Friday, November 7, 2008

If You're Black You Might Be A Homophobe

As most are now aware Prop 8 in California did not pass.  It was deeply heartbreaking to see  California come out to support such clear bigotry in denial image of love.  As many of you already know same sex marriage has been legal in Canada for a few years now, and it has caused no disruption in our society.  It is my belief that by affirming the right of all to marry, it has helped to make us more inclusive and accepting of others.

When I went to various GLBTQI blogs to express my sympathy at the passing of PROP 8, I was horrified to discover that it was being blamed on blacks.  Once again the divide and conquer tactics of the ruling elite have prevailed to divide marginalized bodies from each other.

The blame game has begun, and clearly it is all the fault of the blacks. Over at the Bilerico the comment section screams white privilege.

I am angry. Whom do I blame? Oh there are several groups. Our Dear new President elect for paying lip service to get this defeated, Mormons, James F'n Dobson and his minions of evangelicals, Kinghts of Columbus and lastly African Americans. Oh I know that last one is not p.c, but you know what, I don't care...it is the truth. Deal with it. Polls show they voted 70% against us while voting for Obama....shame, shame shame on you.

I thought I was seeing a bright shining star of hope, and yet now there seems not to even exist the glimmer from a moonless pond at midnight. I am getting old, been ill, and this fight no longer seems to be winnable in my lifetime (whatever that may be). Yes, it is depressing, mostly because half of me seems to want to believe the idea that the methodology for an Obama win is the reason for our demise on Florida Amendment 2, Arizona Proposition 102, and California Proposition 8. The other half is repulsed by the almost racist interpretation that must engender.

as for making all those black folk, both gay or straight, who voted against prop 8 being invisible? i dont think so. its the 70% of the black folk who voted FOR prop 8 that have marginalized an entire segment of the population. the queer population. THEY made US "invisible"

Those are only the commentary of three people.  Perhaps you are still reluctant to believe the racism that is rearing its ever so ugly head.  Here is another shining example of blame the blacks.  If you can stand to read it, Dan Savage over at SLOG and his commenters have no problems shaking their fist and pronouncing the entire black community guilty of passing PROP 8.

image It certainly would not make sense to focus attention on the Mormon Church who actively campaigned and raised funds to get this bigoted legislation passed. In case you are not aware, blacks are not large members of the Mormon Church

By saying it is all the fault of the blacks, it creates members of the gay community that are black as invisible, as well as ignores the efforts that blacks made to get this proposition defeated.  It further ignores the fact that a significant number of white people voted for the passage of this bill as well.  Blacks by themselves did not single handedly cause this bill to pass.

I also feel it is necessary to discuss part of the reason that some blacks did vote  yes on 8.  The Christian church and the black community have a long history. It is no accident that our leaders have always come from the church, or have had a strong involvement in the Christian church. 

The issue is not that blacks are homophobic it is that they have such a large image participation in the Christian church; which does not have  a huge history of tolerance towards the gay community.  Consider that Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King has no problem expressing her homphobia and yet she is an ordained minister.  One would presume that a woman who no doubt would have been influenced by Dr.Kings bid for freedom, would be able to see the link between gay rights and civil rights. For blacks, the block occurs because of   religion and not because of race.

I am not sure if a white person can understand exactly how powerful the church is in the black community.  Most of the organizing that has been done to improve the welfare of blacks has come from the church.  It is more than a religion; for many it is a place of community.

This backlash against blacks ignores the roll of the church in the decision making process and that is a fatal mistake.  If you want a community to understand your position you need to speak to them on a cultural level that they will understand, and point to common grievances, not choose to make the divide even larger by finger pointing and cruel admonitions.

There are many fundamental Christians that are white that express the same kind of intolerance towards gay marriage that the black community did in their overwhelming support of PROP 8.  Blacks voted yes because of religion and that needs to be clearly understood. 

Finally I feel that it is necessary to say that I feel terrible that PROP 8 passed; however that does not excuse the quick descent into racism.  The "isms" work image together to reinforce each other.  When we reify one to create a group as "other", we reinforce the same mechanisms that work to limit us and our life chances. I will still wear my rainbow flag with pride, but now with a new found awareness that for some, my colour stands as a symbol of hatred.


47 comments:

Queers United said...

I think it is important to not paint a broad brush on anyone. Yes many Mormons, Blacks, and Latinos helped pass and fund prop 8. But many are also fair minded. We must protest and boycott those who hurt us and not label an entire race or religion as responsible.

Fearckae said...

Sorry but your post acts as if the gay community is blaming only blacks which is false. The truth is we DO need to look at why Prop 8 passed. There are several reasons some of which don't seem politically correct. Like how 70 percent of blacks that voted voted for prop 8. That isn't blaming only black voters. It isn't racism. it is a fact. Just like it is a fact that Mormons funneled millions of dollars into a political campaign which is not supposed to happen.

