Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-11-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

'Democracy Remixed': Cathy Cohen on Black youth and LGBT politics
BOOKS
2011-06-01

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


by Rod McCullom

Cathy J. Cohen offers a rare and unique perspective on the intersection of race, sexuality, social movements and politics. The author, feminist and academic activist is one of the leading voices in LGBT academics and is currently the David and Mary Winton Green Professor in Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. Cohen is also the deputy provost for graduate education.

Cohen—who is Black, lesbian, partnered and a parent—is the principal investigator on the Black Youth Project, a national research project launched in 2003 that examines the attitudes and culture of African-American youth ages 15 to 25, and how these influence their decision-making on sex, health, and politics. Black youth have largely rejected the narrative of a "post racial society" and are socially conservative on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, writes Cohen in her latest book, Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics, published by Oxford University.

"But they can moved with the right incentives and interventions," Cohen told Windy City Times. "The question is how."

"There is a narrative out there that says, 'We have a new generation that is extremely tolerant. They all support same-sex marriage, they support sex education, women's reproductive rights, 10 years in the future all of these will be non-issues'," said Cohen. "The data show that is not completely true."

In an interview with Windy City Times, Cohen discussed Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics and its implications on LGBT politics, as well as some of the negative stereotypes around Black youth.

Windy City Times: Let's talk about that narrative you brought up on marriage …

Cathy J. Cohen: When our understanding of "young people" is based only on surveys of young whites, we get a distorted view of "youth" thinking. We don't allow that there are very significant differences in the youth population.

Black youth from the ages of 18 to 25 tend to be the most socially conservative group. I'm not suggesting young Blacks are much more homophobic than everyone else—but some are. The idea is not to demonize them, but think about the necessary, culturally relevant interventions that will allow them to develop. They do think about same-sex issues, gay rights and morality of homosexuality … so we want to move and to organize people around these issues. It's an important finding in Democracy Remixed.

WCT: What are some of the possible interventions?

CC: We have to support the work of organizations that are already out there. In Chicago, think of organizations such as Affinity or Gender JUST. Or in the Latino communities, think of the work of Amigas Latinas. These organizations are important. They have legitimacy in communities of color. We have to credit them with the work [they are doing] … and not only what national LGBT organizations [say] they should do. They have issues and agendas that are important to their entire communities.

Affinity and Gender JUST support the work of young people. Other organizations we can support do not work on exclusively LGBTQ issues, but work with youth of color and expand their opportunities, such as the Chicago Freedom School.

WCT: Gender JUST has done some very good work with LGBT youth of color in Chicago, especially organizing LGBT youth in Chicago Public Schools.

CC: Absolutely! Affinity has also done some very good work, too, and has a very good youth program. And so has the Chicago Freedom School, which primarily works with youth of color. There are many local organizations doing some excellent work around sexuality, education and the intersection of those issues. If we can highlight that type of leadership, it can go a long way toward reversing some of the findings presented in the book.

WCT: In Democracy Remixed, there is a chapter on what you call "The Obama Effect." Can you talk about that and the possibility that young Black voters could be swayed to support things such as gay rights, same-sex marriage or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act?

CC: Barack Obama mobilized Black youth to historic levels. Some 97 percent of young Black people voted for Obama. We have never seen that percentage of young Blacks go to the polls. And what might be considered "wedge issues" nationally such as same-sex marriage or DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act], had very little or no effect on the votes of African Americans or African-American youth in 2008.

I think Obama could motivate [young Black voters] to support these issues. I'm just worried that right now he could have lost the opportunity to motivate many voters to those and many different positions.

WCT: Oh, yeah. That's another article, though.

CC: Yes, yes. [Laughs] The window of opportunity is closing on some issues. But if we're going to try to move people, especially Black youth, to think in a broad way about LGBT issues, it's important that young Black voters listen to someone that they respect. President Obama is that person.

