Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rebuttal to Gay Activism Article

I was reading the article "True Intention of Gay Activists" by Gwen Richardson after getting an email alert of new postings at the Black News website. There are so many things wrong with it I don't know where to begin. First of all the entire tone of the article seems to stem from a visceral negative emotional response that it takes away from any credible argument she may posit. In other words with statements such as below, she's so obviously judgmental I can't take her seriously.
Homosexuals have suffered no intergenerational discrimination, have never been denied the right to vote or own property, and can disguise their sexual preference for a lifetime, if necessary.
It seems in her world there is no distinction amongst LGBT, just gay and these "people" can pretend to be straight for their (read that as other's) convenience. Well I don't know what myopic world she occupies but that is simply not true.  Even if it was, don't you think we already have enough problems with men trying to live a lie to the detriment of not only themselves but the women they may be involved with? I say men, because Richardson offers no balance that women or non-whites may also be homosexual. I'd dare say she is lashing out at white men but she never clearly states that so there's little point of agreement for her theories. Furthermore she says this:
Yet, the claims of gay lobbyists that their rights are somehow linked to the freedom struggle of African Americans have slowly taken root in many sectors. But, after years of close observation, I have now uncovered the true intentions of gay activists: To silence, demote or excommunicate any individual who dares to disagree with the unbridled promotion of homosexuality and gay marriage.
Now I have personally stated my support for legalizing gay marriage for it offers many financial benefits and sets up a family structure. That may not be the one many of us are used to, but that doesn't necessarily make it any less valid. I also saw first-hand the outrage of certain white LGBTs who showed just how stuck on their privilege they are when they attacked Blacks specifically when Prop 8 failed. I even predicted it was going to fail because the campaign didn't reach out to people of color effectively. When the face of the gay movement is a white male then it does come across as just another means of pimping the oppression banner for individual power. 

If Richardson had been more subtle in her argument she could've had me. Instead she is adopting language and a tone that smacks a little close to those of white supremacists - and certain Republicans - against Blacks, "illegal aliens" and women's reproductive rights. The article further spirals downward into many falsehoods and disjointed connections between childhood molestation and the "advertising and acceptance of homosexuality" that will make more people gay. It makes her just another rhetoric-filled loudmouth with an anger problem. We all know how hard it is to dispel that "Angry Black Woman" meme!

Instead she should be looking at other causes and influences but she blames it all on teh gay. So her article is just one big vent-fest. She comes across as incredibly arrogant and intolerant. I'm certain she'd use the Bible as her excuse for being homophobic. There's a difference between following a religious tradition and using your beliefs to attack others whose lifestyle choices differ from your own. Especially when we know how many "church-going folk" are some of the biggest hypocrites out there. She's probably one of those Black women who's completely Black-male identified as well. The dysfunctional kind that is and would question a woman what she "did" if she was hit...or sexually assaulted. There are so many of us who are angry and confused and we don't know how to deconstruct the bigger issues so we focus on what looks to be the source of that problem. 

My suggestion to Ms. Richardson is that she focus a little less on what white gay men are doing and look at the state of the lower-class Black community. Addressing the pathologies of many who make choices against their self-interests would be of greater benefit to the masses than complaining about some who are setting an agenda for their advancement. In fact, despite the selfish nature as it may come across to many it is something we should be taking notes on and adopting for our own "groups". Lest we be left behind.

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Gwen Richardson said...

In reading your assessment of my recent column on gay activism, I was struck by your pseudopsychoanalysis of my behavior, conclusions you reached without knowing me at all. Saying that I would blame a female rape victim for being attacked is simply ludicrous.

In my column, I meant to be direct and to the point. When the opposing side is throwing punches, it is ill-advised to blow kisses in response. This is an issue of importance to me, primarily because of the effects on impressionable children. For the record, I am neither right-wing nor Republican. I enthusiastically supported Obama in this last election, both with my vote and financially. I am an independent voter, independent minded, but I can see a harmful trend, especially when I've been observing the patterns and behavior for years.

The pimping of African-American heritage by another group for political purposes is unconscionable, in my opinion. Our legacy is unparalleled and our history should be protected. Jewish groups would NEVER let another group pimp the Holocaust -- it just wouldn't happen. I fault our leadership, or perhaps we're not sophisticated enough to recognize this when it happens.

Not sure if this response will do any good, but I wanted to correct your assessment, which is completely off the mark.

