U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris won’t accept the notion that Black voters hate LGBTQ people.
“I am never going to buy into that trope, and I think it’s a trope that has evolved among some Democrats to suggest that African-Americans are homophobic,” Harris told CNN.
The topic arose during an interview on The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer, where Blitzer asked Harris about comments from Rep. James Clyburn that gay Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s sexuality may hurt him with older black voters in South Carolina, Clyburn's home state.
"I'm not going to sit here and tell you otherwise. I think everybody knows that's an issue,” Clyburn previously told CNN.
While Harris, also a candidate for the Democratic nomination, stressed that she respects Clyburn, she said it’s wrong to assert that homophobia and transphobia are particularly widespread in the Black community.
“Bias occurs in every community,” she said. But it’s wrong to think anti-LGBTQ sentiment is any more cemented in racial minority groups, she added.
“The reality is that, sadly and unfortunately in all communities, bias occurs, and in particular homophobia and transphobia,” she said. “I’ve spent my entire career fighting against it. So I know it is a fact.
“But to label one community in particular as being burdened by this bias as compared to others is misinformed, it’s misdirected, and it’s just simply wrong.”
Moreover, it ignores the significant overlap in the communities, Harris said.
“When you talk about the African-American community, it is not a monolith,” she said. “It includes gay, transgender, LGBTQ people within that community who are loved by their community, loved by their family, like every community.”
The conversation around the homophobia Buttigieg may face from Black voters has recently intensified after the release of an internal report that his campaign had done to see where he stands with that voting bloc.
Among the findings from the small focus groups, the report’s authors noted that the voters knew little about Buttigieg, and only a handful of participants knew who he was at the time, according to Out.
His sexuality “was a barrier for ... voters” who preferred that his sexuality not be front and center while campaigning, but other members of the focus group felt Buttigieg’s experience as a gay man may allow him to relate to Black Americans’ struggles with discrimination.
Currently, Buttigieg lags far behind other candidates among Black voters, with support coming in at 1 percent, according to a survey conducted by Hill-HarrisX.