Saturday, January 31, 2009
By now, I've done a bunch of recorded appearances, on radio, in documentaries, on TV and even as a daytime talk show panelist (skip forward to 6:58 for some vintage Roker discussing tagging). It's all an extension of the platform my magazine has afforded me over the years, so I rarely turn down the opportunity. And let's be honest, who passes up camera time?
A couple days ago, I got an email from a booker at a very well known talk show, asking me to come on the show. She had read my Prop 8 editorial, which had received over 1200 comments on the Huffington Post. She told me the show's topic was, "gay is the new black," and they wanted a black guy from California who voted no on 8, but yes on Obama. The producers are flying me to New York on Monday to tape the show.
Not one to walk into a situation where I won't have anything to say, the topic of the new civil rights movement—one about gay rights, as opposed to black—is something I've ruminated on ever since it's become a topic du jour. And in wake of last week, where somebody held up a sign at the inauguration that read, "We Have Overcome," you can get the sense that even black folks feel we're collectively standing on a new plain. Of course, that sign was being held by a white guy, and a truly post-racial world might be some years off when a black man still can't get a cab in DC after dark (no joke).
But the argument that gay civil rights has moved to the top of the social justice food chain makes sense. At least in theory. On one hand, many people are touting a color blind optimism in the Age of Obama, at least in politics. On the other, there's the crushing disappointment in the passage of Prop 8 in California, and similar legislation in other states. For many gay activists, the fierce urgency of now applies to their movement, more than any other community. And, the not so quiet elephant in the room is whether blacks have even picked up on this shift. Or, more importantly, do they accept it?
I'm sure this will all be included in Tuesday's taping—or at least you can be sure I'll be ready to discuss it. When I can, I'll report back with a follow-up, including the name of the show and air date.