Being a “Morehouse Man” includes respect for diversity of sexual orientation
May 7, 2009
WaPo's Colbert King wrote in his column this weekend about a speech by Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, President of Morehouse College. One of the points I found interesting was his challenge to the young men (it's an all-male HBCU) to not only create a safe space for their gay colleagues, but to understand them and learn from them to enrich their own lives:
As an all-male institution with the explicit mission of educating men with disciplined minds, perhaps the great challenge of this moment in history is our diversity of sexual orientation. Part of our greatness lies in our ability to accept men of quality who wish to uphold the Morehouse mystique. We do not pry into a person’s private identity; nor do we wish to have identity paraded in an undignified manner. We do demand that everyone aspire to high ethical standards and responsible community behavior. Identity must always square with, and yield to, ethics. ... Since we are unique, why don’t we use this opportunity to model something our community needs? Straight men should learn more about the outlooks and contributions of gay men. Read a book by a gay author. Have an intelligent conversation with a gay neighbor. At a time when it was truly scandalous to have homosexual friends or associates, Dr. King looked to Bayard Rustin, a black gay man, as a trusted adviser. And, Malcolm X regarded James Baldwin, a black gay man, as a brilliant chronicler of the black experience. To my straight brothers, diversity at Morehouse is an opportunity that can enrich your education if you are courageous enough to seize the opportunity. We cannot force you, but we invite you to learn from your environment.
Issues: Youth & Campus
May 23, 2013