Did Don Lemon Throw Blacks Under the Bus?

The CNN anchor has been applauded for announcing that he is gay, but some say he unfairly portrayed all blacks as homophobic.

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I'm not defending black homophobia with an "Everyone else does it, too" excuse. I'm merely pointing out that homophobia is a collective American societal ill -- otherwise, the It Gets Better Project would be directed only toward black teens. That's why there is a danger in even indirectly promoting in the media the myth of the big black homophobe.

Many blacks have grown tired of being lumped into that monolithic narrative, and press for more nuance in this discussion. Religious blacks can be prone to gay intolerance, but so can many other religious people. The prejudices we have been conditioned to accept should be the issue, not arbitrary debates over who buys the bull more.

I'm grateful that Don Lemon has come out, and agree that he has a right to share his truth. But if we don't choose our words wisely, we run the risk of turning off those who need to hear them most. Until we speak about homophobia with richer context, it won't matter how many new faces we add to the debate. The direction of the conversation will remain, well, transparent.

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard University-educated writer currently based in Los Angeles. You can read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter.

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