Gwen Richardson

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Ms. Richardson: Well thanks for your reply, but since you published such an incendiary article surely you didn't think it would go unanswered?

This has nothing to do with political party affiliation though I stand by my assessment of the views expressed being those that could easily be adopted by the right-wing. When we have people like Virginia Foxx claiming Matthew Shepard's hate crime murder was a hoax you are walking a dangerous line.

And the excuse that it's "for the children" is the oldest trick in the book for those the most intolerant. You posit your piece on scientific evidence but don't offer citations for any. Just to be clear I said your language and tone followed a similar line of thinking to those who blame rape victims. If that wasn't clear, let this stand as a clarification.

I don't know what you mean when you say "pimping of AA heritage" please clarify.

Gwen Richardson said...

I certainly did not expect my column to go unanswered. In fact, I fully anticipated a tough response from the other side since, as I stated, any attempt to challenge their agenda is met with name-calling, personal attacks, etc.

However, I have gotten many more supportive responses than challenging ones, most of them from African Americans, not right-wingers. A lot of people are afraid to speak up because the attacks from gay groups and their supporters are so visceral.

I do believe that there has been discrimination against people who are gay and I support equal protection under the laws. I believe if gay activists stuck to their history and legacy to advance their cause, they would have a salient argument. Instead, they've decided to use the fact that Blacks were discriminated against to obtain changes in the law. The argument used is that, since racist whites did not allow Blacks and whites to marry in the past, then this means that two men should be able to get married now. It makes no sense.

When we (Blacks) were fighting for our rights, we didn't need to use anyone else's legacy; our history spoke for itself. And I repeat, no one co-opts the Holocaust for political purposes because they know there would be dire consequences.

I also don't subscribe to the notion that just because someone is wrong on one issue, that means they are wrong on everything. There are some aspects of the conservative point of view that I agree with. Of course, I don't believe in any of their racist rhetoric, but I do believe that people should take more personal responsibility for their actions and not look to the government first. As an entrepreneur, I also support the free enterprise system (obviously not the distorted aspect that resulted from the greed which led to our economic collapse). That's why I am independent; I don't believe one political party has all the answers.

I have written many columns on many subjects. Last year, particularly during the primary season, I wrote many columns about Obama, some of which challenged the hostility towards him from the right. I got hateful e-mails from some of them too. I call things as I see them -- period.

Be blessed.

Gwen Richardson

a black gay man said...

What does marriage equality for gay people have to do with the FACT that as of 2006, 71.6% of black babies are born out of wedlock? That 71.6% is up from 70%just a few years ago.

Straight black adults could get married, yet most of them don't. My question is, why do so many straight black people want to keep gays from having the right to get married when most blacks aren't married and when they do get married, MOST of their marriages fail? What's up with that?

Khadija said...

Ms. Richardson,

My point of disagreement is with the bigoted assumptions that are mixed in with your main arguments (most of which I agree with). I also don't appreciate other groups riding the coattails of, and cashing in on, African-Americans' unique history in this country.

However, and respectfully, I found many of the assumptions underlying your column to be quite ill-informed and offensive. Among other things, you said:

"Our hypersexual culture has already led to an increase in teen and pre-teen sexual activity, sexually transmitted diseases, child pornography, child abandonment, pedophilia and the posting of nude images of themselves on the Internet by adolescents. The jury is still out on the long-term effects of popular culture's promotion of homosexuality on children and teens. I suspect that, unfortunately, the end result will be an increase in homosexual behavior. As with advertising, an individual who is repeatedly exposed to visual images is more likely to adopt the behavior he/she sees."What does "our hypersexual increase in teen and pre-teen sexual activity, sexually transmitted diseases, child pornography, child abandonment, pedophilia and the posting of nude images of themselves on the Internet by adolescents" have to do with sexual orientation and/or gay rights and/or gay marriage?

When you interject these other issues into a discussion about gay activists and gay rights you are equating sex-related social ills with having a gay/lesbian sexual orientation. This is bigotry. Would you draw a link between a heterosexual orientation and the above problems? I doubt it.

This sort of conflation (and really, equation) of a gay/lesbian sexual orientation with things like pedophilia, child pornography, etc. is typical of right wing ideology.

The other reason why I take exception to these sort of bigoted linkages is that it's heaping things on gays that we don't heap on ourselves. Things such as the "recruitment/vampire" theory of sexual orientation and the "choice" theory of sexual orientation.

