Magic Negros & Blaming Black People for the Failure of No on 8

**NOTE to NO on 8 Organizers: YOU MESSED UP! Admit it and do something about it!! You don’t get a cookie because you (may have) voted for Obama. You’re really doing a disservice to those that supported your agenda while you let others speak for you and BASH BLACK PEOPLE. 
I was reluctant to touch this topic and have remained silent for the past three days but I must be unleashed! Yeah I’m talking to you Dan Savage, Andrew Sullivan and all the other so-called white gay progressives and Black apologists who are playing the “Black People Didn’t Support No on 8 So They Must Be Bigots” song. And no I’m not linking to them either! Here you can find definitive analysis of those that actually supported Yes on 8 and guess what: THEY ARE MOSTLY WHITE!
This is for the No on 8 organization and supporters who did a CRAPPY job making your case and would’ve otherwise gone back to your life of ease and separatism except now you’re going to be forced to deal with the inconvenience of building relationships with Black people gay and straight if you want to get any legislation passed. Perhaps you should have listened to a Black same-gender loving woman who warned you why your campaign wasn’t working instead of trying to blame us now for your failings. Voting for Obama as the latest genie in the bottle doesn’t absolve you of your racism and racial privilege either. 
I won’t presume to speak for all the people that voted for these bans and make assumptions about why they were opposed. Neither should anyone else. I will touch on a few reasons why I think this is still an issue in California and why it’s going to take at least 4 years, possibly 8 or more to work on the hearts and minds of people.
That would start with you. You who support Marriage Equality but insist that everyone has to agree with you without question. You’re going to have to get your hands dirty. Research the ones with the purse strings and the organization. Know your enemy. Stop conducting focus groups, writing press releases and putting flyers on doors. Don’t be invisible during the off years and show up begging for voters later. Don’t approach a Black person and tell them you understand “what it’s like”. YOU DON’T! It’s beyond insulting.
Let’s be blunt and ask a few individuals who voted for the ban: what’s in it for THEM to support your cause? The opinion that Gay marriage = Middle Class to Wealthy White people (Men mostly) wanting their cherry on the top of the sundae is a powerful one. You already have everything else and know you want this too?!  No on 8 wants the votes from people of color and support without giving anything in exchange. That’s not an alliance, That’s just using people. Especially when once the desired goal is achieved they’ll pack up shop and disappear.  
The Yes on 8 supporters were very effective at deflecting their true nature. The tv ads were successful in delivering the desired result: fear and a desire to protect children from the big bad. It was a false enemy but its message was not counteracted. The No on 8 ads were very cerebral with an air of assumption.
You have to take the time to build alliances. You need allies in large numbers consisting of people who may not agree with you. You don’t need them to agree necessarily but you do need to convince them to help you. Find some common ground.
Of course if you actually had Black LGBT people sitting at the table, making leadership decisions with check signing authority you wouldn’t have this huge obstacle. Then again, your GLAADs, your HRCs, etc. of the world would be completely different. The agenda would be different. You would potentially be out of a job because there are plenty of fabulous lesbian/lesbian-supportive sistas with the looks, brains and pedigree to run these organizations AND help the people who need it most. And yes, I’m advocating a Black woman to run things.
By the way: Black people are still suspicious and angry about Isaiah Washington’s firing from Grey’s Anatomy after his 5-month walk on glass public humiliation tour. And the show totally sucks now!

Why are these bread and butter issues tossed aside in favor of placing all the eggs in one basket of Marriage Amendments: 


1. Sex workers
2. Transgendered teens (and adults), particularly those of color 
3. Police brutality (esp virulent against #2)
4. Job Training/Jobs period!
5. Housin
g
6. Drug abuse and dependency
7. Medical related
8. Psychological related

As long as you approach a Black person and tell them they are discriminating against you, the white male (and female) one wouldn’t easily read as gay, you will get nowhere. What these organizations want is a continuation of white supremacy.

There is a class warfare going on. Paper covers rock. When San Francisco has lost more than half of its Black population due to lack of jobs and being intentionally priced out of neighborhoods your argument over ‘fairness’ has already been lost. Our pretty boy Mayor thought he was going to ride the Gay Marriage wave to the Governor’s office when his term ends. I think he has a little more work to do. 

