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Perspective: At The Table Of Brotherhood, Discussing Differences And Gaining Understanding

02/20/2012 10:56 am 6 comments

In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke of a “table of brotherhood” where people from different backgrounds could sit down, break bread and discuss their differences, all in a hope to get to know one another better.

Well, this week in Los Angeles, I sat down with Herndon Craddick, senior director of programs and communications with GLAAD, to discuss the recent tweets that I sent out on Super Bowl Sunday. GLAAD had previously expressed that my tweets were homophobic and called for violence against gays and lesbians. As I said that night on Twitter, as well as to Herndon directly, that was not the case; and in no way would I even suggest such a thing. I indicated that I would meet with GLAAD, and they likewise said they wanted to meet with me. And so we did.

Over breakfast for over 90 minutes, Herndon shared his thoughts with regards to my tweets and why he deemed them offensive to the LGBT community, and I reiterated my apology that — that if anyone who construed my comment as being anti-gay or homophobic, or advancing violence, that was not my intent, and for that I was truly sorry.

It was a discussion that touched on many other areas, and as GLAAD expressed in a statement afterwards — and a sentiment with which I concur — “Both parties came away with a better understanding of one another and look forward to continuing this dialogue.”

Some might say this is just semantics, but really, it isn’t. When anyone has a disagreement, whether public or private, there should be a call to sit down and sort it out, as opposed to both backing into corners, ratcheting up the noise to the point where no one hears one another. That benefits no one.

Now, do we agree on all issues? No. But, ironically, I have historically supported many of the issues important to the GLAAD agenda, such as ending the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; gay adoption; and including gays in hate crimes laws. Those, folks, are facts. But it is only through dialogue do we get an opportunity to see each other’s perspective and learn what it is like to walk in that person’s shoes.

So what now? Well, first, it is important to understand that I operate in the role of a journalist — not an activist — one who is used to participating in and leading the difficult discussions, whether on TV, radio, in print, or online. As I said to Herndon, on this show, we speak to the African-American community. And as I’ve said on many occasions, the Black community should, and must, discuss the issues involving sexual orientation — whether it’s personal, with regards to the church, in our families, or our schools. And I’ve been a vocal opponent of bullying, whether that involves heterosexuals or gay youth.

Now, have we had these discussions? Yes. Will we continue to have these discussions? No doubt. My goal as host and managing editor of “Washington Watch” is to shine a light on the issues and then peel back the complex layers so we all have a much better understanding.
Now, if you’re gay or straight, your voice matters. If you are a pastor or activist, your voice matters. I have no plan to abandon my goal as a truth teller on a variety of issues; and, yes, that includes those that may be on the LGBT agenda. I am confident that this table can serve as an example of Dr. King’s “table of brotherhood,” and I and this excellent team will do all we can to advance the dialogue so we all can learn, grow and prosper together.

That’s my perspective. What’s yours?

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  • Lydiahowell

    dear Mr. Martin:
    Thank you formeeting with GLADD, being willingto engage in dialogue and for writing such a thoughtful essay. I;ve enjoyed you on CNN & it was good to find out some things I DIDN’T know about you—such as your speaking out  for some GLBT issues.

    Fact is GLBT people exist across all the boundaries of racem, class, gender, religion etc.
    And much of the bigotry against B+GLBT people is base d on a cmbination of ignorance and fundamentalist religion. Fact is: NOT ALL  Christian denominaitons are against GLBT people!

    Finally, one point on Marriage Equality: GLBT people are fighting for EQUAL RIGHTS UNDER [civil]LAW. No church, temple,or mosque willbe forced to marry or recognize the marriages of same-sex coules. Religions can and do differ on this particluar isue. But, when it comes to THE STATE, in a democracy, ALL of us deserve the same legal rights.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s what confusing the below appeared on Huffington Post:  “The glamour! The A-list stars! The after parties!  These are just three of the many reasons the Academy Awards are often jokingly referred to as “the gay man’s Super Bowl.”   The heading for the piece: Academy Awards 2012: Gay Reasons To Watch The Oscars   Now I ask what was wrong with Mr. Martin’s tweets?   DOUBLE STANDARDS!

    To be clear no one should be made fun of or bullied.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry Roland sound like you caved man. Why apologize if you did no wrong, I as a black did not like the commercial either and I will never apologizes to anyone if I did no wrong. Because I have rights too.

  • Charles L. Freeman, Jr

    From the start, I thought the “tweets” in question, were in extremely poor taste at best and anti-gay and pro-violence against gays at worst. I was very disappointed that instead of simply apologizing at the start of the controversy for offending anyone, you attempted to parse your words and “clarify” the situation.

    I never believed your original “explanation” and I still don’t. However, I hope that you’ve learned a lesson from all of this and your future actions and words in this area reflect that. Also, I’d like to see you pledge to eliminate the homophobia that permeates through much of the African-American community and speak out against the misguided belief that civil rights are the exclusive property of the African-American community.

  • Redbearatl

    Roland….Dude…not buying it. Even if it was in jest, it was in poor taste. The references you made to the “underwear ad”, and the the “pink” appear a bit to clear as to your intent. To further add to your problems, you are a journalist. Ask Don Lemon, or Anderson what they think!?!?

    You of all people should know better. If you know it or not, you are public figure and role model whom some look up to. Part of your job is to be above tweating personal views that could ever be misconstrued. And why didn’t you just apologize? Even if it was a misunderstand, is it so hard to just say I’m sorry I never meant anyone to take it that way? I do not know if your tweats were in jest or not, only you do.  But regardless, you let your professionalism down. On that issue alone, I think you need to assess what’s happened. I hope you remain on at CNN, but I think you need to take a step back and think before you tweat. Or maybe just give up tweating altogether! Your job as an analyst is a bit more important than tweating on sports. 

  • LeCalabro

    Trayvor Martin,  Florida

    Its a sad and horrible situation when a young boy’s life is taken so early in life. It is proper  that the National News is giving the case a great deal of coverage.

    What bothers me is that the father is complaining that if his son were white the FBI would have already been involved. Not necessarily so. 

    I’m sorry, but each year literally hundreds of thousands of black on white felony crime occur without hardly any attention by the National News. You ain’t dumb Mr Martin, you must know that, 

    In 2005 over 35,000 white women were raped by black men and less than 10 black women were raped by white me.  That is not discussed by the Nationla Press, the NAACP or other African American organizations. That concerns white folks.

    Please do you job as a Journalist.  THank you.  Louie Calabro

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