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19 June 2008

Comments

Shabaka

Ugh! Please fade away, ASS-sher!!!
Pardon my french, Rod!

Jim

I know I consider him a role model.

Excuse me for being so far behind the times—I haven't much looked at Vibe since the first year it was published—but wasn't one of the original editors in chief a white gay man? Did he leave? Become auto-homophobic? Too greedy to care?

Dluv

Boy that Usher is a regular Alfred Kinsey! The scary part is a lot of black folks agree with him. No wonder we are so sexually ignorant and dysfunctional. This shows why black gay folks have so so much more to fight and overcome.......

cedric

no Usher they turn to women because who else better understand a person than the same sex. Love is genderless. Same goes for men!

Derrick from Philly

Do black folks understand that when you make a lot of money, you have the opportunity to leave the ghetto behind-not just physically, but mentally also. You can further your education, learn to speak English--Anglish.

Well, you can take the thug out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the.... (I had the "n" word in place of thug--but I didn't think y'all would approve)

Me

The more he talks, the less I like him ... why can't he just sing and dance? He is such an immature idiot. And this somebody's father. Lord Jesus.

And Jim ... I don't know if they had a white gay editor, but Emil Wilbekin (sp?) was the editor for a few years and he's a gay man of color. I have not read it much over the last several years, it's like Right On for college kids.

Mark

I can see why essentialism gets such a bad rep in academia (see debate on "essentialism" versus "social constructionism" in gay self-identification). We just will not believe that what Usher describes is at least a possibility for some people in some cases (and not just for women).

Homosexuality is a viable option for almost all people, so it is quite possible that there are some women who are generally sexually attracted to men but who nonetheless choose to enter a relationship with a woman -- for whatever reason, including not finding a man whom they can relate to. Perhaps Usher should not have generalized to the point that people could think he was trying to explain ALL woman-loving women -- but he never claimed to do that. He simply said that at least some women are having trouble finding men they want to be with, and are turning to women instead. That might actually be true. Do any of us know for sure that that never happens? I think we do not know that for sure.

Derrick from Philly

Mark,

I, and others on this blog ABSOLUTELY understand your point. But (may the spirit of Huey Newton forgive me) we don't believe that Usher or most black folks (or white folks, for that matter) understand your point, Mark.

I'm sure that there are some women who allow their bisexual possibilities to come to the surface when confronted with a shortage of men, but black folks already have such idiotic notions about why gay folks are gay--we don't need well-known celebrities confirming their ideas. Hearing black folks give their views on homosexuality is like watching "The Green Pastures"--especially in black barbershops...oh, Lord.

(Oh, my God, I almost sound like one of these white "children". Well, I'm sorry....dammit.)

ff

Usher can stay very! straight! The gays are better off without him :-)

ROD MC

FF, LUTHER and DERRICK All of you have the right idea. Usher continues to set a very bad example and perpetuates negative stereotypes about gays in the black community. IMHO, he should just sing and be quiet, even the gays don't want him any longer.

MARK Usher was not being academic. His comments were reductionist and parroted familiar stereotypes in the black community that gay men or lesbians 'become' that way due to the lack of availability of suitable opposite sex partners. Given his history, he is hardly a relationship role model.

Mark

These ideas are not just academic(?!). They very likely reflect the reality that most people actually experience. An idea can appeal to academia and at the same time correspond to what the majority of people intuitively and empirically feel.

The point I am making is that this "pure essentialism" is counterproductive as a defense against homophobia, as long as the majority of the target audience feels in the core of their being that something else is true: namely that the clear dichotomy between homosexuality and heterosexuality is a false DOGMA. You cannot convince anyone of an argument whose premise they know in their own hearts to be false. (You can get them to mouth the words, though.)

