Election ’08: Proposition 8–Chickens Coming Home to Roost

You can read my thoughts on California’s Proposition 8, Blacks, and white gays Saturday in the Los Angeles Times. If you can’t wait until then, you can tune in to National Public Radio’s ‘News and Notes’ Friday, November 7. Check your local NPR affiliate for air times.

Here’s a preview…

Dear white gay California, here’s where you went wrong with Proposition 8–again…

The Court of Public Opinion

  • TonyJackson

    Surely you are not blaming white gays for the Prop 8 mess, Jasmyne, when it is clear that WE – black LGBTs – have not done the work we need to do in our own hoods to combat homophobia. When are we going to stand up to our pastors? When are we going to ask people like Congresswoman Waters about her ridiculous “I’m not getting involved” attitude about Prop 8? That 3/4 of the black community voted in favor of Prop 8 is ON US. Enough with blaming whitey for our own cowardice. I am sick of it. Enough with the down low. Enough with not wanting to be called “gay.” Give me a break.

  • Cadence

    It’s idiotic to say that one group is to blame for Prop 8 passing. This is the fault to every gay person and everyone who voted for and financed this ammendment. We all have a responsibility to live our lives out and proud, and to fight homophobia, just as we fight other forms of hate and discrimination. This shifting blame to one racial group over another is incredibly stupid, especially considering the fact that Black voters only made up 10% of the vote while White voters accounted for more than 60%. Sadly, instead of coming up with solutions to serious issues regarding discrimination, this vote is just another platform for bigoted people, regardless of their skin color, to vent their ignorance.

  • chandra

    I could not agree more Tony. Though I am bothered by the sort of shortsighted scapegoating of blacks by the mainstream gay movement (given that though 3/4 of blacks voted for prop 8, but only comprise of 6% of californias population, and even a smaller percentage are registered voters), we really have to look at ourselves and our community and address the misogynistic and homophobic attitudes that persist within it. It is our responsibility to have a discussion within our own community about this. White gays have no business coming to compton to “educate” blacks on why this proposition undermimes everyone’s equality. and i’m sure if they did they’d be laughed out of the hood. It is our responsibility to be seen, heard and respected in our communities as gay black people. Just as when was the last time gay whites galvanize around issues affecting blacks, when did our own leaders, ie, the NAACP and other outspoken black entities come to our aid and speak out against the killing of Sakia Gunn and other invisible LGBT people of color? Only then can we build a multi-racial gay coalition that could actually be effective in beating prop 8.

    In addition, I strongly disagree with this attitude of “well, that’s not my issue.” Equality is EVERYBODY’s issue. I don’t know the laws of california since i am not a resident, but i do believe ALL LGBT people are affected if they are denied the right to see their partner in the hospital by a family member. ALL of us are affected when we are not seen as the next of kin to our partners that we’ve been with for over 20 years. I personally could care less about getting married, however, I do care about having the same rights and benefits of a married couple or hell, even a straight common law couple, if I’ve been in a 20 year partnership. It affects us all when discrimination is written into the consitution. What other type of discrimination can then a misinformed majority write into the constitution because they fear the minority? These are EVERYBODY’s issues when it comes to rights, so we need to all stop pointing fingers and build a multi-racial, multi-cultural coalition.

  • PLEASE post the article after it’s published or offer a link. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts.

    For anyone interested, I touched on the matter myself (and Ms. Cannick and I are on the same page about this matter) on my blog.


  • dj spellchecka

    i’m a 60 year white guy..so i don’t have a dog in this fight…but i’m amazed that an amendement that writes discrimination into a constitution doesn’t worry people…especially black people…. when the next proposition hits the ballot who will be the target? blacks? asians? hispanics? old white guys?

  • wilypagan

    I’m a white lesbian, civil rights lawyer. I live and love in the hood a few minutes south of San Diego, CA with my Lebanese lover. I’m a bit concerned at some of the vitriolic racist venom being spouted over Prop. 8 – on both sides.

    Not all of us white gay people are rich and spoiled. I was the first person in my family to go to college, started my own practice and have loads of clients and friends of all races.

    I agree that the gay community needed (and needs) to get their message out to people of color, but frankly, I don’t think we would be welcome at many of their churches. What do you think would happen if the black gays singing in the choir invited us to their churches?

    Would their co-parishioners call us “faggots” and “dykes” and “white bitches”? Or would they teach us to sing and dance, and maybe how to have some rythym? Why did Donna Summer, who was adored by so many white gay males, turn on her adoring fans and attack their lifestyle as “unchristian”? None of us can help being who we are, and most of us dream of being married to the one we love.

    It makes me sad. I thought all of this nastiness was behind us. We should all be concerned about any erosion of the wall between Church and State. This is what allows us all to live together in a civil society, rather than in hatred and civil war.

