Tuesday, November 11, 2008

PROP 8. IT'S A WHITE THING



I'm sorry that Prop 8 passed but, honestly, I didn't really see it as my "issue".

I think all citizens should have the right to enter into a legal arrangement that confers certain benefits on the co-signers of that agreement. Marriage. It's only constitutional.

Having said that, West Hollywood white guys get on my last fucking nerve.

This whole thing was somehow made to be about them.

"...honestly Chad, we've got the store bought Chinese baby, Brittney honey, put other daddy's Noguchi lamp back on the midcentury boomerang table, we finally are on the VIP list at all the important Jeffrey Sanker events. Crunch just gave us keys to the VIP steam room in Studio City, you're at Buena Vista and I'm the best dressed realtor according to Genre Magazine, the only thing we're missing is the right to marry."

"...I know! Logan, this whole prop 8 thing will die in flames. Ha! Ha! I said "flames!" I mean really, we're voting for Obama and that cute, for a black guy, hunk at the gym had on a "No 0n 8" button , so, they're voting against it. We should plan a June wedding at my moms place in Arrowhead."

Sorry Weho bores. Not so fast.

I threw several events for Obama. Each time the Party press department told me that my events were not exactly the kind of events they were trying to publicize.

Translation: "That's So Gay"

Mr. Obama himself made it very clear that he opposed Gay marriage and that he believed marriage was between a man and a woman.

So, there was no need for the average black person to do the right thing and vote against Prop 8. They just voted like O.

Might have helped to have some black people in on the planning sessions. And not the NAACP. Those clowns are just a bunch of poverty pimps who get their paychecks by forcing people to say "African American".

Jeesh Chad and Logan, get some Black friends. It woulda saved you a little heartache.

Oh, and learn to listen. If you had, you would have heard Mr. Obama say you weren't equal.

I Love me some O but I think he needed to get elected and be in office about 6 years before your "gay shit" will matter to him.

Btw, don't expect DADT to be repealed anytime soon.

Here's an opinion piece that I actually got permission to reprint!

Remember when I used to just take shit?

OMG!

The author is Jasmyne A.Cannick and I gotta say I think she nails it. She's a lesbian so she's a little angrier than I , however, if my dick was any bigger, I would feel exactly like her.


Opinion
No-on-8's white bias
The right to marry does nothing to address the problems faced by both black gays and black straights.
By Jasmyne A. Cannick
November 8, 2008
I am a perfect example of why the fight against Proposition 8, which amends the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, failed to win black support.

I am black. I am a political activist who cares deeply about social justice issues. I am a lesbian. This year, I canvassed the streets of South Los Angeles and Compton, knocking on doors, talking politics to passers-by and working as I never had before to ensure a large voter turnout among African Americans. But even I wasn't inspired to encourage black people to vote against the proposition.

Why? Because I don't see why the right to marry should be a priority for me or other black people. Gay marriage? Please. At a time when blacks are still more likely than whites to be pulled over for no reason, more likely to be unemployed than whites, more likely to live at or below the poverty line, I was too busy trying to get black people registered to vote, period; I wasn't about to focus my attention on what couldn't help but feel like a secondary issue.

The first problem with Proposition 8 was the issue of marriage itself. The white gay community never successfully communicated to blacks why it should matter to us above everything else -- not just to me as a lesbian but to blacks generally. The way I see it, the white gay community is banging its head against the glass ceiling of a room called equality, believing that a breakthrough on marriage will bestow on it parity with heterosexuals. But the right to marry does nothing to address the problems faced by both black gays and black straights. Does someone who is homeless or suffering from HIV but has no healthcare, or newly out of prison and unemployed, really benefit from the right to marry someone of the same sex?

Maybe white gays could afford to be singularly focused, raising millions of dollars to fight for the luxury of same-sex marriage. But blacks were walking the streets of the projects and reaching out to small businesses, gang members, convicted felons and the spectrum of an entire community to ensure that we all were able to vote.

Second is the issue of civil rights. White gays often wonder aloud why blacks, of all people, won't support their civil rights. There is a real misunderstanding by the white gay community about the term. Proponents of gay marriage fling it around as if it is a one-size-fits-all catchphrase for issues of fairness.

But the black civil rights movement was essentially born out of and driven by the black church; social justice and religion are inextricably intertwined in the black community. To many blacks, civil rights are grounded in Christianity -- not something separate and apart from religion but synonymous with it. To the extent that the issue of gay marriage seemed to be pitted against the church, it was going to be a losing battle in my community.

