Sunday, January 16, 2005

I Have My Own Dream Part 2

Last year, Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of Atlanta's New Birth Church, led a march to the memorial site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in protest, or rather to support traditional marriage; that of one man to one woman. Chicago's Rev. Greg Daniels claims he'll support the Klan before he supports gay marriage. More than 100 Black pastors send a petition to the Congressional Black Caucus to support the Defense of Marriage Act and proposed constitutional amendment. I won't go into, yet again, my philosophies on marriage, and why I think civil marriage (frankly, I'm sick of teaching Christians how to read the Bible, so I don't care what you choose to read from your dogma) as opposed to religious marriage, should be extended to same-sex couples. I will say that I'm tired of the completely inappropriate and inaccurate use of MLK to defend Black homophobia.

Okay, I promised I wouldn't bring up marriage again, but an examination of Christ's words, those passages highlighted in red in your Bibles, Jesus never said anything about who should marry, and never mentioned marriage except to say that divorce was bad. Similarly, there isn't one statement attributed to Martin Luther King about marriage or about gays and lesbians. If his wife, who we believe knew him best, can support the rights of gays and lesbians, who should dispute that? No one, not Ralph Abernathy, not Bernice King, not Eddie Long.

Let's call a spade a spade. Let's tell the truth. Black people are uncomfortable with difference within the ranks. You can see it everywhere. The Black community has its subcultures:
  • Gangbangers, banger wannabes, pimps, 'hos and drug dealers
  • Rap artists (different from hip hop artists, the ones still interested in the art of the rhyme vs. the money, cars, 'hos lyrics) and athletes, who play blackjack using their marketability and pray hard for 21
  • The rapper/baller wannabes with schoolyard athleticism and marginal rhyming skills that will never hit it big
  • The happily undereducated and underemployed, content to live on welfare or disability, generation after generation
  • The nouveau riche, complete with their Black Ivy League; e.g. Morehouse, Spellman, Hampton degrees, working in finance, law, and similar top-dollar industries, comfortable in their gated communities with the BMW or Benz parked in the driveway, golfing on Sunday afternoons after church, who believe in the American Dream until it no longer believes in them
  • The artist, the new bohemian, working successive administrative jobs until their poetry or neo-soul sells, or they simply get tired of trying and give up
  • The regular guy, who drives a bus or is an MTA motorman, or picked up a good Post Office job, who married his high school sweetheart, had a couple of kids, drinks beer on the weekends with his buddies and plays armchair football
  • The churchie -- more than likely, a single woman who takes pleasure in food because she doesn't have sex to provide it for her as she's holding out for a good man and invests her time, money, and energy in Jesus, as introduced to her by the Escalade-drivin' pastor. Or, may be a closeted queen who sings in the choir, or serves on the church's Trustee Board, who doesn't date because he's waiting for the right woman to come from the Lord

Black lesbians and gays are here in every group. Why, oh why, must we continue to be beaten and abused, 'buked and scorned, simply because Black folks don't want to tell the truth: they find sex between men distasteful and lesbians a connundrum because they're inaccessible. Stop using Dr. King as the proverbial mother's skirt to hide behind. Enough already.

And, on the flip side, to my lesbian sisters and gay brothers: if you want to have a party on the Sunday night before the Monday holiday, just call it a special Sunday thing. Do you really think "a holiday explosion" featuring a booty shaker should be "in honor of Martin Luther King?" Have a party, have a booty shaker, but don't connect it to Dr. King. And, how about really doing something positive for the community? If you have the time, and you probably do, become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Write a check for a worthy organization. Come out. Don't allow preachers to continue abusing you with the Bible.

I do have a dream, and I believe it will come true. I believe that the next wave of liberation will come from within the Black community, but only if we are honest and willing to do the work necessary to bring all parts of the community together.


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