laceblade: Mitsuki of Kyoukai no Kanata anime, in school uniform, looking at viewer, uneasy (Default)
laceblade ([personal profile] laceblade) wrote2008-11-07 17:45

Racism in the Aftermath of California's Proposition 8

I've seen and heard some people saying that the reason Proposition 8 passed in California is because people of color turned out to vote for Barack Obama, and then voted against gay marriage. Some people have some things to say about that. Please go read their entire posts. Some of them include detailed demographic maps, and are important to proving their points.

[ profile] sparkymonster wrote this post.
Blaming people of color for Prop. 8 passing in California is racist. So cut it the fuck out. Ditto for veiling your racism with "this is because of turnout for Obama" or "you know how conservative those immigrants can be."

California is 43.1% white, 35.9% latino or hispanic, and 6.7% black (source). So even if every single black and latino person in the state voted Yes on 8, that doesn't actually equal the 52% who voted for it. And since people of color are not the borg, you know how Prop. 8 passed? White people voted for it. True story!

Saying "well the black community is homophobic" is bullshit. First, are you trying to say white people aren't homophobic? Really? What is the race of the people who killed Matthew Sheppard and who assassinated Harvey Milk? What was the race of the person who signed DOMA? Second, you're ignoring all the queer people of color out there (and their allies). Third, you're being racist. Racism is what happens when you assign as stereotype to a race of people.

[ profile] ladyjax said many things, among them, this:
If anyone saw the commercials for the No on 8 campaign here in California, then you know that the few times when they did show people in them, they were overwhelmingly white. The Yes on 8 campaign? Busted out with a clever commercial (and I'm gonna call it clever because it sure as hell was), that showed a Black preacher, a Latino gentleman (you couldn't tell what he was doing but he was positioned Joe Regular) and then a white woman with a child. They hit the high notes: church, San Francisco judges (boo, bad!) , and 'what do we tell the kids?'

Yes on 8 did massive organizing in POC communities. No on 8? barely a blip on the radar screen.

....When white people roll up on Black folks about being oppressors, there's some truth to it but that gets lost when people start to remember: "Hmm, that rally for (immigration rights, education, housing, etc. etc.). I didn't see you there." In some areas, if you throw in gentrification and how it plays out when white gays and communities of color collide (as evidenced by the movie, Flag Wars, then you get some idea of how easy it was for the Yes on 8 people to make the inroads that they did.

Sometimes the fight isn't always about what you want but about reciprocation. It's also about fighting like your life depended on it. One thing I wish the No on 8 campaign had done from the beginning - hammer home the message about discrimination. Emphasize how easy it is for a group of people to have their rights taken away by the popular vote of the people. Skip the oh so gentle assimilationist approach ('oh, but we're just like you. Really') and go straight for scorched earth - "You don't have to like us but if our rights can be taken away, it can happen to you. This is a constitutional change not a Sunday picnic. Think about it."

I wanted to quote the entirety of [ profile] darkrosetiger's post, so instead, just go here.

[identity profile] 2008-11-08 02:35 (UTC)(link)
I am not supportive of a lot of the discriminatory action and press against other minority groups in response to Prop 8 passing.

However, I do understand the importance of bringing this fight to their front door. I think it is more about trying to start a conversation. To Mormons, why are you so involved in politics? Why do you accept what the church tells you to do without question? Why do you fight so hard to uphold "traditional marriage" when you know the same bitter discrimination for a "non-traditional" marriage practice you abandoned decades ago? Why are African-Americans and Hispanics, who should be very familiar with discrimination and have seen their share of civil rights movements, so homophobic and unaccepting of people who are fighting for equality? I think the idea of the protests and the marches and the vigils is to raise the issue into public awareness and force people to confront their beliefs instead of just passively accepting tradition and religion. Even if they come to the same conclusions as before, at least they will have thought it out themselves.
ext_6446: (I will be my own prince)

[identity profile] 2008-11-08 06:58 (UTC)(link)
I understand your anger and frustration, but overall, I think we have to be careful how we assign blame. Obviously you're not pro-discrimination, but formulating us-them attitudes is part of what brings us to a place where the posts I linked above need to be written.

While it's true that the LDS Church pumped a lot of money into the Yes campaign, it isn't true that all Mormons blindly accept what their church told them to do. Some of them protested on the No side, too. ( I know that if someone were to say that all Catholics are bigots because officials in the Catholic Church campaigned for the Yes side (and I'm sure that the Knights of the Columbus did), I would be pretty pissed, as I consider myself a vocal ally who happens to be a devout Catholic. My faith is important to me, and formulates my most basic values: belief in equality among them. I think that the interpretations of recent (and the current) popes on the issue of homosexuality are incorrect. I'll assume that there exist Mormons who feel the same way about their church.

As for people of color, I think the main point of the posts is to call attention to the fact that people of color who voted yes didn't vote yes because they are people of color. BUT, like you point out - the fact that their history in the US is so fraught with discrimination could make them potentially strong allies - IF the No campaign had worked to build a coalition. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like they did (or at least, I have not heard of it having happened). It isn't really fair to question the motives of entire races of people because some of their group members voted Yes. Being black doesn't make you anti-gay. Being socially conservative might. I think people are upset about the way the discussion is being worded, and who is being scapegoated, and I think it's a justified point on which to take issue.

Protests and marches are totally cool, and you're right - raising public awareness is something that needs to be done. The people who wrote these posts are not against them (at least not that I'm aware of). They were written in response to people on the Internet and the article in the LA Times saying, "The reason Proposition 8 passed is because of people of color."

[identity profile] 2008-11-08 09:19 (UTC)(link)
Dude, I know, I totally agree with you. Focusing on particular groups with "revenge" tactics is not the way this issue should be approached.

The No on 8 campaign made a lot of mistakes but I don't think it is worth dwelling on them. I think it is extremely important to make up for those mistakes now by reaching out to the groups that were most responsible for Prop 8 passing, not alienating them even more. It is somewhat upsetting that the exit polls are getting so much press, even if they are true. I think it's great that it's raising discussion, but I think it also could cast a lot of negativity and cause a lot of division in a time when we need to be united.