Cause for Celebration—Why?

– L. Arthalia Cravin


Today is my 65th birthday. Turning 65 means two things—I now qualify for Medicare—and I am now old enough to say whatever I please—about anything. I had originally titled this column, “The “Genius” of White Men,” but after some thought I decided on what you see above.

Yesterday was a big “coming out” day for Jason Collins. His announcement that he was gay was a cause for celebration all across America. Even Bill Clinton lent his support. I have one question—why was a black man so applauded and celebrated for announcing his preference for having sex with men? Why would so many people find anything noble and worthy about this sort of “announcement.” This was not an announcement that a black man had found a cure for cancer, or diabetes. This was not an announcement that a black man had discovered some new cutting edge process that would help mankind addresses issues of dwindling natural resources or global warming. This was not a breaking new story that a black man had found a cure for childhood asthma. Collins’ “gay” announcement had nothing to do with anything except for his desire to let the world know that he prefers sex with men. So why all this hoopla over his so-called “coming out?”

The reason I had thought about my alternate title for this column reflecting on the “genius” of white men has everything to do with my age. How the “white media” heralded the “coming out” of Jason Collins fits perfectly with what my 65 years of living in America has taught me. So what exactly have these years revealed to me? First and foremost I am a product of the American educational system. Starting with totally segregated, ill equipped, country school houses in East Texas and advancing through a few of the top universities in the country, what I have witnessed and learned—both firsthand and from every history book ever written is that white men rule the world. Their conquest of “every nation” employed a formula that is still as vital now as it was when it was first used—first you malign, then you divide, then you brainwash, then you conquer. What white men learned centuries ago is that the only way to ensure their own survival, and that of their offspring, was to devalue and decimate other men and their offspring. Call it their version of the “survival of the fittest.” And who alone became “fit”–fit to rule, fit to prosper, fit to enjoy the bounty of this earth? Of course white men and their off spring. And who became “unfit” –everyone else—especially peoples of color. Instead of being seen as fit to share ruler ship and prosperity—peoples of color were denigrated, stereotyped, and brainwashed as “unfit.” Black men especially were seen as “permanently unfit.” And so as Sven Lindquist, noted in the title of his 1995 book, “Exterminate All the Brutes,” “the formula” was carefully crafted to eliminate “the unfit. “ The primary way to exterminate another people is to limit reproduction—that is, keep them from having children, or children that survive to adulthood—as in put an emotional and physical wedge between the men and women, that is create conditions where the men and women can’t get along, send the men to prison or otherwise make the men and women despise each other; introduce mind alter-altering substances and guns into the community; force-contain large groups of peoples in close quarters, in slum neighborhoods and inner city ghettos; limit avenues of upward mobility such as maintaining patterns of segregation in housing and schools, with no means of escape—the reason– close physical quarters will increase people on people (or black on black) crime; remove as many young men as possible into criminal containment centers—i.e. prisons; vilify and marginalize the women left behind with children to raise without support or adequate resources.

The May issue of Sports Illustrated will be graced, or disgraced, by a picture of Jason Collins announcing his preference for sex with men. Having just turned 65 what I will see in this announcement is more of white man’s “genius” at work. No I’m not saying that white men invented black male homosexuality—or for that matter white homosexuality. What I am saying is that the history of white man’s declaration of the unfitness of other men includes a plan of denigration that includes making other men effeminate. This is not news—read any history book on how white men subjugated other men—especially black men. Lynching of black men often included cutting off their private parts and publicly displaying them—anything that showed complete domination of white men over a black man’s essential maleness. Of course, when lynching and other forms of physical castration of black men ran into roadblocks, other forms of white male domination entered the picture. And what were those ways—many—black men in drag, black men as stupid laughing, head scratching, “yassah boss” fools, black men as sexual predators, black men as lustful animals lurking after white women, black men as serial impregnators of women, black men as lazy and shiftless, black men as predatory criminals worthy of being locked up together like dogs to hump each other. In a sentence, the white male domination formula included normalizing that which was negative and perverse and a plan executed to gain wholesale group acceptance through image control. Genius.

And so I return to the question posed above, “Why is Jason Collins’ decision to announce that he prefers to have sex with men a cause for so much celebrating? Why would Bill Clinton, of all people, call or tweet Collins to express his support for his decision? I recently saw an episode of a documentary called, “Black Men Speak.” The point of the documentary was to examine what people really thought about black men. The questions were bold and to the point. The producer went around several large cities and asked random groups of people these questions: What percent of black men are on the down-low (having sex with men)? The answer was 60 percent—6 out of 10. The next question asked was, “Are there more black men in college or in prison? The answer –more black men in prison. The next question, “Do most black who marry now prefer to marry white women? The answer, “yes.” Next question—what is the largest contributing factor to the death of black men in the black community, cancer, gun violence or aids? The answer given, gun violence—the real answer was abortion and none of the answers suggested. The point of the program was to try to dispel commonly accepted myths and stereotypes about black men. And so I re-ask the question—why was the white male dominated media so fixated on Jason Collin’s decision to announce that he prefers to have sex with men? Why was his “coming out” such a cause for so much white male celebration?

Copyright 2013 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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