Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gay or Nay: Reconciling Race, Religion, and Homosexuality in Black America


“At a certain point, I've just concluded, that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

 And with that one sentence, our President Barack Obama, both created and stirred a conversation amongst his supporters and detractors alike. In America, we are more than ready to speak superficially within our circles and with our friends, but yet we are completely unprepared and unwilling to discuss who we really are with anyone. Our comments are vanilla and lack depth and insight into who we really are and what we really believe. With this being true, how then can our President take a side? How can he make (and subsequently defend) such a strong and defined statement? What about those he’s alienated? Will they vote against him? Will those he has now openly supported return the favor come election time? Will it even matter?

In America, we have a history of denying who we are and how we feel. We live lives that are almost counter to everything we supposedly stand for....because we must in order to provide for our families. We host conversations with one another but we very rarely divulge how we really feel about the real issues plaguing us. Most of the conversations seen on a site like Facebook can be described as simply rhetorical Mancala. A game being played in which one is looking to dominate the others playing through the use of large words, abstract concepts and misleading intentions, collecting “likes” as our marbles and dropping them into our containers stamped “EGO”. An issue as large as the “acceptance of homosexuality,” cannot and should not be seen on such a small egotistically driven scale. The views you are about to read (and hopefully absorb) are nothing of the aforementioned.

I am a homophobe.

But exactly what does that mean? According to; Homophobe is defined as: A person who fears or hates homosexuals and homosexuality.

With convoluted definitions like that, there is no wonder why so many have a hard time accurately describing their emotions and divulging their real opinions on touchy subjects. The suffix -phobia simply means “fear” or “fear of”, how hate became involved in the definition of Homophobia is unclear. Let’s see if I can be more focused in my description of how I feel about homosexuality.

I have a fear of how the acceptance of homosexuality impacts the community which I consider myself a part of. Because Black America has so many unresolved issues negatively affecting our progression, I do not believe it is wise for us to adopt a culture which surely will cause even more confusion before it is properly sorted out. 

Black America, more than any other subset of American culture, has had to fight and die for the right to live in peaceful harmony with others in this country. Hell, we’ve had to fight and die to live amongst ourselves in peace (Black Wall Street, Tulsa Oklahoma Riots). To compare our struggles for equality with that of any other (in American History) should be considered blatantly disrespectful towards our martyrs whose rewards are found in my ability to speak directly to you right now! Equality for Black America is found in going from a human being considered 3/5th human being, to simply one whole. From being included in sales and trust deeds as chattel to my being able to purchase a home for my family and sign a deed of trust myself. From literally standing on a selling block and being purchased, labeled and used a breeding cow or stud, or the sole purpose of being overworked as mules in the field to being able to establish a company as an entrepreneur in order to provide the means of living for one’s family. I won’t even get into the lynching, the sheer terror campaigns endured, disingenuous laws such as Jim Crow, and others. Black America, our struggle to survive first, prosper second, the Cointel Pro operatives to murder our leaders and spokespeople as well as infect our communities with disease and psychotic drugs, and eventually place an African American man into the White House, is not comparable to any other culture or group in the history of this land.

Time and time again, however, our struggle and movement has been hijacked by some other who feels they are not being treated “equally.” The same songs are sung, the same stances are reconfigured and re-presented and because of our lack of self identity, Black Americans log on and co-sign this behavior. Equality in America can never truly be achieved. We have too many different cultures and factions to make it possible. Too many have enjoyed too large of a head start, and others have been dropped in and endured too deep of a hole which they would have to get out of to get started in the first place. So to make things fit in our contemporary capitalistic society, we have transformed the meaning of “equality”. Today “equality” means “sameness” rather than “oneness.” We have splintered off into so many different camps to satisfy our need to belong that we have completely lost track of what it means to treat someone equal: To allow people to be different without making them the same as us. We want to view homosexuals as the “same as” heterosexuals, and because so many Americans (homosexuals included) suffer from separation anxiety, they happily oblige. If we truly viewed them as equals, we would be celebrating their differences, rather than subliminally coercing them to join the ranks of ours. If we truly want to respect homosexual culture, we will take more time to know more about them, how they came into being, what is the motive of their love, and what role they may be able to play in the overall advancement of humanity or at the least American society.