People are concentrating on the black vote because of all the demographics it was the one that was proportionally skewed. Where the white and latino votes were pretty much split (50/50) the black vote was not (70/30). This helped push Prop 8 to passing with the increased black turn out for Obama. Again, fact not racism.

I thank all my black, latino and, yes, even Mormon brothers and sisters who voted against Prop 8 but ignoring the demographics of who voted for Prop 8 is ignorant and simply burying our heads in the sand. Pointing out why we lost isn't racist, it also isn't blame. It is analysis. We MUST understand who voted for Prop 8 so we can regroup and begin to combat the ignorance and bigotry that was exposed. Simply denying that blacks voted in extrodinary numbers for Prop 8 just for the sake of political correctness is the path to failure.

We must stand united and make those who voted for prop 8 face their bigotry and in the case of those black voters who have for so often yelled racism their hypocrasy.

Again, NOT racism, simple facts. It is only one fact. We need to confront the religious hate machine just as adamantly ... it isn't just about blacks or mormons but to deny their part in this injustice does not serve our community or theirs.

Anonymous said...

Think it is important to point out that you stated black people voted for Prop 8 due to religion but under that assumption the statistics should be the same as religious Latinos and Whites. Are you saying Whites and Latinos aren't religious. Categorically wrong. Latinos have a deep cultural religious connection. If your assumption was right they would have voted for Prop 8 more in line with the African Americans. They weren't. So your arguement breaks down.

fourth wave said...

Renee, you make an important point about unity and blame. We can't go around playing the blame game with specific groups of people. The fact is Prop 8 passed and that's completely shameful and there were many different kinds of people who voted for it for many different reasons ranging from blatant bigoted homophobia to a misguided sense of religious righteousness.

@Fearckae: I disagree. Renee wasn't disputing the statistical facts of who went to the polls and voted "yes." She cited specific examples in which people responded to the passing of Prop 8 with what also reads to me as explicit racism. She's not saying the whole gay community is racist, obviously, but rather pointing out the ways in which this minority blame-game is not productive and is, instead, offensive.

(Sorry, Renee, don't want to put words in your mouth, but this statistical, these-are-the-facts defensiveness really irks me.)

Anonymous said...

I think the GLBTQI is so angry because they thought, as another marginalized group, that blacks would understand what this meant.

White people don't know what it means to be disenfranchised. So when white hetero forces amass against you, it's not personal, in a strange way.

But having black people "against" you is almost personal, because they understand what it is liked to be treated as less-than-human and they just affirmed, "Yep, we think you ARE less than human, even though we know how goddamn awful that feels, you deserve it."

It feels like a betrayal. And it feels personal. It doesn't make the ranting any less disgusting. But this bullshit cry of "The blacks are holding us down!" needs to stopped.

FearCake said...

@fourth wave except I read Dan Savages article and it didn't come accross as blaming blacks either. Merely frustrated at the fact that black voters voted for Prop 8 in such large numbers. He even mentioned how it black homophobia hurts black gays more so than others. So I DON'T see what the original poster is talking about. I've seen no racist talk. I've seen people discuss their disgust that a group of people who have been marginalized for so long would go along with marginalizing another group of people but that is far from racism.

Anonymous said...

whenever people start talking about blacks as a group negatively people scream racism. Yet they don't scream discrimination when people discuss evangelicals or other groups negatively. We are so programmed to scream racism whenever anything is said about African Americans as a group. The truth is the truth. African Americans are statistically more likely to be homophobic than whites or latinos. Why? I'm sure religion plays a part but much of it is culture too. Masculinity in black culture is very important and many african americans see homosexuality as feminizing. It goes beyond religion into culture. We NEED to discuss this because otherwise how do you fight against that sort of belief system? you can't just deny, deny, deny...we have to look at race, religion and any other contributing factor that leads people to look at others as less than human.

oliemoon said...

The other thing that I wish people would take into consideration before they rush to blame black Californians is the nature of the Prop 8 campaigns. Lady Jax lays it all out pretty well, but the fact of the matter is the Yes on 8 people actively courted the POC vote. They used images of POC in their advertisements and made the issue come home to them in a more personal way. The No on 8 people gave us images that were largely comprised of white people. They didn't run a particularly inclusive campaign. And really, reading the racist rants of LGBT/Allies who are blaming blacks for 8, is it any wonder that straight POC (and I feel that distinction is important, as a lot of white LGBT seem to be forgetting that there are a hell of a lot of us queer POC that fought alongside them in this and are just as heartbroken as they are) don't find solidarity with them?

Ebony Intuition said...

