In his column at the Daily News, John McWhorter argues that when President Obama mentioned Stonewall during his inaugural address, he underscored the importance for African Americans to continue fighting for equality for all, including gays.
When President Obama sounded off about Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall during Monday’s inaugural address, it got me thinking about how fragile the links between those events actually are, despite his attempt to paint them as part and parcel of a single progressive movement throughout our history.
For example, early feminists often had little interest in assisting what was then called the Negro with his (or her) problems. By our standards, many of them were racists. After their victories, we still had some way to go.
Today, we are at a similar stage. Too many black Americans have little more interest in keeping the ladder out for gay people than early feminists had in doing the same for black people.
It won’t do to euphemize it as a matter of black people resenting the gay movement taking on the civil rights banner, with its calls of “gay is the new black.” This isn’t a battle over political theory or jostling over who’s been more oppressed; it’s good old-fashioned homophobia.
Read John McWhorter’s entire piece at the Daily News.
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John McWhorter is a contributing editor at The Root. He is an associate professor at Columbia University and the author of several books, including Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English.