Alex Blaze

The Black Youth Project: Now that's something worth talking about

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 10, 2007 5:05 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: African-American, Andrew Sullivan, LGBT youth

Here's something interesting. The University of Chicago just did a comprehensive study of the political and cultural opinions of Black, Hispanic, and white youth. In many ways, it bucks the conventional (Bill O'Reilly) wisdom. Black youth are over 10% more likely to use condoms at least almost every time and a majority think that rap music is offensive to Blacks and women.

Of course, there's a part that isn't so good:

On social issues, the surveys found that African-American young people are more likely to agree that homosexuality is always wrong (55 percent for blacks, 36 percent for Hispanics and 35 percent for whites). A majority of African-American youth also opposed legalizing same-sex marriages, (58 percent for blacks, 36 percent for Hispanics and 35 percent for whites).
I wonder how much this has to do with this study that found that "There is evidence that financial dissatisfaction might also be a source of bigotry." That might apply considering that almost half of Black youth in the study thought that the government treats them worse than immigrants, twice the percentage of white youth. Religion, also, is another part of the problem. According to the University of Chicago study:
In particular, African American religiosity has been thought to support homophobia and homonegativity. Indeed, increasing levels of religiosity have been shown to correlate with increasing levels of homonegativity. While some churches deviate from this pattern, accepting openly or secretly gay and lesbian members into the fold, most African American churches openly decry homosexuality.

And the invisibility of Black people in major media representations of gays mixed with the racism in the white queer community and the stereotype that gays are uniquely racist also play parts. As well as other factors.

This is, once again, a sign that we need to continue to work to eliminate heterosexism both by calling it out and by working with community leaders to show that we're responsible citizens.

Which is why silliness like this isn't helping. Andrew Sullivan entitles a post on this study "Blacks vs Gays", as if it's a battle between two separate groups against each other. Such thinking reduces a common battle for equality to a "catfight" and renders Black gays and lesbians invisible. One has to wonder if that was his intention.


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