“The polarity of the sexes is disappearing, and with it erotic love, which is based on this polarity. Men and women become the “same”, not as “equals” as opposite poles. Contemporary society preaches this ideal of unindividualized equality because it needs human atoms, each one the same, to make them function in a mass aggregation, smoothly, without friction; all obeying the same commands, yet everybody is being convinced that he/she is following his own desires.” -Eric Fromm, The Art of Loving 1956

Historically speaking, in a religious context, equality meant we were all Children of God. Each given a unique job or task which when carried out was paramount to the overall cohesiveness of society. Husbands were expected to be strong, both mentally and physically, and this strength was used to create and fashion a livelihood for the was also a foregone conclusion that they were men. Women were expected to reign in terms of practicalities and thoughtfulness. While the men were away working, wives tended to the children and to the household. Thus using the very natures endowed to us by God herself. Through God’s divine wisdom or natural selection (you choose) both men and women have adapted to these natures. Men are typically physically stronger than women and share a common bond for rationality and reasoning. Women are the more emotional, but equally necessary counterparts to that. Their tremendous capacity and willingness to love and nurture is what keeps the world from being at war with itself. But of course, too much of anything has the tendency to create an overcompensation of some sort. The yin/yang of man/woman relationships is what is needed to create life. The masculine and feminine energy that is visible in every aspect of nature is required to recreate and stabilize life itself. Women love simply does Mother Nature. No one has to do anything to expect the sun to rise in the morning or for life to spew forth from the ground. It’s intrinsic. This “Motherly Love” is the type of love that young babies need. They are unable to do for themselves and need the love of someone who does not require anything from them. Men are very different in their makeup. Like Father Time, we have defined expectations.
“You can use my car once you clean your room.” 
“You can go to the dance if you make straight As.”
“I’ll buy you a car of your own when you graduate high school/college.”
Because of a man’s nature to rationalize his actions, things are given once earned. Young children around the age of 8 begin to yearn for this type of love. It satisfies a need for the sense of accomplishment within them. This is why it is very common for a child to spend a large portion of their lives aiming to make their father proud. This is something you very rarely hear concerning mothers. Unfortunately we live in a time where it is not uncommon to be surrounded by young people who have grown up with only one of the necessary two formats of energy. Single parent moms, no matter how hard they try do not possess the natural aura of a man. The same can be said for single parent fathers and the feminine energies needed. I contend that our current state of confusion, as to what is and what is not homosexuality, is directly related to young men being given too much feminine energy too often. In an act of rebellion against their choices of male mates, females are choosing themselves to share their intimacy with.

"The awareness of human separation, without reunion by love-- is the source of shame. It is at the same time the source of guilt and anxiety."

All in all, the wage of sin is death. Nature reproduces, life is constantly recreated. This is not a reality for homosexuals as it is impossible for their lifestyle to sustain itself through natural means. Homosexuals cannot mate and create more homosexuals. Replication can only be achieved through Conversion. This is one of the central tenants in After the Ball: How America will conquer its fear & hatred of Gays in the 90s.

It isn't enough that antigay bigots should become confused about us, or even indifferent to us--we are safest, in the long run, if we can actually make them like us. Conversion aims at just this..... Note that the bigot need not actually be made to believe that he is such a heinous creature, that others will now despise him, and that he has been the immoral agent of suffering. It would be impossible to make him believe any such thing. Rather, our effect is achieved without reference to facts, logic, or proof. 

And this is where my fear is rooted. Black America has been used as a harbinger for enough of America’s unresolved issues. We are the same group of people used to test the long term effects of syphilis unknowingly through experimentation from our government. Our families have witnessed enough separation. Our foundation is being mended as we speak. I fear that this particular load, homosexual indoctrination as it is currently being unveiled, is simply too much for us to bear. Let us find our way back to the table of harmony with the rest of the world. We need to allow ourselves time to recreate the image of love and marriage within our community before we extend an offering for others to join us in our misery. We too are the Children of God. Some would even point to us in the bible as the referenced Lost Tribe of Judah, stuck in a land not our own. Let’s recommit ourselves to ourselves and turn this thing around before it’s too late. 

 -Mustafa Ahmad Shakur

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Don't Ask and Don't Tell God: The Quandary of Homosexuality in America


It has been a couple of weeks since President Barack Obama openly admitted that he supports Gay Marriage and all the rights and privileges thereof. All forms of media have been inundated with opinions and viewpoints either in support of the President’s proclamation or demonizing his attempt at creating a discourse in this nation, which was allegedly founded on the ideological concept of “liberty and justice for all.” Yet, somehow, the United States’ separation of Church and State has been reconfigured by the religious, particularly Christian, zealots in an attempt to discriminate and further disenfranchise those citizens who identify themselves as gay or homosexual.

