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By Jasmyne A. Cannick
Last week after Kenneth Eng’s Asian Week column “Why I Hate Blacks” was criticized, guess who issued a statement denouncing the article?
If you said the NAACP, then you guessed correctly.
NAACP President Bruce Gordon is quoted in a press release as saying “Eng’s comments expose the racial tension–often hidden, but still very much present — in communities across America. These types of remarks widen the racial divide and further promote negative stereotypes.”
And for the record I agree. But then why the silence on Tim Hardaway?
If Eng’s comments widen the racial divide, then what exactly does “I hate gays” do to the Black community?
And why isn’t Hardaway worth a press release and a comment from the NAACP President?
With each instance like this, I become more and more disillusioned with the Black leadership. You can’t tell me that Eng’s column and Hardaway’s comments both don’t merit a response from the organization that is nationally recognized for defending Black people.
As long as the leadership of institutions like the NAACP aren’t challenged to represent all Black people, not just the heterosexual Black people, then Hardaway and others like him, will get a pass from the Black community.
The NAACP is not this organization that is untouchable. I think we’ve already seen their vulnerability with their waning membership numbers. Just like with GLAAD, HRC, the Task Force and those other gay organizations that claim to represent the gay community in its entirety, the NAACP has to be held to the same standards. You can’t represent only the Blacks that are heterosexual or the middle class Blacks. You have to represent the Blacks that are gay, transgender, poor and so forth.
What I read in the NAACP’s statement was that it was more important to keep relations good between Asians and Blacks than to keep relations good between Blacks themselves. I read that someone at the NAACP thought the Eng column posed a significant threat to Black America, unlike the public announcement from a major Black sports figure that he hated gay people and would hate his own relative if he or she were gay.
Sure denouncing Asian Week and Eng is the right thing to do but it’s also an easy thing to do. Blacks aren’t going to argue with the NAACP on that. But what about addressing the real challenges in America, starting in our own backyard with the rampant homophobia that exists from the church house, to Congress, to the ball court, to the kitchen table.
Now that would have been more impressive and more worthwhile in my opinion.