Is gay the new black?

IN A RECENT interview with the Tampa Tribune, former Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy remarked that he would not have drafted Michael Sam, the openly gay seventh round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams. “Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play,” Dungy said, “but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.”

[blocktext align=”right”]Several commentators said that in questioning Michael Sam’s draft status, Dungy was forgetting the struggles that blacks had to endure in order to get into the NFL. They said, in essence, that gay is the new black. [/blocktext]

Dungy later clarified his comments, saying the “it” he referred to in his comments was the media circus that would come with Sam. Unfortunately, the clarification was too late for the Twittersphere.

Dungy was called homophobic and hypocritical. He was called cowardly and hateful. However, there was one viewpoint I found particularly interesting.

Several commentators said that in questioning Michael Sam’s draft status, Dungy was forgetting the struggles that blacks had to endure in order to get into the NFL. They said, in essence, that gay is the new black.

What do you think? Is the gay rights movement the same as the African American Civil Rights Movement? In other words, is gay the new black?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com. Click here to learn more about Solomon

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Kevin Ghee

A resounding HELL NO! I’m sick of the juxtaposition of the two issues. The issue of choice or being born that way is debatable and something I don’t care enough about to debate or research but what I do care about is all the blacks who’ve been strung up by the klan, had laws created purposely to keep them subjugated, had dogs sicked on them, churches bombed, neighborhoods destroyed etc etc….. The LBGT are a bunch of fucking hypocrites in that they claim that they are denied rights etc etc but will not hesitate to boycott a person or place because they don’t agree with the lifestyle. You don’t have to deny them work, bomb them, hang them, make them walk through back, sit in the back for them towant to exile you, all you have to say is that you don’t agree with them all the while there are gay blacks who have claimed discrimination against them within their own community.

I feel any black person who claims the two are synonymous is totally lost and does those whom came before us a MAJOR injustice. Hell, gays run the entertainment business and are some of the riches people in the world.

To suggest Gay is the new Black is highly offensive and lends in the furthering of the trivializatio [sic] of the BLACK struggle which is without comparison here.

Solomon Jones

I think you make some valid points Kevin. I don’t equate being gay to being black. I can’t hide being black in order to advance my career or to be accepted in certain social circles, and the vast majority of my ancestors couldn’t either (unless they were extremely fair-skinned and decided to “pass.”) However, a gay person can decide not to reveal his or her sexuality in order to move about
undetected, and thus avoid the kind of discrimination I can’t get around, no
matter how hard I try.

Joseph Incredulous Huggy

Whether you can hide your race or not is really only tangential. It doesn’t really matter. What happens when people find out someone is gay, is no different from what happens when we are guilty of being black.

Denise Clay

Why is it considered “hypocritical” or “bullying” when a group uses the power of the purse to protest it’s mistreatment? Why should I be forced to pay for your bad fast food or other service with my money? Maybe if African Americans did more of that, we’d be mistreated less.
But then again, maybe that $1,200 purse you want to buy at Barney’s is worth getting followed around by store security or patted down by the cops when you leave the store…

Kevin Ghee

Well, tell me about the mistreatment you are referring to as it relates to your example of being forced to pay for “bad fast food” or “other services?” Blacks should unite and rise up against the mistreatment. I agree. But I’m sure gays get followed around stores and patted down by the cops, just because they’re gay. NOT!

Also if someone wants to spend $1200 for a purse or $350 for a belt, so what. The point is never about the cost of a thing yet the perception held by those who work there.

Denise Clay

And if you’re following me around as I’m trying to spend my money, I won’t be spending it with you.

Joseph Incredulous Huggy

You wrote: “The LBGT are a bunch of fucking hypocrites in that they claim that they are denied rights etc etc but will not hesitate to boycott a person or place because they don’t agree with the lifestyle. ” Can you give one example of this happening?

Kevin Ghee

We can start with Dan Cathy, who opposes same sex marriages. He is well within his right to be against it. From his religious stand point it’s what he believes. Not once did I see him state that gays should be lynched, subjugated etc etc… But the LGBT community feels that no one should eat at this establishment. How is this any different from what they are claiming is being done to them? For goodness sake Chic-Fil-A doesn’t open on Sundays due to their religious beliefs. So to suggest that people boycott is hypocritical. He never said the LGBT community shouldn’t own businesses or be able to feed their families? And the co-mingling of this and Blacks is very offensive to me at it’s core. It belittles the pain and the scars left by racism.

Joseph Incredulous Huggy

That’s nonsense. They never advocated that no one should eat there. They organized a boycott. That means that if you are sympathetic to their cause you shouldn’t eat there.

Kevin Ghee

Boycott means what? It actually means to combine in abstaining from, or preventing dealings with, as a means of intimidation or coercion. So how is that not advocating? Your honor I present to you exhibit A in the Hypocrites Theory.

So you can advocate that people not spend money with a person or establishment because he doesn’t agree with same sex marriages? Really? It’s not like he wanging hanging folks or bombing their churches….oh but you wanna align or juxtapose the blacks plight with this? Please spare us from any more of the balderdash on the issue

Joseph Incredulous Huggy

This conversation has gotten far too stupid for me to continue. Goodbye.

Kevin Ghee

People who post stupid comments usually deflect and flee. Enjoy your day!

Joseph Incredulous Huggy

No. People who argue with obviously brain dead people are dumb. I’m not dumb. Enjoy your stupidity.

Solomon Jones

I hate to see two obviously intelligent men descend to name calling. The two of you should make your arguments and let the chips fall where they may.

Joseph Incredulous Huggy

I don’t think coach Dungy meant it in a hurtful way, he was just saying that he wouldn’t want to be involved in the media circus surrounding Sam. I don’t think he was being homophobic or mean. Having said that, I think it is despicable how so many black people are so irrationally and vehemently bigoted when ti comes to homosexuality.

