Toward a More Cynical Black Homophobia

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Via Andrew, the National Organization for Marriage, doing precisely what we expected:


"Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots," advises the document, which is a road map to the successful campaign against same-sex marriage in California. 

The document also targets Hispanic voters, whom conservatives have long hoped would join the backlash against gay rights. "The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values?" the document asks. "We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity - a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation."

To be clear, this is politics and there's nothing particularly sinister about attempting to drive a wedge between two constituencies. As a liberal commie, who generally thinks Adam and Steve is actually kind of awesome, I always differentiate between using bigotry as a wedge and using tax proposals as a wedge. 

Moreover, I think right-wingers frequently misconstrue the way social conservatism works in the black community. Social conservatism has rarely been a strong electoral force in the black community. It's likely, for instance, true that marriage equality is more popular among black members of the D.C. city council than it is among their constituents. But it isn't the kind of electoral issue that's going to get anyone voted out.

Part of that lack of salience is that black voters tend to be skeptical of white social conservatives, as they tend to hail from the sort of constituencies which see nothing wrong with labeling Barack Obama the "Food Stamp President." As this document demonstrates, their suspicions are well-grounded. Note that blacks and Latinos are generally regarded as a kind of pawn in a greater game of "Throw The Gay Down The Well." The "assimilation" theory is just nutty--but dig how there's no real regard for whether that "assimilation" will be good or bad for Latinos, just whether it would be good or bad for homophobes.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/03/toward-a-more-cynical-black-homophobia/255153/