Te only person who should be blamed is King James, why because most people read that version of the bible. 2nd Christianty was forced down the throats of african slaves in the western hemisphere.3rd people still continue to convert africans and other ethnic groups to follow the same religion that is againts homosexuality.

4th I see ads about the gay community everyday and guess what they "don't include people of colour" their for white people have their self to blame because they always want support but then never include people who have the same preferences as them. How do gay white men and women think gay black men or women feel or gay latino men and women feel that they are always "left out".


"Why? I'm sure religion plays a part but much of it is culture too. Masculinity in black culture is very important and many african americans see homosexuality as feminizing."


Actually its the reverse its religion that plays more of a role then the culture does. The majority of black people grew up in the church .

Rj said...

Dang, I was going to say something but Ebony Institution's statement was so profound, I'm almost at a loss.

I'll mention though, as a Floridian, that many of our polling places are in CHURCHES...and I'm sure that doesn't help.

Also, something about the argument that Blacks should have solidarity with gays because of the struggle, makes me uncomfortable. I think it is a misguided attempt to use that angle primarily because people still see homosexuality as chosen--whereas skin color is obviously not.

nia said...

So, if it were 70% of whites that voted for Prop 8, would the same people be screaming, "the whites are to blame?"
Exactly why are blacks being singled out?

Sandalstraps said...

Shanikka has a great diary at Daily Kos systematically debunking the myth that blacks are responsible for the passage of Prop 8 in California. It is an excellent read, using math and logic to build a very solid case that any attempt to uniquely blame blacks is a.) baseless and b.) baldly racist.

missmolly said...

As a White Queer woman, I've also been very disturbed about the nature of these comments about the Black vote. I come from Quebec and I still remember how Parizeau blamed losing the referendum for separation on "ethnics and money" (the groups who voted against it). Some of my good friends had been born in Quebec, gone to French schools... and went to work the next door and were castigated for being "ethnics" who voted against Quebec separatism.

This kind of comment IS racism, regardless of the "truth" of the actual demographics. "Factual data" can be used in ways that promote emancipation or in ways that oppress. At the very least, it does not bring us closer to unity and equality to make these statements about Prop 8 and the Black vote. But I would agree with you, Renee, that it's racist, and racism of the worst kind -- by people who see themselves as liberal and tolerant and don't see how insiduous this kind of racism really is.

What made me sad was the sense of betrayal of Queer people who felt they had strongly supported people of colour in voting for Obama. Please, folks, lets take a step back. I'm very sad, too, that to take one big step forward on the basis of race has been accompanied by one big loss on the basis of sexual orientation. My heart aches for Californians who are no longer married. My partner and I are celebrating the 4th anniversary of our legal marriage and we will do so in solidarity with Californians who have just lost this basic right.

But please... none of us will move forward if we don't remain in solidarity with each other and fight for each others rights and work to dismantle our own privilege in areas where we have it.

erika said...

these posts at livejournal kind of put things in perspective for me:

sparkymonster's "brown people did not pass prop 8"

bias_cut crunches some numbers to show what the election would have looked like if only white people had voted. (and it's not pretty.)

outcrazyophelia said...

Yeah I had to edit my election response link post over at Feminocracy. The fact that people don't see the racism in literally bemoanin the black turn out. I realize the vote was close (and there are still absentee votes to be counted) but they've decided to literally blame blacks, blacks who made up 6.7% of the california population. Even if we pretend that all of them were voters and all of them voted for the measure, we're going to place the onus on them rather than the rest of the voters who pushed it over the edge? We're going to point fingers and blame particular ethnicities instead of just homophobia in general? We're going to sincerely state that blacks as a group are homophobic and that's why they were able to decide such a close race rather than acknowledge that without similar support from whites, Hispanics, and Asians and the efforts of the Mormons, Prop 8 wouldn't have gotten off the ground? It's racist since we've regressed to the oldie but goodie, blame those uppity blacks--why if they hadn't voted, prop 8 wouldn't have passed! Except for everyone else that voted for it, but that majority percentage of the vote doesn't count since all the other ethnic groups didn't break past the 53% mark. Obviously that extra 10% of votes for the measure by black voters means that they've won the homophobia contest and now they're all to blame. I assure you that if whites had voted in similar numbers, we would be talking about homophobes and not white ones, or religious ones for that matter. It's racist since whenever necessary, whites have little issue with assigning the concept of a hive mind to blacks and taking on negative associations and characteristics based on little to no data. Many blacks are religious, Mormons targeted their campaign at black churches heavily. No one is blaming the Mormons or the sects of christianity that believe a marriage is between a man and a woman and that homosexuality is a choice and a sin yet those are the people that carried the measure to completion.

space said...

I calculated based on the exit polls that 59% of the people who voted in favor of Prop 8 were white. If white people hadn't been so divided on the issue, it would have passed regardless of the black vote.

