, here's an impression which may surprise you: practically every gay black guy I've ever met, I've liked. If they've come on to me -- which has happened -- I find it grotesque, for the usual reasons. But if they haven't, I've generally found their company low key and enjoyable.

In a weird sort of way, it's almost as if the black offsets the gay, and the gay offsets the black. They're rarely weirdly feminized and wimpy from lack of male hormones the way gay white men can be. (Half of those black trannies who used to troll Eighth Avenue in Manhattan looked as if they could have run 100 meters in 10.5 if they'd been so inclined.) At the same time, neither are they the sullen, white-hating, militant types. (When was the last time you were accosted by an angry gay black man?)

Gay blacks often aspire to high culture -- or, at least, couture. But because they're more likely to come from a poor background, they're familiar with that world as well. That breadth, in a way, makes them more worldly.

The gay black men I've known have all struck me as reasonable. They weren't the types to believe that AIDS was invented by white scientists to kill blacks, or that crack cocaine was imported into the ghetto by the CIA in order to destroy blacks, both theories which had some currency in the community at various times. They also seemed more likely to exhibit common sense about racial flareups like the Trayvon Martin case, or the Michael Brown case.

They're rarely into hip-hop, gangsta, culture. (When was the last time you heard a gay black guy use Ebonics? Most of them make an effort to distance themselves from that social stratum.) They'd rather be identified with people who dress in suits and ties.

They're less likely to join the Crips or Bloods; they prefer the company of women. They wouldn't aspire to hang out with LeBron or Dwyane. Give them their choice, and they'd prefer Diana Ross, or Anna Wintour, as company.

They're far less likely to identify with the Baltimore Ravens, and far more to identify with, say, Elizabeth Taylor. (When was the last time you saw a black transvestite wear an Afro wig?)

The point here is not that I think it's so wonderful that they identify with an Elizabeth Taylor or Anna Wintour. It's that this is proof they're generally not as reflexively anti-white as their heterosexual brethren tend to be.

Gays consider themselves as an oppressed group, but really, most of them can pass if they have to. And what with the Velvet Mafia ruling Hollywood and the fashion world, it's hard to think of them as truly oppressed, at least in this country today. (At least once they graduate from high school.)

Blacks also think of themselves as oppressed; they unquestionably were, in the past. We all grew up hearing about slavery and Jim Crow and lynchings and so on. But we've been living in Affirmative Action Land for the past forty years, and whatever achievement gaps exist now seem to be primarily for reasons other than oppression, and whatever suspicions attach themselves to young black men seem a result of their crime levels, not innate racism. (How often do you hear of cops rousting old black church ladies?)

But if you're gay and black, you suffer stigmatization in both worlds. The black community has been notoriously slow to accept gay liberation. (Black preachers were some of the most outspoken voices in favor of the various state referendums banning gay marriage.) And gay communities -- think San Francisco, or Key West -- usually look quite monochromatic.

So, gay blacks really are outcasts. Ergo, worthy of sympathy, in a way neither gays nor blacks are.

There's always that element of surprise with gay black men: somehow you just don't expect that from a black guy. But when it dawns on you, you think the same thing as when you finally realize some white guy is gay: ah, now it all makes sense. (No wonder he was so nice.) And most of the ones that I've known have been playful and funny as well. Quick to smile, and slow to anger.

Honestly, I can think of only one gay black guy I even know of whom I despise, and he's a down low brother, which is an altogether different thing.


Steven said...

The black offsets the gay and the gay offsets the black.

Haha great line.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Thank you.

Remnant said...

James O'Meara, the extremely offbeat and ecclectice alt-right cultural critic, has also identified "gay" and "black" as polar opposites. See his subtly titled essay "The Homo and the Negro" in the book of the same name.

(You can read that essay in the "look inside" feature on Amazon without purchasing the book.)

John Craig said...

Remnant --
Thank you for that, I hadn't heard of the book. Interesting concept. O'Meara seems to be using "The Negro" as being a symbol of the Right's somewhat narrow, militaristic, even thuggish view of masculinity, which has gotten away from the Renaissance ideal of a complete man. He's right, and the Right probably has lost the arts partly for that reason.

I wasn't being metaphorical at all, and was merely literally talking about the gay black guys I've met. But I guess by saying "the black offsets the gay, and the gay offsets the black," I was thinking somewhat along the same lines.