Gay preacher that Obama invited to educate blacks about homophobia is white

UPDATE: Pam Spaulding has weighed in now as well.

I have no comment, I’ll leave it to African-American bloggers like Keith Boykin.

This move is sure to piss off almost everybody, except HRC [the Human Rights Campaign], who apparently brokered the deal. Obama won’t win any new black votes by getting a white gay guy to speak at a black event. Especially when there are plenty of black straight people, black gay people, families of black gay people, and friends of black gay people who could have been chosen to speak.

I have been following the reaction in the black gay community, and many but not all of the commenters are outraged by the decision. It was bad enough that McClurkin was invited in the first place, but it only adds insult to injury to ignore the longstanding concerns of the black gay community by not talking to people in the black gay community themselves. And if someone had to be invited, why not invite someone in the black gay community? Or why not invite a black mother of a gay or lesbian child? Or a local black pastor who supports the full inclusion of gays and lesbians?

And Alvin McEwen, of Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters, who has been doing a great job tracking, and battling, the religious right:

Obama’s clumsy invitation to Pastor Sidden only perpetuates the myth that being black and being gay are two separate identities that don’t overlap.

Furthermore, it means that folks like myself (lgbts of color) are once again shown how invisible we are.

No. More than that.

We have been given the hook, pushed to the side, had the trapdoor to the alligator pit released under our feet.

LGBTs of color haven’t been just pushed to the back of the bus in this controversy. We have been kicked off of the bus and told to find our own way home.

And Jasmyne Cannick, who I’d not heard of before, but after reading this, I want to know this woman (and then avoid ever ticking her off):

Let’s get straight to it. What the hell were Obama’s people thinking when they invited a white openly gay minister to open for his South Carolina gospel concert with Donnie McClurkin?

I’ll repeat it once more.

I said, what the hell were Obama’s people thinking when they invited a white openly gay minister to open for his South Carolina gospel concert with Donnie McClurkin?

Is he trying to lose the race? That’s all I want to know.

It was bad enough that Obama’s people, and I say people because I eloquently explained on Tuesday how these types of things can happen, invited and announced a gospel concert tour through South Carolina with openly homophobic singers Mary Mary and the ex-gay Donnie McClurkin which sparked accusations of Obama running a homophobic campaign. But keepin’ hope alive, I tried to make the best of it hoping that the protests would be used as a teachable moment for Obama and his campaign advisers. No such luck….

Oh and please save your energy and mine too from having to press delete. I already know that what I am saying is harsh. Harsh not racist. Harsh but true. It’s already been established that using white gay folks to explain to Blacks have the gay civil rights movement is the same as the 60’s Civil Right Movement doesn’t work. In fact, it’s an automatic turn off for most Blacks, including this Black lesbian. With a sensitive issue like this, it’s important that Blacks talk to Blacks. Our community needs to see us and hear from us and no one but us. And if we sit up here and allow this to go down, we have no one but ourselves to blame for our invisibility….

Decisions like inviting Rev. Sidden, a white openly gay pastor to address a mostly African-American audience further push the idea among Blacks that gay is white. The belief that whites are trying to push gay issues onto Blacks further divides the African-American community from their same-gender loving counterparts who continue to remain invisible.

And here’s Pam Spaulding’s take:

The last thing a crowd of black folks who have a problem with homosexuality needs is: 1) to be “told” by the Obama campaign that a message about tolerance must be delivered from a white voice of faith, and 2) to have their beliefs confirmed that being gay is “a white man’s perversion.” Coming from a white pastor under these circumstances, can only be seen as paternalistic and patronizing; the shields of defensiveness will go up, the message will be ignored.

The most stinging message that the Obama campaign has sent is that they apparently didn’t see the relevance or necessity of removing the ability of religious blacks to stay in denial, that somehow there is not an intersection of being black and gay. This move renders us invisible yet again, as politically expendable, because it telegraphs that it’s too politically volatile to address the division in the community by having them confront one of their own — black gay and gay-affirming ministers — when it comes to looking at bigotry.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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