Martin Luther King Day

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2008 4:37 PM GMT
    It is today Martin Luther King Day, a public holiday which hardly needs introduction to Americans.

    How King would have viewed the gay liberation and legitimation movements is open to question; the fact he worked with and was advised by an openly gay man, Bayard Rustin is not. For my part, I have always taken the view (incidentally that also of the King Centre) that racism, homphobia, mysogeny and class-prejudice are social phenomena that can only be tackled as a whole. Perhaps for us as the gay community, the MLK holiday is a useful point for us to reflect on and challenge the racism, mysogeny and classism that is still very prevalent amongst gay people. For how can we remain intellectually coherent in our calls for tolerance as long as these remain?

    So much for my view. My questions to you: What significance does Martin Luther King day have for you? Do you personally get the day off? And what meaning, if any, do you feel the day has for the LGBT community as a whole?

    It's an emotive topic. Decorum and respect in debate, please icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2008 5:56 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    My questions to you: What significance does Martin Luther King day have for you? Do you personally get the day off? And what meaning, if any, do you feel the day has for the LGBT community as a whole?

    icon_biggrin.gif


    To me it is about honoring a great American hero and civil rights leader, it is about the beauty of fighting for justice without fighting, the art of non-violence and its effective strategy. I think ultimately is a very important day, and rather than getting the day off I think kids in school should really be having the day dedicated to learning about civil rights struggles with regards to race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. This should not be viewed as a holiday but as a celebration of our diversity and a push for further cooperation between different groups of people.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2008 6:06 PM GMT
    Tiger Tim wrote:
    My questions to you: What significance does Martin Luther King day have for you? Do you personally get the day off? And what meaning, if any, do you feel the day has for the LGBT community as a whole?


    I think you answered your own question. The LGBT community still needs to deal with the racism, mysogeny, and classism within itself. Without doing that, it will remain fractured. Anyone wondering what kinds of fractures exist within the LGBT community should read some of the other forum discussions related to race and/or prejudice to get an idea.

    Personally, MLK Day is probably the most prominent period on the calendar in which this country recognizes the contributions of the Black community. Although MLK is the primary focus of the day, Bayard Rustin (as you mentioned) and other people are referenced as well. Not only that, but Dr. King's actions didn't occur in a vacuum. All of American history leading up to the Civil Rights Movement has to be taken into context in order to understand who King was and why he is important now. I'll be interested in seeing how his memorial turns out in DC when it's done.

    Also, despite it's increasing commercialization (anyone need a new car?), MLK Day is becoming/has become more important than Black History Month. Black History Month is so abstract in implementation that I think most people don't remember that it's going on or they don't know how to "celebrate" it. MLK Day at least inspires questioning, reflection, and acknowledgment on a national level.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2008 6:21 PM GMT
    To me, MLK is more than a civil rights activist. In his day, yeah, that's what he was. He has grown to icon status and represents the power in risking all for your convictions, not compromising and not resting until what's right has occurred.

    Be that for the world of LGBT people, racial minorities, or any group not at the top of the social food chain.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2008 7:25 PM GMT
    I have MLK day off. I view the day similar to my favorite holiday (philosophically speaking) Independence Day. Both days I choose to mean, at their core, freedom and liberty as Buddhism and other philosophies teach.

    I am inspired watching programs or reading about people and events having to do with civil rights and liberties. As with Martin Luther King, I was very impressed and inspired by Bayard Rustin as a man before his time. I saw the program "Brother outsider" many years ago and have wanted the DVD, which has finally come out ( http://rustin.org/ ), for a long time. I REALLY recommend it to everyone.

    Getting back to MLK, I have been impressed and encouraged to see Coretta Scott King ( http://www.hatecrime.org/subpages/coretta.html ) and my former Atlanta Home's representative Congressman John Lewis stand up to compare Gay Rights to the Civil Rights Movement (http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070110/COLUMNISTS13/701100305/1083).

