Race vs. sexual orientation article
July 27, 2014 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find a Colin Powell article, circa mid nineties, comparing sexual orientation and race.

I read a great article by Colin Powell in the mid nineties in which he explained his personal experience with racism (which I believe he called a benign character trait) and how he believed that skin color was not behavior-based and sexual orientation--by definition--was. I was hoping the hive mind could help. Thanks in advance.
posted by Amalie-Suzette to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It seems that he actually said that skin colour, not racism, is a benign characteristic. Quite a difference there!
Maybe this fragment that I found will help you use your Google-fu:

“Skin color is a benign non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is a convenient but invalid argument.”
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:49 AM on July 27, 2014

The quote seems to be from a book, not an article, as stated here:
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:52 AM on July 27, 2014

It's from a May 18, 1992, letter to Rep. Patricia Schroeder.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:52 AM on July 27, 2014

And here's a 2010 WaPo update on his stance.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:31 AM on July 27, 2014

My humblest possible apologies for the bad english. Ideefixe, is there a link to that letter? Memory, I know, but it seems like it was a full-page single-spaced article in a magazine like Time or Newsweek. Thank you all very much for your help.
posted by Amalie-Suzette at 4:41 PM on July 27, 2014

This seems to be the full exchange (her letter, and his reply).

It's impossible to look up without having Nexis or something now that Google News has nuked the archives. I believe the letter, which was made public, was printed in its entirety at the time, and wouldn't be surprised to have seen it run in a newsweekly or one of the larger dailies. Harper's Magazine had begun its new format, and they also often ran things like this in full that were not easily available elsewhere (e.g. the Readings department, and one thing each month in Annotations). I wouldn't fixate on that aspect, though. It was a more constrained information environment back then, but a number of publications took their duty to get these sorts of things out there very seriously.
posted by dhartung at 6:05 PM on July 27, 2014

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