Prop 8: White Bias and Blaming the Black Community?

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    Nov 11, 2008 4:42 PM GMT
    "In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

    -Pastor Martin Niemöller
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    Nov 11, 2008 4:47 PM GMT
    NNJfitandbi said
    london_nyc said
    coolHUSSEINdude saidNNJfitandbi said, "She doesn't understand civil rights. This is about quid pro quo for her, getting hers. What a paltry, ungenerous perspective she has!!!!"


    Exactly what I was thinking. I've said it before in another thread and I'll say it again here: It's funny that white gay Obama supporters and voters are all of a sudden racist for calling out the Black Community for their significant majority vote in support of banning gay marriage.


    Er, no. She's not after quid pro quo but rather pointing out that there are some issues that she-- and many other in the black community-- consider far more pressing than gay marriage and for her, she'd rather deal with those issues first. It's prioritisation, not quid pro quo.


    Well, I certainly don't blame her for having priorities. Nor do I think that the support of any group can be counted upon -- though I do think people can and should be taken to task when they are wrong. I like that she pointed to the wrong-headedness on the right side of the gay marriage debate, and, as I said, she unwittingly shows a way out. But her article isn't about priorities, it is about grievances. And her point was: what have you done for me lately? It is a self-righteous, defensive piece of work by someone who is obviously ashamed at some level of a community she identifies with but who has no vision of what a just world would look like.

    Too many activists nurse their wounds. As if there is a competition for who's most oppressed. She has an us v. them vision. Honestly, she sounds like the defensive white racists who are so terrified of losing their piece that they end up voting Republican, against their economic interests.

    We're in this together, and those who fail to see it will be left behind.


    I think she's right to call out the gay community on simply expecting the support of other minority communities without engaging them effectively and consistently. It's like the Democratic party-- you can't just take minority support for granted all the time, at some point you have to reward that support with real action.

    In terms of how best to communicate with the black community, a good place to start might be through recognisable black men and women standing up in support of marriage equality. It also might be good to show support for dealing with the HIV/AIDS problem in the black community and making the argument that by ensuring marriage equality we give all young gay men of all races examples of positive, responsible and stable relationship choices in addition to the choice of a fulfilled sex life, however they choose to organise it.

    There are ways to engage this issue in the black community, but the No on 8 campaign was appallingly bad at doing it. And blaming black people for Prop 8's passage is convenient but ultimately counterproductive.
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    Nov 11, 2008 4:50 PM GMT
    London, if, as you say, it's a matter of prioritization, then how would voting no on prop 8 have affected any of her or anyone else's priorities as members of another minority? The defeat of prop 8 would not have added to anyone's oppression. It wasn't a matter of priority, it was a matter of opinion, most of which, in this case, are based on bigotry. For fuck's sake, chickens got more civil rights in California this year than gay people did. I hope the chickens don't ever want to marry.
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    Nov 11, 2008 4:51 PM GMT


    All right then, are there any black gays here who would be willing to speak out to black straights about this stuff?

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    Nov 11, 2008 4:54 PM GMT
    Twincam saidUntil the gay community can brush off it's overall image as white middle/upper class elitist, it will never be able to build the coalitions necessary to get it's 'agendas' through government. Many minorities like myself have always felt excluded from gay culture (even while being accepted in the mainstream). For me acceptance is often provisional, as in being part of a sexual fetish (wow you black guys are huge!). Of course, not every white gay man is an elitist. The timing seems bad. There are so many other pressing issues right now that the general public must see this as another 'luxury' item wanted by white gay men.


