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    November 11, 2008

    Prop 8 strains gay race relations (II)

    Posted by: Chris

    Prop8policeprotesters Clearly this is going to get uglier before it gets better. Both sides are stepping up the angry rhetoric as our Prop 8 firing squad forms a nice, tight circle.

    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.

    I wasn't the only one gobsmacked by Jasmyne Cannick's angry L.A. Times screed. Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff labeled it "shockingly racist" in his own blog post:

    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.

    Ever_married_in_us_by_race_2 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.

    Divorce_rate_by_race_2 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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    1. ShadeTea on Nov 12, 2008 10:13:20 AM:

      This post is pointless, as is the white racist who wrote it. Enjoy your day.

    1. Keith on Nov 12, 2008 12:10:25 PM:

      White racist? Homophobe? Not much difference I guess.

      Here in Florida (yes, we had an amendment to our constitution on the ballot, too) total votes cast on Amendment 2: 7,889,593. Amendment 2 passed by 2 pts (with a 62 perct vote). Black voters are 14 percent of the voters. Shall we assume that they simply voted in the same proportion as white voters (and that is generous)? If so, then they would have been about 1.1 million voters. If they voted 75 to 80 percent for this amendment that would mean that 825,000 of them (at a generous 75%) voted for Amendment 2. It passed with a margin of about 158,000 votes.

      In this state it sure looks like they made the difference to me. Not to say they are the only people voting against us. Surely they are not. Evangelical voters and rural voters also voted against us. But had the black voters turned out in lower levels or voted more for us then we would not be enshrined in the Florida constitution as 2nd class citizens.

      Why are gay people so upset over the black vote:

      1. We have voted along side them in the Democrat party for years on end.

      2. We have historically defended their rights.

      From experience, I can tell you that talking to a black religious person is just as difficult as talking to a white evangelical voter. The black will be friendlier and more polite. But they are just as set on their opinions as the white evangelical.

      I am not at all convinced that either one of these groups can be convinced to support our freedom--at least surely not the right to get what we are calling a "marriage" license. Maybe some of them would go along if it were called something else in a different fashion. As long as we have Martin Luther King's niece doing radio spots against us --saying this is not a denial of civil rights---well exactly how far are we going to get trying to convince black voters to vote with us?

      I surely hope there is a logical strategy for this to be resolved through the courts like black civil rights were resolved. You think their civil rights would have been resolved at the ballot box in Birmingham (or Chicago or Boston for that matter) back in the 1960's?

    1. ShadeTea on Nov 13, 2008 3:03:01 AM:


      Andrew Sullivan called..he wants his "gay conservative "intellectual"" schtick back.


    1. IMG on Nov 13, 2008 7:40:00 PM:

      'I can only shake my head at how easily some black gay voices have taken the bait.'

      And then you go ahead and criticize each one of the leading 'black gay voices.' First of all, it's irresponsible to lump Cannick in the same category with Pam and Rod. Secondly, the post was taken out of context because clearly it is an anecdote. Third, it's very convenient you ignore the many posts Pam and Rod wrote in the past week or two on homophobia, black pastors and Prop 8.

      It is very amusing that you, Savage and Sullivan continually obsess over the black community and black gay men. It is no coincidence Sullivan craves black cock and you prefer yours Brazilian and cafe au lait.

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