Viktor Kerney

My Issue With Kerry Washington's GLAAD Awards Speech

Filed By Viktor Kerney | March 23, 2015 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, The Movement
Tags: black homophobia, GLAAD Media Award, Kerry Washington

Kerry-Washington.jpgAt the GLAAD Media Awards, Kerry Washington received the Vanguard Award for being an outstanding LGBT advocate. As she accepted her award, Kerry delivered a powerful speech that spoke out on the lack of access for fundamental rights like education, health care, and the right to vote.

Then, she spoke about underrepresented communities being forced to choose sides in the overall battle for civil rights. However, this particular part of her speech struck a completely different chord with me. (Video after the break.)

Kerry said:

"Women, poor people, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, intersex people, we have been pitted against each other and made to feel that there are limited seats at the table for those of us who fall into the category of other. So, when black people today tell me that they don't believe in gay marriage... The first thing that I say is please don't let anybody try to get you to vote against your own best interests by feeding you messages of hate. And then I say, you know people used to say stuff like that about you and your love. And if we let the government start to legislate love in our lifetime, who do you think is next?"

I want to point out when Kerry said, "So, when black people today tell me that they don't believe in gay marriage..." The crowd went wild. Seriously, standing up on their feet.

It was that particular piece in her speech that made me cringe and, sadly, feel disappointed.

Let me say that I love Kerry Washington. I am a huge fan and a "Gladiator" through and through. While I appreciated her speech at the GLAAD Awards, I was taken aback on her statement about black people. That small part in her speech came across as if African-Americans are more homophobic than others and we just don't get marriage equality.

I'm sure it wasn't her intent, but the delivery says otherwise. And the crowd's reaction to that statement was also very telling. Their response said, "Yes, Miss Kerry, you're right and we're right. black folks are very homophobic and unaware. You tell them!"

Great, just what we needed - a bunch of privileged people believing another negative stereotype about underrepresented groups.

This belief that African-Americans are overly homophobic, which is a foolish myth, is deeply rooted in rumors and inadequate facts. This folklore started when Prop 8 passed in California. Somewhere, the media claimed that African-Americans pushed the vote to brink and celebrities like Dan Savage and Lee Daniels went on record saying this notion was true, even though there was no hard data or evidence to support the idea.

But here's the thing, while it does exist, it's not as powerful as many may think.

If African-Americans are so homophobic, they would be leading these state and national initiatives to take rights away from us. African-Americans are not the leaders or the creators of NOM, Focus on the Family, AFA, or Million Moms.

Yes, the African-American community are often courted by these groups to betray the LGBT community, but that tired concept is failing fast. In fact, a national Gallup poll found 53% of African-Americans believe that same-sex marriages should be officially recognized in the country. In other words, support for marriage equality is growing within the African-American community. There's no doubt in that at all.

So, let's stop perpetuating this untruth in predominately white spaces, because that right there is a prime example of pitting us against one another.

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