As a straight woman, I DON'T recall "choosing" to take up an interest in being sexually involved with men. The interest and heterosexual orientation was simply "there." Without any prompting. There's no logical reason for me to assume that it's automatically different for gays and lesbians.

Peace and blessings.

Gwen Richardson said...

I can appreciate your point of view. I simply haven't bought into this whole "orientation" thing, which has not been proved and is just something gay rights advocates started pushing a decade ago because it is an argument that has worked for them. I also haven't bought into this idea that I didn't choose to be a heterosexual. There was no need to choose since I consider it to be a natural part of being a human being.

Finally, you are not the first to misread my statement about our hypersexual culture. I didn't link it to gays and lesbians at all. In fact, the hypersexual nature of our culture began before gay rights advocates started pushing their agenda. However, the promotion of homosexuality and the elevation of it as equal to or on par with what I consider to be normal behavior has led to an increase in this behavior by adolescents and children. Some of the things teachers describe that are going on among children are truly disturbing. These are behaviors that were not occurring before our society started promoting sex without consequences, in all of its forms. And children do mimic what they see on television and what they are exposed to. Many children are growing up without supervision and they are particularly vulnerable.

Finally, "bigotry" or "bigot" is not a word that I respond to at all. As a person who integrated an elementary school in the 1960s as a child, I certainly know what bigotry is and I have none of this in my character. Name-calling and the hurling of invectives is not a reasonable person's way of making an argument.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Khadija: Thank you SO much for weighing in on this. You have replied in such a clear manner.

Gwen: In fact you should click on Khadija's profile and go to her blog and read her post from today. It will probably overwhelm you but it's time to "change the channel" on this tv show. We are clearly not at a point of agreement. And Obama doesn't have ANYTHING to do with this except that he needs to steps up with his support. Again if you read my posts about the Prop 8 you will find that I've been very critical of intolerant/racist/sexist LGBTs. You still did not answer my question I posted earlier and have instead engaged in obfuscation tactics. Having others agree with you does not give some of your more outrageous claims validity any more than than what those who don't think critically engage in. Hopefully someone else reading these exchanges will begin to see the bigger picture and gain some clarity.

A Black Gay Man: Welcome to the conversation. I'd like there to be some consideration on your part to not engage in demonizing those that fall into those statistics and to be clear that we are talking about certain Black people who may be part of certain class structures with a certain mindset who've made certain choices so as not to fall into the same tone, anger and bias of Ms. Richardson. My purpose for rebutting this article is to address some of the long-standing biases and hypocrisies of those of us who need to evaluate them for the betterment of the group. We have so many more serious problems than focusing solely on this. I think people don't want to evaluate that and instead pick something else they can focus on without ever addressing the core problems. It's similar to focusing exclusively on white racism w/o ever asking if some Black people are just dropping the ball in some respects.

Roger said...

I'd like for Ms. Richardson to clearly outline just what direct threat gay marriage poses to any heterosexual, married or otherwise.

As far as her indignation with gay activists using the language of the civil rights movement: there might be something to that argument; however, it gets lost in a bunch of conspiracy-theorist, Frances Cress Welsing pseudointellectual nonsense. If Ms. Richardson has claimed to have observed the tactics of gay activists "for years," I wonder if she's ever read any Essex Hemphill, or Audre Lorde, or Marlon Riggs? Has she read James Baldwin? Barbara Smith? What of any black gay men or women in Houston--surely she knows maybe a few? It's rather easy to demonize an entire group of people when they are rendered faceless and bereft of identity.

Simply arguing (as she does in these comments) that she "calls them like she sees them" does not at all confer upon her arguments any form of correctness. Again, claiming that she's studied gay activism requires a bit more than appealing to Wikipedia or Anne Heche (seriously? Anne Heche?) or even Perez Hilton and that Miss California nonsense as some sort of evidence of her claims.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Roger: Thanks for joining the conversation. I can understand your frustration but I do take issue with you or anyone else that would deny the fact that certain white gays and feminists - and their supporters - have in fact adopted language mimicking the struggles of African-Americans in this country for their own agendas. I was very clear in my post that I agreed with that and have written about my disgust about the continued racism/classism in effect. So this isn't a maybe: it has DEFINITELY occurred and will continue to do so until enough Black LGBTs and other shut it down. Writer/activist Jasmynne Cannick has been very vocal about addressing this when others would seek to deny it.