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Tackling issues while breaking barriers at the same time

If you’ve been paying attention to sports headlines lately, Michael Sam made football history earlier this week by announcing publicly that he is gay. Safe to say, the Mizzou defensive lineman and potential NFL Draft prospect caused a media stir up to say the least. It was pretty obvious you couldn’t go anywhere or read anything without the name “Michael Sam” in the headline or in a conversation.


His “coming out” announcement might have reached headline news but raised the question on whether he can change the outlook on homophobia within the African American community? It wouldn’t take rocket science or a professor like Michael Eric Dyson to help you notice that homophobia exists heavily in the African American community. Lets be real even in some of today’s biggest hip hop records, it contains homophobic undertones that can make one a bit uneasy wouldn’t you agree?

But as for the black community itself, being gay is not fully embraced like it is in other demographics.  For years, the African American community has been categorized to be less accepting of the LGBT community. With a strong sense of masculinity deeply rooted and embedded in the culture, being gay in the black community is considered far from the norm.

Now, by no means am I the gatekeeper to the gay community nor do I plan on marrying couples like Queen Latifah. I’m just curious as to how sexual preferences not considered “normal” is accepted among communities but more importantly, how one athlete may change that stigmatism within his community.

That said, we get back to the subject at hand. Michael Sam.

Michael Sam being gay and a part of the African American community not only shatters the “status quo”, but rather challenges the mindset of a community to be more open. Instead of letting a sport define his masculinity, he is taking full advantage and doing it himself.  He is confronting the ideals of homophobia and forcing not only the world of football but more importantly, the black community to erase that mindset.

The African American community for years has had trouble coping with people being gay within the community. Although that may be true,  Michael has the potential to diminish those ideals within the community.   His bravery and courage on and off the field defiantly break the stereotypes and nonconstructive stigmas regarding gay’s in the black community.

Therefore, I leave you to call the audible play. Do you think he has the potential to change the outlook on homophobia in the African American community?

– Andrew Somuah(@Drewtheabstract)