And I think there may be a little bit of the "divide and conquer" problem going on between white GLBTQs and people of color, analogous to that between white women and people of color - they've come to mistrust each other, which is hella convenient for the Establishment. The analyses I've looked at suggest that the mainstream white GLBTQ movement suffers from the same myopia and unchecked white privilege as the mainstream white feminist movement. So the movement has to get beyond that and reach across the aisle not just to straight whites but to POC as well if they want equality.

Anonymous said...

Well if you were homosexual and male you may understand, that often intolerance is found with conservatives and black males, even some females.

However I doubt most gay and reasonable people would out right speak out against ALL black people. In my case at least I would never do, because who knows one day I may end up in the arms of a black man, and I wouldn't want to hurt him or my black friends.

SarahMC said...

Shouldn't the No on 8 people have seen this coming, what with the massive turnout expected among people in the AA community? They definitely could targeted their message more strongly to POCs.
Yes, there is homophobia in the black community just like there is in every community. But I think support for this prop can be more accurately tied to religion and age than it can to skin color directly. And communities of color tend to be pretty religious.
The black population in Cali is something like 6%, too! They can't be used as a scapegoat.

What I have to wonder is why the hell turnout wasn't higher in the SF Bay area.

Sloth Womyn said...

Let me first say that I really love this blog!

Do you think that the media saying every 5 seconds that 70% of African Americans voting for prop 8 is an accident? Of course not. It is the oldest tactic the elite use to separate us civil rights activists. Of course whites and christians aren't sighted for their major part in this campaign because white/heterosexual privilege makes them invisible even while they are protecting those privileges.

I am reminded at the abandon that women's rights activists felt when African American males got the right to vote in 1870 and didn't carry women with them. It seems hypocritical that one marginalized group would agree in discriminating against another marginalized group and I understand that. However, I also understand that the feminist movement in the past has also discriminated against race and sexual orientation too so nobody is innocent of this. Just as the feminist movement at one time mainly represented white, upper class women, I believe that the Gay rights movement at this time does not adequately represent other races. I saw many opponents of prop 8 canvassing white, upper class neighborhoods here in L.A. but everyone seemed reluctant to go into the black-lower economic neighborhoods in this city. And like another commenter said, 59% of whites voted for prop 8 anyway, which is the true reason it succeeded.

I also think those prop 8 ads on tv really worked. I asked a couple of people about prop 8 and they said "Isn't that the one where they want to teach gay marraige in schools?" Unfortunately the mormon fear mongering campaign actually worked.

Instead of focusing on blame we should focus on educating people about discrimination and repealing prop 8.

professorwhatif said...

I am so glad to read this post. Like you I have come across a number of "blame it on blacks" posts. When will people ever see through the age old "divide and conquer" tactics? It's disheartening.

However, I do have a positive personal story to share. I was at a "Hope Reigns" event on the day after the election where we held signs with various messages about continuing to work for change, equality, etc, and many a rainbow balloons and flags. We were at a very busy intersection in front of a strip mall. Those there were diverse -- gay, lesbian, queer, hetorosexual, able-bodied, disabled, young, old... We had a table set up in front of a coffee shop with a helium canister (for the balloons) and sign making station. We had ok'd this with the coffee shop. About 45 minutes later, a security guard came over and told us he was calling the cops and we could not use that table. He was rude and dismissive (as he had been each day as those who had been rallying at that corner over the past three weeks shared). He called the cops and, when they arrived, fabricated stories about our being disruptive, blocking the intersection, etc. His actions on this day were particularly hurtful after 8 passing and our knowledge that he was avidly yes on 8. His side won, for goodness sake, couldn't he give us a break? Anyhow, as the security guard was black and people were getting very upset, I was very worried that racism might rear its ugly head. I was mentally preparing how to deal with this and how to also make sure my children learned a positive message from what was happening. However, despite how rude he was, despite how angered and sad we were, there was not one comment about his race, about blaming African American voters. I felt even more proud to be part of this hope reigns rally as we represented in action and in deed, equality and hope for ALL people.

Blaming the passage of 8 on the African American community is racist and divisive. Like you indicate, the Mormon church and other religious factions hold far more culpability. And, as the commenter above notes, where the heck were all the voters in SF? How about some criticism for those who couldn't be bothered to vote in the first place?

Kevin Andre Elliott said...

Great post Renee. I'm glad you brought up the role that the Christian church plays in many Black folks view of homosexuality. It's a point that I, being so far removed from the church, completely missed, seeing it more in terms of the hyper-masculinity that is often valued in Black communities and is hyped and encouraged to the point of absurdity in contemporary hip hop (not that both aren't at play, of course).

@FearCake: "He even mentioned how it black homophobia hurts black gays more so than others."

