Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gay Is NOT the New Black!

First of all it equates gayness with being something other than Black in order to replace it, thereby ignoring Black people who are gay. Second it places Blackness as the 'other' as something inherently wrong and marginalized. Third, it then trumps that marginalization as if Blackness is something that needs to be or can be 'overcome' and replaced with something more oppressive. None of which is true.

This strategy being used by the Gay Rights Industrial Complex (GRIC) needs to end pronto!!! Especially in light of the immediate reaction by some who were disappointed by the failure of the No on 8 campaign and used racial epithets against Black people. I've been watching the news coverage of the 'outrage' against Yes on 8. I'd be hard pressed to find any media discussion exclusive of white people and the only time any PoC are mentioned it's to scapegoat straight Blacks while ignoring Black LGBT completely. 

People are going as far as to call for boycotting businesses whose employees may have supported it. Funny, that's the same thing the opposition was doing before the election. Do you think it's wise to fight fire with fire? Outrage with a further escalation of outrage? I call your pissed and I'll raise you a bitter? There are many aspects to this argument that need a more thorough and nuanced examination. 

Homophobia needs to be addressed. It should be something confronted and worked on by individual people, straight and gay (and everything in between) within their own communities. Of all ethnic/cultural groups. Perhaps if more Black LGBT for example were more open or willing to make themselves more available....I know I'm gonna get grief over this, but if you take off for the closest white neighborhood and/or are in an interracial relationship and don't even want to 'deal' with Black people how are we going to find common ground? Am I really supposed to believe that Black people are somehow inherently more homophobic than everybody else? I just don't buy it. 

Racism within the GRIC needs to be confronted. Again, when all the gay people are white (that you see in the media) it's a problem. When all the gay people you see running national organizations are again - white - claiming a 'minority' status it's a real slap in the face. Like the Republican party, somebody needs to do real 'soul searching' and decide if it's going to be a movement for those that think like them and who they deem appropriate and feel comfortable with or a movement for all

I want equal rights for everyone. I want people to be able to earn a good living that covers all necessities and some wants doing what they love. Women should be paid the same salary as men when doing the same work with equal qualifications. I want people to live up to their full potential. People should be able marry other people of legal age who consent whatever their gender. We need an efficient gov't and to be active participants in the role it plays in our lives and how we impact people around the world. There needs to be a separation of church and state. 

Today there are rallies being held across the country in support of same-sex marriage. As many as 25K people have already attended other protest marches since the election. It's great when people feel motivated to take action. I hope this effort will be extended beyond that into a sustained campaign at working on issues that negatively impact people on a daily basis. That campaign should not be exclusive of and limited to the GRIC. 

Of all people it's Bill O'Reilly (well his producers anyway) who took the time to bring in some color commentary with writer/activist Jasmynne Cannick. Before you view the video read her interview with Oakland, CA filmmaker Debra Wilson (not the MAD TV performer) who said:
"Look—I even applied for a job with the No on 8 campaign office in San Francisco’s Castro District. I specifically wanted to help outreach to Blacks on the issue but it was clear that wasn’t the agenda of the campaign."
So let's recap again: the failure of their campaign is still being pinned on Black people as the sole cause and not the Latino, Asian and whites who voted against it in higher numbers. "Black" is all-encompassing term and ignores Black LGBT and yet the movement is on par with the church based-social movement of equal rights for Blacks. But church-based Blacks voted Yes on 8 overwhelmingly. NO on 8 TURNED DOWN HELP FROM BLACKS. Except Mary J. Blige doing a Beverly Hills fundraiser which is....preaching to the choir. 

I haven't seen any plans to address this or correct it except hearing about protest rallies - and having more white people, usually men speak for the GRIC and still insist on appropriating the struggle of my elders. Does that cover it?



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6 comments:

Michelle said...

I haven't seen any plans to address this or correct it except hearing about protest rallies - and having more white people, usually men speak for the GRIC and still insist on appropriating the struggle of my elders. Does that cover it?

Seems to me it covers it...

I just posted a vent on another blog about a dkos diary that almost made my head explode with the disrespect of comparing their experience at one of these protests to Selma marches and Stonewall riots.

It was a display of appropriation so blatant, so bizarre and so un-selfconscious that I just now had a moment of having to go back to that diary and see if maybe it was in fact satire and I didn't notice. (nope, seems to be totally serious)

My comment is here

Faith said...

Ok, now I know why I thought you were a PoC. Plus we had that conversation about Black Obama staffers months ago if you recall.

Michelle said...

Ok, now I know why I thought you were a PoC.

I'm being dense and I am sorry for that -- but, why?

(asking bc I'm concerned that I'm being misleading somehow and causing harm)

And I do I remember that discussion about Black Obama staffers also.

Faith said...

You're not being misleading. It's your insight and perspective that I haven't seen exhibited in a lot of white people on this or any nuances with regards to race and gender and sexuality (and some other Blacks too). It felt as if you had a personal stake in it and I attributed it to being affected by it and therefore assumed you were Black. Perhaps I shouldn't make assumptions but I still figure you must have spent time in the company of people who evaluate these things more than the 'average' person (and even some other Blacks).

Michelle said...

Thank you for your reply, Faith. I was worried about the harm/misleading thing.

It felt as if you had a personal stake in it

I do have a personal stake related to the screaming dissonance around this stuff -- I do feel that directly and it affects me pretty hard. I have learned over time that my experience and perception of the dissonance does seem to somehow intersect or look like reaction to the dynamics of white supremacy in a way that has been confusing for me and for others sometimes too. So yes, it is visceral for me, deeply so.

I still figure you must have spent time in the company of people who evaluate these things more than the 'average' person (and even some other Blacks).

Yes, I have been extremely fortunate to learn from and with some deeply brilliant women of color (Chicanas, mainly, and also some Black women, one in particular) in movement and educational contexts over time, and also have had the opportunity to read some of the Black and Chicana feminist writing out there, and that (and related writings) tend to act on my consciousness like a clarity-tuner or something. So I have totally been strongly and positively affected by that as well.

Anyway, I worry that I'm all like ME ME ME now ... when the actual topic at hand that you wrote about is so deep and important. Part of me wishes I could stop paying attention to all this dissonance but it is so loud and persistent and it feels like everywhere I go, there it is, in my face.

And by the way, the "Gay Rights Industrial Complex" -- I love that description.

Brother OMi said...

wow
i give her props for being on O'Reilly's show.