Michael Sam was the first openly gay player to be drafted by the National Football League in 2014. Though he never actually played in an official NFL regular season game after leaving the University of Missouri, Sam helped pave the way for the LGBT community in professional sports.
In a soon-to-be released interview in Attitude Magazine, Michael Sam discussed his feelings about a number of issues, including his thoughts on racism in the gay community.
Sam told Attitude:
“It’s terrible. You want to be accepted by other people, but you don’t even accept someone just because of the color of their skin? I just don’t understand that at all. How are you saying that, ‘oh, I want people to accept me because I’m gay but I don’t accept you because you’re black, or because you’re white or because you’re Asian.'”
During Friday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Roland Martin and his panel of guests discussed Sam’s comments and racism in the gay community that oftentimes has aligned itself with the plight of civil rights in an attempt to press society for inclusion and advancement.
NewsOne Now panelist Cleo Manago considers Sam speaking out on the topic of racism in the gay community “revolutionary.” He told Martin, “Never has a White-accepted, apparently White-embraced, gay identifying Black iconic person … come out and critiqued them and said the Black community was less homophobic.”
Manago said, “this is very unusual” and added, “Racism in the White gay community is really not our basic problem … our issue is that we don’t have a community that gets along and works together to empower ourselves.”
He continued, explaining that White gays are being “redundantly racist.” Manago believes African-Americans who are part of the gay community should affirm themselves. “It’s strange to see somebody like Michael Sam who did not affirm Black people suddenly critiquing White racism in the gay community,” said Manago.
Noel Gordon, Senior Specialist with the Human Rights Campaign, told Martin, “I don’t think that there is inherently more racism among one community or inherently more homophobia among one community, but I do think that the country has been engaged in a conversation around LGBT issues, marriage equality in particular for the past ten years.”
“We’re just now beginning to have mature conversations about race and racism vis-à-vis the Black Lives Matter movement and that maturing hasn’t yet happened in the LGBT community,” Gordon said. He added, “As we continue to be forced to confront racism that does exist in not just the LGBT community, but in America at large vis-à-vis the Black Lives Matter Movement, I think you will begin to see more and more Black, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, same gender-loving people speak out in the same way that Michael Sam has.”
Said Angela Peoples, Co-Director of GetEQUAL,“The face of the LGBT movement has been a White face, and that was not by accident.” She continued, “It was an intentional move by the leaders who are also mostly White and mostly male.”
Peoples also stated the conversation about what it means to be gay has “been centered on a very White, a very male experience.” She added, “That has made it seem as though LGBT people of color don’t even exist.”
Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss Michael Sam’s remarks about racism in the gay community in the video clip above.
Watch the second part of the NewsOne Now conversation addressing racism in the gay community in the video clip below.
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