Keith Boykin, an author and activist, will be speaking as part of Black Emphasis Month at the Special Events Center tonight at 7. His topic will be the experience of being a gay black man in America.
Boykin is the president of the National Black Justice Coalition, an organization of black lesbians, gays and transgendered people. Its goal is to fight racism and discrimination.
He also worked as an aide for Clinton during his presidency and was then appointed as one of the members to the Trade Delegation of Zimbabwe. According to his Web site, KeithBoykin.com, while working in the White House he focused on issues regarding race and sexuality. In addition, he has written a few books, which have appeared on the New York Times Best-Seller Lists, and he has appeared on television news networks such CNN and FOXNews.
“The purpose of (Boykin’s speech) is to open the eyes of the black community, because as a society we are so unaccepting of (homosexuality),” said Rasheite Radcliff, the head of Students Against Discrimination Everywhere. “By being against it, we are really setting ourselves back as a whole, because we say that we expect black men to be masculine and strong and we don’t expect them to be gay.
“Because of this, gay black men have a hard time dealing with it, which leads them to be secretive about (being gay) ,and (then they) try to act like they are not gay and then find themselves in heterosexual relationships, which they do not want to be in. In the long run they are hurting other people, such as the women and children they are with (when the marriage or relationship ends),” Radcliff said.
According to Radcliff, there is an issue about the way society treats gay black men, which leads them to not be open about their sexuality.
“(Because of this), women not only have to worry about their men cheating on them with women, they also have to worry about them cheating on them with other men,” Radcliff said.Radcliff said she understands that some students may have a problem with homosexuality due to their religious beliefs, but the point that Boykin wants to make to the community is not necessarily to except or agree with homosexuality, but instead for people to respect it.
“From a Christian state of view, I don’t believe in it, but at the same time I don’t feel that it’s anyone’s position or place to say to someone else that something is wrong with them because they are doing something from the norm,” Radcliff said. “People don’t have to accept it if their religion or values say that they shouldn’t, but at the same time (they) shouldn’t disrespect it or push it away and act like it doesn’t exist. This is why I started Students Against Discrimination Everywhere, because the problem with discrimination is that it is being suppressed.”