Homosexuality and Racism in America

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Jonathan Roberts
Ms. Brandt
AP Literature
3/29/13

In society, everyone has a label. Based on what someone’s skin color is, their sexual orientation, who they hang out with, what their religion is, what they enjoy; sure enough there’s a label for that person. People are so quick to judge others over things they don’t understand, because the unknown and strange scare them. Some discriminate because they’ve been taught to, because they learned to discriminate from their parents/legal guardians. People who like the same sex are one of the groups who are frequently discriminated because it goes against a lot of things from religion, to this country’s founding values and upbringing. Homosexuals are discriminated to the point where they are considered second class citizens, all because of their sexual preferences. This country’s public opinion on homosexuals is similar to its public opinion of the Blacks in the 1600’s - 1960s because this country yearns to control what’s different.

African Americans are the second largest minority group, next to the Latinos. Between the 1600s and the 1800s, Africans were forcibly immigrated to the America of that time. From then, they were dehumanized and considered as free labor. To the slave owners, they were less than human. They were beaten when they didn’t comply and sold in slave auctions like property. The slaves then were treated like dirt because of their skin color and their lack of knowledge. They were treated less than a human because how they were born. This is no different from how homosexuals are treated in America today. According to an article on homosexuality in the New England Journal of Medicine by Richard C. Friedman and Jennifer I. Downey, homosexuality was once considered a behavioral disorder. “The deletion of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association in 1980 marked a dramatic reversal of the judgment that homosexuality is a behavioral disorder.” (Friedman/Downey) The popular argument is whether or not being gay is a choice. People are quick to dismiss something they consider abnormal, because it’s something they’re not used to. But to dismiss something that people may or may not have been born with as a behavioral disorder is implied discrimination. Homosexuals and African Americans alike have been victimized for something they have no control over.

Marriage is something that is guaranteed to anyone, as anyone is welcome to be in holy matrimony with their loved one. To get married, one must go through a number of procedures and paperwork until a man and a woman are finally married, have kids, and enjoy a happy life. This is what’s now known as normal marriage, ever since December 3, 1996. According to an article titled “Same Sex Marriage, Conflict of Laws and the Unconstitutional Public Policy Exception” in Larry Kramer’s The Yale Law Journal, a judge in Hawaii “struck down a Hawaiian law permitting only opposite-sex couples to marry, and Hawaii became the first state to recognize same sex marriages.” (Kramer) Hawaii became the first state in the US to acknowledge same sex marriage in an effort to persuade other states to follow suit. In some but very few states, same sex marriage is legal. Just as how this country tries to deny same sex marriage today, they have also tried to deny interracial marriage between blacks and whites. In the 1950s - 1960s, there were laws made against blacks called Jim Crow Laws. According to an article describing the laws from a National Historic Site dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., a few of these laws prohibited interracial marriages, and even prohibited having a black man/woman and a white man/female within the vicinity of each other. “Intermarriage: All marriages between a white person and a negro or between a white person and a person of negro descent to the fourth generation inclusive are hereby prohibited.” (National Park Service) Whites have gone through extra...
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