January 26, 2010.
It is very strange that for some reason there is so much discussion at once, or so it seems to me, about homosexual and racial civil rights issues, and two items seem to speak to each other and us about what we need to consider.
I watched on Logo, a rare thing for me on that channel, a documentary on Bayard Rustin on Dr. King’s holiday.
A tangential issue: I wonder how Rev. Irene Monroe thought when the BET channel chose to have, on Martin Luther King Day, a film on Malcolm X?
But I learned or was reminded of the issues Rustin faced, and King, and the Black civil rights movement deal with, in their work in the documentary. There have been several books on Rustin, but I doubt young people who read them even really understand the many issues he had to deal with.
I think Monroe is right when she says that if King had done much in support of the LGBT civil rights movement, then he would have lost much support from Black citizens, and Black preachers, as he started to do near the end of his life when he got into economic issues and the questioning of the Vietnam war.
And King and Rustin, like Barak Obama, LBJ, etc., all had to make choices on how best to get changes they sought without harming other changes they also wanted.
Specifically, Rustin had started in the anti-war movement, a pacifist and working with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, as I recall. He then got into the Black civl rights issue and, as the media finally got right, got credit for the March on Washington. But he was under constant attack, as indirectly was King, from blacks who hated homosexuals. While some good came, for instance, from Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, he was vicious in accusing King of being homosexual because King chose to accept the help of a homosexual, Rustin, in his work for black civil rights. And Rustin, who had been arrested for public sex (homosexual), did little for the LGBT cause as he had chosen to work for the race rather than sex issue.
And Rustin, needing LBJ’s help in the cause, did not speak out against the Vietnam War because he thought it would cause strain in getting help from President Johnson in changing laws, and he was right.
And the issue is with us today as we try to get changes in all areas of American life. Each of us can only do so much, and we must choose what group or part we will support. And hope others will work in the areas we can not.
As we watch the issue of same sex marriage come up, it is sad if not funny to hear young black people opposed to LGBT civil rights when they did nothing to gain their own rights.
It is another issue I wish we had a Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert to cover in case there is some way to deal with this issue with humor.