"Smitherman Warns Gay Community" by Kevin Osborne, Cincinnati CityBeat (newsweekly), 3/30/09
AUDIO: From "Smitherman on the Mic," WBDZ-AM, 3/28/09. MP3 of entire show here: blip.tv/file/1932156/
PHOTO: Cincinnati NAACP president Chris Smitherman and anti-gay rights activist Chris Finney
Time-stamped selected quotes:
1;20 - I don't know what the (gay community is) talking about (regarding Chris Finney).
3;15 (Plays "Jeopardy" theme song in background to mock alleged lack of involvement of gay community in NAACP issues)
3;36 - Why in their minds do they believe that the Cincinnati NAACP needs to check in with them on an appointment to our board? And what would make them think that I would look out for anybody else's interests other than our membership's interests?
3;58 - Now this doesn't mean that there aren't gay members of the Cincinnati NAACP because I can name some white brothers by the name i.e. Victor Fabro, white male, gay, he's out, who's very supportive of the NAACP. He stands with us, he comes to marches. But he's not carrying the banner of the institution. The institution is quiet. And the only time...and I'm supportive...I've been supportive of these issues. Matter of fact NOT in lock step with the African-American community. Now you write me having been absent and I've sent messages and told you to engage the African-American community differently.
I think you should be very, very cautious LGBT community. I think you should be very cautious moving forward. I don't think this is a tree you want to bark up. But if you want to go there, if this is what you want to do, we can go there. But the bottom line is your community as it deals with racism in the African-American community, you're not there. You're absent. And then when it's convenient for you, you start evoking (sic) Dr. Martin Luther King. Proposition 8 lost in California because the (gay) community isn't properly engaging the African-American community. And you're showin' up at the last minute trying to build bridges and have relationships, and it doesn't work that way. So we're going to City Hall on April the 8th. We'll see if the LGBT community shows up in masses saying, "I'm standing with the Cincinnati NAACP demanding economic justice in this town." Or will they be quiet like they always are?
7;00 - I was thinking, I want to make one more comment about the gay community who's been writing me these e-mails about my appointment to the Cincinnati NAACP board. I've never seen you at a Freedom Fund dinner. We have a fund raiser, matter of fact, we've had 54 of them. I've never seen you come in and buy a table. And I bet you if you did buy one you were there because you wanted something. Like your issue was on the ballot and y'all were up against the wall and you wanted something. But you don't come and support our Freedom Fund dinner here in Cincinnati. I don't know what goes on in New York. I don't know what goes on in Cleveland. I don't know what goes on in Alaska. I don't know what goes on in California. But I know right here in Cincinnati, the LG...the...let me make sure I get it right...I give the right acronym here...I'll get it back. But I don't see the gay community showing up and supporting our institutions. So it's just beyond me that I'm getting all of these e-mails. I find it very interesting that they find the NAACP and evoke (sic) Martin Luther King. The LGBT community! I've never seen them buy a table. I have to go through all of our records and see if I can find the LGBT buying a table.
10;20 - As I talk to African-American gay men and read extensively about James Baldwin, black gay men say it's no better. The racism in the white gay community is off the chain in Cincinnati. So black gay men are saying there are problems in the white gay community. It's always amazing to me, how can you be racist and be gay? I mean that is an oxymoron to me. An oxymoron!
More background here: s7y.us/mp8
s7y.us/mpc - 10/24/04 letter to the Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati city councilman Christopher Smitherman condemning anti-gay rights ordinance authored by Chris Finney: "On Wednesday at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Mrs. King stated, 'When any group experiences injustice, it undermines the quality of justice in our society at large - it hurts us all.' Those who oppose the repeal have used Dr. King's image to promote discrimination. Their actions are shameful and disrespect the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."