My pain is greater than your pain – I win!

CNN.com published a commentary today from someone at ESPN that, well, it’s not entirely clear what it’s intent was. It seemed to be an article about the gay community and Obama, but then turned into an article accusing the white gay community of discriminating against the black gay community, and finally, seemed to suggest that the civil rights struggle of gays and lesbians is somehow less worthy than the civil rights struggle of African-Americans.

I considered responding to the numerous problems with this piece, but it’s just not worth it. I’m not fighting for “white civil rights,” we already have someone in America who does that – he’s a creep named David Duke. I’m fighting for civil rights. And I’ve never quite understood the need, or desire, of some to play the “my discrimination is bigger than your discrimination, so you suck” card. It’s all bad, it all needs to stop.

Anyway, I’m just not going to get into a point by point with this writer of this article, I’ll let Alvin and Autumn respond, which they have on their own sites, quoted below. I would, however, note one small correction to the ESPN guy. Gay people didn’t start existing, and start facing discrimination, 40 years ago, as the author suggests in his column. We’ve been here from the beginning.

Here’s Alvin:

Getting your head busted open for being black or gay is not a trophy and should never be seen as such.

So blacks say that gays can’t compare their struggle to the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s because they didn’t face slavery and segregation. Big deal. If you wanted to be stupid about it, some can say blacks can’t compare themselves to Jews. Remember this country kept blacks as slaves, but the Nazis tried to exterminate Jewish people.

I say we are losing touch. In the long run, the forms that oppression take is not as important as the harm it can do.

Or, if you want to be direct about it, did Mamie Till and Judy Shepard cry different tears when they learned about the death of their children?

Is the hurt of a black girl who has been told that she is ugly because she does fit the European standard of beauty any different than that of a young white lesbian who has been bullied in her school because of her orientation?

Is my worth as a black man more important than my worth as a gay man?

Are we so damned wrapped up in talking about how we have been oppressed that we forget that all oppression must be stopped?

It’s sad that Mr. Granderson did not ask these critical questions.

Yet another wasted opportunity.

And here’s Autumn over at Pam’s House Blend:

I don’t know how “black is the new gay”/”black is not the new gay” comparisons matter in a bigger picture — unless the goal is to create or fester rancor between these communities. I don’t see how pointing out who has suffered longer for civil rights, or which community’s hate crime deaths are more statistically or fundamentally significant –either historically or now — are useful in the pursuit equal treatment for all under the law. I don’t believe the real point is about who suffers or suffered more, but instead about ending as much suffering as possible.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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