A furor has arisen in my (temporary) neighborhood of Brooklyn, which has given rise to a personal discombobulation.

The furor is simple–a local congressperson, otherwise displaying good politics, seems oblivious to the ramifications of the stomp down hate speech floridly prevalent throughout the African American community broadly, and the Jamaican diaspora specifically, directed at gay men and lesbian women.

Note that we are not talking here of simple slurs, but explicit calls to violence and murder.  Moreover, elsewhere in Africa (Uganda) and America (eg, the Prop. 8 battle) the black community (and black churches in particular)  cheerfully manifest an unseemly willingness to dehumanize people on the basis of their way of loving in a manner of speech that eerily mirrors the dehumanization that racists would inflict upon them.

Some close friends of mine of Carribean birth, will casually speak the word “fa**ot”, although they would bristle to be called “ni**er” (I have had it with the fuckin’ initials…[Edited to comply with standards.] ).

When I reproach them that no word ought pass their lips that within the memory of living men was, on occasion, the last word that a person heard while being beaten to death, they blink with obvious incomprehension.

When pressed, they defend their “right” to dehumanize. Indeed, they are proud to hate.

Black brothers (I don’t see quite the same vehemence in my black sisters) what the fuck is up?

Not to put too fine a point on it, when does this insistence on hatefulness begin to erode my obligation to fight racism?

Rex

Rex

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