Usher does not have to be being academic. He could well be speaking the truth as he honestly sees it, based on his own intuitive feelings and empirical observations. He probably knows that homosexuality is an option that he himself could take and get pleasure from if he chose to, and if so, he probably assumes, correctly, that most people are similar to him in that regard. The fact that the mutability of sexual preference is a notion expressed by a homophobic culture does not make it intrinsically false -- just widely held.

Mark

BTW, just to clarify, I am not saying sexual orientation is a choice for everyone -- I do not believe that I myself chose to be gay. I am a born gay man. But I do believe that for most heterosexuals, it is a choice they make -- namely a choice never to test the waters of homosexuality, even if, or especially if, they might be tempted. For me it is not a choice. Why? Because unlike the majority of people, I am not also tempted to go with the opposite sex. As Freud said in "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality" it is the attraction that most people feel for the opposite sex that stops them from acting on their same sex desires. Ergo, for me and others who feel similarly to me, it is the innate absence of desire for the opposite sex that makes me gay.

Jim

First, Mark, you are giving Usher way too much credit. I seriously I doubt that Usher ie "speaking the truth as he honestly sees it." He is just speaking out of his own massively inflated male ego, which says that women are straight unless there is some practial reason to be otherwise.

And I confess to being ill-educated—I have not read Freud—but the claim that homosexuality is the absence of heterosexuality seems preposterous, and certainlty not "based on [my] own intuitive feelings and empirical observations."

When I had first had fun with Bobby H. at age seven, it wasn't because, bereft of lust for women, Bobby H. was the only thing left. It was because I adored Bobby H., and he was as cute as hell.

And touching the boy was a thrill I wanted again and again.

anti-believer

I believe USher is gay himself and his marriage and child is a cover like Eddie, Johnny Gill (during the scanal had a baby - must've been another Virgin Mary), Sean COmbs and many others. He just saying this cause he knows he will lose sells if he came out or supported gays. It's okay for females like En Vogue to perform at Parliment House in Orlando but you won't see DMX, Usher, etc. do that cause it's brings your cred down. I so sick of the BS black people have with gays. Get over it and move on. Thank you Usher for pushing more of your ignorance! Lesbians and gays are born that way, fool.

ff

@Mark - I dont think a lack of attraction to the opposite sex makes you gay....it could be asexuality

attracted to same sex - homosexual
attracted to opposite sex - heterosexual
attracted to same & opposite - bisexual
attracted to neither - asexual

just my opinion....

Derrick from Philly

Very interesting thread, and very insightful comments. Thanks Mark (and all others)--I learned something.

Mark

Thank you Derrick.

ff:
I would say the same thing a different way.

male and capable of arousal by males but not females - homosexual (small percentage of people)

female and capable of arousal by females but not males - homosexual (small percentage of people)

female and capable of arousal by males but not females - heterosexual (small percentage of people)

male and capable of arousal by females but not males - heterosexual (small percentage of people)

male or female and capable of arousal by males or females - innately bisexual (vast majority of people)

male or female and NOT capable of arousal by males or females - asexual (very small percentage of people)

Capacity for arousal by males versus capacity for arousal by females is not a zero sum game. These are independent variables. Like the bass and treble on a stereo, the capacity for arousal by males or females can either both be turned all the way up, both all the way down, or for most people, each somewhere in the middle. But whether the capacity for arousal by females is high or low has nothing to do with whether the capacity for arousal by males is high or low.

As a result, most people have some real capacity for arousal by both sexes, if they were only open to it. Social conditioning imposes heterosexuality as the approved norm, and that makes the majority of people see themselves as straight. Because they have the capacity to be straight (since heterosexuality is a viable option for them), and they want to be straight, they turn out straight.

Mark

Or as it says in the Qur'an, verse 42:49-50 (my translation):

To God belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth;
God creates what God pleases.
God prepares females for whomever God pleases, and God prepares males for whomever God pleases.

Of God marries the males and females together, and God makes whomever God pleases to be ineffectual (nonprocreating). Surely God is the Knowing, the Powerful.

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