But there are issues that young Black people are much more concerned about than same-sex marriage. If you were to ask them what their [primary] concerns are, many would likely say schools, finding a job, the violence in their community, or housing. We can try to talk to them about same-sex marriage or LGBT rights …. but these issues are not really a concern to most young Black people, who have very few resources. If we want to organize Black youth around [LGBT rights], we need to talk about the issues that impact Black people and young Black people.

Not to suggest that same-sex marriage doesn't or will not impact the lives of young Black people. Of course it does. But the issue of education or jobs is broader and impacts many more people.

Cathy J. Cohen is also author of The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics published by the University of Chicago Press. Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics is published by Oxford University Press. It is also available on Kindle.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

BOOKS Life's a witch in Augusten Burroughs' new memoir 2019-10-30
Five Worth Finding: TeaPotBrew, 'The GayBCs' and more 2019-10-29
MOMBIAN LGBTQ-inclusive books, and hope, in rural schools 2019-10-16
LGBT HISTORY MONTH Authors and activism: A history of LGBT bookstores 2019-10-02
BOOKS Former NFL player talks football, politics and Madonna 2019-09-18
Banned Books Week on Sept. 22-28 2019-09-02
MOMBIAN Pushing for inclusivity in children's books, one publisher shows how 2019-08-21
Artemis Singers to join Women & Children First Bookstore Block Party 2019-08-05
NATIONAL Court briefs, flag burned, Amazon books removed 2019-07-10
BOOKS Tan about town, 'Queer Eye' guru pens new memoir 2019-06-26
BOOKS 'In the City' author talks storytelling, Stonewall 2019-06-26
BOOKS Assisted-reproduction book's author hopes to help LGBTQ parents 2019-06-26
BOOKS ON STONEWALL Indecent Advances, The Stonewall Riots, Out in Time 2019-06-18
MOMBIAN Trans/gender-creative children star in new picture books 2019-05-26
Queer actor plays gay character in teen comedy 'Booksmart' 2019-05-23
Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein graduate to a new level in Booksmart 2019-05-22
Chelsea Clinton among authors at Women & Children First Bookstore in May 2019-04-30
BOOKS Inclusive anthology 'Halal' launches at Poetry Foundation 2019-04-24
BOOKS Chris Rush looks back on 1970s adolescence in debut memoir 2019-04-20
BOOKS Inclusive anthology 'Halal' launches at Poetry Foundation 2019-04-14
BOOKS Queer scholar profiles Chicago house music 2019-04-10
House passes bill requiring LGBT content in state-funded textbooks 2019-03-27
BOOKS Trans author talks 'layered identity' in new memoir 2019-03-27
BOOKS Chicago author talks space opera, queer representation 2019-03-09
BOOKS Kimberly Dark's 'Daddies' issues 2019-03-08
BOOKS Sissy Pride, Talking With Gender Activist and Author Jacob Tobia 2019-03-07
Women & Children First March events include noted authors 2019-03-06
BOOKS Chicago writer explores feminist accountability 2019-01-30
Women & Children First bookstore events include Shout Your Abortion 2019-01-09
Gay couple talk relationship, new Oak Park bookstore 2019-01-09
Best books of 2018 2019-01-08
BOOKS Thom Bierdz talks about sex, and a lot more, In 'Young, Gay & Restless' 2018-12-11
Women & Children First Books plans holiday season events 2018-12-04
Feminism meets coffee-table books in 'HERstory,' 'Revolution' 2018-11-28
BOOKS Some of Chicago's LGBTQ-friendly book clubs 2018-11-07
MOMBIAN Children's and YA books on LGBTQ history 2018-10-31
Chelsea Clinton signs hundreds of new kids' books at W&CF 2018-10-22
Intersectional feminism meets coffee table books in 'HERstory,' 'Revolution' 2018-10-16
Women & Children First Bookstore hosts Chelsea Clinton, Jill Soloway, Sarah Schulman 2018-09-25
Book by trans activist Precious Brady-Davis acquired by TOPPLE books, Amazon publishing 2018-08-06
 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.