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4 comments | Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If recent polls regarding Prop 8, the proposed same-sex marriage ban in California are any indication of what the world will be like for thousands of gay couples married over the past 5 months since gay marriage became legal in the Golden State, the equal rights they now enjoy will be a fond memory as the majority will have voted to strip them away.

Early polls showed the majority of Californians were in strong opposition of the discriminatory ban before supporters ramped up their efforts and increased fundraising to spread lies and mislead the public about the facts regarding same -sex marriage via television and print ads.

Now with less than 2 weeks to go before voters head to the polls to decide the fate of marriage equality the gay community at large is looking for someone to blame in the event that Prop 8 passes and the blame is landing right at the footsteps of black California voters.

A recent study conducted by USA Survey concluded that 58% of black voters were in favor of the ban and were likely to vote accordingly.

Should we be surprised that black voters are in favor of denying another minority one of the basic civil rights extended to heterosexual couples despite facing a long history of opression themselves? No.

Should we be surprised that many in the black community don't see this issue for what it is, an attempt to eliminate the right for same-sex couples to have their relationships recognized by the state, protect their partners legally, provide for their families, and live with the same amount of dignity and respect bestowed upon opposite-sex couples? No. But it should make you mad as hell!

Contrary to what supporters of Prop 8 are telling voters, the right for gays and lesbians to get married is not about indoctrinating children or ruining the "sanctity" of marriage, the latter has been achieved solely on the efforts of heterosexuals alone. This is a civil rights issue and should have been framed as such, especially given the fact that those working on the ground in California knew early on that black voters could potentially play a role in deciding whether or not marriage equality would remain a reality for gays and lesbians.

So why was their no effort made by the organizations working to defeat Prop 8 to align with The National Black Justice Coalition or other black gay organizations around the state to educate black voters? White gay organizations have proven time after time that they either don't know how to communicate with African-Americans on gay issues or they simply choose not to and this time it could cost us all. Only now that it looks like Prop 8 will pass are blacks of concern and it's only to have someone to blame when we should have been apart of the strategy from day one.

There are thousands of black gay and lesbian couples throughout the state, supportive clergy, and straight allies that could have been included in this campaign that were completely left out and could have done the necessary outreach into the black community to educate voters about the truth of this amendment.

African-Americans understand what it feels like to not have a place at the table, to jump the broom versus having legal recognition of their marriages, to enter through the back door versus the front, to be denied access to the American dream based on an inherent trait that is unchangeable. Civil rights and the lack thereof is something we understand and are sympathetic to.

It's not acceptable to continue to portray the fight for marriage equality or the beneficiaries as white gay men and women just as it's not acceptable for some black gays and lesbians to act as if this issue is not important to US or about US.

So before all of the "homophobic blacks" are blamed for the passage of Prop 8 asks yourselves if the outcome might have been different if we truly lived the mantra of diversity and inclusion that we so often boldly proclaim.

My prayer is that on November 4th California voters will overwhelmingly reject Prop 8, but if they don't then don't blame blacks. Blame the crazy notion that homophobia and bigotry only affects people in red states and follows them into the voting booth.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

"So why was [there] no effort made by the organizations working to defeat Prop 8 to align with The National Black Justice Coalition or other black gay organizations around the state to educate black voters? White gay organizations have proven time after time that they either don't know how to communicate with African-Americans on gay issues or they simply choose not to and this time it could cost us all."

Why do black gay organizations need to align themselves with white gay organizations to "educate" black voters about homophobia and same sex marriage?

Black gay organizations SHOULD have been educating black voters/people about homophobia ALL ALONG. Obviously, black gay organizations (like the National Black Justice Coalition) weren't doing their job BEFORE Proposition 8 came along and they aren't doing their job NOW. Don't blame white gay organizations or "white gay racism" for this problem.

October 22, 2008 1:38 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

A black gay man(that I highly doubt but let's roll with it):The point is the blame for the likely passage of Prop 8 shouldn't belong to any specific group but to us collectively. To believe that there is not a hierarchy of money and power behind white gay organizations vs black and their efforts in the gay rights movement is completely delusional!

Funny how all of a sudden blacks are apart of the discussion during the final hour when we weren't before now that it's time to play the blame game.

October 22, 2008 2:04 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

What makes you think I am not black? I AM a black gay man.

My earlier comments are probably a reflection of my age and the fact that I once was a proponent of the philosophy that blacks can do anything whites can do (imagine that!). I once believed in a black nationalist point of view but I have seen over the years that the idea that blacks can do for themselves is delusional at best. So pardon me.

But I stand by my original comment and that is that black gays are not doing enough to address homophobia in black communities. I'm not sure exactly what it is that white gays are supposed to do for us that we (assuming we are intelligent, creative, thoughtful adults) cannot do for ourselves.

October 22, 2008 2:55 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I didn't mean to suggest that if Proposition 8 passes, black Californians should get ALL the blame for it.

Several days ago I saw on another website that there are about 1 million gays in California but only 30,000 of them had given any money to NO on 8. That's pretty sad. If Proposition 8 passes, there will be plenty of blame to go around.

I maintain that black gays/lesbians should do more to address homophobia in black communities if only by "coming out" (no matter what the cost) and being themselves.

October 24, 2008 8:47 AM


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