    Civil Rights, I think, is only real when you apply it to any oppressed group of people.
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    Jan 21, 2008 7:30 PM GMT
    This may be slightly off topic, but for me, it is a tough stretch to compare (black) racism with homophobia. It's true that we do not have all the rights and privileges as straights, but when it comes to day to day discrimination, all we have to do is not hold our boyfriend's hand, and nobody will ever know. For blacks, there is no escaping the color of their skin. I would take being gay 100 times over.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2008 7:55 PM GMT
    Hunter9it is a tough stretch to compare (black) racism with homophobia


    This in itself can be a problem. Everyone sees their own (or someone else's) plight as the worse .. well because it is your own plight or the form of discrimination you have seen. But nevertheless if this is what you see how can you put yourself in the other persons' shoes? Coming from a multi-ethnic family and having moved from the west to the rural south as a child I can say that I have seen many forms of discrimination.

    There are other things that people consciously or subconsciously use to discriminate. Besides skin color there is language, your name, and religion for instance. Now while some people may not correctly associate you with your race/ethnic group, they can perhaps be put off by your name if it is ethnic. When my brother tried to open a business with minority status in South Carolina he was immediately looked at oddly and rejected maybe because his skin wasn't dark enough or something else. Our father is brown, our mother is white. And while out father's birth certificate says Mexican, my brother's (born in florida) said Caucasian for father because at the time there was no checkbox for Mexican like there was in California. To make a long story short, my brother had to send documents around and have his birth certificate changed before the minority business council would approve him. Had the council had more Latin minorities in it or had he been here in California I don't think that there would have been a problem.

    The moral of the story is that when discrimination happens to you for whatever reason, you are experiencing what other people are experiencing around the world. It's not good to assume that your situation is worse because then you cannot realize other people's plight or the significance of their suffering. Does that make sense?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2008 8:19 PM GMT
    McGay-


    Funny and enlightened!icon_biggrin.gif
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    Jan 21, 2008 8:39 PM GMT
    ActiveAndFit said[quote][cite]Hunter9[/cite]it is a tough stretch to compare (black) racism with homophobia


    It's not good to assume that your situation is worse because then you cannot realize other people's plight or the significance of their suffering. Does that make sense?
    [/quote]

    I am absolutely not saying that MY situation is WORSE. I am saying that my situation is FAR BETTER. And since this is a gay (and not black) website, discussing how MLK affects us, I would say its a far stretch given the (in general) far more problematic issues that blacks experience on a day to day basis than gays.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2008 8:55 PM GMT
    Hunter9I am absolutely not saying that MY situation is WORSE.

    Yep I understood that. My point is that the severity of forms of discrimination can be skewed by personal experience or observation. That can have the effect of not being able to see how bad someone else's situation is.

    Another example. A young gay person is tormented in school. (see threads about Femm vs. Masc) The person is beaten, pissed on, has his head stuck in a toilet because he is gay and apparently obvious enough to be picked on. Maybe as an adult you are tormented and murdered for being perceived as Gay..
    Gay Sailor murdered
    and
    Gay Man burned

    The point is not to diminish anyone's plight, but to say that there is no better or nicer form of discrimination. Pain can be relative to how much you sympathize with it or experience it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 21, 2008 9:00 PM GMT
    Hunter9 said
    And since this is a gay (and not black) website, discussing how MLK affects us, I would say its a far stretch given the (in general) far more problematic issues that blacks experience on a day to day basis than gays.


    MLK was also American, involved in bettering the situations of the poor, and anti-war. Choosing not to discuss him because this is a gay website presents his accomplishments and legacy in a very narrow manner. It also limits the collective growth of us as a (gay/American/international) community regardless of race, ethnicity, or country of origin. The Civil Rights Movement wouldn't have been successful without the involvement of people from a variety of backgrounds. It was inspired by the work of Gandhi and it in turn continues to inspire other movements in the present. You may not feel that you were affected by MLK or the Civil Rights Movement, but you probably were in some way.

    On the off chance that you weren't affected, clearly TigerTim and some other people were. Why is it a stretch for that discussion to take place here?

    Hunter9 said
    For blacks, there is no escaping the color of their skin. I would take being gay 100 times over.


    What did you mean here?
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    Jan 21, 2008 9:23 PM GMT
    caramelized2 said[quote][cite]Hunter9 said[/cite]
    And since this is a gay (and not black) website, discussing how MLK affects us, I would say its a far stretch given the (in general) far more problematic issues that blacks experience on a day to day basis than gays.


