We had a busy thread yesterday about this story that expanded into an interesting discussion about the general sentiment behind Morehouse College administrative assistant Sandra Bradley’s email — the frustration, even desperation of some black women to find a marriageable black man. Some saw the homophobia in the email, some didn’t:
“I can’t believe this wedding. It’s 2 men. They don’t smile in a lot of pictures and they look like a few brothers I’ve seen in the streets looking STRAGHT. Black women can’t get a break, either our men want another man, a white woman (or other nationality that’s light with straight hair), they are locked up in jail or have a “use to be” fatal disease. I’m beginning to believe Eve was a black woman and we Black women are paying for all the world’s sins through her actions (eating the apple).”
IMHO it’s there — along with stabs at white women, the bias in the criminal justice system, and men on the DL about their HIV status. Nevertheless, with that laundry list plus the level of bitterness quite apparent, the discussion in the thread was interesting.
The news that someone at Morehouse got a pink slip (it’s not specified that it is Bradley) for the bias in the email (and for using work email to spread it) is not terribly surprising given the uproar the email generated. The release from Morehouse:
The views expressed in the e-mail entitled, ‘The WTD of the Week,’ (September 28, 2009) were the personal views of one individual and do not reflect the values or policies of Morehouse College. Morehouse College has a no-tolerance position on discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the College has taken great strides toward building a diverse and tolerant community. After investigating the matter, the College has disciplined the persons involved in the incident, and one of the implicated employees is no longer with the College. In addition, the College has reminded its staff that the Morehouse e-mail system is College property, should be safeguarded as any other College property, and that e-mails that are discriminatory, inflammatory, or derogatory to any group are prohibited at the College.”
And this comment from one person who received the email.
Vanessa Crites, who does not work at Morehouse, received the email from her partner, who works for Fulton County, and said she was shocked by the comments.
“I almost started to cry. I almost could not believe what I was looking at, and I thought that Dr. Franklin needed to know,” Crites said. “I think she covered all biases, she’s discriminating against gay black men, she’s discriminating against white women, she’s discriminating against people with HIV.”
While this email focuses on the male couple whose photos were downloaded from Facebook and distributed with this email, it’s clear from the missive that overall bitterness about the state of the dating pool of black men is much more prominent, and little discussed in the coverage of the story in the LGBT blogosphere, which is odd because the content in this email does connect to the issue of homophobia in the black community at its base level.
More below the fold. Blender Kevinchi hit the nail on the head in the comments yesterday (several times, actually). Piecing together for context:
If you plan on reaching out to the black community, this is an attitude among black women that you will run up against. Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming the white gay community for the problem/perception (although there are many black women that do “the white women and the white men are taking our men”. That is a perception (no matter how irrational) that will have to be dealt with.
Remember, black women also vote in greater numbers than black men…
And there’s this…
Black women also go to church more than black men too.
Trust me, thoughts about this in the black community (even about homophobia itself) are far from monolithic.
And Kevinchi also noted that some in the white gay community were quick to spew vitriol at the black community generally, and black women specifically, when the Prop 8 exit polls come out. This story, emerging when we’re not in the heat of demonstrations re: Prop 8, gives us a chance to examine the intersection of race, sexual orientation, culture and religion in a less charged way. In order to have a sane conversation we have to take the time to do it when we’re not tossing barbs — but it’s challenging to get people interested in analyzing the subtext. I’m glad Blenders took up the discussion to enlighten one another and challenge assumptions — and dig a bit deeper than the controversy of the email and general reporting about the homophobia rather than the why is it manifesting itself in this way. That’s actually provides more interesting and relevant discussion since we know anti-gay digital flotsam circulates all the time.
I love this take by Toddy English:
Chile, I don’t know WHERE to begin so I’m going to begin from the beginning! Alright, to any straight woman reading (particularly black straight women) I’m going to give it to you REAL, right NOW…
1.) Gay men are NOT your enemy – Honey, we are NOT in competition withyou for men, case closed. End of story. We aren’t. My competition is OTHER gay men looking to pair up with other gay men. I don’t dress to impress and try and bait straight men. You wanna know WHY? Because if a man is truly heterosexual all I’m going to get is, “Y’know I’m straight, right?” There is nothing more fruitless than pursuing someone who does not want you…Which is what’s pathetic about women saying they can’t get a man because all of them are gay. Ladies, if your man wants another man then he NEVER wanted you in the first place. It is that simple. No matter how pretty you are it won’t matter because you DON’T have a penis.
So please stop blaming me for all of your ills…
Instead try getting your own man and stop worrying about two dudes getting married. Be fortunate that these brothas are on the UP and UP and not choosing to marry one of ya’ll to use as a smoke screen. You bitch and whine about the DL and now you’re complaining about two openly gay men making their union official. Which is it? You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
2.) No one is the “woman” in the relationship – Stop asking that stupid, “Which one is the man and which is the woman” mess. NEITHER is a woman because they are both MEN. It’s like owning a dog and a cat. You don’t have to ask which is a dog and which is cat. One is a dog and one is a damn cat
More below the fold.
