REVISITING BLACK HOMOPHOBIA.

Jamelle at the United States of Jamerica comes up with some more hard data contradicting Andrew Sullivan's hasty conclusion that black folks are "the most homophobic ethnic community" in the United States. Much was made about black voters who went for Bush in Ohio in 2004, ostensibly because of the ballot initiative banning gay marriage, because Ohio would have given Kerry the election. But it turns out black folks were less likely than whites to vote for the ban in 2004:

And a funny thing happened on the way to the ballot box in the last presidential election. When constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage were on 11 state ballots in November 2004, blacks in Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Oklahoma were at least one percentage point less likely than whites to vote for them, according to CNN exit polls. Only in Georgia were blacks slightly more likely to vote for the amendment. (The remaining four states had too few blacks to make a meaningful comparison.)

Jamelle also points to some hard data about the phenomenon I discussed earlier, which is that regardless of their religious beliefs about the morality of being gay, blacks are more likely to believe gays should be protected by anti-discrimination laws.

In the most comprehensive study to date of black-white differences in attitudes toward homosexuality, Gregory B. Lewis of Georgia State University combined data from 31 national surveys conducted between 1973 and 2000. His study, published in Public Opinion Quarterly, concluded that “blacks appear to be more likely than whites both to see homosexuality as wrong and to favor gay-rights laws.”

Not to jack Jamelle's whole post, but he also drops this jewel from Barney Frank:

Openly gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has said African Americans in Congress are, “with no close second, the most supportive group for gays and lesbians” — more supportive even than the gays in Congress, he added dryly, if you count those who are in the closet.

Black folks continue to elect representatives who favor gay rights, they vote for the party that supports gay rights in national elections, and they are more likely than whites to favor anti-discrimination laws protecting gays. There is homophobia in the black community, because black folks are Americans, where homophobia continues to be a serious problem. But the idea that black folks are more homophobic than everyone else is simply ignorant. But it's part of a larger pattern, where white folks routinely attribute widely American phenomena (like anti-intellectualism) to black folks because they simply can't see it in themselves.

--A. Serwer

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