    Yeah, I definitely agree. I've often felt fetishised along the same lines. And it sucks because the white community I grew up in is definitely more friendly than the largely white gay community that either sees me as a sex object or 'is just not that into black guys, sorry.' No mention of me as a person with a brain and feelings.
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    Nov 11, 2008 4:55 PM GMT
    McGay saidLondon, if, as you say, it's a matter of prioritization, then how would voting no on prop 8 have affected any of her or anyone else's priorities as members of another minority? The defeat of prop 8 would not have added to anyone's oppression. It wasn't a matter of priority, it was a matter of opinion, most of which, in this case, are based on bigotry. For fuck's sake, chickens got more civil rights in California this year than gay people did. I hope the chickens don't ever want to marry.


    you do know what they are doing with the old cages right

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    Nov 11, 2008 4:57 PM GMT
    I feel the article does a decent job of explaining why outreach efforts to the black community were not successful (the NAACP isn't the be all and end all, and the civil rights movement in the black community has always been heavily tied to the church), and why the author is more inclined to be an activist for black rights than for gay rights. All of that is fine as it is; there were tactical mistakes, and everyone is allowed to choose his or her own priorities.

    None of that changes the fact that black voters voted Yes on 8 at a 70/30 rate, while the racial group next most likely to support it voted Yes at a 54/46 rate. That rate is going to have to drop if we're going to see real marriage equality.

    Some of her points are way off. Of course marriage can be important for people who are facing severe economic hardship, as it can grant access to a spouse's health benefits. But that might be influenced by the statistical reality that marriage is both less common and of a shorter duration, on average, within the straight black community than in the straight white or straight Latin community.

    One of the problems I have with this article, though, is its lack of internal consistency. She wants to gay community to change for the next time around, implying that it's the white gay community that needs to change. She also says that she, as a black lesbian, knows how to say what needs to be said if she chooses to do so. But she doesn't share with us what that is.

    There's plenty of blame to go around here. Part of it falls on the (primarily white) organizers of the No on 8 campaign, who relied on bad assumptions of how to reach the black community. Part of it falls of the Mormon church, which raised ridiculous sums of money to strip away rights. Part of it falls on the black gay activists who either didn't campaign for No on 8 themselves or who didn't tell the No on 8 organizers how to get blacks to vote No. Part of it falls on every racial group in the electorate--Whites and Asians barely broke more for No than Yes (51-49), and Latinos broke slightly more for Yes than No (54-46). And part of it falls on the black community as a whole, who voted more than 2 to 1 to write discrimination into the constitution of CA. It is not entirely their fault, and a statistical analysis shows that even the significantly higher turnout of black voters in 2008 compared to 2004 didn't change the results of Prop 8, merely the magnitude by which it passed. But they are not without blame either, and pretending that this is entirely the fault of white gays not getting it is not productive either.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:00 PM GMT
    Divided we stand and divided we all fall! Playing the blame games gets us now where!

    Instead of blaming US for the failure of prop 8 get off your duff and do something about it. Stop whinning for god sakes!

    This fight is far from over! I am more worried about the two wars that we are fight then the issue of gay marriage...COME ON! It is so not an issue.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:02 PM GMT
    McGay saidLondon, if, as you say, it's a matter of prioritization, then how would voting no on prop 8 have affected any of her or anyone else's priorities as members of another minority? The defeat of prop 8 would not have added to anyone's oppression. It wasn't a matter of priority, it was a matter of opinion, most of which, in this case, are based on bigotry. For fuck's sake, chickens got more civil rights in California this year than gay people did. I hope the chickens don't ever want to marry.


    Well, if you rail against the intrusion of religion into a civil rights issue in front of a community that sees the two as inextricably linked in a positive sense, it would tend to create antipathy.

    One thing I think is indisputable is that for marriage equality to pass by plebicite, it's going to take a lot more winning of hearts and minds. And that's something the No on 8 campaign simply did not do.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:03 PM GMT


    Repeat of previous post:

    All right then, are there any black gays here who would be willing to speak out to black straights about this stuff?
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:07 PM GMT
    From the sentiment Posted by Ducky:

    Stop blaming US and get off your duff and do something.

    I doubt they will be willing to talk to them
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:08 PM GMT
    Why should it be just us should it not be the gay community as a whole EVERYONE! You want this to pass just as much as we do. It should be a collective effort! How many of you are willing to go deep into the inner city to the churches to get our message out there?

