(/sites/default/files/uploads/2013/09/Picture-10.png)Being gay is “about the worst thing you can be in black culture,” said Don Lemon, a gay, black news anchor at CNN.
Sometimes you see can see the antipathy in hip hop videos. Other times at the ballot box. Still other times black hostility towards gay people is expressed in the dozens and dozens of hyper-violent episodes of black mob violence against gay people. Some on video.
These crimes are a perfect storm of silence: Predators do not want to get caught. Victims do not want to identify themselves as gay. And newspapers loathe reporting black mob violence.
Two recent cases within a week this month in Cleveland are representative.
Jared Fox is a Brooklyn teacher who returned earlier this month to his native Cleveland to visit family and friends – and a gay bar called Cocktails Cleveland located in a black neighborhood.
Police reports indicate that groups of black people had been hanging around the parking lot earlier that evening. And on other occasions.
But Fox did not know about any of that when he parked his car and was making his way to the lounge. Soon after, as he would later describe on YouTube, he realized he was in trouble:
I saw a group of youth on the same side of the street. So I crossed the street. My instincts and my experience with kids told me that kids in large groups are not up to any good. Especially on a side street in this part of Cleveland.
They charged and surrounded me. They asked what’s in my pockets. I said nothing. I’m broke.
They said, ‘You are one of those broke faggots.’ Then I knew why they picked me. That I was an easy target.
Then they just started beating me. Ruptured my ear drum. Punched my glasses into my face. Stomped on me when I was on the ground. My ribs. My back.
They said ‘Give me your phone. Your wallet.’
I got up and started running. They tackled me again. This time they were stomping on my head. Calling me a faggot. And queer. They started to kick my face.
One of them said Do you want to die? Do you want to die?
I threw my phone And my wallet. ‘I told them my credit cards are in the back. My pin is 1234. Take it please its all I got.’
Eventually, Fox made his way to the bar, where employees called police.
Then the police came. Did I know these kids had been sitting there before? No.
I found out from the bartender that the cops had been called three times in the hour before I was attacked. These kids were sitting there waiting.
It wasn’t until I was attacked that someone came.
When the police officers came, Did they get out of their car? Did they ask to see the footage? No.
Nothing. They did nothing.
News accounts in straight and gay media were full of outrage and sympathy and calls for justice. And stories about how this had happened before.
Full of everything except one piece of truth. For that, we have to turn to the police reports for something local media would not say: The predators were black.
Some were wearing hoodies. Some even had masks. And this was not their only attack that night. A few weeks after the crime, local media published a video of the attack.
It is not uncommon for victims of racial violence, like Fox, to hesitate to describe the race of their attackers. Having been victimized once by an assault, many are reluctant to become victims again by being accused of racism. Some say identifying their attackers as black would be “too divisive.”
Cleveland media may be too squeamish to report the alleged perpetrators were black. But people who leave on-line comments are not.
This raises the ire of those who believe – despite exponentially higher rates of violence and crime among black people – this crime had nothing to do with race: Said one poster at a New York Daily News account of the beat down: “I see a lot of you racist humps couldn’t wait to write your garbage About black ppl. OMG White folks have centuries of none sense killing and rape dating back 100 of years.”
Another pointed out that white people from the suburbs come to the neighborhood to buy drugs. Since they are guilty of crime as well, it is not fair to single out black people.
At YouTube, Hannah Lane offered a prediction: “It’s absolutely criminal; those men need to be caught & punished for their horrifying actions b/c THEY WILL DO IT AGAIN.”
And they did. Same place. One week later. This time to the manager, Rick Scardino. The police report describes the scene: Scardino was on the patio of Cocktails Cleveland when “10 young B/M (black males)” arrived on the other side of the fence.
They “began yelling ‘you faggots better get out of here. We don’t want you faggots around here’.”
They were “throwing rocks over the fence at the victim and other patrons sitting on the patio.” Scardino and others chased the mob away. But they came back. This time with sticks and a broom handle. They found Scardino outside and threatened to sodomize him with the broom and “beat his faggot ass with this.”
Then they assaulted him. “I reached in my pockets for a can of Mace. A boy in a white shirt yelled, ’Faggot’s got a gun!’ and they scattered,” Scardino told Edgeonthenet.com.
Police arrested one suspect: a 13-year-old black person. The manager of the bar says there were at least three other cases of mob violence prior to the attack on Fox.
All the suspects in all of the attacks are black. That was never reported in any daily paper or gay media outlet.
Cleveland is hardly alone. In the Chicago gay neighborhood of Streeterville, residents describe black mob on gay violence as an everyday fact of life. And as hard as the local papers try to not let people know the victims are gay and perpetrators are mobs of black people, sometimes the information gets out anyway. Even if by accident.
After a series of attacks on gay people in Streeterville in 2011 – including a black mob stabbing a gay man on video – Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney belled the cat when he spoke with the local ABC news affiliate:
There tends to be large groups of minority youths on Halsted. Whether they are patronizing the businesses or not, it’s an area where they feel safe. It’s a balancing act that we’re tying to make it safe for everyone.
If anything it has gotten worse since then. At least one group has a Facebook page to fight the violence. But more and more people are saying it has been happening too often, for too long, for them to stay in that neighborhood any more.
One gay, black video blogger summed it up on YouTube:
A rash of violent crime by black youth in Chicago’s predominately gay and white Lakeview neighborhood (aka, Boystown) has residents on edge, and sparking age old tensions between Blacks and the White GBLT community. It’s been going on for a couple of years. People are getting very, very frightened.
The blogger says white people are afraid to mention the race of their attackers, for fear of being labeled a racist. “But if it’s true, it’s true,” he said.
Examples of black mob on gay violence is also easy to find in Atlanta, New York, Washington, D.C. Seattle and dozens of other cities around the country.
In Atlanta, mobs of black people attacked dozens of gay people at an annual film festival called Screen on the Green. This went on for several years until the event was cancelled in 2011.
Also in Atlanta, a video of a group of black people taunting and beating a gay person went viral last year, leading to their arrests.
In Washington, D.C., gays are a frequent target for black mob violence. Not just in the streets surrounding the clubs and cafes, but also on bike paths.
In June of last year, three black people were accused of hurling anti-gay slurs at a gay teenager, then holding him down while they stabbed him. Then it got really strange in the reader comments section: “I can’t understand why they are angry – did the guy ask them for sex?,” said black commenter Debra Winfield. “Stupid people do stupid things.”
Other readers excoriated her for blaming the victim. Winfield doubled down, saying they were stupid. Over at the Washington Post in a report on the same story, one gay commenter summed it up and said what the paper would not:
The level of homophobia within the black community is overwhelming, and in a most calculated way, they spin it to blame gays, when they themselves are voting against LGBT rights at best, and ATTACKING gays at worse. Time to confront the elephant in the room and stop being so politically correct. Black homophobia is celebrated in the black community and no longer does the LGBT community have to stand for it.
A few months later, not too far away, five black people beat up a gay guy. But first they called him a lot of names. The gay media occasionally identifies the alleged perpetrators by race. The Washington Post and other local media? Never.
The gay papers are strangely silent on this black-on-gay violence as well. But every once in a while, someone speaks out. After exit polls revealed black people voted overwhelmingly against gay rights initiatives in California and New York, gay activist and writer Dan Savage could not hold it in any longer:
I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there … are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.
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