Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lee Daniels Talks About the 'Down Low' and Gets So Much Wrong

Lee Daniels, the director of Precious and the new release The Butler, recently sat down with Larry King to talk about HIV/AIDS and homophobia.  His commentary, while including an honest revelation about himself regarding the homophobia he has faced, is laced with deeply internalized homophobia, racism and classism.

Two minutes is not a lot of time but in that short span, director Lee Daniels managed to get so much wrong in his interview that it's shocking.  I am often quite resistant to questioning the experiences, or the views of marginalized people with whom I don't share a marginalization with, simply because doing so can be extremely problematic.  The moment you have privilege in an area, you must question whether your resistance to what is being said is really about an unwillingness to challenge your own privilege. No matter how committed to social justice the individual is, none of us has reached the point where we stop tripping over our privilege.

I paused for a moment, as I listened to Daniels talk about the supposed down low phenomenon and his association with a grouping of Black women and children with welfare. Please take a moment to watch the video or read the transcript.

transcipt below the fold