    MLK was also American, involved in bettering the situations of the poor, and anti-war. Choosing not to discuss him because this is a gay website presents his accomplishments and legacy in a very narrow manner. It also limits the collective growth of us as a (gay/American/international) community regardless of race, ethnicity, or country of origin. The Civil Rights Movement wouldn't have been successful without the involvement of people from a variety of backgrounds. It was inspired by the work of Gandhi and it in turn continues to inspire other movements in the present. You may not feel that you were affected by MLK or the Civil Rights Movement, but you probably were in some way.

    On the off chance that you weren't affected, clearly TigerTim and some other people were. Why is it a stretch for that discussion to take place here?

    Hunter9 said
    For blacks, there is no escaping the color of their skin. I would take being gay 100 times over.


    What did you mean here? [/quote]

    Caramelized2:

    In response to your response (from top to bottom), keep in mind that in my original post, I said that this may be slightly off topic... by no means am I saying that MLK should not be discussed because this is not a black website. As you stated, his efforts were intertwined with the discrimination that gays (and others) did and still do face. My point was something that I've always just thought about, and finally commented on because of the relevance to MLK and gays, which is that IN GENERAL, it is far more difficult to be black than gay because you cannot hide your skin color in public, and I can hide my sexuality by simply not holding my bf's hand.

    And that is the point of the second comment of mine that you quoted. I have black friends, and I've lived in racially mixed communities. Given these environments, it appears that blacks face far more discrimination than gays, since (again) gays aren't rainbow colored. It's an unfortunate situation that I empathize with.

    A quick example... I just applied for a job that I had zero experience in and had never studied anything about. When the interview process began, I turned my myspace profile to private, because while I hope being gay would not hurt me at this company, it most definitely would not help me. Despite being underqualified, I was confident that I would get the job because I was white, tall and good looking. The job was offered to me on friday.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jan 21, 2008 10:32 PM GMT
    On the original point, MLK day to me is a better day to remember the struggle for equality, and to draw inspiration from the speeches of MLK Jr, than to necessarily reflect on the man himself. He did some very good things; he also had some major flaws. This is because he's human--I feel similarly about, say, Thomas Jefferson, a generally great man who is marred by his decision to keep slaves and desire limit the rights of citizenship to land-owning men. There's more inspiration to be gained from focusing on his strengths than in honestly evaluating his entirety. I don't exactly have the day off, but neither do I exactly not have the day off; as a Ph. D. student, my hours are essentially all flex time. I spent little time in the lab today, but I was there from 7-10:30 pm yesterday...

    On the point brought about the differences in discrimination based on skin color and orientation, there are some ways in which each is easier for its victims, and some ways in which each is harder. We gays today face a very different lack of equality than blacks did 40 years ago: we aren't sent to the back of the bus, there aren't separate drinking fountains for us, or separate lunch counters, or whatnot. We also are much more able to hide our differences if we wish to. At the same time, the emotional impact of the intolerance or discrimination that can be leveled at us is capable of being far more significant. Racial discrimination tends to be a lot more impersonal--you don't have to worry about your best friend treating you differently when they find out your race, because if they were the sort of person who would reject you for your race they never would have gotten to know you well enough in the first place for their rejection to really hurt. You don't have to worry about your parents or your siblings rejecting you on your race, because they'll share it. You're not suddenly going to lose your job 10 years into it when your boss finds out your race; you might (if you're in the military, for example) when they find out your orientation.

    Basically, racial discrimination tends to come more from strangers, and carries a much greater risk of physical violence. Orientation discrimination has the potential to come more from people who already matter to you when they find out, but is primarily social, financial, and professional in nature. Racial discrimination general posits that the victim is inferior; orientation discrimination tends to posit that the victim is corrupt/immoral/evil. Which one is easier to deal with depends on your particular circumstances.
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    Jan 21, 2008 11:56 PM GMT
    MSUBioNerd:

    You make some very valid points which I absolutely do not disagree with. I suppose I was referring primarily to day to day discrimination (on the streets, in stores, with law enforcement, getting jobs, etc). Racial minorities most certainly do not understand the complications/discrimination involved in coming out.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2008 12:10 AM GMT
    A bit of levity, with some truth.

