Gay CNN Anchor, Don Lemon, Sees Risk in Book

  • metta

    Posts: 39104

    May 16, 2011 3:15 AM GMT
    Gay CNN Anchor, Don Lemon, Sees Risk in Book

    [QUOTE]
    “It’s quite different for an African-American male,” he said. “It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.” He said he believed the negative reaction to male homosexuality had to do with the history of discrimination that still affects many black Americans, as well as the attitudes of some black women.
    [/QUOTE]


    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/business/media/16anchor.html?_r=1
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 3:54 AM GMT
    Thanks for this Metta. Would never have known about it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 4:10 AM GMT
    don lemon is gay?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 4:12 AM GMT
    Be weary of the Communist Network News.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 4:15 AM GMT
    wow! i'd heard rumours about him being gay but i always thought people wrongly assumed that because he had been molested as a kid.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 4:17 AM GMT
    Oh we had this fun little assignment in freshman year where the class would pick a topic for a student to present his or her opinion on (the class got to pick and it had to be an issue specific tot he person) my classmates asked my opinion on why a disproportionate number of gay black men were in the closet. I made a presentation but there was a a super long essay too, here is some of it more of a 10x compression. I was a freshman so dont judge me.


    My entire life I have been a double minority. It doesn’t always come to the fore of my consciousness but when it does, it can be a pretty scary thing to reconcile with and an even scarier one to embrace. As both a black and a gay man I understand the struggles of both groups and can empathize with two very real, very painful but distinctly different struggles. Being a double minority however, does not come with a handbook. That’s something you have to write yourself.
    I have always felt more in tune with my black self than my gay self. It’s probably because of the twenty years of interactions I have had with black people compared with the meager two that I’ve really been around other gays. In both communities there are questions about the other and it does what it does and thinks the way it thinks. Beyond those questions, there are the questions for us, the hybrids. There is nothing more confusing that each of ones two feet placed in two worlds that are about as friendly to one another as a cobras are to mongooses. But as different as both of these worlds seem to be, they ask remarkably similar questions and most paramount among them “why are so many gay black men in the closet?”