Then there was the poorly conceived campaign strategy. Opponents of Proposition 8 relied on an outdated civil rights model, engaging the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People to help win black support on the issue of gay marriage. This happened despite the warnings of black lesbians and gays that it wouldn't work. While the NAACP definitely should have been included in the strategy, it shouldn't have been the only group. Putting nearly a quarter of a million dollars into an outdated civil rights group that has very little influence on the black vote -- at least when it comes to gay issues -- will never work.

Likewise, holding the occasional town-hall meeting in Leimert Park -- the one part of the black community where they now feel safe thanks to gentrification -- to tell black people how to vote on something gay isn't effective outreach either.

There's nothing a white gay person can tell me when it comes to how I as a black lesbian should talk to my community about this issue. If and when I choose to, I know how to say what needs to be said. Many black gays just haven't been convinced that this movement for marriage is about anything more than the white gays who fund it (and who, we often find, are just as racist and clueless when it comes to blacks as they claim blacks are homophobic).

Some people seem to think that homophobia trumps racism, and that winning the battle for gay marriage will symbolically bring about equality for everyone. That may seem true to white gays, but as a black lesbian, let me tell you: There are still too many inequalities that exist as it relates to my race for that to ever be the case. Ever heard of "driving while black"? Ever looked at the difference between the dropout rates for blacks and for whites? Or test scores? Or wages? Or rates of incarceration?

And in the end, black voters in California voted against gay marriage by more than 2 to 1.

Maybe next time around -- because we all know this isn't over -- the gay community can demonstrate the capacity and willingness to change that America demonstrated when it went to the polls on Nov. 4. Black gays are depending on their white counterparts to finally "get it."

Until then, don't expect to make any inroads any time soon in the black community on this issue -- including with this black lesbian.

Jasmyne A. Cannick is a writer in Los Angeles. jasmynecannick.com.

Also if you're interested in more on the subject:
http://www.zimbio.com/Brown,+Black+and+Queer/articles/31/Is+Gay+Marriage+Anti+Black

8 comments:

Cocoa Rican said...

Very interesting...can't believe it took me so long to read your piece...thanks...:::sigh::::

dwashington314@gmail.com said...

Welcome! Take a nap before reading my blog! lol! the posts are always long but I d get to the point.

Eventually.

Think of it as The New Yorker with ADD.

JACK said...

I'm with cocoa on this one and I'll take your advice and take a nap before I come back and finish reading ... *whew*

dwashington314@gmail.com said...

DO REMEMBER, SOMETIMES A GUEST POST IS LIKE "A VERY SPECIAL BLOSSOM", IT'S A TWO PARTER.

DON'T FRET NONE, FUN SHIT COMING UP.

clnmike said...

Dead@ she's a lesbian so she is a little angrier than me.

I have a post about this coming out tommorow, personally i think they dropped the ball out there.

Vtknitboy said...

i'm a gay white boy. thanks for sharing this interesting and really informative perspective.

some of the issues/perspectives she brought up are right on the spot in terms of how i as a gay white man perceived the issue of other minorities supporting gay rights. i used to wonder why blacks wouldn't support gay rights--cuz i perceived that since we both were minorities that would bind us together.

It's only been recently that i've become more aware of the the many layers of differences we have, and that it's not easily defined, understood, or explained.

on the gay marriage issue: i'm not hung up on the issue of being 'married', BUT i DO care about having the same FEDERAL rights that straight couples have: death benefits, inheritance, and thousands of other things that straight people take for granted.

thanks for sharing this! i will pass it on to others.

Naes said...

I don't actually think it was a black backlash that passed Prop 8.

If no one over 64 had voted, Prop 8 would have failed. It was the older voters who tipped the scales.

To me, a black person who doesn't 'get it' is no different than a white person who doesn't 'get it'.

Jasmyne makes some interesting points, but many white gays don't think that the issues DO go hand in hand. The fight for civil rights and the fight for equality are two very different fights that go back to a basic principle, but the similarity ends there.

The (stereotypical) WeHo Queer doesn't concern me as much as the teen in a small town fighting to not become a suicide statistic like so many before him or her, who doesn't see a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm more concerned about them.

I don't wonder why some in the black community doesn't see this as an issue worth owning....I wonder why ANYONE, regardless of race, gender, or orientation, doesn't see this as an issue worth owning.

My 2 cents.

Naes

dwashington314@gmail.com said...

That's a great comment Naes!

I am going to take my mindset 180 on this. I'm going to the LGBT center to help paint signs for the rally this weekend right now!