Y'know, I actually appreciated that he said that, but it doesn't negate that he also wrote and seems to stand by this:

"I do know this, though: I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color."

"Handful?" Vs. "Huge?" Where, exactly does he get this from? There's only a "handful" of racist gay White men out there? Come on! This is straight up Oppression Olympics and it's tired and, in my view, racist (which, for the gazillionith time I'll point out *does not* mean that Savage is capital-R Racist).

What led so many people to avoid actively doing outreach in Black communities? I think an assumption about how Black people just *are* played a part, and I find that racist. And to be fair, the same is true of the hardcore Moron efforts to reach out to PoC.

Anonymous said...

Blaming this on African American voters is like blaming the failure of the Republican Party on Sarah Palin.

The Prop 8 demonstrations are being directed at nobody specific (and voters in general) and the Mormon church (22 million dollars and incidentally one of Obama's right hand men).

And vote statics do show that there was a scew towards voting against gay marriage within the African American vote.

It is something that is a supported fact. Nobody is blaming African American's on this issue, it is an important one in All communities but it is an important factor that needs to be addressed positively.

We can start by seeing progress in representation and asking why this fact is present in the first place?

You often post on the stereotype of Black's in the media and Black's amongst each other. Is a contributing factor in homophobia amongst African American's related to a Cool Black Man stereotype? Is homophobia in All communities related to various forms of the Machismo stereotype?

Let's educate the American people. Let us use our lives and our media to portray positive representation of all genders, races, humans. Only if we fight unified on all fronts can we change xenophobia.

Danyell said...

Even if 70% of black voters voted in favor of Prop 8, they didn't pass it by themselves. Even though 70% of Black voters helped pass it, aren't they only 25% of the voting public (if even)?

The idea of trying to pin-point exactly what group of people are to blame is pointless. The culprit is ignorance, which is not specific to any one religion (or the non-religious) ethnicity, gender, sex, class, neighborhood, etc, etc. When has pointing fingers ever helped accomplish anything? Demonize Blacks if you will, but the only thing that will fix this is unifying to help overturn this!

prof bw said...

when I wrote my piece on this from both an educator and activist perspective, I noticed that my ratings on a queer board dropped, it was the first post specifically on GLBTQi community issues that did not get aggregated by at least one queer blog aggregator including one I belong to, and I have no comments on it either.

I realize the piece is quite long but I think that evidence speaks to a clear sense that blaming us is ok and anyone who analytically addresses what the statistics, national organization records, and anecdotal information tells us is quite different should be silenced.

I did see one very astute analysis of Obama's policies and the democratic party that held both to task without race baiting. If I find it again, I will drop the link here

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

Well it goes to show just how black people are never seen as individuals, NEVER by white people in power (or white people who want power). Before, it seemed like only a Republican (code word for RACIST) (of course there is irony in that seeing that it erases the individuality of a Republican) view, ---“blacks are blacks, the blacks stick together, all blacks are alike,---------they all look the same.” Yada yada yada. Then the great progressive boyz (pseudo-anti-racists) tapped into the whole if we can get blacks on our side we will not have to deal with being accused of being racists, “something we are so uncomfortable unpacking.” Again, they saw blacks as blacks, not as individual people with unique perspectives as well as groups of individuals who come together and form group perspectives (churches and anti-gay). No, to the progressive boyz (pseudo-anti-racists) tapping into the black vote by supporting a black man was to be their goldmine. In other words, they expected black people to give it all up, to go all the way. In other other words, they expected black people to have no opinions but the opinions that they approved of as the correct opinions. Meaning, once they were able to get blacks on their team, they expected complete loyalty and no dissentions, they wanted to be the team captains, while putting blacks in the outfield. Well, now they must deal with it.

I hate that Prop 8 passed too (I blogged about it), but I also hate and am sick of black people being used as one great big collective and the people utilizing blacks as a collective not being called on it because we living in an environment where an ally is such an in demand commodity. There is a difference if blacks used a collective as a leverage, seeing that, blacks are an oppressed race (socially constructed of course), but it is not acceptable for whites (pseudo-anti-racists, pseudo-progressives) to used (or try to use) blacks simply to pass the reins of power to one supremacist group to another and then cry foul when it didn’t work out the way they expected, thus, they did not see it coming, because never, EVER, did they stop to think, “hey black folk are individuals and are capable to having agendas apart from ours.”

In other words, I guess some will just have to deal with the aftermath of unexamined expectations, that their blindness did not see coming.

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

Besides, what is the population of blacks in California? Is it more than the national average, less, or the same. If we were to say blacks population average was equal to the nation or other progressive states, even if every single black person voted Yes for 8, would that be the number that made Prop 8 pass? So are we to assume no whites voted Yes for 8? No, no one else but blacks voted for Prop 8. Some people just cannot keep a perspective in check when things don’t work out the way they thought it would.

pizzadiavola said...

