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Pet Sins January 2007

White gays in interracial relationships decry homophobic attitudes but refuse to address the racism of non-whites

There is this idea that sexual minorities in general are more sensitive to the plight of other oppressed minorities because gays themselves face discrimination. I found this to be true in many cases - I know of many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who are quick to take a stand against racism, ableism and other forms of prejudice. But I also found this to be untrue in many cases - gays, like any other people, can be selfish and blind to the interests of other minorities. I've found this behavior to be especially prevalent among white gays who primarily date non-black people of color.

Typically, these whites like hanging around with a brown or yellow crowd, and they pride themselves on their 'diverse' circle and 'interest in other cultures'. But when their brown or yellow friends make racist statements against blacks and someone takes issue with these statements, our enlightened friend-of-non-white-folk white gay guy would try to 'keep the peace' by telling the offended party "So-and-so's opinion of blacks does not extend to his treatment of them one-on-one. So he is really OK. You should accept so-and-so the way he is, and not bring up his racist attitudes/preferences anymore."

Well, it is curious that while some white gays demand that those offended by racist remarks shut up, they never ask the racist so-and-so to shut up about his racist views. It is a bizarre world in which the enlightened white man refuses to hold racist people accountable for their hurtful comments, and only blames people offended by racist remarks for 'disturbing the peace'.

The irony is the same white gay males who dismiss any concerns with racism are constantly criticizing Bush and/or the Republicans for creating a 'homophobic atmosphere' in America. But those white gay men NEVER think of consoling themselves by saying, "President Bush/[insert name of elected official]'s publicly-expressed opinions of gays does not extend to his treatment of them one-on-one. So he is really OK. You should accept President Bush/[insert name of elected official] the way he is, and not mention his homophobic policies anymore." As a matter of fact, Bush actually does treat gays in his circle quite decently as individuals, regardless of his public policies. [See Bush: A friend indeed?] But is this good enough for our Bush-hating gay white males, the same guys who think that a racist person is 'good enough' so long as s/he can treat a black individual decently one-on-one? No. They are always complaining about how publicly-expressed anti-gay opinions and policies from politicians "adversely affect social acceptance for gays and even contribute to hate crimes against gays." Some of them are even thinking of migrating to Canada!

Is it that much of a stretch for these gay white men to be able to argue that publicly expressed anti-black sentiments from their brown/yellow friends "adversely affect social acceptance for blacks and even contribute to hate crimes against blacks?" Well, whether publicly expressed anti-gay/black statements by individuals really do lead to hate crimes against blacks/gays might be debatable, but what is obvious is that these white gays who claim to be so concerned with social justice just can't or won't consider insults done to blacks anywhere near the same level as insults done to themselves. Their attitude really boils down to "It's ok to do X to blacks, but it is not ok to do X to gays." If these self-styled socially conscious white men could just put themselves in the shoes of a black American, or treat others just as they treat themselves, then maybe they would treat racism just as seriously as they treat homophobia.

W.
2006