    I could write ten times this much on what I believe the reasons are but I will do my best to capture the issue and wrestle it down to a readable length. I’m taking the angle primarily of a structural functionalist.
    I will attempt to explain what conditions in the black and gay communities make it particularly difficult for black men to come out and highlight some of the disincentives of life as an out gay black man that may contribute to the apprehension.
    While historically, black people have not have the opportunity to participate fully in the economic or political sense, they do hold a disproportionate share of influence over America’s culture. They are a dominant force in both the music industry and professional sports and also have disproportionately high representation in movies and television when compared with the percentage of the country that Identifies as black. If aliens landed on earth and the watched and music award show or an NBA game, it would be hard to convince them that black people only made up thirteen percent of all Americans.
    It goes without saying that black men and women are well represented in the media. But there is a difference between being represented well and being represented positively. Unless you have spent your life in a fallout shelter, you will at some point have heard that the black community has a very contentious relationship with American media corporations. Many of them feel that they are consistently caricaturized in movies, television, and the news especially. The caricatures have changed over the years but the most modern version paints black people (men especially) as hyper aggressive. The modern narrative of the hyper aggressive black man began in the 80’s and although it has weakened some, is still chugging healthily along today.
    In the first few years of being saddled with this label, black men tried to shrug it off or escape it. It was the 80’s and black men were doing their best to integrate themselves fully into the framework of the country as equal participants. It became clear however, that this new depiction of black men was here to stay.
    Beginning with the transformation of rap music, black people began to actually embrace the hyper aggressive image and tweak it ever so slightly until the black man became the poster-boy for hyper-masculinity. It’s no secret that rap music is not supported of gay life and many rap songs are positively marinating in homophobia but it is important to examine how exactly this situation came about. In its beginnings rap music was not about violence, money, misogyny, homophobia, or any of the negative things that it has come to be associated with today. During the 1980’s black people felt they were consistently under attack from all directions from the media and police to Ronald Reagan. Early rappers were essentially artists painting portraits of what life was like for black people living in a particular area at a particular time. Rappers sought to identify with their listeners, not to elevate themselves above them.
    As rap music took off, rappers began to sign with larger non-black –owned labels that had no interest in the welfare of the communities that the rappers came from. It was during this period that rap lost most of what made it such a cultural masterpiece in the first place. Rappers began talking about money and excess, which alienated them from the experiences of their communities but did help them reach a broader audience. A broader audience meant more money, and more rapping about money. Eventually rappers recognized that they were losing ties with their neighborhoods and so they began to paint caricatures of them in their songs. They struggled to connect with their neighborhoods while still on the leash of the broader American audience. Instead of capturing the positive aspects of growing up in the less affluent communities that they came from, they talked about violence.
    This is because no listeners want to hear about people waking up and going to work or little girls jumping rope-that shit is boring. It would be especially boring to the broader American audience because it would make the black community seem too similar to other communities. The only reasonable option was to talk about drive by’s. People like hearing about drive-bys. The drive-by music was a hit and was universally embraced. White people liked hearing about them, so did Latinos, so did Asians, and so did blacks. The reason they liked hearing about it was because violence exciting. In fact, the only people who hate hearing about violence are people who have it in their own back yard. So why then were all of these black people on board with the consistent production and release of this drive-by music? Because they thought it didn’t apply to them. Rap music would have you believe that drive-bys are as regular as a Tokyo subway line. The reality is that they occur; most black communities don’t see them at all. Many black people were as intrigued by this hyper violent world painted by these rappers as people of other races were, because they were just as removed. They did not expect that people would begin to believe that all lower and even middle class black communities had a mandatory monthly drive-by quota.
    Rap music was beginning to make black people seem like lawless hooligans who drank 40’s and shoot at each other for fun. It was beginning to help push black people down the ladder and something had to be done about that and the vilification of gay men offered a solution.
    Black people and people of other races who produce black media wanted to be able to continue to make money off of the hyper-masculinized image of the black male. However, black people did not want to be on the bottom of America’s social or moral totem poll.
    The goal then, became to place gay men at the bottom and then place black men at apogee from gay men and thus at apogee from the bottom because that makes it impossible for black people to ever be at the bottom. The campaign to paint black and gay as diametrical opposites has been largely successful and so it is not a formula that doesn’t work.
    The black church is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most powerful entity in the black community. For almost two centuries church has been an extremely
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 4:19 AM GMT
    le_cool saidwow! i'd heard rumours about him being gay but i always thought people wrongly assumed that because he had been molested as a kid.
    Now ya know! icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 4:21 AM GMT
    True_blue_aussie saidBe weary of the Communist Network News.



    No worries, sweetie. Just tune into Faux News, listen for a while, and sleep with the angels.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    May 16, 2011 4:22 AM GMT
    I had no idea Don Lemon is gay --- though always thought he was hot icon_lol.gif Regardless, why does it matter? I'm not sure I like people writing books and exploiting their gayness. Okay, so you're gay. Who cares?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 4:24 AM GMT
    miamimasseur said
    True_blue_aussie saidBe weary of the Communist Network News.



    No worries, sweetie. Just tune into Faux News, listen for a while, and sleep with the angels.