The issue is not that blacks are homophobic it is that they have such a large image participation in the Christian church; which does not have a huge history of tolerance towards the gay community.

The exit polling showed that the group that most supported Prop. 8 was churchgoers. People that are blaming black people are falling back on racism, quelle surprise. ANYONE WITH A MODICUM OF ATTENTION TO THE NEWSPAPERS SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN THAT, GIVEN THAT THE EFFORTS OF THE MORMON CHURCH AND CATHOLIC CHURCH (which is not to say ALL Mormons or Catholics but rather the institutions and organizations) DROVE THE BULK OF YES ON 8 EFFORTS. ARGHARGHARGH.

Before the election, the news was all about how the Mormon church was throwing its money and supporters behind Prop. 8. I'm really disgusted to see that so many people have conveniently forgotten that so that they can put blame on black people, conveniently marginalizing black GLBTQI people. I'm thinking that it's also an unconscious reaction to the election of a black man - sort of a "quick! must find another way to oppress black people and express racism!"

Anonymous said...

ow often do you see the GLBT organizations in black neighborhoods, reaching out for support from the black community? I worked for the HRC and we never went there.

Until they reach out to church leaders and black organizations, they'll never make the progress they want.

The streets were blocked with protestors last night in SANTA MONICA and HOLLYWOOD. What good does that do? You can't go down to Inglewood and protest and you won't. It won't work, but you CAN make appointments with pastors, preachers, reverends, many community leaders and talk.

The anger will do nothing.

Rufus said...

Renee,

I really appreciate you posting this piece. My best friend of 15 years is gay, and was going on and on about her outrage at those numbers. While I agree that the issue of discrimination should resonate (and it does), I couldn't help but feel a little uneasy about the fact that she seemed to be pining the outcome on minorities alone. I attempted to give her another perspective, saying that a lot of people don't even consider racial discrimination and sexual identity discrimination to be in the same category. Her reaction came off as ignorant as she claims they are being.

"I am not sure if a white person can understand exactly how powerful the church is in the black community. Most of the organizing that has been done to improve the welfare of blacks has come from the church. It is more than a religion for many; it is a place of community."

That is exactly what I have been so desperate to articualte to her. And you know what, I don't even practice religion anymore, but I still knew enough to explain to her that in times of hate, violence, and discrimination, it's the only thing a lot of minorities had to cling to.

She didn't want to hear it. What to do?

Anonymous said...

It is not about racism or discrimination, It's about what is right to the eyes of God.

I am a Christian and I am a Latina! I don't hate homosexuals, but I do hate the sin of homosexuality because is an insult to God. I have known of homosexuals who choose to follow Jesus and are now heterosexuals, WHY? because they seek Jesus, they were delivered of the sin. Yes, it is a sin!! so many choose to be homosexuals, want to be homosexual, and according to science some are borne homosexuals(this one only God knows the reality of). I found it difficult to understand the latter as God is our creator and He created us all to His image.

God is love, and I love God, so I choose to have love and compassion for the homosexuals; Prop 8 needed to be pass. God created man and woman! If a homosexual is tired or sick of being a homosexual I know God can deliver him or her. I KNOW. But you must want it bad!!

We need to take care of the family as it is the base of Society; COME ON! IT'S Clearly, don't you see it? If there were only homosexuals on earth, then humankind will dissapear, don't you then find that abnormal?? Please, if you are homosexual and are reading my comment, I ask you to seek Jesus, forget and ignored those ignorants who are full of hatred (including Christians), the battle is within YOURSELF oh and Satan of course as He wants to destroy your life big time, BUT GOD can help you, HE gave YOU the victory 2000 years ago when JESUS was crucified for your and My sins!!...

That's all I have to say. Peace and love to all.

K.A.

pizzadiavola said...

K.A., even if you hide behind God, it's clearly discrimination. God endorses discrimination in many ways: killing the Philistines, killing the Midianites, etc. Trust me, I've been there and done that as far as Jesus goes, and it was the hatred and intolerance of people like you that drove me away from my church. Your homophobic prejudices have nothing to do with the commandment to "love one another as I love you."

Dori said...

Yes KA, Jesus totally said that homosexuality was wrong...oh wait...thats right, he said nothing of the kind.

Its funny, how so many atheists are more Christ-like than christians.

Does that seem backward to anyone else?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (aka K.A. - and I really do need to get another handle), thank you for hiding your hate for "the homosexuals" behind love and compassion. Orwell would love you.

Everyone, please read this by a straight black man who voted against it (as well as WOC PhD's post on her blog; it is awesome):

http://pureroker.blogspot.com/

As a lifetime, straight, middle-aged white woman supporter of GLBTQ rights, I am sickened by so many of the comments I am reading on other blogs, and the superficial, sensationalistic and racialist reporting in the MSM. It is a relief to see so many people here being rational and thoughtful about what it all means. Thank you, all.