    Not many I be that's the problem! If you say you are I can provide you with te names of a few churches to go.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:13 PM GMT
    chungo44 saidThis article is written by a bitter bigoted self loathing lesbian. I seriously find the whole thing offensive.

    and just so she knows there is a huge different from being complacent in the issue of gay marriage and actively voting to remove a right for another group of people. That is exactly what these people did. they took an active measure to remove a right from Gay people who live in california, this would be the same as a movement to ban interracial marriage and enact a miscegenation law. Grants thanks to Loving v. Virginia hat is not possible, and technically the words of loving v. virginia, are very much in the favor of Gay Marriage. I'm not asking for the black community to give us money, but I am asking them the be human beings and realizing what they are doing is on par with enacting slavery. yes that is a gross exageration, but at the end of the day both actions remove rights from people.

    This woman also has absolutely no conception of the english language. The words are civil rights, not religious rights. the black civil rights movement may have been intertwined with the church because that is where they found there strength, ironic in many ways, but it was still a fight for civil rights, thats right, rights that are controlled by the government not by the church. we are asking for civil marriage, which is a civil right, not religious marriage.

    Now on to the issue of black gays facing other issues and white middle - upper class gay wildly blowing money all over the place. AIDS heres and wild Idea CONDOMS. AIDS education in this country is huge and you have to be stupid to not know that condoms prevent HIV. maybe if black gays would stop being on the DL and admit to themselves and the black community what they really are this would not be such an issue, but instead they tend to hide. Maybe the reason the Gay movement has a largely white face is because we were willing to take risks and stop hiding.
    And just so you know those extravagant Galas cost a hell of a lot more to attend than they do to produce. one table at one of those gala events can cost 10K or more. Do you really think it costs that much to feed ten people? and its not just gays that do that I went to a Gala this summer for an organization that is all about protecting battered women, and that was probably the nicest Gala I have ever been to. But in the end all the extra money collected goes to the Charity and to doing good. Is there something wrong with enjoying a nice night out in exchange for a few thousand dollars, much of which is going to a great cause?


    1. Because Cannick isn't spouting rhetoric à la Etheridge or Degeneres, she's a self-loathing lesbian? As the diverse ideologies in this thread indicate, there is always more than one side to a story. Narrow-minded thinking, i.e., refusing to consider alternate views, is one of the reasons we're in this mess. And right now you're guilty of it.

    2. This an aside LOL. But Jasmyne's a good writer. I'd like to see your work.

    3. Coming out isn't easy for everyone. In general, white gays have an easier time coming out than black gays. You're fortunate, in that regard. Arguing that black gays should just grow some balls and kick open the closet door is naively insensitive. Do you know anything about African American culture? How about African culture? It's not that simple. Walk in my shoes for a day--I'm Nigerian and gay--and then get back to me.

    4. The gay community has a largely white face for many reasons. I doubt the reason you provide is the only or the most significant one.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:16 PM GMT
    Ducky44 saidNot many I be that's the problem! If you say you are I can provide you with te names of a few churches to go.
    I would be willing to go to anywhere, but ducky, would a church really want to even hear someone they considered and elitist/white/sinner? It sounds like resentment would get in the way so I am not sure how productive it will be.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:19 PM GMT
    I guess I'm about where McGay is at on the issue.

    Are there problems with racism within the gay community that need to be addressed? Absolutely.

    Did the No on 8 campaign fail to adequately reach out to the African-American community during the campaign? Yes, and sadly this was one of just many mistakes the No on 8 campaign made.

    Are there broader issues of racism in this country as described by the author of the article reproduced in the original post? Absolutely.

    Where she loses me, however, is in how any of this translates to voting Yes on 8. In all of the finger pointing that's gone on since the election, I've not seen anyone suggesting that the author of the article or any other African-American member of the LGBT community (or, even more, the non-LGBT African-American community) was at fault for failing to donate money, time or effort to defeat Prop 8. They were just expressing shock (justified or not) and concern that a large number of African-Americans reportedly voted for Prop 8.

    What I don't quite understand is how metaphorically pushing the "No" lever rather than the "Yes" lever somehow would detract from the priorities that the original author places higher on her list. Many of those higher priority issues were not on the ballot, yet Prop 8 was. How does voting Yes on 8 rather than No, further the civil rights issues on which she places a higher priority? Does denying rights to one minority make it more likely that another minority will gain rights?
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:24 PM GMT
    Active,

    No you sound like your resentful! I a bit I have grown a bit tired of African Americans be blamed for the passage of this stupid amendment!


