Gender Talk and Proposition 8
While reading Chapter 6, â€śBlack, Lesbian, and Gay: Speaking the Unspeakableâ€? in Gender Talk, my mind immediately went to the recent passage of Proposition 8 in California. This chapter discussed the negative attitudes toward homosexuals that exists in the African-American community. The recent passage of Proposition 8 is proof of these negative attitudes still existing in 2008. According to exit polls, 70% of all African-Americans that voted in the decision voted in favor of the measure. In addition, no other minority supported the measure by more than 53%, which was the percentage of Latinos that backed the proposition. In Gender Talk, Cole and Guy-Sheftall give many reasons why this negative attitude toward homosexuals developed in African-American communities. One reason for the homophobia was the acceptance of traditional notions of masculinity and femininity and the embrace of Christian values (which included antihomosexual beliefs). The authors go on to discuss how Black Nationalism was a large influence on homophobia in the African-American community. According to the authors, a persistent theme in post 50's Black Nationalism was that males became homosexual as the result of adopting decadent white values. Clearly then, this practice would be looked upon as a sickness by the black community. Another reason the authors mention for homophobia in the black community is the large placement of value on a patriarchical society. It seems as though African-American communities place a lot of merit on having a male dominated society, and in this type of society it is not ideal to be gay because that is seen as taking away a manâ€™s masculinity and power. These are just a few reasons highlighted in chapter six of Gender Talk, and it seems that more people need to be paying attention to the homophobia that exists in African-American communities so that a well-needed change happens.