CommunityPam's House Blend

How the religious right exploits the black community

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

In 1991, writer-director John Singleton came out with the landmark motion picture Boyz N The Hood which analyzed the plight of inner city African-Americans, particularly young black males.

I remember the scene in which one of the characters asked about why there were so many gun shops and drugs in the black community when African-Americans didn't own these gun shops or the poppy fields that produced the drugs.

His implication was that outside forces were exploiting poverty in the black community for profit while not caring about the effects of their exploitation.

It was a good point and I think it can be made when one assesses how the religious right exploits the black community's inability to have a decent conversation about homosexuality.

I know I am not saying anything unfamiliar when I say that the black community avoids conversations about this subject as if even mentioning the word “gay” would conjure up the devil in a puff of sulphur.

Those of us in the black community know that lgbts of color exist and their needs aren't being met because of the wall of invisibility created by this fear.

The religious right also knows this. In fact, they count on it. That's why it's so easy for conservative talking heads such as Mike Huckabee, Maggie Gallagher, Matt Barber, and Harry Jackson to take an aura of phony concern when they accuse the lgbt community at large for supposedly piggybacking on the African-American civil rights movement.

They can play gays against blacks in a “divide and conquer” strategy because the black community is afraid to admit that it and the lgbt community are more alike than they are different, especially with the existence of lgbts of color.

But I want to ask a question similar to the one asked by the Boyz N The Hood character.

How much ownership and access does the black community have with religious right groups? Where are these pro-family groups and their state affiliates when it comes to actually tackling the issues of the inner city? What is their stance on racial inequality in education or employment?

Or how about the sadly high rate of HIV/AIDS in the black community?

That is my point exactly. These phony pro-family groups, these supposed defenders of the black community are nowhere to be seen.

And why should they? They've gotten what they wanted.

Why should the owner of the gun shops mentioned in Boyz N The Hood care that his wares are leading to death and destruction? He has made his money.

Why should the owner of the poppy fields care that the drugs produced from these fields will put more addicts on the streets looking to steal, sell their bodies, or do anything else for their next fix? After all, he has made his money also.

By that same token, why should the religious right care if the rhetoric in their game of “divide and conquer” leads to more lgbt of color invisibility or black gay men being susceptible to fears of coming out, low self esteem, or worse – bad behaviors which lead to diseases such as HIV/AIDS. They've gotten what they wanted – more influence, more power, more credibility and the black and gay communities at each other's throats.

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Alvin McEwen

Alvin McEwen