“Prop. 8 It Passed ‘Cause of Black People!” …. Yeeeeeeah, no.

So the new screed for the No on Prop. 8 people is that it’s the fault of black people that the proposition passed. So let’s break the numbers down, black people make up 6.7% of California and 52% of people voted yes on Prop. 8! Even if every black person in CA voted Yes on Prop. 8 it does not equal even remotely the number of white people who voted for it, so how is it our fault again? Why is the focus all on us?

Is there queerism within communities of color? Yes abso-fucking-lutely, but that’s present within all communities and we all need to do that work. I don’t mean to diminish that queerism at all but I also do not want it elevated because it’s occurring within a community of color which is the M.O. of a lot of the focus around the intersections of POC communities and queerism. Rarely if ever when queerism within POC communities is discussed do queer POC get a chance to speak on their experiences at the intersection of those two or more identities.

The whole campaign for ‘No on 8’ was fucked from the jump.

As my friend Jackie said – “The Yes on 8 people were smart, they campaigned heavily in People of Color communities from the beginning and their commercials included People of Color (POC)”.

The No on 8 people came into communities of color late and they came soft, the whole push for No. on 8 was soft. In so many ways the current push for gay rights is predicated on assimilating into the mainstream and yet somehow trying to keep enough status to call on People of Color communities and say, “We’re just like you! We’re allies!” But here’s the thing we’re only allies when you need something. When initiatives for/about POC have come up the gay community has mostly been completely silent. For more on this read LadyJax’s post Something told me this was going to happen. Where she talks about gentrification, coalition building and reciprocity. Like she says the No on 8 folks needed to come hard and say ‘Bottom line our rights are being taken away. We are a minority who is having our rights stripped and if it happens to us it can happen to you.’

Do two wrongs make a right? No absolutely not (and that’s not what LadyJax is saying either).

What is being said is that you can’t act just like any other cog in the oppressive system one second and then try to play on some invisible connection to POC the next when you’ve done nothing to nurture any kind of bond or relationship there. In so many ways the big GLBT organizations – HRC, GLAAD seem to ignore POC as much as possible you just have to look at the amount of praise that shows like The L Word & Queer As Folk receive as opposed the silence that shows that feature queer POC like Noah’s Arc are greeted with. They would like to ignore the fact that there are in fact queer POC. Communities of Color, our issues and problems are completely ignored and a lot of that has to do with the fact that rich gay white men, the focus and funding of GLAAD and HRC profit off of not remembering that – especially in regards to gentrification and the way that POC get treated in our own neighborhoods when gentrification begins. Because they would prefer to ignore us the outreach that happens is minimal if there at all. Is it any wonder that when we’re approached a couple of weeks before the election with comparisons to segregation and civil rights that we’re more likely to scoff than join hands and sing a round of kumbaya?

In so many ways liberals just expect the support of minorities just for being liberal but guess what it doesn’t work that way. We’re just like every other group of people, there are going to be some who are queer, some who aren’t, some who support Prop. 8 and some who don’t and you need to do the work, to do the outreach and to build communities not just come to us when you need something.

The bottom line is if the support of communities of color is sought then coalitions need to be built, we need to be acknowledged as a constituency that have power and pull and treated like any other. I mean the NAACP of California came out against Prop. 8 but was that mentioned anywhere that you saw? I only learned it this morning and that’s something that should have been explicitly brought up in their ads and literature.

I went a bit off point there but the fact is that not only is the assertion that it’s black people’s fault that Prop. 8 passed racist as all get out for spotlighting the their support for Prop. 8 as the deciding factor as opposed to the majority of white people that voted for it but it’s also exactly the kind of attitude that DOES NOT lead to coalition and relationship building. You want to win next time, you want POC support next time? Then you go into the community, you speak to people, you communicate, you build relationships. You don’t wag a blaming finger in the face of black folks and say “Oh it’s all your fault how could you?!” because that? Won’t get you any kind of positive reaction next time around.

For more posts from POC check out rydra_wong’s awesome linkspam.

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12 responses to ““Prop. 8 It Passed ‘Cause of Black People!” …. Yeeeeeeah, no.

  1. Very very true re: POC and the LGBT communities. My sister has complained to me a lot about the racism even in the lesbian community, in film and various other places. It’s depressing.