  • Bradley Jones

    I’ve just finished reading your LA Times Op Ed piece, and apart from it being totally unhinged there is something self loathing about the way you describe yourself as a black lesbian, like that excuses away all your incorrect theories and dangerous race baiting. First, you say you were too busy getting blacks to register for the election to bother talking about prop 8. Did you really think black people weren’t going to come out and vote for Barack? Really?!? Every political pundit in the country has been talking about how black turnout even in “red” states was going to be off the charts. But you were so worried that black people in LA of all places in all states weren’t going to vote to Obama you used it as a pathetic excuse for not talking about prop 8. We all wanted Obama to win and a lot of people like myself gave money and volunteered for Barack because it was the right thing to do – he is the best candidate we’ve possibly ever had – not just because he was black. As gays and lesbians it’s OUR job to talk to our family, friends, co-workers, anyone who will listen about why taking away people’s rights is wrong. I am a white gay guy, not rich, from a working class family in Hemet, but I reached out to my family even thought one of my sisters is an evangelical Christian. We’re not speaking now because of it, but I was respectful and at least I tried. Apparently, you couldn’t even bother. And now you’re using the media to spread hate, pitting people against each other. It upsets me that so many black people voted for prop 8 but it also upsets me that so many white people voted for it too and let’s face it, there is no way that blacks are responsible for its passage, they don’t make up a large enough percentage of the electorate, It’s that simple. But what you’re doing is somehow trying to justify voting for prop 8. Do you support it and did you vote for it? What’s your real agenda here? You sure sound defensive.

  • wb

    Re “The gay/black divide,” LA Times opinion, Nov. 8 (More appropriately titled, “No-on-8’s white bias” online)

    You claim you are “a perfect example of why the fight against proposition 8 . . . failed to win black support.”

    Reading between the lines of your angry and disingenuous arguments reveals why. You define the issue as one of black vs. white, rather than black vs. gay. Since you, and apparently the black community, perceived this as primarily a “white” issue, you chose not to oppose the proposition.

    Thus, you demonstrated that you are indeed “the perfect example” – the perfect example of a black racist. Clearly, blacks in general, and you, allowed their anger and bigotry towards whites to trump their support for equality and civil rights.

    And, make no mistake about this; it is an issue of equality and civil rights. But, because “the right to marry does nothing to address the problems faced by” blacks, it is not worthy of black support. Is the implication here that equality and civil rights matter only when it pertains to blacks?

    Further, you define the right to marry as a “luxury”. Since when is equal treatment before the law and being treated with equal dignity and respect as people a “luxury”. I suppose, according to your reasoning, that it’s a luxury for whites, but a necessity for blacks.

    As a gay white man, I am appalled and angered by your arguments, and feel that I am the victim of reverse racism on the part of blacks. Basically, your reasoning comes down to: Take that whitey, how does it feel.

    If you, and other blacks, were truly concerned about civil rights for all, you would not have compared the situation of blacks to whites in your argument, but rather the relative situations of blacks to gays. This is where your racist feelings clearly emerge.

    If you were concerned about civil rights, you might have noted that gays suffer a much higher dropout rate than straights, and, as is well documented, a higher suicide rate, due to harassment, violence and intimidation directed towards them because of their sexuality. Gays also earn less than straights on average. And, I have no doubt, if research exists on the subject, we would find that gays exhibit lower standardized test scores and higher rates of incarceration than straights.

    So, Jasmyne, I say to you that gay marriage is about equality and civil rights. It is not about blacks vs. whites. It is about decent and respectful treatment for all people. There is room on the mountaintop for all of us, so please stop pushing gays off, just because most of us happen to be white.

    “Next time around – [yes, it’s not over] – I hope that the [black] community can demonstrate the capacity and willingness to change that America demonstrated when it went to the polls on Nov. 4.” Hopefully, you, and blacks in general, will finally “get it”.

  • There is something extremely unsettling about your op-ed piece int he LA times. I didn’t want to blame the author, I wanted to blame my own misconceptions of the situation but having come to this website and read your other pieces on the Prop 8 fiasco I have to say you are a hypocrite and so full of contradictions I’m not sure where you stand other than that you are angry and ready to cast aside just about anyone who doesn’t see your apparently clear as day viewpoint (which is so muddled I’m not sure how anyone could see it).

    I don’t think you get to call me or anyone else a ‘self-hating’ black because I can see a civil rights violation and know that the black community needs to fix the ignorance that runs rampant. you don’t get to exclude me, label me, tell me who i am or who i’m not because at the end of the day I am as black as you are, and just because you think that every civil rights issue is a ‘you scratch my back and i’ll scratch yours deal’ and i don’t doesn’t mean you get to label me as anything other than who I am.