My name is Gail and I am an entertainment contributor for a local black newspaper. Thank you for your very passionate article regarding Proposition 8.
I know there was a lot a conversation about the proposition and how one should vote, at my church our Pastor told us to vote our conscious. One evening a group of black film critics openly discussed how to vote for the proposition, and the conversation once again ended with vote your conscious.
I think one of the problems with Proposition 8 is the fact that the face representing Prop 8 is always white. And then to have whites comparing their plight here in America to blacks and other people of color just tips the scale toward the negative. Perhaps if the Gay community had put a more multi-cultural face on their spots I think more people would have been apt to listen and perhaps have a better understanding.
I know in one spot I think Samuel L. Jackson was the spokesperson, or at least it sounded like him. The spot spoke about various forms of discrimination and I could readily tell a white person wrote it. It didn’t move me, and I think it made me a little angry. From housing we were denied, to jobs we still can’t get, the prevailing thought is white people gay or straight can get and do get these opportunities. So, how can they compare the ethnic struggle to their, in many ways, privileged struggle.
My suggestion is that if the Gay and Lesbian community wants support from the black community then they have to let us see ourselves. They have to have black, Latin, Asian, and other ethnic groups represented in these spots.
The Gay community assumes that just because they see themselves as minorities everyone else should, but in actuality most ethnic people don’t see them as a minority, they see them as white people, exercising the same attitudes and rights as their straight counterparts when it comes to dealing with minorities.
Some years ago I saw an HBO special production, I think it was called “If Walls Could Talk,” it was a series of short stories. One particular story made me very sad, and haunts me to this day. I want to say Vanessa Redgrave starred in a very loving Lesbian relationship. When her partner died, her partner’s family swooped in, basically took everything and told her she could pick a plant or something of that nature and pushed her out the door.
I was outraged and heartbroken at the same time. And I believe that is what Prop 8 is all about. In my opinion if the public had been adequately informed about what’s at stake, I mean really getting to the heart of the matter, than the vote may have turned out differently. We are in tough times, and America has always been for the underdog, and I think getting to the heart of the matter would have touched hearts and may have made a difference at the polls.
No matter how you slice it, I don’t believe a white person, male or female, gay or straight can ever compare their plight in America to African Americans, Native Americans, Chinese, Japanese, or Latino cultures. The rivers are just too deep, the sorrow is too interweaved in the fabric of our nation, and the playing field is not yet level.
With that being said, I believe that hearts won’t be changed through the guilt or anger process, but through love and understanding. People have to truly understand the impact that such a proposition has on the lives of people, and the heartbreak that is on top of heartbreak.
I just wanted to share with you another point of view. If you have time, let me know what you think.