    You mean Fucks News? (and that's if you can even call it "news.")
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 4:25 AM GMT
    important part of black life that up until recently, was absolutely necessary to for survival in the harsh social climate of American life. For the majority of its history the black church has been a pillar in the black community because it provided help and protections like those of government institutions to which black people had little or no access. The church was the school, bank, community center, or whatever else it needed to be to give people a sense of dignity and equality in a culture that consistently denied it to them.
    It also served as a place where black people could establish a healthy self-image. People who were heavily involved in the black church tended to be well dressed and well spoken. Many of the leading members in the church were educated and the whole environment validated black people and allowed them to recalibrate their image of themselves into something other than the one that the rest of society consistently placed on them.
    Placed at the helm of the church were the preacher and his wife, who tended to be the most educated and wealthiest members of the community. Black preachers were and in some cases still are deified by their congregations. There is a sense in the black church that the preacher has a right to comment on any and all social issues. The preacher’s role is far broader than that of a holy man. He or she is also expected to help the community and place it on a path that will lead to psychological, spiritual and financial prosperity. Historically, black preachers have been expected to above all protect the interest of the black community, even in cases where it might conflict a bit with what the Bible says.
    Black churchgoers turn to their PHD wielding preachers for a sense of direction but also for strategy. From Martin Luther King to Jeremiah Wright, most black preachers will spend a lot of time try to impart on their congregations lessons in what they feel is the best defense against racism, classism, poverty, or whatever plagues their particular members. The sermon will always be uniquely black. Not all black churches operate this way, but most do.
    When you look at the job description of a black preacher in historical context, it makes it easier to understand why he or she is not rushing to defend gays even if they are black. For more than ninety percent of America’s history, black people have been at the bottom of the totem poll in the consciousness of the broader national community. At this juncture, there are multiple groups that are having a hard time. Muslims, gays and illegal immigrants, have emerged as the new groups that have to struggle for their integrity in the mind of the broader national community. These groups are all being treated somewhat poorly at this time, but only gay people have staying power as America’s oppressed group. Eventually, Illegal immigration will be hammered out, and September 11th will take its place among other tragic but no longer raw events in American history and these groups will be let off the hook. The cultural oppression of gays however, will be somewhat more difficult to resolve.
    At this point, I feel safer traveling anywhere in the country as a black man than I do as a gay man. I am reminded of this in subtle ways all the time. Faggot was a very popular word in my high school. Teachers and administrators heard it getting thrown around all the time and took no action. But I have a very strong suspicion that calling another student a nigger would not have been met with the same nonchalance from the administration. The reason behind this is simple. Broader society has a keen interest in not appearing racist and so it jumps on racism wherever it can find it. Live through one modern gubernatorial or presidential race and it becomes clear that the same cultural desire to protect gays from discrimination is not nearly as strong.
    Black leadership has no interest in protecting or defending the interests of the gay community because it realizes that gay people are sitting in a seat that black people have kept warm for decades. It’s the seat for those whose presence is more tolerated than accepted. In some sense, preachers and other leaders are sacrificing the welfare of the gay community for the welfare of the black community. The hatred for gays in the black community wasn’t born out of animosity; it was born out of strategy.
    Looking at the history of the black and white perception of gays, it is clear that hatred toward homosexuals and other sexual minorities has not declined in the among blacks as it has among their white counterparts. Over the past 3 decades although black intolerance has not grown within the population, it has intensified. Many older blacks can remember in the 60’s and 70’s that every neighborhood had its gays, and they were tolerated and largely left alone. Black Americans were essentially the original authors of don’t ask don’t tell. So long as you did not parade your homosexuality around, you could get respect at the grocery store or the barbershop, even if everyone knew. More recently however, there has been a visible rise in the desire to uproot and harass gays. Young black males throw accusations of homosexuality around with a level of frequency and consequence that gives it an eerie inquisition like quality.
    The denigration of the homosexual is a powerful tool to provide esteem for black males, especially those that are not doing so well. The image of the gay man has been soiled to such a degree in the black community that virtually any straight man regardless of his status within the community can consider himself above a homosexual. There is a certain intoxicating effect that comes with the knowledge that irrespective of the degree to which you have failed in your life, there is a group of people over which you can claim superiority and have that claim go unchallenged in the public sphere. In a twisted way, the trampling of gay people in the public sphere elevates black people in the public sphere. There is absolutely no incentive for leaders in the black community, religious or otherwise to come to the aid of gay people and some believe it would be to the black communities detriment to do so.

    Given the lack of support from American media, black media, and the black church the only place that gay black men should be able to turn to for total support and acceptance should be the gay community. Black men that I have spoken to about the coming out experience gave it a surprisingly subdued review compared to white, Latino, and some Asian men I spoke to. If coming out were a product, there would simply be fewer black men selling that product to other black men. For white men, there are certain benefits that one can expect to be gained during and after the coming out process. It winds up looking something like this

    Give up certain family and friends
    Be accepted into the gay community to replace that loss
    Be free to express love and sexuality in a way not previously possible
    Reconcile with their own original community

    For black men the coming out process is similar, but often looks more like this

    Give up certain family and friends
    Be partially accepted into a gay community to replace the loss
    Be free to express love and sexuality minus discrimination
    Never truly reconcile with the community they left.

    For white men the coming out process has benefits that clearly outweigh the risk.


    Gay black men are really the only intermediaries that the broader gay community has to the straight black community. If gay black men were consistently dissatisfied with their experience with the gay community, why would they stick their necks out to defend it in a community that already offers them a certain degree of love and security albeit conditional?
    This dual minority status will create tension even in the most unexpected situations.
    As black men they were raised in black households. They were likely to have spent
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 4:28 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidI had no idea Don Lemon is gay --- though always thought he was hot icon_lol.gif Regardless, why does it matter? I'm not sure I like people writing books and exploiting their gayness. Okay, so you're gay. Who cares?


