It’s always wild seeing rappers come out against homophobia. I’ve got more than my share of songs I can’t really enjoy like I once did.
But it’s good to see, and I can’t even say I live outside of it. I can remember coming out of Baltimore and viewing every interaction with someone who was gay with a kind of smug derision. It’s the closest I’ve come to a kind of deep, unstated pride in ignorance—not so much a violent hostility, but a meanness based almost entirely on not understanding. And frankly not even believing there was anything worth understanding.
When I write with some curiosity about the racist mind, this is really place I’m pulling from. I know how easy it is to believe that people have nothing to contribute, and to hold that belief not out of evidence of their lives, but out of ignorance of them. Still it’s one thing for people to tell you why that’s wrong—and that’s important. But it’s only philosophy. For the facts, I needed real world contact with actual people. I could not simply be told that “diversity is good.” I had to see it.
It was a really nice day in New York yesterday. I took my wife and son out for brunch, then roamed a bit with Kenyatta. We ended up in West Village and I was suddenly struck by how thankful I was to gay America. There is probably a more agile way to say that. But the fact is this. You can’t really do my job, and live where I have lived, and live how I lived and not deal with the LGBT world. I would go so far as to say that if you are a writer with aspiration, homophobia is bad for business.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is the only writer/editor that I specifically pay attention to these days.
He’s fantastic. Thanks for reading!