Black People : Don Lemon: Being Gay Is Worst Thing to Be in Black Culture

Amnat77

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In his new memoir, Transparent, CNN anchor Don Lemon has made a move that few of his colleagues have: he's come out as gay. Unlike Rachel Maddow and Thomas Roberts at MSNBC, though, Lemon isn't just gay but black. He told the New York Times that being a "double minority" makes him feel particularly vulnerable. But as he explained why, Lemon painted a distressingly stereotypical portrait of African-American culture. He said:

"It's quite different for an African-American male. It's about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You're taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away."

While I applaud Lemon's decision to share how he's come to terms with being both black and gay, I couldn't help but to cringe at his portrayal of African Americans in the above statement. All too often the media labels blacks as homophobes with no real proof that they harbor more anti-gay sentiment than others. Still, this stereotype persists, no more so than after Election Day 2008.

As the nation celebrated the election of its first black president, the gay community was horrified to learn that California had voted in support of Proposition 8, which effectively banned gay marriage in the Golden State. Which group was to blame for the proposition's passing? According to initial news reports--African Americans. But the reports that 7 out of 10 black voters supported a gay marriage ban proved to be flat out false. In January 2009, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that an analysis of exit polls found that 58 percent of black voters supported Prop. 8 and not 70 percent, as several mainstream media outlets first reported.

"The study debunks the myth that African Americans overwhelmingly and disproportionately supported Proposition 8," Andrea Shorter, director of And Marriage for All, stated upon the report's release.

Unfortunately, the myth that the African-American community is chock full of homophobes hasn't been debunked. This isn't to say that homophobia isn't an issue among blacks, but to characterize the racial group as a whole in such a way is irresponsible. Lemon said, for example, that blacks think "the gay" can be prayed away. Is he not aware of the scores of white evangelicals who've spread this belief? This is by far not an exclusively black mentality.

But Lemon didn't stop there. He also took aim at black women.

"You're afraid that black women will say the same things they do about how black men should be dating black women," he told the Times.

Say what? I seriously doubt that African-American ladies are going to take issue with Lemon because they believe a black man's rightful place is beside a black woman, even if that man is gay.

All in all, I applaud Lemon for having the courage to come out--as a black man, news personality, sexual abuse survivor, etc. It's just too bad he couldn't take this step without making gross generalizations about African Americans. Being black doesn't give one license to stereotype blacks.

http://racerelations.about.com/b/20...gay-is-worst-thing-to-be-in-black-culture.htm
 

Amnat77

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Did Don Lemon Throw Blacks Under the Bus?


Rachel Maddow's wish has been granted. Less than a month after the MSNBC anchor's much-talked-about interview with the Guardian, in which she encouraged her closeted on-air peers to reveal their true gay selves, someone answered that call. It might not be the cable-news anchor people expected, but CNN's Don Lemon has managed to snatch up a number of headlines all the same.

Lemon came out in a recent New York Times profile, in which he discussed his new book, Transparent, which was spurred by his disclosure last fall that he was molested as a child. The weekend news anchor explained to the Times that he knows that a common reaction to the news will be that people will try to make a connection between his sexuality and past sexual victimization as a young boy.

In the news and around the Web, the other typical reactions are there, too. Some have expressed shock; others are quick to boast that they already knew, due to their "gaydar"-enhanced psychic powers. There are also those who offered a "So what?" as if the first black national news anchor to say he's gay is much ado about nothing.

But there are other reactions to Lemon's profile that are far more interesting. Explaining the risks that come with being an openly gay black man, Lemon told the newspaper, "In the black community they think you can pray the gay away." Lemon also mentioned other obstacles, like the pressures to attain certain ideals of "manhood" within the black community, plus his own fears of the attitudes of some black women toward gay men.

The Baton Rouge, La., native said, "You're afraid that black women will say the same things they do about how black men should be dating black women." In a later interview with theLoop21, he made his feelings even clearer, responding to a question about whether or not the black community is homophobic with a "yes."

Critics of Lemon's interview argue that the journalist is perpetuating an unfounded stereotype that black people are more homophobic than other groups and vilifying black women.

http://www.theroot.com/views/did-don-lemon-throw-blacks-under-bus?page=0,0
 

ManicRaider

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Jan 15, 2011
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It may be a stereotype but it's not like it doesn't happen. Whenever the topic comes up in my house I get funny looks if I defend gays too much. My mom also finds it so funny that my brother gets uncomfortable around gay guys. If I'm watching something on TV that might seem "girly", I always turn from it whenever someone comes around so they don't know I was watching it. So let's not pretend like there isn't a little homophobia in the black community.
 

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