Friday, November 07, 2008

Blaming The Blacks On Gay Marriage Failure

So we're in class over the past few days. Still talking election.

Everyone's still on high from the Obama win this week. And pretty much everyone's on low from the Prop 8 passage in California.

But then the conversation digresses. Students/activists invested in the gay marriage issue start blaming the passage of the proposition on the black community in California.

Their reasoning -- the blacks voted in record numbers in California (and around the country), and a majority of black voters (most stories say 70%) voted yes on Prop 8, or against gay marriage.

But what they (the students and the media) failed to mention is that black voters make up less than 7% of the entire voting population of California, which means that voting block may or may not have made much of a difference in the Prop 8 issue.

And then what they failed to think about is this -- 1) the black community isn't the only community that votes against gay marriage; and 2) the only time any of the gay marriage activists truly seek to work with black or Latino (gay or straight) communities is when it comes to gay marriage, in other words getting numbers for a vote.

Where are these same marriage activists when it comes to: 1) hate crimes against black/Latino gay or straight youth; 2) health issues and disparities among various gay communities; 3) racism in the gay community, gay clubs, gay-owned businesses; 4) any other issue -- whether it's serious or just pop culture -- that pertains to gays and lesbians of color?

True coalition building isn't just about a one issue cause. And while I (and many other black people I know) support gay marriage, many of the activists involved need to start the relationship building LONG before election season, and not just for one issue.

Now, the marriage advocates are taking to the streets of West Hollywood, and some of my students of color who have gone to support the protesters say they're looked at funny, almost as if the marriage advocates are just itching to say something ethnically derogatory, considering how the vote came out.

I know one day we'll achieve true equality in marriage and other human rights. The closed-minded folks won't be around for long, and the youth will change things. Things are changing now. But it won't change while people are blaming black folks for how the recent Prop 8 vote turned out.


The CPA Doc said...

You make some good points here. I think part of the blame (or maybe blame is too harsh) for how we perceive the black vote is how the media sensationalized it. When you only say that 70% of the AA voted for prop 8 and fail to include (as u did) that AA only make up 7% of the population, your perception is impacted.

I too feel the youth movement emerging, I just hope that in my lifetime I can also see America achieve equality in all aspects (including marriage). No one ever asked for gays and lesbians to be tolerated, I think we just want to be free to do as our str8 counterparts. For me, marriage is less important than benefits (i.e. my partner can see me in the hospital, we can be on each other's insurance, etc.). If the word marriage is a problem, then I could care less what you call it. I just want the benefits! We deserve that as much as anyone else. Just my two cents though.

thetruthshallsetufree said...

70% of 7% is roughly 5% (4.9). The measure won by 4%. Thought that might shed some light.

Jamar Herrod said...

I compeletly agree with you Fred. The time when the blame game will cease and equality will settle we got a ways to go but it's coming! Look at CT. Props to the blacks supporting the protest. Hang in there!