What is truly homophobic and deserves scrutiny are the bigoted cowards hiding behind Internet anonymity at the black gossip site Bossip, which has a post with a photo of the happy couple, Michael Cole Smith and Jamil Smith Cole, entitled “What In The Hell Is Wrong With These Pictures.” It’s a nearly 500-comment thread of the most vile anti-gay sh*t. I must add that we have some serious allies in that thread as well, calling out Bossip and the homophobes in the thread out for their bigotry, which is refreshing to see. I’m not surprised that the ‘phobes are being beaten back — Bossip has to know a hefty number of eyeballs on that page are from TEH GAYZ, lol. They need to cut that sh*t out. And a lot readers told them to.
this website is the biggest bullshit i’ve ever read. All of you are hypocrites. You cry about being persecuted, but when you promote it.. it’s disgusting. you should ll be ashamed.
Bossip, whyyyyyyyyyyyy?!?!?! I was on your side earlier today when you all posted about the G-Unit Rapper and his foolish comment. Leave this married/union couple alone; they will enjoy their lives together. This may be myself and my future wife one day. You have lost “positive” points with me, Bossip; I guess I will go back to laughing at you all, Bossip. One thing I will say is I do not like the outfits, they’re overdone. It reminds me of prom outfits instead wedding outfits. Anyways I hope this married/union couple will live their lives together with support, care, and love. The end.
And by the way, I find it hard to believe that this post was put up in such a derogatory fashion by the staff. I thought sites were suppose to be neutral on issues. I would think this would make BOSSIP eligible to be included on the list of hate sites right next to the white hate sites.
To Ms. Tara Smith:
I concur with you and Ann. the homophobic garbage that has been spewing on the website is just shameful. Being judgmental about someone you don’t know and putting down what seems to be their genuine love for each other is just sad.
I hope Jamal and Michael have a very happly life together. I’m sure it will be better than some “straight” marriages (that don’t last very long these days).
First of all, I’m surprised you found this worthy of being posted. This seems like just a random union of two black men. Is your homophobia that strong that the minute you saw these you found it more than appropriate to post these with such hateful language like “What in the hell is wrong with these pictures?” and “flaming fellas”. This just reminds me of why I don’t ever visit this site. P.S. The wedding looked great. What in the hell is wrong with this site
WHAT THE BLANK EVER BOSSIP! LET THESE PEOPLE BE HAPPY AND IT FROM SOME OF THE OTHER PHOTO I SAW IT WAS BEAUTIFUL AND VERY TASTEFUL BETTER THAN SOME OF THE STRAIGHT ONE IV’E SEEN…GIVE ME A BREAK STOP HATING
whatever. after that lamar and khloe hot mess of a fiasco, straight people can’t say ONE GODDAMN WORD about gay people getting married. at least we know for a fact that they’re not media whores trying to get paid. God bless these two. fuck straight people and their bullshit judgment
Whatever. If they love each other, then good for them. Funny how people rag on these guys yet are okay with folks getting married solely for fame and money (cough, Khloe and Lamar, cough) lol
you got the wrong title on the wrong post, bossip. “what in the hell is wrong with these pictures” belongs at the top of the lamar and khloe post.
Bossip stop the homophobia, there are people who are killed because they’re gay. Please stop making fun, insulting people by using the term “debauchery”. Two people who love each other & who wish to marry is called making a commitment.. Move up to the 21st Century. I think Bossip should be reported to GLAAD.
LMAO @ all the people saying its an abomination and how they will have to answer to god. If you all are so holy why the FUCK are you on a gossip site? Oh I forgot thats all you hypocrites do in church on Sundays. GOSSIP about everyone in the church. SMH…
Seriously, I’ve seen straight weddings 10 times more tacky than this – i.e. the ghetto fab one with the entire wedding party (including bride and groom) wearing graffiti airbrushed designs of their homeboy down the street. Its amazing to me that in 2009 people are STILL so damn judgemental and homophobic. These two PEOPLE are in LOVE and celebrating that. They clearly have a great support system and I applaud them for making it to this point. And you know being in the black “community” their hurdles have been that much higher getting to their special day. Bravo to them, and I wish them a long and happy life together.
All you out there that wanna hate on them should look at pictures of your own wedding…. you either don’t have any or yours was probably no where near as fly has theirs – you know you are LOVING the jewels on the cake
So the next time your mind snaps into the “most blacks are homophobic” mode (again, how is any “race” monolithic, for god’s sake?), point back to religiosity and education first.
Also, understand that taking time to peek into the world of the Sandra Bradleys in the world helps to see why and where some of the bile comes from — not to mitigate it, mind you — but to help explain it and discuss it, which is something we have to learn how to work with and communicate about in order to build bridges of understanding on both sides. It’s not as if discussing it will solve the problem of the shortage of marriage-worthy available black men for Bradley from her POV (as if we could), but I believe that you can’t even begin a dialogue if you don’t take opportunities like this to discuss some undiscussables when the stove isn’t hot.