    Because we don't live in a perfect world or a post-racial nation. It matters, at least for us, in the communities of color. While it may not be a big deal to some, it is still a major stigma for black men and the more that come out and stand up, the less power that stigma will have and it might just save somebody's life.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 4:29 AM GMT
    years receiving food love shelter and total acceptance from their family prior to coming out. This builds up a lot of trust equity, and that trust equity makes it difficult to be honest about who they are and have to risk partial or full separation from that family. Black men are subjected to social and especially sexual discrimination in the gay community, and they also don’t grow up with gay people feeding them, caring for them, paying for their educations, telling them they love them etc. This makes it virtually impossible for black men to ever establish the level of trust equity in the gay community that they have in the black community. The ideal situation for coming out is one in which the trust equity in other gay people and gay affirmative people outweighs the trust equity in the homophobic community. This is rarely the case for many minorities and virtually never the case for black men. As a result it is natural to expect that they will be less likely to come out because the benefits are not as profound as they are for white men.
    Black men also realize that regardless of what option they choose they will be vilified in the black community. If they choose to come out, they are gay and that's bad. If they get married and have kids, they are on the DL, which is also bad. It’s important to recognize the important shift between modern attitudes toward homosexuality in minds of black people. It was once acceptable to be gay so long as one took a very secretive and tactful approach. It was also okay to marry a woman and father children and was actually encouraged. Today however, there is no ideal option for black men that allow the opportunity to be accepted fully into the gay or black community. Many blacks also feel that their struggles are exploited by the gay rights movement as L Z Granderson describes. “Gay is not the new black. Black is still black.”
    Black leadership will not begin to defend the rights of gay at its own perceived expense unless gay black men speak up for themselves. Black men will have to make it clear that large numbers of them are casualties in this war to not be on the bottom. They have the potential to be the most powerful voice in this entire debate and sway the opinions of the millions of black men and women who have been taught to dislike gay men.
    This will not happen however, if black men consistently wait for total support from other black people or other gay people. It’s just something that gay black men are going to have to suck up if they ever want a shot at being who they are in both social spheres. The closet is, for black men especially, a defense mechanism. It allows one to ponder the possibility of coming out and of being accepted without gambling and finding out that that all the rumors you heard from your out black friends that life as an out gay man is no picnic in any social sphere. There are strong currents of racism in the gay community, and strong currents of homophobia in the black community, and many black men feel like they are homeless and searching for total acceptance. To a certain extent, if you are a gay black man you may find that the only place that you find total acceptance is in the mirror and that’s totally okay.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 5:06 AM GMT
    ErikTaurean said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI had no idea Don Lemon is gay --- though always thought he was hot icon_lol.gif Regardless, why does it matter? I'm not sure I like people writing books and exploiting their gayness. Okay, so you're gay. Who cares?


    Because we don't live in a perfect world or a post-racial nation. It matters, at least for us, in the communities of color. While it may not be a big deal to some, it is still a major stigma for black men and the more that come out and stand up, the less power that stigma will have and it might just save somebody's life.


    Well said Erik!

    I'm sure this was a very scary step for him. But I'm hopeful that the more visibility we have the more communities of color can begin to discuss and hopefully do away with some of the fear and old ideas about who we are.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    May 16, 2011 5:23 AM GMT
    ErikTaurean said It matters, at least for us, in the communities of color. While it may not be a big deal to some, it is still a major stigma for black men


    As if it is not, to some degree, a major stigma to be gay for white men too? Is it just me or is it weird that people of color gripe about being discriminated against while at the same time they are discriminating against their own for their sexual preference? Hypocrisy comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 5:27 AM GMT
    oh i didn't know he was gay. hmmm ok. nextttttt
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 5:36 AM GMT
    5ebastian said
    CuriousJockAZ said
    ErikTaurean said It matters, at least for us, in the communities of color. While it may not be a big deal to some, it is still a major stigma for black men


    As if it is not, to some degree, a major stigma to be gay for white men too? Is it just me or is it weird that people of color gripe about being discriminated against while at the same time they are discriminating against their own for their sexual preference? Hypocrisy comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.


    maybe you should respect the fact that it is broadcast because he is a public figure. who cares? well obviously some people do care especially when you're in the limelight. maybe thats not a big deal for some but if it were some other political figure that was white or what have you ... it would still be headline news. that shouldnt come as a surprise.


