Leonce Gaiter is pissed:
According to a SurveyUSA poll, 58% of black voters support Proposition 8, which would enshrine irrational fear and rank bigotry into the California Constitution in order to deny gays the right to marry. Black support is 10% higher than support of any other ethnic group. This is ironic, considering that in striking down the law banning same sex marriage, the California Supreme Court cited the landmark 1967 civil rights case Loving vs. Virginia that struck down the prohibition of interracial marriage.
A majority of California's voting African-Americans seem blind to that irony, however. They see no kinship to their own past as a reviled minority whose sexual touch toward a single white man or woman would sully the entire "race"- of American white--just as legally sanctioning the sexual touch of same sex partners would so sully heterosexuals' unions that they will, what? Seek immediate divorce? Abandon their children to the streets? Suffer mass orgasmic dysfunction.
Yeah I understand that, and I offer no haven for neanderthals. But I think this is a "What's The Matter With Kansas" mixed with a kind of "How dare you act like human beings" argument. Man listen, the discrimination the Irish suffered didn't make them, on the whole, any more sympathetic to the Italians. The discrimination Italians suffered doesn't make them any more sympathetic to Latinos. And the discrimination that all of these groups suffer has never made any of them more sympathetic to blacks. Indeed, there is an argument that ethnic whites are the least sympathetic to blacks and to each other. There may be some case for Jews, but the Holocaust is such a singular event that it really breaks the mold.
The point is that this idea that communities who suffer a particular form of discrimination would therefore find common ground with other people who suffer discrimination is a nice thought, but more often than not, it isn't the case. Indeed black folks will often tell you that the most overtly racist white people they come in contact with, are also the ones they seemingly have the most in common with. I think those of us who are black and are really disturbed by this issue have some serious work to do in our own communities. But we have to approach folks as human beings. The question for me has always been what would I want for my son of daughter if they were gay? How would I want their life to be? What I want for my brothers, my sisters, my cousins? It has to be a human question. We have to personalize this.
All that said, I love the close:
Today, our attempts to defend our pride in the manhood of our men, we only prove that we're still vulnerable to whims of those who've most reviled us. We're ready to open the door to the legalization of bigotry--a door through which we too might one day be shoved. We're not defending our "manly"- bona fides through supporting Prop 8. We're only proving how damaged we remain.
UPDATE: Eduardo basically gets it below. Oppression isn't ennobling. It doesn't--in and of itself--make you more enlightened.
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