Cheryl Clarke “The Failure to Transform: Homophobia in the Black Community” (1983)
I am not expecting that most people will appreciate this quote, as I know many people respect bell hooks—as do I. But this was requested, so I posted it. Also, the time that Clarke published this it was necessary for her to call out other black academics who were ignoring the other half of the community. For so long lgbtq black people were silent. Black lgbtq individuals were involved in every civil rights movement from the 1960s onward and the majority of the time they had to be silent about their sexuality for fear of being pushed out and rendered traitors to the race.
And academically, they did not fair much better. So at this point in time, late 1970s- early 1980s some lgbtq intellectuals were pissed. Why wouldn’t they be? How dare people preach freedom and not understand that people cannot be liberated in pieces? That we cannot fight for racial equality and ignore all of the other -isms and phobias that we are a part of. Freedom is indivisible. So, Clarke made that point known. If someone was slacking, in this case bell hooks, Clarke was going to make it known. She was not going to let the black lesbian voice get silenced and shut out again.
I respect both women and use both of their work simultaneously. I think everything said was said with love and was absolutely meant to inspire more discussion and inclusion.
Please respect Clarke’s feelings and her anger as you also respect hooks and her position.
Yeah but it’s good to see people discussing and it is also good that time has past and bell hooks has grown.