Just How Committed Is the NAACP’s Benjamin Jealous To The Gays’ Civil Rights Battle? Very! Sort Of.

Although Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the NAACP, keeps finding excuses to explain why the organization refuses to officially endorse marriage equality, he does think there’s plenty of room for Black Inc. and Gay Inc. to work together. Popping up this week at New York City’s LGBT Center to promote the upcoming One Nation Working Together rally in D.C., Jealous (who says he personally supports gay marriage), Jealous dedicated his speech to gay civil rights hero Bayard Rustin. Not that everyone was impressed.

“The NAACP is opposed to discrimination in all its forms,” Jealous told the Washington Post in an email. “We recognize that many of our members are also members of the LGBT community, and just as the LGBT community counts on us to stand with it for basic civil rights protections, so we count on the LGBT community to stand with us in our unified struggle for the broader civil rights agenda.”

Inevitably, these things always turn into a “Is Gay The New Black?” debate. So when Jealous was pointedly asked whether the NAACP would support the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, right there next to race, he put it this way: Leave that thing alone, and let’s pass ENDA.

The NAACP’s Lame Boat Metaphor to Rationalize Not Taking a Stand on Gay Marriage

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  • Mike in Asheville

    While many many many gays and lesbians are against racial discrimination and for equality for all, the fact of the matter is that Gay, Inc. does not and has not taken on ANY of black and racial America’s struggles for: equal pay, biased enforcement of drug laws, biased enforcement of most laws, driving while black, even hailing a NY taxi, equal distribution of taxes to services, or any other “black” issue. And, of course, there is an equal pro-rata share of racists among LGBTs as there is an equal pro-rata share of homophobes among African-Americans.

    Yes the NAACP COULD do more for equality for all by doing more for LGBT America; but the same can be said of Gay, Inc. about issues relating to race.

    Stop picking on the NAACP; their mission is not the same as our mission. Accept the strong and devoted words of their leaders (former NAACP president Julian Bond has repeatedly spoken strongly in favor of marriage-equality even testifying at various legislatures that marriage-equality should be the law).

    The NAACP has a long agenda of its own to pursue; just look at the bigotry and racism thrown at President Obama and you can see that racism is alive and thriving in America just as homophobia.

    It would do the LGBT community, and bloggers like Queerty, to focus on our own mission, our goals, and how to achieve them WITHOUT disparaging those whose mission is to serve their community.

  • Brian

    The issue of amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act is a total red herring. When age and disability were added as protected categories they were enacted as stand alone statutes; we can do the same with sexual orientation and gender identity.

    The real issue is that ENDA only covers private employment. Housing, credit, public accomodations, public programs and public employment are not covered by ENDA. We need a comprehensive non-discrimination statute.

  • Yellow Bone

    @Mike in Asheville: The opportunists should not be anywhere near the center then.

  • ADC

    Why is the NAACP being pressured into taking a gay stance? When was the last time GLAAD or some other Gay rights organization committed to doing something that benefit the Black community (and not just Black LGBT, but the Black community overall)? These groups each have their commitment to their respective focuses, they don’t need to be intertwined.

  • Yellow Bone

    @ADC They weren’t being pressured until they labeled anyone who pointed out Black involvement in the passage of Prop 8 racist, despite the fact that most black voters were for it. They opened the door…

  • edgyguy1426

    Well the NAACP is asking for us to stand with them in the continued fight for equal rights, but the argument “While I PERSONALLY believe in marriage equality…” the rest of the NAACP is non-commital. It seems like everyone that wants our help is unwilling to help (as much) in return, and of course in the case of the NAACP, it’s the heavy religious influences that are holding them back, so again, I only see this relationship as a 1 way street.

  • ADC

    @Yellow Bone: It is racist when certain people continue to be hellbent on acting as if Black people sealed the passage of prop 8 when we only account for 6% of California’s voting population…and when certain people remain hellbent on throwing out that bogus “70%” assertion to fuel their indignation, despite the fact that later accounts showed that the Yes on 8 vote from Blacks was actually only 58% (just a tiny margin higher than the White, Asian, and Latin vote for it.)

  • Yellow Bone

    @ADC because 58% is SO much better. because stripping people of their rights is ok, as long as you’re black. criticizing even a fraction of the Black population automatically makes you a racist.

    No discussions on black homophobia can happen, because thats “racist”.

    Forget the NAACP, they demand our support whilst they stab us in the back.

    Tell rappers to stop homophobia in their lyrics, tell black comedians to stop homophobia in their acts.

    Support must be reciprocated. Btw, I am black + hispanic.

  • Fitz

    The attempt to find something wrong with the NAACP trying to work with GLBT people is pathetic. Why the hell would any of our non-friends become our friends when we treat people so awfully?

  • jamison

    @Fitz: queerty why don’t you just say it outright: you think black people are homophobic hypocrites. and you post bait like this for race sensitive comments.

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