Ok…the majority of the so-called Black/African American community does not support homosexuality: especially as it relates to Black Men. There have been families who have been well aware of that relative we all “knew” was gay, but never acknowledged. It was the family secret buried deeper than why that uncle/aunt lives in that back room; no one goes there unless they have to. So as I watched Jason Collins and his family on Oprah’s Next Chapter on the OWN Network, I was really wondering whether or not this family was just that supportive…or wanted to present as such. Huxtable/Cosby Syndrome at its best.
In my humble critique, I saw a family who decided to “play nice” and show the world that Black people (families in particular) are open-minded and accepting. Interestingly, I noticed his twin brother Jarron expressing some low-grade anger and frustration at his brother’s announcement on a greater level. Yet, that was restrained. Dad smiled and offered the textbook “we support you”, while Mom dutifully smiled by. Yet his Aunt, the judge said she already knew. Which begs the question, how did everyone else…miss?!
Could it have been the denial that many so-called Black/African American families engage in when “normal” fails to show up (i.e. mental illness, sexual abuse, etc.)? Or maybe it was their Christian beliefs that dictated homosexuality is unacceptable, and decided to regard their son’s behavior as a “phase.” Then again, his family could have refused to allow their Huxtablesque/Cosby utopia to be interrupted by the issue of their Stanford educated professional athlete’s sexual orientation brimming in the balance. Maybe, just maybe, they were comfortable with Jason’s relationship and engagement with a woman with the hopes “it” would go away.
Whatever it is they maintained a united front on television last evening. Besides, their friends, family and social set was watching. Yet behind closed doors, I envision an angst that is less concerned with Jason’s coming out to the world, and more upset that their ability to remain under the radar as that Model Black Family has been compromised.
Essentially for the Collins’s, Jason altered the course of their perfect Black family for the world to see; their fears personified – “we’ve become a statistic!”