    Is it better to be black or gay?

    Black, because you don't have to tell your parents.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2008 12:37 AM GMT
    McGay saidIs it better to be black or gay?
    Black, because you don't have to tell your parents.

    LOL, well I guess you never saw Steve Martin's "The Jerk"? .. who had to be told one day he was not really an albino black man, but rather adopted.

    Anyway, I went ahead and ordered 4 copies of the "Brother Outsider" DVD about the life of Bayard Rustin mentioned above. So in honor of MLK day, the next three people who post HERE saying that they would like a copy I will send a copy for free (as long as you are in the U.S. ... I am not familiar with international mail) I will need a real name and postal address so in addition to posting on this thread I will have to contact you privately or vice versa.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2008 12:54 AM GMT
    I'll take you up on that Active.

    In regards to the topic at hand, there is much to be taken from the day. While I have the day off, it's nothing to do with MLK Jr. Day. I agree with carmelized, in that this day is much more important for understanding the Civil Rights movement than Black History month. It's hard to remember Dr. King without remembering all the others that were around him and caused the movement to be so successful.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2008 12:57 AM GMT
    Alrighty chewy, 1 down, 2 more to go. I will contact you later.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2008 12:58 AM GMT
    I live near the King Center and Ebeneezer Baptist Church, so on top of everything else the day means, it's also about traffic jams. The political squabbling between Bill Clinton and our mayor today was a bit annoying too.

    As for the correlation between the various civil rights movements, you better tell it to Dr. King's daughter, Bernice, who, along with King's niece, led a march calling for a ban on same-sex marriage two years ago. The march was organized by Eddie Long, head pastor of a 25,000-member mega-church here. So, we're not talking sparse participation.

    It's generally disappointing the way minorities resist coalition-building. That came up again recently with the bill to provide employment security for members of the GLBT community. Transsexuals were dumped from the bill for political expediency's sake, and "trans-phobia" suddenly became an issue.

    Indeed. the '60/'70s gay liberation movement's effort to ally with feminism was frustrated, as was its broader utopic agenda -- just as Harry Hay's alliance with socialists got him kicked out of the Mattachine Society.

    It seems everyone needs someone to hate.



  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2008 1:00 AM GMT
    obscenewish said

    It seems everyone needs someone to hate.





    Can't we all just get along and hate the Jews?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2008 1:00 AM GMT
    Thanks for the great posts so far, guys.

    ActiveAndFit -- totally keen, mate icon_biggrin.gif You rock!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2008 1:26 AM GMT
    Hunter9 said
    Racial minorities most certainly do not understand the complications/discrimination involved in coming out.


    Really? Is that because there aren't any gay racial minorities, because we can't comprehend it in an academic sense, or because it's so darn easy for us?

    Seriously, there are plenty of gay racial minorities who understand the complications and discrimination involved with coming out. Believe me, complications abound for us, too.

    Anyway, ActiveAndFit, good on you for ordering those DVDs. The Logo channel will also be showing BrotherOutsider all week.
  • Artesin

    Posts: 482

    Jan 22, 2008 1:30 AM GMT
    I just got kicked out of the gym at freaken 7 due to the holiday. I now carry disdain for this day -.-
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2008 1:43 AM GMT
    In a perfect world I wish that people would just realize that this is a day that acknowledges a man who stood up for what he believed in, encouraged others to do so and opened the doors for groups of people other than his own because he truly wanted people from all backgrounds to live together peacefully. I just hate the fact that posts like this (not just here but on any website) almost ALWAYS explode into some kind of racial debate/argument. Let's just rememeber Dr. King as a great man who did great things.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 22, 2008 2:05 AM GMT
    caramelized2 Anyway, ActiveAndFit, good on you for ordering those DVDs. The Logo channel will also be showing BrotherOutsider all week.
    DOHHHHH! You are right .. here is the link: http://www.logoonline.com/shows/dyn/brother_outsider/series.jhtml
    please people watch it. It really is good. By the way I still have 2 of those 4 DVD's left! see my message above.