Kerry Washington has received a heap of praise for her speech at the GLAAD Media Awards over the weekend in support of marriage equality, but along the way she continued the celebrity trend of sweeping the entire Black community under the label “homophobia.”
It was a move also made earlier this year by Empire creator Lee Daniels, when he told a room full of white TV critics about his struggles as a gay man with the “rampant” homophobia in the Black community.
Washington used the occasion of her acceptance of GLAAD’s Vanguard award to lecture the Black community for its so-called hypocrisy. But in the process, she slandered an entire community of 40 million people for a state of mind that she seemed to presume was shared by the great swath of Black people in the U.S. It’s a stereotype that has taken on a life of its own, with none of the sophistication that someone like Kerry Washington would normally bring to her analysis.
“On Monday morning, people are going to click a link to hear what that woman from Scandal said at that awards show, and so, I think some stuff needs to be said…” she began.
“So when Black people today tell me that they don’t believe in gay marriage… So, the first thing that I say is, ‘Please don’t let anybody try to get you to vote against your own best interest by feeding you messages of hate.’ And then I say, ‘You know people used to stay that stuff about you and your love and if we let the government start to legislate love in our lifetime, who do you think is next?’”
This is usually the next step in the attack on the Black community, an insistence that the challenges of homosexuals are akin to those of a race of people who have been murdered, enslaved, tortured, hung, subjugated, oppressed and systematically destroyed for hundreds of years. And if Black people object to the comparison, they are accused once again of homophobia for their disagreement.
In taking on the fight for the gay community, Washington has decided to tear Black people down in the process.
“But when did homophobia become a specifically black problem?” writer Stereo Williams asked on the Daily Beast. “Homophobia and transphobia in the black community are very real issues that should be addressed; but there is a disturbing tendency to frame black people as uniquely homophobic…[T]hose who consider themselves opponents of homophobia and racism should be mindful of how easily one can be used to galvanize the other, and it’s not in the best interest of progress to allow a room full of entitled white liberals to believe that the only bigots are the ones who don’t look like them. Ignorance and hate are not black-exclusive.”
In his attack, Daniels said the “rampant” homophobia in the Black community forces Black men to secretly engage in gay sex to avoid being stigmatized—as if the Black community is the problem, not the men lying about their sexuality.