    Like when Thomas Roberts came out?
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    May 16, 2011 5:38 AM GMT
    Balljunkie said
    Like when Thomas Roberts came out?



    Didn't CNN fire Thomas Roberts shortly after that?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 5:39 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    Balljunkie said
    Like when Thomas Roberts came out?



    Didn't CNN fire Thomas Roberts shortly after that?


    It says that he resigned. Hmm...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 6:11 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    ErikTaurean said It matters, at least for us, in the communities of color. While it may not be a big deal to some, it is still a major stigma for black men


    As if it is not, to some degree, a major stigma to be gay for white men too? Is it just me or is it weird that people of color gripe about being discriminated against while at the same time they are discriminating against their own for their sexual preference? Hypocrisy comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.


    The 'us' I am referring to are those who are of color and gay. And yes it matters. First, there is the racial discrimination that must be faced. Then there is the sexual discrimination that must be faced. And what alot of people don't realize is that the black community, as a whole, has always seen being gay as something that belonged to white people. Yes that is changing, but not nearly fast enough. So yes, most black gay people, especially men, have to deal with both on a sometimes daily basis and it is part of the reason the down low phenomenon has such power.

    As I always state, yes there is bigotry and prejudice on all fronts. Turning a blind eye to it or just saying it is in us all to make it a lesser demon does not make it go away. I want this country to move into being a post-racial society, but I have serious doubts about that ever happening in my life time. And that does matter. I can't expect you or anyone for that matter to really get it because you can never know what it is to be in my skin, but for some people in this society, even in this century, it still matters that they can see someone who looks like them and know that it can be better. Why? Because we have not move beyond being a post-racial country or a post-sexual identity society.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    May 16, 2011 6:28 AM GMT
    ErikTaurean saidwhat alot of people don't realize is that the black community, as a whole, has always seen being gay as something that belonged to white people.



    Well, THAT will certainly do wonders for race relations icon_rolleyes.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 6:36 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    ErikTaurean saidwhat alot of people don't realize is that the black community, as a whole, has always seen being gay as something that belonged to white people.



    Well, THAT will certainly do wonders for race relations icon_rolleyes.gif


    And this trite comment certainly doesn't do anything to move things along on this side either does it?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 6:46 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    ErikTaurean said It matters, at least for us, in the communities of color. While it may not be a big deal to some, it is still a major stigma for black men


    As if it is not, to some degree, a major stigma to be gay for white men too? Is it just me or is it weird that people of color gripe about being discriminated against while at the same time they are discriminating against their own for their sexual preference? Hypocrisy comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.


    Why can't you celebrate this as a bold move to help eradicate
    the gay "stigma." This is not only a victory for black gays but
    the gay community as a whole. This is not an "Us" vs "Them"
    situation my friend. This is a victory for ALL of us! But perhaps
    you hold a narrow view of our diverse community? Perhaps you
    view this as a threat in some perverse way to your privilege as
    a white male? I don't know? But whatever it is? Knock it off!

    You want POC to join in the fight for gay rights. But our struggles
    are usually left for us to fight alone. Where are you? Too busy
    thinking about yourselves I suppose? So it's easier for you simply
    turn your back on us. All the while you dance to our music, snap
    your fingers and twist your heads like our women, and speak in
    slang from our community. Maybe this isn't a description that fits
    you? If not then I'll ask what have you done to aid gay POC in
    their struggle? How are you fighting for causes that are important
    to POC in "our" community? When you fight for gay rights do you
    stand for me too? Where are you?

    I think it's important for us to be sensitive to All of our struggles!
    Celebrate ALL of OUR victories as gay people and to stand
    shoulder to shoulder in the trenches until we ALL are treated equally.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2011 6:46 AM GMT
    well that is some great news. And for the record, its important that very visible people begin to come out in order to inspire younger gay people, and change attitudes. Not to mention Don Lemon is one of the most attractive newsmen out there.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    May 16, 2011 6:50 AM GMT
    ErikTaurean said
    CuriousJockAZ said
    ErikTaurean saidwhat alot of people don't realize is that the black community, as a whole, has always seen being gay as something that belonged to white people.



    Well, THAT will certainly do wonders for race relations icon_rolleyes.gif


    And this trite comment certainly doesn't do anything to move things along on this side either does it?



    What were you expecting --- sympathy for the plight of the gay black man because "the black community has always seen GAY as something that belonged to white people"?