 It has always been my belief that every person, regardless of ethnicity or religious beliefs or socioeconomic status should be treated fairly and I believe this civil right should be extended to our homosexual brethren as well. It would be unjust for the laws of the self-proclaimed “greatest country in the world” to disallow same sex marriages on the pretense of the Judeo-Christian biblical texts’ stance on homosexuality. Do we not exist in a realm of national governing that separates the Church and the State? I, for one, am no expert on the origins or the causes or even the totality of comprehension of homosexuality, but with the aforementioned stated, how can any of us vilify one’s sexual preference if we do not know if it is due to nurture or nature?

 There has been a major outcry from Christian pastors, preachers, ministers, and parishioners concerning the President’s decision to publicly support same-sex marriages and, particularly, in the black Church and its respective ‘community’, a divisive demon of epic proportions has ensconced itself around the psyche of the African American Christian. This demon has warped the psyche of the black Christian and reconstructed their understanding of the major tenant of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus Christ, which transmitted by John, states, “As I have loved you, so must you love one another” (John 13:34 NIV). Or one can also reference another book of the Gospel which states, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39 NIV). How are discriminatory practices against our fellow man an exhibition of Love? In my most humble opinion, I believe that it is the exact opposite—Hate.

 Now, I am almost positive that many readers will think my use of the word ‘hate’ is going too far, but if you are intolerant of a particular thing or individual or behavior, the detesting of these things or individuals or behaviors manifest themselves in the form of intolerance which is the next-door neighbor to Hate. Many Christians, theologians, and pious hypocrites, particularly those of Facebook residency, have been selectively cherry-picking the biblical scriptures to support their anti-Gay marriage and homophobic diatribes. Ironically, most of the cherry-picking comes from the Old Testament’s book of Leviticus. I have seen Leviticus 18:22, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind” and Leviticus 20:13 (KJV), “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them,” and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor landerers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” All of this seems contradictory. Most Christians adhere to the New Testament and utilize the Gospels as the definitive words, teachings, and accounts of the life and travels of Jesus the Christ and this becomes rhetorically problematic because if readers use juxtapositioning in the analysis of these texts they will find that contradictions abound and what we deem as immoral can be applicable to any and almost every facet of human existence and interaction with one another. Are there not believers of the Christ that are drunkards, sexually promiscuous, and adulterers? Are there not Christians who worship God and Jesus yet have created a false God/idol out of money and material possessions? I won’t answer. I will let you, the reader, pray for discernment and derive at a conclusion.

 What is it that Christians and the religious zealots of this nation want? Do they want to ‘play God’ or do they want to ‘be’ God? If an individual is a homosexual, wouldn’t the omnipresent and omnipotent Creator know this? How, if the aforementioned is true, would the homosexual hide his or her sexual orientation or preference? Should they not tell God and should he or she not ask their sexual orientation or preference? Some opponents of same-sex marriage believe gay marriage is an attempt by homosexuals to taint the ‘sacred’ institution of marriage with perverse intentions. This is a laughable idea, I understand, but so is the idea that homosexuals should not be allowed to marry one another under the auspices of Love. Better yet, how is demonizing a culture of individuals illustrating the unconditional Love that God has for his creations. Did God not love us so much that, “He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life”? (John 3:16 KJV) Are we to think that LGBT believers won’t be accepted by the Lord? Should John have inserted an asterisk behind this piece of scripture?

 If we as a people allow the castigation of the homosexual in America, what will be the next discriminatory technique used to further cement xenophobic behavior? Will the Church disallow homosexuals to worship in the houses of the Lord that are almost on every corner of every street in the United States of America? Will we revisit the miscegenation laws of the past that banned interracial intimacy and marriage? (Loving v. Virginia was the last anti-Miscegenation law to be defunct in 1967) Surely not—I hope. The issue at hand is not whether you agree with the homosexual lifestyle or endorse same-sex relationships and marriage but that equality for all is under attack—by the Church of all institutions. We must stand up for the equality for all and resist the subjugation of our fellow man by the efforts of some to reconfigure a social hierarchical structure by creating yet another subclass of people. The problem with inequality and discrimination is that it reinforces the social hierarchical structure that posits some people, in this case heterosexuals, as ‘better’ than others and that is not only problematic but also troubling and destructive in a ‘civilized’ society. It is unjust to ban same-sex marriage on the pretense that some people do not have the same type of sexual intercourse as others do, and as the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. said in his ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Gee Joyner