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Anti-homosexuality in East Africa: The 21st century race problem?

Kim Dionne writes about the anti-homosexuality bill being re-tabled in the Ugandan parliament, highlighting the strategic use of anti-homosexuality as a basis for ending partisan conflict.

Meanwhile, lesbian students were suspended from school in Kenya as reported by The Standard. (This video is worth watching — the principal blames the poor performance of the school on lesbianism…)

The rise of homosexual scapegoating reminds me of Anthony Marx’s argument about the implementation of institutionalized white supremacy in South Africa and Jim Crow in post Civil War United States. In order to “bind the wounds” between English and Afrikaner in SA; and North and South in the U.S., blacks got the raw deal in both places. In East Africa, despite the threat of donor pressure, a similar strategy seems afoot for what might be analogous to the 20th century “color line.” Apparently, gay is the new black.

About Evan Lieberman

I am a Professor of Political Science at MIT, and I conduct research, write, and teach about development, ethnic politics, and research methods.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Anti-homosexuality in East Africa: The 21st century race problem?

  1. I’d be curious to know if you think if Western efforts to tie development aid to non-discriminatory practices toward homosexuals has had any effect (positively or negatively) on East African policymakers.

    Posted by kefteji | February 8, 2012, 11:27 am
    • Interesting question. I am sure it emboldened some to speak out against homosexuality as a “Western/immoral practice,” and score some political points in that manner. But what surprised me was the Ugandan case, where politicians have been so aggressive (and successful) in courting Western aid.

      Posted by Evan Lieberman | February 10, 2012, 1:45 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Two charged in Kenya over homosexuality « sebaspace - February 15, 2012

  2. Pingback: Same-sex unions in Africa « evan lieberman - May 23, 2012

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