Prop 8 and blaming the blacks

More

I'm sorry, but this really pisses me off. The problem with getting good numbers is that they invariably take time to come in. In the meantime, people are happy to run off and trumpet their half-cocked theories--unchallenged--to anyone who's listening. I've tried to be measured and sensitive on this. But frankly, the scapegoating of black people for the failure passage of Prop 8 has been a travesty. Anyone who doubts that needs to read this report. A few of the conclusions are as follows.

1.) The 70 percent figure for black support of Prop 8 is wildly overblown, and in conflict with all the other polling done. The study concludes that 58 percent is a more likely number. To put that in context, the study also concludes that 59 percent of Latinos supported prop 8. That isn't one-up-manship--it just means we were about the same.

2.) Black people almost certainly did not account for 10 percent of the voters on Prop 8, they accounted for seven percent

3.) 58 percent is still higher than the 52 percent for the state, as a whole, but that difference is almost entirely accounted for by the fact that no ethnic group in California is as religiously devout as (as measured by church attendance) African-Americans.

4.) Among those who attended church weekly, African-Americans were support for Prop 8 was lower than amongst any other ethnic group.

The faultiness of exit polling is well known. But when it comes to blacks, we believe the worse and ask questions, uhm, like never.

Look, my fight is clear. Homophobia is bad for my community. I support gay marriage because I believe it is a moral imperative, and the marker of a just society. I support it because, as a black man, I have seen first-hand the value of all kinds of family. In other words, it's in my interest. It's in my son's interest. It's a part of a world, that I hope to live in. But frankly, I have no use for people--gay, straight, white, red, rich, poor--who feel like black people "owe them." I have no use for people who like to trot out their history of supporting "black causes." I have no use for people who want to compare gay racism with black homophobia. With friends like those...

There are people in my business who took to the highest hills to decry the betrayal of black Californians, and to this day, are giddily noting that blacks sunk marriage equality in California, who foist the failure of marriage equality on seven percent of the electorate . I will not speculate on their motives. But let's see how loudly they address this study. Let's see how much ink we see spilled revisiting those assumptions. Or will it be on to the next calamity, where the blacks--or the Arabs, or the Latinos--can be trotted out and blamed for the failings of others. For the failings of us all.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Social Security: The Greatest Government Policy of All Time?

Social Security is the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history. So why do some people hate it?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In