Solomon Jones

What constitutes bigotry? Because watching the reaction to Tony Dungy’s rather innocuous remarks made me feel as if anyone who says anything that does not completely toe the line where gay rights is concerned is now considered a bigot.

Joseph Incredulous Huggy

I think coach Dungy is the victim of overzealous persecution of bigots. I don’t think he is a bigot, nor did he deserve the back;lash he has gotten from people who didn’t actually attempt to get an understanding of what he is saying

Vernon Whyte

I don’t think anything can compare anything to being black. The world can see that I’m black and I can not do nothing about it…I am more than pleased with that, also.
I’m not saying that anyone should have to do such a thing, but, others can ‘conceal’ who or what they are to avoid ridicule or persecution. There’s no concealing being black.

Again, I wanna emphasize that I am not suggesting gay or other persecuted groups should hide. Be proud…just know that nonsense comes with being different and making the masses uncomfortable,

Solomon Jones

I agree that nothing really compares with being black, and I find myself confused by the attempt to tie the gay rights struggle to the African American Civil Rights struggle. No one was enslaved because they were gay, or lynched en masse because they were gay, or denied education because they were gay. I think that our justice system dictates that we are all treated equally under the law, and our system should live up to its promise. But it’s tough to watch a respected figure like Tony Dungy demonized because he did not tie the gay rights struggle to the African American Civil Rights struggle when the two struggles are not the same.


Black is the next black? Geez, now we have to wait our turn to be black again. While I wait, I am going to check to see if I have good credit. Ya never know.

Solomon Jones

Yes black is indeed the new black … and the old black … and every black in between. Thanks for sharing Frances 🙂

Gary Dwayne

In short, hell no!

Marc Stier

There are all kinds of bigotry and discrimination and each one is most likely unique. Although they are similarities, each one has different sources, is expressed in different ways, and has different consequences. I’m not sure its helpful to lump them all together except to say that one is opposed to all of them. It’s more helpful to look at each one in its uniqueness and find appropriate ways of addressing it.

One of the obvious ways in which bigotry against gays is different from bigotry against blacks is that while few blacks can pass, gays and lesbians can do so in unfamiliar circumstances. And that no doubt helps reduce some kinds of bigotry. On the other hand, think of the psychic consequences of having to be so careful about expressing one’s romantic and sexual interests. That’s something that most of us take for granted and it must awful to have to hide it.

Again, we can think about which is better or worse. But I’m just inclined to say that they are different and sympathize with both kinds of pain.

That’s one reason I”m troubled by the comparison. The other is that if we call something the “new” bigotry it’s as if the old bigotry is over. It’s not.

Kamau Stanford

If “being black” is the new definition of systemic and generational oppression and suppression, than we’ll have to wait a while to see if gay is in fact the “new black”. Now if we’re talking about prejudice and discrimination based on “who you have sex with”, I still don’t see it. Not sure white folks were lynching and raping my ancestors because who they had sex with. But the real issue is why the “you specifically should understand” narrative all directed at African Americans? I never hear this directed at Jews, Native American, South American, Asian or any other European oppressed peoples. We all got our plights as humanity has found away to hate everyone for something. But hey, just my two cents.

Solomon Jones

Kamau that’s what I thought was so unfair about the criticism of Tony Dungy. It’s almost as if Dungy, as a black man, was not permitted to have an individual opinion. Rather, he was expected to respond positively to Michael Sam because all blacks are supposed to understand and support gay rights based on what the media is telling us is our shared suffering.

Kamau Stanford

And what’s even sillier is this perspective is so media driven, as gay people know the plights are different. If you’re still confused ask a gay, black man (not me). LOLOL

Solomon Jones

As a Christian, I share Tony Dungy’s faith, so it was hard for me to see him treated as if he was obligated to line up with other folks’ values. I think people basically wait for others to say things they don’t agree with, and then use those statements to speak negatively about entire groups. That happened with Dungy, and I thought that was wrong.

Darin Toliver

No. While I believe gays deserve rights, their issues cannot compare to the historical effects of racism towards Blacks.

Darin Toliver

It’s more religious liberals (progressives) versus the conservative traditional right. Black, IMO, has nothing to do with Dungey’s belief. He stood be Vick because as a Christian, forgives serves as the foundation of the religion. In the same breath he was supported for that stance, he has to be criticzed for levying his personal beliefs on the Sam situation. You can’t have it both ways. Not everyone supported Vick and not every wants to see Sam fail.

Solomon Jones

I hear your argument on Vick, but Dungy never said anything about religion regarding Sam. He said he wouldn’t have drafted him because of the media circus. I mean, Sam is a 7th round pick who claims he should have gone in the 5th. He hasn’t played a down and he’s already claiming he’s been discriminated against. Either way, he was a guy at the back end of the draft, so in Dungy’s mind, why endure the headache of having Oprah in your training camp when Sam isn’t even a first round talent? I agree with Dungy, and I think it’s unfair that even though Dungy never said anything about religion, and in fact said Sam should have a chance to play, Dungy’s detractors used the occasion to denigrate all Christians.

Camari Ellis

But Black Civil Rights is kinda like an oxymoron. So yeah, it has been co-oped.

But there are Black Folks who are Gay right? So, we dont want them to be treated fairly?

We get through away, because we dont even recognize that we deserve better and that better begins with us.


Is gay the new Black? Perhaps this can be answered when we amass data on the number of gays who are profiled for being gay. You know, like being followed in stores, denied housing, pulled over for driving, being denied jobs because of the sound of their names, getting gunned down by police, etc. When I see comparable numbers, then I can consider whether gay is the new Black.