Folks want to know what I think about the big media blame-game suggesting that Black and Latino voters are responsible for the anti-gay initiatives passing (esp. prop 8) on Tuesday. I am still too sick to write anything hugely coherent, but here's a list of points to keep in mind:
1. Race-baiting was a huge weapon in this campaign from the primaries to the general election. The media loves it and is looking to divide us into neat segments: the Blacks versus the Gays.
2. Anti-gay legislation passed by much wider margins in much higher numbers in the Bush elections. No record minority voter turn-out then, but no one said "it's the white people! they're all homophobic!"
3. Guess what? There are Black and Latino queers.
4. Gay rights are not the same thing as anti-racism. The movements have different contexts and different histories. White queers have not done their homework on the struggle for racial justice. They simply haven't and it has always turned my stomach when some ignorant middle-class white queer who knows nothing about the meaning of race in America compares marriage equality with the struggle for racial justice. There is loads of racism in the mainstream queer community and its flagship organizations. After years of shunting queers of color to the back of the bus, white queers should not expect to be understood and supported by minority voters. If we want minorities to take up our struggle, we sure as heck ought to have taken up theirs a long time ago. It ain't too late. Do some reading and educate yourselves and don't say one more time that not being allowed to marry is just like Jim Crow.
I am not saying that one group or the other is more oppressed. I'm saying the history of anti-racist struggle in this country deserves the respect of specificity. Co-opting its imagery is cheap and disrespectful. Not being allowed to marry is precisely that: not being allowed to marry. And that is stupid and sucks on its own without lazy knee-jerk comparisons. But I have to say that there are also worse injustices a person could suffer. And queers have and do suffer much worse. Usually though, these are not the middle and upper -class, privileged white queers who think that civil marriage is the key to liberation. And the people who've suffered the most as queers have been left in the cold by the mainstream movement too.
Saint Francis prayed "not to be understood but to understand" and that's what we white middle-class queers need to work on if we would ask other minority groups to support our concerns.
5. If you are a church-goer, pick up a Bible and read it. Learn as much as you can about it, so that you can educate fellow Christians about what it does and doesn't say. I have a few reading suggestions here. The best actual Bible to read is the Oxford Annotated New Revised Standard Version. Costs a pretty penny, but chock-full of scholarly notes. See also, this post from about this time last year.
Sorry not to be more eloquent ya'll. I have a nasty flu and a raging fever and must get back to bed.
Meanwhile, give some love to my latest (and pretty old yet, since I've been so ill) post at Strollerderby on marriage equality and children.