    Last semester, I was doing some research on lgbt issues in education. What I noticed was how very *little* had been written on intersectionality. There was some stuff on gender (not nearly enough–that “t” in lgbt gets ignored a whole lot, and the connection between sexism and homophobia was only explored in maybe a couple of the 50+ articles I read). But there was almost nothing on race. I mean, there was the occasional mention that there are queer students of color too, and we need to be aware of that. But that was *rare.*

    What this tells me is that there is a very myopic, single-issue focus even in academic circles. The assumption of whiteness, the normativity of it, is very plain, even as so many of these queer author/activist/teachers write of the problems about heteronormativity.

  2. oh, yes! Thanks for the links!

  3. Women and Words

    I should be surprised that folks want to point finger in thier hurt and anger, without thinking about the crap coming out of thier own mouths. The promo of hate around prop 8 was so nicely packaged and dressed up it’s easy to see how even with all the work against it, the hateful mess still got past us. This is not about LGBTQ folks against the world. It’s about injustice and opression at it’s core being a sneaky and well dressed enemy. I hold my straight allies close to my heart as I do my LGBTQ community, and I have hope that we will continue to fight together toward total equality for us all.

  4. Pingback: this is what privilege looks like « burning for change, rooted in earth: phoenix and tree

  5. And, let’s also not forget the magical thinking that went into assuming that POC vote as a single block: both thinking “We’re just like you so you ALL will vote with us” or “You’re all homophobic, so you ALL voted against us” kind of logic.

    POC- still not a hive mind, never have been, never will.

  6. Pingback: Damek. » More on Prop 8

  7. Pingback: Divided we fall… « A Random Girl in a Random World…

  8. Ico-
    As soon as the GLBT movement made it’s jump to trying to be mainstream and meld in with society so many of those that would hold back assimilation by being POC or poor, etc. were not only ditched but every attempt was made to erase them from the history of the movement. The movement has become very white, male and middle-class in an effort to blend in better with the white heteronormative patriarchy and it’s such bullshit.

    It’s exactly as you said, even as they write of heteronormativity they fall into white as norm and don’t even think about it.

  9. cynthia –
    You’re Welcome!

  10. Women and Words-
    In so many ways the GLBT community has come to expect being accepted and to want that so bad that I think it hinders us. Because you look at the activism of the past, such as ACT UP and you see that they did not give a shit if people hated them, the point was that things were happening in the community and people needed to see that. The movement is so invested in wanting to be liked and being like everyone else that the surprise of the GLBT community at this vote is not a shock.

    Also in so many ways community outreach and education have been discarded even before this total resource fight for marriage and it came back to bite them in the ass. If they want to move this along they should be talking to the Black Justice Coalition and other POC queer organizations to see how to connect with POC around these issues. I doubt they’ll do it but it’s better than pointing blaming fingers.

  11. Chris-
    POC- still not a hive mind, never have been, never will.

    Thank you. It’s all theese assumptions flying about that bother me the most especially because they leave anyone who is POC and queer out in the cold because of course those two identities never intersect!

  12. When the whole No on Prop 8 rallies began here in my town (Los Angeles), I was completely against them because (I’m gay) most gay folk were blindly blaming black people for the results of the the passing of Prop. 8 just because of the exit polls. No one cared to look up facts and demographics of the different “racial” groups in California. Los Angeles County, supported NO on Prop 8 by 57% or 67% (I can’t remember); and LA is made up of a lot of black, Latino, Asain and other (the PoC Communities).

    The reality is that the LGBT community organizers did not bring the issue to the many California PoC communities, assuming that they will automatically vote NO on it. The LGBT organizers forgot to do their homework; most PoC communities are raised in a culture of faith and in the case of latinos, machismo. And the gay community is looked down upon.

    I’m sorry my LGBT brothers & sisters, the only ones to blame here is: (1) ourselves for assuming that people of color will just automatically drop their believes just because they’re a minority too. WRONG & DUMB for assuming! EDUCATION eradicates irrational thinking, believes and faith based stupidity (prejudice); (2) The Mormon Church, the Catholic Church and the many Christian churches both black, white, latino, asian.

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