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Should a white guy lead the Black Student Union?

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It happened in Northern Virginia at an elite high school.  And it wasn't a joke, or done to be funny.  The guy was a longtime, and active, member of the Black Student Union, and finally ran for president.

It's an interesting question, and it's something we've debated in the gay community as well.  Is it ever okay to pick a straight person to run a gay organization.

In principle, I've never had a problem with the notion of a straight person running a gay group.  Yeah, it's different.  And yes one could argue that they wouldn't 100% understand what it means to be gay, but I'm not entirely sure that they couldn't learn.  And there is something to be said for the advantages a straight person would have explaining gay rights to other straight people, or a white person would have explaining the plight of African-Americans to a white audience.

And let's not under-appreciate the devotion it takes for a white high school kid (even in an elite high school) to choose to run for the president of a black student group (of which he was already a member).

I'm also curious "who" voted for him - meaning, were the only people eligible to vote current members of the Black Student Union, if so, then that gives him more legitimacy.  Also, more generally, can you really limit the membership and/or leadership of an organization to one race, one sexual orientation, etc?

And while that might sound discriminatory to someone not a member of the group in question, I know for gay stuff I get the notion of keeping it "gay" once in a while.   The whole idea behind gay softball leagues and gay bars, for that matter, is to have somewhere safe and reaffirming for your own community, a community in which you grow up not always feeling very safe or affirmed.  If a gay softball league were 99% straight, it wouldn't be much of a gay softball league.  If gay cruises were 99% straight then they would really be gay cruises.

Then again, this is the argument the Irish Catholics use to keep gay Irish Catholic groups out of the St. Patrick's Day parades.

What do you think?

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