07 November 2008

Black Voters and Prop 8: My Last Words

First, some links to discussion of the continuing nonsense:

Someone who saw this coming. She was dead-on.

An example of how the No on 8 campaign dropped the ball, especially with regards to people of color.

Stats showing that if black people hadn't voted, 8 still would have passed--and nationally, we'd be talking about President-elect McCain.

More number crunching. Pay special attention to the maps that show where 8 did well. The idea that California is one big hippie paradise is bullshit. California is mostly liberal along the coast and in the urban areas. Go east? Not. So. Much.

A thorough debunking:

...if Black folks were really 10% of the electorate, we would have contributed 1,730,409 registered voters to the pool. This is a number which with 5 minutes of demographic research any of the haters spewing "Black people are the Reason!" would have realized exceeds the entire Black adult population in the state by more than 300,000 people

Pam's original post from Wednesday. I admit that I was surprised by how many regular posters were trying to tell the black dyke siteowner that she didn't know what she was talking about.

Queer racists show their asses.

More commentary on the bullshit from recent protests.

A post on the "Solidarity (when we want something)!" attitude the big, overwhelmingly white LGBT organizations have toward communities of color.

A truly awesome post that pretty much sums it all up. (Thanks for the link).

And my final thoughts:

I've been banging my head against this wall for the three days now, and I'm over it.

Prop 8 didn't pass because of Obama's tepid opposition to it.

Prop 8 didn't pass because of black voters.

Prop 8 was put on the ballot by white evangelicals, and was bankrolled by rich white folks like Howard Amundson and the mother of Erik Prince, who owns Blackwater--and, of course, that organization noted for being so racially diverse, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Prop 8 passed because the Yes on 8 people ran a strong grassroots campaign, and because the No on 8 side was disorganized, timid, reactionary instead of being proactive, and complacent. I'm certainly guilty of the latter; when the early polls showed 8 down by 9 points, I assumed that people had seen through the stupid and realized that the 18,000 of us who'd already gotten married hadn't caused the world to end. Unfortunately, the No on 8 forces also made that assumption, and it wasn't until the Mormon-funded ads started running that people realized it wasn't going to be that easy.

So what was the response? To release ads that never mentioned the words "gay” or "lesbian", and hardly ever featured actual same-sex couples (and of course, everyone in the ads was white). Volunteers were told not to mention our children or our families, because the "protect the children" frame had already been claimed by the other side--even when they were using images of children in their ads without the parents' permission! There was almost no outreach to the Black and Latino communities until the last two weeks before the election; volunteers have said that heavily Mexican neighborhoods were left off the phone lists because there were no Spanish-speaking phone bankers. In California! While everyone worried that the black turnout for Obama would lead to more Yes votes, no one put out advertising quoting Obama saying Prop 8 was "divisive and unnecessary" until after the ones quoting him saying "marriage is between a man and a woman" went out.

There is homophobia in the black community, as with all racial and ethnic communities. Instead of trying to engage, the No on 8 campaign effectively wrote off the black voters of California. The white LGBTs who are wondering why black folks didn't stand in solidarity need to look in the mirror, at their own organizations that rarely have more than a token POC in leadership positions, that perpetuate racism by supporting people like Shirley Q. Liquor (and viciously attacking black LGBTs who point out said racism). Andrew Sullivan and Dan Savage need to realize that solidarity is a two-way street, and that if you want black folks to see your invocation of the Civil Rights Movement as anything other than cultural appropriation, you need to engage on issues like immigration, health care, jobs, and housing instead of claiming the legacy of MLK while clinging stubbornly to your white male privilege.

And while you're at it, understand that right now, the people who put 8 on the ballot are laughing their heads off. While we're pointing fingers at each other, they're planning their next move. If we keep going this direction, we'll lose next time too.

1 comment:

Kanika said...

Hey there, I really enjoyed your post and linked it to my blog (along w/my own thoughts about the Prop. 8 fallout). Hope all is well with you and yours...

~K.