What work have the No on 8 organizers done in poorer communities? Who are the representatives? I watched every single advertisement. I didn’t see one example of a loving couple, let alone any people of color. Let me clarify. I saw the ad with the Ugly Betty stars running during the episodes talking about how Latinos were not discriminatory. I saw the ad that Samuel Jackson narrated where Japanese internment and a photo of the Lovings was used. I would’ve advised against it, although I did agree with it in theory. That was preaching to the choir, though.
You have to accept and acknowledge that people are going to have a difference of opinion and different religious traditions. Not every church is affirming of homosexuality. Most people cling to religiosity but don’t really understand the Bible anyway. That is an internal journey that each of us has to take.
There could have been a very effective argument how the Mormon Church was behind the legislation. Mormons who based a religion on naming Black people as being inferior and only changed it in 1979 – not that long ago – due to social pressure! Nothing will get the Black church more riled up that white people being oppressive!
Where are the Black LGBTs? Don’t they typically live in the neighborhoods they grew up in with everybody else. They’re not all moving to the Castro, West Hollywood, etc. Where the average rent is $2500/mo. See Black people can be funny that way. We may have a don’t ask don’t tell policy in our families but we have plenty of gay relatives. When the rubber hits the road race trumps sexual orientation and gender issues. Ask me how I know. 
I will never forget the day I was called a Nigger by a white gay male in the Castro for no reason whatsoever. Or how a work incentive became an ultimatum between firing me or my gay white male co-worker who’d I’d replaced as the top salesperson at a jewelry store. I stayed. I interviewed for an au pair position a few years ago for a couple who’d adopted a Black child. I didn’t know the race of the parents or the child prior to meeting them. When the child expressed delight in our sharing a similar phenotype I had a sinking feeling that was what got me eliminated from consideration. The owner of a popular nightclub in the Castro has been picketed for requiring Black patrons to produce 3 different sets of ID in order to enter, but where was GLAAD? Crickets…..
Having sex with, being friends with or having a co-worker doesn’t absolve people of their prejudices. If it did men would be fairer to women! Women wouldn’t tear each other down either.
The transgendered disconnect within the gay movement is staggering to me. It’s the same argument over how bi-sexuality doesn’t exist for some gays but worse. Reassignment surgery and the entire process costs so much that it’s out of reach for most people of color. I have yet to see one Black post-op person on Oprah who discusses their successful journey over adversity. 
Take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I am a Black woman who didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in her mouth. I don’t need to appropriate someone else’s culture because it is my own. I worked with ACT-UP back in the day but am by no means an ‘expert’. I’m just a person who’d like the world to be a little kinder.
There are shades of grey here. People don’t necessarily have to hide for fear of being murdered. We’ve all heard of Matthew Shepard but what about Michael Shandy or Sakia Gunn? Or the New Jersey Seven? Like it or not but a lot of this argument is about convenience. Civil unions are allowed. Domestic partnerships have been approved. Adoption is not banned here like other states. We are also not living in a developing nation where life is much more perilous for LGBT people. So we need to have perspective and place things is proper context. 
I enter public spaces with a cross section of ‘progressives’ and when the discussion turns to racial issues the white posters typically engage in Oppression Olympics obfuscation. They just don’t want to acknowledge their white privilege and how they benefit from it. There’s a huge difference between the daily struggles we all have and systematic racism being added on top of that.
  
It’s kinda like lumping all Latinos together irrespective of their individual cultural ties and assuming everyone speaks Spanish. Similar to the focus on illegal immigration being on the land crossings between Mexico and the United States while IGNORING the cargo ships bringing millions of people from Europe and Asia in equal if not greater amounts. 
You have to start with mothers, at least the mothers who haven’t abandoned their children for being gay. Any revolution that isn’t fought with Black women at your side is an effort that will fail. We birthed this nation and bore all her ills.
I voted for No on 8 but I wasn’t asked to participate in an inclusive campaign. Even I can separate this into a “them vs. us” issue. I also realize this negatively affects Middle Class-Wealthier Black people as well but you can add this to the pile of crap we have to deal with!
  
Black people make up 7% of the entire population in CA. We are being replaced slowly and assuredly, so I don’t even want to hear about this nonsensical theme in the media of the bigoted Black person. Yes, there are some but there are far many more bigoted white people. I don’t like this focus on Black people being the architects of hatred when we are all too often its recipients.  
Asians and Latinos represent a higher population in the state and their numbers along with white voters far outnumber the Black voters – yet none of the focus is on them. Why is that? What’s your real agenda? 
Update: Just to further show you ignoramuses how ignorant you are I’d like to point out to you how this new administration operates when it comes to hiring practices:

The Obama-Biden Transition Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law. 

Can all you Gay Rights’ organizations say the same?

10 Replies to “Magic Negros & Blaming Black People for the Failure of No on 8”

  1. I love that update. I saw that yesterday on that site and smiled.President-elect Obama knows how to speak with action — his commitments are grounded in what he and his (what is it now that it's not a campaign? Transition?) DO. Over and over I see this from him.In contrast, the marriage equality people can't even ground their arguments in their own actual lived reality. Nope, they had to compare class-privileged white people to Black people living under Jim Crow in the south and things like that.I had a discussion on another blog a few days ago when someone I respect said she voted for Barack Obama despite various things, including his Christianity-based homophobia. That bothered me and I was trying to get to why and I ended up going back after a brief comment and just going OFF in this raw way about how if I, a lesbian, had a choice to work with President-elect Obama or one of these (usually white) self-righteous marriage equality I would choose Pres-elect Obama in less than a heartbeat because he knows we're human whereas the marriage equality people's perspective says that someone who feels the world like I do — different from how they feel things — doesn't actually exist.