Fannie said...

Frankly, I think a lot of white gays and lesbians are speaking from a place of anger and hurt. It doesn't make what they're saying okay, but I think in a way some of them feel betrayed by another minority group.

It's true that white Christians who form the core of the "marriage defense" base bear the brunt of responsibility for Prop 8's passage. Black voters make up something like only 6% of the voting population in California, so I don't know how anyone could in good faith blame this entirely on black voters. But as voters who VOTED for Prop 8, they certainly bear some of the responsibility. It sounds to me like a lot of the homophobia, coming from all racial groups, is rooted in religion. And, since the church is such a strong influence in the black community, it shouldn't be a surprise that black voters disproportionately voted for Prop 8.

And so, I think what some people are noting is an irony:

While we are celebrating the election of our first black president, it is ironic that black people disproportionately, when compared to other racial groups, voted to take away the rights of another minority group.

Is it "racist" to note the irony of one minority group disproportionately choosing to take away the rights of another minority group?

I don't think so.

To me, the problem seems to be that religion sanctions sexual prejudice, and not that black people are, like, just inherently homophobic or something. (See, eg, anonymous commenter #30).

Renee said...

@K.A

Ok this is your one warning...don't spread your hate on my blog. Any further commentary of this kind will be subject to immediate deletion. You are not about love and tolerance which was the message of Jesus, you are about deceit and hate which is the work of Satan. Shame on you, you foul the name of other good Christians who have chosen to honour the good book by not judging lest they be judged.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is just terrific. This racist blame-game has to stop NOW, regardless of the justified hurt and anger:

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=8077

Ayla said...

In regards to criticizing the religious reasons behind bigotry instead of the race of said bigots... the trouble is that religion has (very wrongly, in my opinion) been elevated to the same status as race. By that I mean that it's (rightly) not OK to criticize someone's race, because they have no choice in the matter, yet it is also not OK to criticize their religion, even though it is their choice. I know cultural factors can play a big role in this, and in some societies, religion is compulsory, but in this particular instance, we are talking about California, an extremely diverse place where people can practice, or not, any religion they want.

It's time to stop trying to make people accountable for their "race" and start making them accountable for the beliefs they literally force upon others.

SarahMC said...

As far as "The bible says so" goes... way to pick & choose which alleged commands from god you unjustly attempt to legislate.

Why not outlaw everything the bible forbids? Make it illegal to take the lord's name in vain. Arrest people who work on the sabbath. I don't see anti-gay activists trying to outlaw wearing mixed blend fabrics or telling white lies. Funny, that.

I know I should not feed the troll but this: "If there were only homosexuals on earth, then humankind will dissapear, don't you then find that abnormal??" is the most ridiculous thing I've read in ages. How will gay marriage make the earth's entire population homosexual. Logic - use it.

Anonymous said...

in response to your blog post:

oh ok, because those african-americans who voted yes on prop 8 did so because of religion, then that's ok....

but when history indicates that white bigotry against blacks at one point in time had been based out of bogus and hateful "scientific proof" that blacks are inferior, of course that's not ok!

we shouldn't be making excuses for anyone! individuals have a history of using religion and science for their own intents and purposes. it's not acceptable.

last i checked, the black community frequents churches/is involved in christian churches that value the 10 commandments... no? thou shalt not judge is one of the commandments last time i checked.

furthermore, if californians motivated solely by race (blacks, whites, hispanics, whomever) and the opportunity to elect a black president, showed up at the californian polls the first time ever to vote for a president (even if they were unaware of obama's own policy intentions) they should have left well alone by not voting on prop 8.

Renee said...

I have to add this from Pam's House Blend. It seems at a really some decided that it was okay to call blacks niggers. This is simply breaking my heart.

Anonymous said...

Re: K.A: To be fair, it may not be actual "trolling" as I've heard those exact misguided sentiments far too often, and in all earnestness.

However, regardless of one's personal beliefs, or faith in their religion and its doctrines, the United States is a diverse and secular state. Religious ideals of intolerance have no place in our laws and legislature, and this proposition should not have even been on the ballot.

No one is asking that churches that are opposed same sex marriage be required to perform them. So, frankly, it's simply none of their business.

Rachel said...

I got an e-mail from the No on Prop 8 folks earlier today, showing that they've heard the racist blaming from Savage and other people. I would have liked the e-mail to be more solution-focused-- What might No on 8 supporters do towards better outreach among people of color, without entirely making that outreach the sole responsibility of GLBTQ people of color who have plenty of other stuff to do? But it did make the point that trying to figure out whom to blame is both alienating and a waste of time:

"This has been an incredibly difficult week for Californians who are disappointed in the passage of Proposition 8, which takes away the right to marry for same-sex couples in our state. We feel a profound sense of disappointment in this defeat, but know that in order to move forward we must continue to stand together as one community in order to secure full equality in California.

