November 11, 2008
Prop 8 strains gay race relations (II)
Posted by: Chris
As someone who rejects the view popularized by Dan Savage that somehow black Californians are the, or even a, primary culprit in the passage of Prop 8, I can only shake my head at how easily some black gay voices have taken the bait.
Over on the Rod 2.0 blog, a black UCLA student reported the "N bomb" was being thrown around by some of the white gay Prop 8 street protesters:
It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. "YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger."
Talk about your sad commentary. It's hard to know where to start -- the ignorant white gay man who shouted obscenities, or the offended black gay man who responded by labeling the entire gathering as "a klan rally." Or, for that matter, the fact that only the reactive bigotry of the black gay student went unchallenged or even commented on by Rod himself or Pam Spaulding, who subsequently posted the same snippit on her blog. How depressing, then, that it took the National Review to point out the reverse racism.
Perhaps the most egregious passage in Cannick’s opinion is this: “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.”
It would have been helpful for Cannick to share her all-knowing and powerfully influential ideas before Nov. 4. These are the words of someone suffering from extreme delusions of self-importance.
Cannick suggests the marriage movement is about white gays who are “racist and clueless.” Tell that to the multiple black gay and lesbian couples that have been plaintiffs in marriage lawsuits across the country.
The sad personal truth about Cannick is that she's long prided herself as some sort of "gatekeeper" whose ring must be kissed before access to her people is granted. I don't agree with Kevin that it makes her racist, but he's spot-on that she suffers from "extreme delusions of self-importance."
I found myself caught up in a similar debate on a gay rights list serve, when another black gay leader argued, as Cannick had, that marriage is somehow irrelevant to most African American gays, since marriage rates in general among U.S. black hover below 50 percent.
Huh? I'm not sure where he got his data but that certainly does not square with the U.S. Census. As of 2001, more than 60 percent of black men and women had married by their mid-30s, and almost 97 percent had married by the time they reached their 70s.
Considering life expectancies for both whites (78 years) and blacks (73 years) fall into that final column, it's safe to say that almost everyone marries at some point in their lives. Even factoring in declining marital rates, it's just not factual to argue that African Americans aspire to marry at dramatically different rates than white Americans do.
In fact, marriage rights and relationship recognition are arguably more important for African Americans than for other racial/ethnic groups. Many of the most critical rights that bundled in marriage and relationship recognition are the property protections that arise in divorce, and this chart shows, the higher divorce rate among black men and women.
But then again, what does a white gay guy like me know about the lives of black same-gender-loving Americans?
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