    OUR GAY COMMUNITY did not do it's DUE DILIGENCE PERIOD!
    The thing to do now is to regroup. Stop all of this finger pointinng young man.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:27 PM GMT
    london_nyc said, "Er, no. She's not after quid pro quo but rather pointing out that there are some issues that she-- and many other in the black community-- consider far more pressing than gay marriage and for her, she'd rather deal with those issues first. It's prioritisation, not quid pro quo."


    Yeah, rrrriiiighhhhtttt! Because in order to support some other "more pressing" cause in a priority line of thinking, she had to deny this one. It wasn't in sequence!!!!!

    Come on now. Be real. Like that's what was going through her, or anyone else's mind, when they voted to support Prop 8.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:28 PM GMT
    meninlove said

    All right then, are there any black gays here who would be willing to speak out to black straights about this stuff?

    icon_question.gif


    I am willing. In fact, I already have.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:31 PM GMT
    coolHUSSEINdude saidlondon_nyc said, "Er, no. She's not after quid pro quo but rather pointing out that there are some issues that she-- and many other in the black community-- consider far more pressing than gay marriage and for her, she'd rather deal with those issues first. It's prioritisation, not quid pro quo."


    Yeah, rrrriiiighhhhtttt! Because in order to support some other "more pressing" cause in a priority line of thinking, she had to deny this one. It wasn't in sequence!!!!!

    Come on now. Be real. Like that's what was going through her, or anyone else's mind, when they voted to support Prop 8.


    Cannick does not share how she voted on Prop 8. Don't make assumptions icon_lol.gif
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:32 PM GMT
    Ducky44 saidWhy should it be just us should it not be the gay community as a whole EVERYONE! You want this to pass just as much as we do. It should be a collective effort! How many of you are willing to go deep into the inner city to the churches to get our message out there?

    Not many I be that's the problem! If you say you are I can provide you with te names of a few churches to go.


    The issue is more than where we are willing to go, it is who those churches will listen to.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:35 PM GMT
    Ducky44 saidActive,

    No you sound like your resentful! I a bit I have grown a bit tired of African Americans be blamed for the passage of this stupid amendment!

    OUR GAY COMMUNITY did not do it's DUE DILIGENCE PERIOD!
    The thing to do now is to regroup. Stop all of this finger pointinng young man.
    lol, Ducky, my freind, I am not being resentful I swear! I was serious. I would go anywhere, I was just going by what AA's were saying in this thread and elsewhere. Others keep saying gays are looked at as white elitist. I had no idea of this until other people brought it up.

    SO, I want to seriously know, how would say an African American church receive a gay person if that is the view? tell me what you think.

    And for the record, I do not blame the black community for prop 8 at all. I know that the majority of voters that passed this were of other races. And yes I think it is wrong to blame blacks. I think it was more closely related to religious issues in all races, and the notion that gays are out to get yoru children.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:36 PM GMT
    Active,
    It all in how we present our argument. We can’t use the word marriage and focus on the issue of civil rights, this is not rocket science.
    It's common sense stuff. That's how you re-craft the argument.
    But you cannot say that you know how it feels to be discriminated against.
    Because as Gay White Men, You will never know what it means to be African American is this country. If you go in with that attitude you will lose half of the congregation, trust me on this.
    It's just a fact. Resentment has nothing to do with it.
    Will we be met with resistance ABSOLUTELY does that mean we give up NEVER!
    Is going to happen over night no. When you fall you get back up and dust yourself off and you keep at it.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:38 PM GMT
    Chungo has a good point here. Who do you think the attendees at a black inner city church are more likely to listen to about why they should support gay marriage: a white guy or a black guy? A black woman or a white woman? Part of waging a successful campaign lies in knowing how to use your resources effectively, and I know I'd worry that sending primarily white people into black churches to try to convince black people to vote one particular way would be...not only unproductive, but potentially counterproductive.
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    Nov 11, 2008 5:42 PM GMT
    "We" do need to stop looking for forces "out there" to blame, whether that's religious organizations or other demographics. We need to take a serious look at our own failure to support the work of organizations large and small that fight for equality for the gay community.

