Dr. Boyce Watkins' Preposterous Position On Gay Marriage

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[Beneath The Spin] 
"If gay is the new black, then black must have been the old gay . . . I don't really know what that means either . . . 
I support gay marriage, but it's mainly because I just don't care one way or the other."

author of the enlightened quotation above is Dr. Boyce Watkins of
Syracuse University. He presents himself as a public intellectual and a
dedicated civil rights advocate.

He’s also the driving force behind
"Your Black World," a popular website that seeks to keep Black people
politically enlightened. Dr. Watkins goes on to say the following:

wonder what it means to simply say that everyone deserves civil rights,
and to use that as a blanket justification for gay marriage. So, if I
wanted to marry my sister and someone said I couldn't, would that be a
violation of my civil rights? I support gay marriage, but it's mainly
because I just don't care one way or the other. But if I were deeply
religious and considered marriage to be a spiritual union solely
designed to be between a man and a woman, I might be offended by someone
asking me to support the notion of same sex marriage. Civil rights
doesn't mean that every person can do whatever they want, whenever they
want with whomever they want. If that were the case, then a mother could
decide to terminate her child's life after the baby was born....after
all, it's her baby, right[?]"

So-called public "intellectuals"
of Dr. Watkins’ ilk never cease to amaze me.
Shouldn’t we be able to expect a PhD, at the very least, to have the
intellect to formulate an argument that’s not filled totally irrelevant
non sequiturs? Equal civil rights mean that gays deserve the right to
marry the one that they love just like straight people.  But his
response implies that gays are asking for more rights than straight
people. His response would only be valid if straight people were allowed
to marry their sister.  So in response to his question, yes, it
would be a violation of his civil rights if he wasn’t allowed to marry
his sister, but only of others were allowed to marry their sisters. The
fact that this guy has a PhD and can’t see that the issue of equal
rights under the law and his right to marry his sister are far from
analogous is a serious indictment against our educational system - after
all, he is charged with the responsibility of educating others. But
much more important, it’s also clear evidence of the dire need of the
Americans to become independent and self-sufficient thinkers.

Dr. Watkins presents himself as a public intellectual and a fierce
advocate of civil rights, yet, when it comes to the civil rights of gays
he’s using the very same kind of irrational argument that racists used
to try to block Black civil rights legislation of the past. They’d say
things like, "Okay, if we allow a change in the law to allow White
people to marry Black people, what’s to stop us from passing laws in the
future saying that people should have the right to marry their dogs?"

Although I’ve heard him say
outrageous things in the past, for some reason I’m totally shocked to
hear his remarks about gay marriages: not only because it's a ridiculous
attempt at syllogistic logic - "All dogs have fleas, and my cat has
fleas, therefore, my cat is a dog"- but it is equally shocking to see
that he fails to recognize the racist history of such an argument.

what his attitude clearly illustrates more than anything else is that
Black people are the product of the very same racist and socially
bigoted environment as White people, and as a result, we're just as
racist and socially bigoted toward other Blacks and minority groups as
any racist Hillbilly; and that accounts for much of the flak that Obama
is getting from some of Dr. Watkins’ Black colleagues. 

While many
of these so-called Black "intellectuals" try to cloak their hostility
toward President Obama in the language of Black activism, they’re
actually upset with Obama for the very same reason that many
conservative Republicans are. They consider him "Uppity." What they’re
actually saying is, "Who does this spook think he is, struttin’ around
like he thinks he has as much sense as White folks? He’s just another
ignorant nigga; just like me." In short, it’s self-hatred. 

For this
reason, I’ve dropped all pretense of journalistic detachment on this
issue, and I’ve gone on a single-minded mission against these people, as
should every journalist. 

But Black journalists, in particular, we
need to recognize that some things are much more important than some
arbitrary of journalism about "not getting personally involved" in a
story. White journalists routinely recognize that fact every time this
country goes to war. 

Well, the Black community is now in a state of
war. It’s currently being besieged by a group of Black, self-serving
demagogues that constitute a severe threat to its survival, and we
shouldn’t just sit back and let it happen, any more than we would sit
back and simply chronicle the events attendant to a drowning child.

this case, for example, this so-called Black "intellectual" has
betrayed an attitude toward gay minorities that parallels that of a
member of the Tea Party. That should be a call to arms to all
journalists in the Black community who feel a vested interested in the
principle of equal rights under the law. At the very least we need to
start writing about the importance of Black people to start think for
themselves, instead of relying on so-called public intellectuals to help
them formulate their view of reality. 

The Black community needs to
understand that it should never give anyone else’s ability to think
priority over our own, regardless about the hype that precedes the
person, or the academic credentials that supposedly attests to the
person’s ability to think. Because in many cases, as we saw in the 2000
election that brought George Bush into our lives, the credentials of
many "intellectuals" only attest to the fact that they’ve spent so much
time learning to regurgitate the thoughts of dead White folks that
they’ve never taken the time to learn to think for themselves. 

Black people should always seek to educate themselves, because that’s
the only education that we can, unfailingly, depend upon.  

Reach The author at Eric@blackstarnews.com For more columns go to wattreechronicle 
"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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