  2. Welcome thefayth:i appreciate your comments and thanks for stopping by. I hope we can all coordinate our efforts and work together with sincerity AND parity!

  3. Hi Sara,Thanks for your input. Please let Craig Hickman know he is not the only LGBT poster at JJP. He has a blog so you can do it privately!

  4. As a white lesbian who is so, so, so frustrated with the white glbt response to this, I have to say that I am so grateful for the Internet so that these conversations get fleshed out in public.What I can say is that there are white people (and in this instance, gays) out there who may not always totally get it, but are both hearing your critiques and listening. I wish I could say that's the majority, but you and I know I'd be lying.Thanks for the well-argued and detailed post (I found it via JJP).

  5. Any revolution that isn’t fought with Black women at your side is an effort that will fail. We birthed this nation and bore all her ills.=========Gurrrl.You just reaffirmed my commitment to study gender/labor/sexuality within sociology.

  6. Thanks Michelle,I'm no expert but empathize. I have gay relatives that only tell certain members they feel comfy with. I just know some other people who will not ever accept homosexuality because they think it's a meme presented in modern culture to destroy the nuclear family. They're emotionally detached from any impassioned arguments or discussions about people being miserable under rigid social constructs. So I thought I'd need to come up with another strategy. It's one we need to employ when dealing with racism. And I think the white gay agenda that doesn't include POC who are also LGBT and not WILL ALWAYS FAIL. And perhaps it should. They have to let EVERYBODY in the door first! Obama has Valerie Jarret working on getting legislators who were on the fence to pass Civil Union legislation in IL right now. A Black woman.

  7. Oooh, thanks for linking to this in your comment to me at JJP, Faith. I agree with so much of what you are saying here! I am only going to pull out the pieces that link to my current learning process because I am feeling selfish and ruthless in what I am learning. I hope it is of some use and if not, at least doesn't distract.That would start with you. You who support Marriage Equality but insist that everyone has to agree with you without question.*nod* That rigid ungrounded ideology smell is strooooong in the movement, IMO. I have been trying to understand what repels me about that movement and that's for sure part of it!The opinion that Gay marriage = Middle Class to Wealthy White people (Men mostly) wanting their cherry on the top of the sundae is a powerful one. You already have everything else and know you want this too?!I think that's not just an idea external to the movement — I think it's pretty much the actual vibe that the movement itself puts forward.And if so, this description of yours may explain a tone and feel to the movement that I have been perceiving (and am repelled by) but didn't have all the words for: a sense that marriage is a possession that the marriage equality proponents are unfairly denied. And any questioning of where proponents are really coming from, any attempt to dig deeper, any disagreement, gets in the way of that desire to "own" this possession. Which links to that first piece you wrote about, the insistence that everyone has to agree with them and that any questioning or digging deeper is somehow just like being beaten up or something.Which to my mind brings in the dynamics of privilege and the Oppression Olympics you mention: There are shades of grey here. People don’t necessarily have to hide for fear of being murdered. We’ve all heard of Matthew Sheppard but what about Michael Shandy or Sakia Gunn? Or the New Jersey Seven? Like it or not but a lot of this argument is about convenience. Civil unions are allowed. Domestic partnerships have been approved. Adoption is not banned here like other states. We are also not living in a developing nation where life is much more perilous for LGBT people. So we need to have perspective and place things is proper context. I enter public spaces with a cross section of ‘progressives’ and when the discussion turns to racial issues the white posters typically engage in Oppression Olympics obfuscation. They just don’t want to acknowledge their white privilege and how they benefit from it.Yes yes yes.You have to take the time to build alliances. You need allies in large numbers consisting of people who may not agree with you. You don’t need them to agree necessarily but you do need to convince them to help you. Find some common ground.Common ground is soooo not the focus when people are coming from that self-righteous Oppression Olympics rigid ideology-based space. As the Qunintessential Uber-Victim, anything that is good for the "me" becomes morally good in that framework. In my perception, it's deeply off-putting and entirely in conflict with the development of real human alliances across differences in experience and perspective.You have to start with mothers, at least the mothers who haven’t abandoned their children for being gay. Any revolution that isn’t fought with Black women at your side is an effort that will fail. We birthed this nation and bore all her ills.Whoa, that could be a powerful approach IMO.

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