    The opposition create the initiatives, gather the signatures to get the on the ballot, fund the ad campaigns. Then we are on the defensive. Question: do we have the confidence to create our own ballot initiatives?

    An interesting piece in today's NYTimes tells that gay activists in Utah (!) are challenging the LDS church's statements that they are "not anti-gay" by daring them to expand gay rights in Utah.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/us/11gay.html



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    Nov 11, 2008 5:42 PM GMT
    BlkMuscleGent said
    chungo44 saidThis article is written by a bitter bigoted self loathing lesbian. I seriously find the whole thing offensive.

    and just so she knows there is a huge different from being complacent in the issue of gay marriage and actively voting to remove a right for another group of people. That is exactly what these people did. they took an active measure to remove a right from Gay people who live in california, this would be the same as a movement to ban interracial marriage and enact a miscegenation law. Grants thanks to Loving v. Virginia hat is not possible, and technically the words of loving v. virginia, are very much in the favor of Gay Marriage. I'm not asking for the black community to give us money, but I am asking them the be human beings and realizing what they are doing is on par with enacting slavery. yes that is a gross exageration, but at the end of the day both actions remove rights from people.

    This woman also has absolutely no conception of the english language. The words are civil rights, not religious rights. the black civil rights movement may have been intertwined with the church because that is where they found there strength, ironic in many ways, but it was still a fight for civil rights, thats right, rights that are controlled by the government not by the church. we are asking for civil marriage, which is a civil right, not religious marriage.

    Now on to the issue of black gays facing other issues and white middle - upper class gay wildly blowing money all over the place. AIDS heres and wild Idea CONDOMS. AIDS education in this country is huge and you have to be stupid to not know that condoms prevent HIV. maybe if black gays would stop being on the DL and admit to themselves and the black community what they really are this would not be such an issue, but instead they tend to hide. Maybe the reason the Gay movement has a largely white face is because we were willing to take risks and stop hiding.
    And just so you know those extravagant Galas cost a hell of a lot more to attend than they do to produce. one table at one of those gala events can cost 10K or more. Do you really think it costs that much to feed ten people? and its not just gays that do that I went to a Gala this summer for an organization that is all about protecting battered women, and that was probably the nicest Gala I have ever been to. But in the end all the extra money collected goes to the Charity and to doing good. Is there something wrong with enjoying a nice night out in exchange for a few thousand dollars, much of which is going to a great cause?


    1. Because Cannick isn't spouting rhetoric à la Etheridge or Degeneres, she's a self-loathing lesbian? As the diverse ideologies in this thread indicate, there is always more than one side to a story. Narrow-minded thinking, i.e., refusing to consider alternate views, is one of the reasons we're in this mess. And right now you're guilty of it.

    2. This an aside LOL. But Jasmyne's a good writer. I'd like to see your work.

    3. Coming out isn't easy for everyone. In general, white gays have an easier time coming out than black gays. You're fortunate, in that regard. Arguing that black gays should just grow some balls and kick open the closet door is naively insensitive. Do you know anything about African American culture? How about African culture? It's not that simple. Walk in my shoes for a day--I'm Nigerian and gay--and then get back to me.

    4. The gay community has a largely white face for many reasons. I doubt the reason you provide is the only or the most significant one.


    1) No her lack of care for the stripping of her rights makes her self loathing, one would have to be to be self loathing to sit by and allow oneself to become a second class citizen while saying hey its not my issue to deal with.

    2) When one puts ones self on a national stage, they should expect criticism, my criticism is not with her writing, but with her grasp on the english language.

    3) You are right coming out isn't easy for anyone and how dare you claim that it was easy for me. Better yet how dare you assume that I am white. I personally classify myself as Hispanic. And coming from a conservative hispanic family it was far from easy to come out of the closet, try walking a day in my shoes and then get back to me. I may look white and you may perceive it as easier for me to come out, but any ease in my coming out was granted to me by the fact that others who looked like me grew some balls and came out.