In working to defeat Prop 8, a profound coalition banded together to fight for equality. Faith leaders, labor, teachers, civil rights leaders and communities of color, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, public officials, local school boards and city councils, parents, corporate law firms and bar associations, businesses, and people from all walks of life joined together to stand up against discrimination. We must build on this coalition in order to achieve equal rights for all Californians.

We achieve nothing if we isolate the people who did not stand with us in this fight. We only further divide our state if we attempt to blame people of faith, African American voters, rural communities and others for this loss. We know people of all faiths, races and backgrounds stand with us in our fight to end discrimination, and will continue to do so. Now more than ever it is critical that we work together and respect our differences that make us a diverse and unique society. Only with that understanding will we achieve justice and equality for all."

Renee said...

@Anon 59..do you have anymore white privielge you want to throw around? Look no one is saying that it is okay to be bigoted against the GLBT community. What is wrong is centering our people on the basis of race. Why what it necessary to have the category black and then Christian as though there is no such thing as a black Christian. Religion is the reason blacks voted yes and therefor that is the color they belong in, not a separate one based in race.

Anonymous said...

Someone posted that 59% of whites voted for prop 8. This is false. Go to CNN.com, the white vote was 51% against prop 8.

rww said...

"Also, something about the argument that Blacks should have solidarity with gays because of the struggle, makes me uncomfortable. I think it is a misguided attempt to use that angle primarily because people still see homosexuality as chosen--whereas skin color is obviously not."

Actually there are ways to change your skin colour. They are about as successful as the means used to attempt to change people's sexual orientation.

Scott said...

Something I heard on the most recent Real Time and it made sense.

The civil rights movement for African Americans began in the churches of the deep south. It is rooted in religion, not color of skin.

People say that California is the place to be if you are gay because the gay rights movement starts there. Take a look at Hollywood, they are supposed to be the champions of gay rights. If this is true, why was Crash chosen as best picture over Broke Back Mountain? Things that make you think.

Anonymous said...

The Mormon church gave a whopping $23 million to pass Prop H8 at the urging of their clergy, which basically constitutes an illegal intrusion of their church into politics and this is being pursued with the IRS. Perhaps the single biggest reason that this initiative passed was the huge campaign of disinformation generated by the pro-H8 people: outright lies were used to convince people that their children would be taught about gay people (wrong: California has had an opt-out clause for everything taught in public schools for years), that churches would be forced to marry gay people (wrong again: it did not interfere AT ALL with someone's religious beliefs nor with religious organizations' activities), etc. Also, so many of us were focused on electing a qualified candidate for the White House - President-elect Obama - that our resources were split. We also took for granted California's reputation for being a leader in civil rights and that the people would vote to preserve civil rights, not to diminish them. Having said that, there is substantial homophobia present in the Christian church and African-Americans are responsible for how they voted, just as is everyone else. As well, discussions about sex and sexuality are not ones that many Christians normally have with their children - check out super-Christian Sarah Palin's pregnant and unwed daughter's situation. People are uninformed and ill-equipped when it comes to talking about sex and sexual identity is beyond most people's everyday knowledge base - and they simply do not want to deal with one more issue. The problem with Prop. H8 is that if it were to stand, any group's civil rights could be stripped away by a vote of 50% of voters plus 1 vote! Prop. H8 is a constitutional revision, which requires 2/3 vote of the state legislature, which did not and will not happen. Should Prop H8 stand, it puts the California Constitution in conflict with itself, violating a fundamental principle of constitutional law called harmonization. Harmonization requires that a constitution not be in conflict with itself or the constitution is unenforceable as a fundamental rule of law. Given California's history of ruling that inter-ethnic (there is only one race, after all - human!) marriages were a legal right, it follows that California will ultimately find consensual same-sex marriages to be legal and constitutional. This is merely a blip in our history and we will transcend it, no doubt. As for racism, I think what has happened over the past 40 years or so, is that many Americans have simply transcended matters of ethnic (there is only one race - human) identity and it is no longer an issue. What IS the issue is if the person is educated, qualified, and capable of doing the job for which they are running: case in point is the election of a bi-ethnic man to the office of the Presidency. It seems to me that this is a matter of a lack of education and for the past 35 years - since Reagan - public education has been progressively defunded and ignored, producing at least two generations of students that have little in the way of critical thinking skills. Either the rising tide lifts all boats or it lifts none, one cannot have it any other way. Either we are all equal before the law or equality is a meaningless and voided idea, which is absurd.