[Note from Jill: Renee sent this to be guest posted more than a week ago. It’s my fault it’s going up late, and I apologize].
You know between the MRA infestation and the blame it on the blacks thing in reference to Prop 8, I have done some thinking. What these two incidents have done is confirm something that I have actually believed for quite some time; blacks are used for the sake of convenience.
When other so-called justice programs needs us, they remind us of the ways in which we are marginalized and attempt to point out that their exclusion is the same. You know what I’m talking about, the “it’s just like Rosa Parks line.” This often makes me want to ask, really are you sure? It seems that white people have a history of knowing what blacks go thorough on a daily basis when it is convenient for them to admit the ways in which they discriminate against POC. When they want something from us, like a vote on a bill, organizing help, or even a gopher to make coffee they suddenly are so understanding of what blacks are dealing with.
The rest of the time we get told about how equal the world is; yes the wonderful post racial world that we have been informed that we are all living in. With the election of Obama we have even been flatly told that we have no excuses left for being at the bottom of the race and class hierarchy. White people have been decent enough to put aside their racial hatred and therefore blacks should just buck up and deal with the high level of incarceration, bad schools, inequity in employment, etc and etc., It’s socially unacceptable to say nigger today, as that is the mark of a bigot; however the other ways in which blacks are disenfranchised are socially deemed a figment of our collective imaginations.
It seems it does not matter what the social movement is, as long as it is represented by white people, POC are ignored until needed. If you look at the advertising campaigns, or organizing patterns for gay rights, fat phobia, animal rights, and feminism, all have a tendency to ignore POC. Our specific interests within the movements are ignored in order to present a white image to the world. Somehow the idea that whites are facing discrimination is supposed to make the world stand up and take notice, yet the idea that blacks may be dealing with multiple areas of stigmatizations at the same time is unimportant.
Los Angeles resident A. Ronald says he and his boyfriend, who are both black, were carrying NO ON PROP 8 signs and still subjected to racial abuse.
Three older men accosted my friend and shouted, “Black people did this, I hope you people are happy!” A young lesbian couple with mohawks and Obama buttons joined the shouting and said there were “very disappointed with black people” and “how could we” after the Obama victory. This was stupid for them to single us out because we were carrying those blue NO ON PROP 8 signs! I pointed that out and the one of the older men said it didn’t matter because “most black people hated gays” and he was “wrong” to think we had compassion. That was the most insulting thing I had ever heard. I guess he never thought we were gay.
We are not to expected to get upset when feminists, or the GLBT community displays racism because of course white women and white homosexuals are uniquely oppressed. It is their needs that the world should pay attention to because white people weren’t born to suffer. It’s no accident that the Rosa Parks line always comes out of the mouth of a white person. What could possibly be worse in the world than being treated like a nigger? What the hell good is white privilege if you are treated like a person of colour and that is the message these so-called liberal social justice movements send to the world.
Geoffrey, a student at UCLA, joined the massive protest outside the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Westwood. Geoffrey was called the n-word at least twice.
It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple…me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.
As I am watching the backlash from the GLBT community regarding PROP 8, I am filled with so much anger and sadness. Where is the angst for the white voters who supported PROP 8? The GLBT community spent no time in black churches, community centres or neighbourhoods and yet they expected to be supported. You cannot call upon us for convenience sake, and then shove us back into the closet (yes intentional choice of words) when we are no longer needed.
A gay black man or woman irregardless of race is still gay and some white members have turned this into a hostile movement for them. Where is the sense of community in this? What these organizers fail to realize is that they have precious little connection with POC to begin with, and if they begin with the racist taunts they will alienate the few supporters that they already have. This is a time when they need to be reaching out to POC to make a bridge that they never attempted to build in the first place, and yet descending into racial politics is the route that has been chosen. This is a myopic policy that will only serve to push gay rights even further back.
Social justice movements need coalitions across lines to be successful in any way. When we look back at the civil rights movement of the 60’s what is notable is that whites and blacks protested together. The Jewish community was a huge part of getting blacks the rights we so desperately needed and deserved.
The lesson to take from this is that by creating a broader base it creates the issues as a human issue rather than an issue a small minority of the population. Showing humanity will cause others to react in kind, and until the GLBT community realizes that it takes an army of concerned citizens, and not a single flag bearer to make change, they will continue to have marriage ceremonies that have no legal basis.
Only through recognizing the common humanity of others can we ever hope to live in a true and just society, and until we can recognize the human rights of the person standing next to us we have no hope of achieving any kind of peaceful and loving social cohesion.