Proposition 8 and Race

Timothy Kincaid

November 8th, 2008

One of the lessons learned in the vote on Proposition 8 is that Black and Hispanic voters did not support marriage equality. Because of the inexact nature of exit polling, and because of the rounding of percentages, it is difficult to state anything with certainty, but the following seems to be correct:

It appears that Black voters determined the passage of Proposition 8. Although some sites claim that this is not the case, by my calculation if the Black vote is excluded from the count, the Proposition would have just slightly less than half of the votes needed to pass. It appears that if just 50% of black voters had voted against institutionalized discrimination this amendment would have failed been statistically even.

Hispanic voters supported the amendment 53% to 47%. This split, while nearly offsetting the non-Hispanic white vote, was not enough of a split to cause the amendment to pass.

There was also a gender divide. White women were 4% less likely to support the proposition and Latino women were 2% less likely.

However, in what seems to be an inconsistency, black women seem to have favored the proposition significantly more than black men. Women supported it by 75% while the black population as a whole polled at 70%. This suggests that black men may have been as much as 13% less likely than black women to support this initiative. It is difficult to understand what this result may be saying.

It is important to recall that the Yes on 8 Campaign deliberately lied to and deceived black voters. They funded mailers and the robocalls falsely implying that Sen. Obama was in favor of Prop 8. Going forward we must be aware that anti-gay activists, including the hierarchy of the Mormon and Catholic churches, will say or do anything in a campaign, no matter how dishonest, and that they have now been rewarded for their duplicity and deceit.

UPDATE: To help understand my statements, I’ve placed my calculation below. Please understand that this is from the exit polls and not from the actual vote. This is subject to all sorts of rounding errors which are greatly increased by multiplying. Further, note that the actual voting results show that the proposition passed with 52.4%, which is larger than the 51.9% on the below grid.

  Voters Yes
% Total
% Total
White 63% 49% 30.9% 51% 32.1%
Latino 18% 53% 9.5% 47% 8.5%
Asian 6% 49% 2.9% 51% 3.1%
Other 3% 51% 1.5% 49% 1.5%
Total Non-Black 90%   44.9%   45.1%
Black 10% 70% 7.0% 30% 3.0%
Total w/Black 100%   51.9%   48.1%

Please also note that the purpose of this commentary is NOT to assign blame to our African-American neighbors. There is plenty of blame to spread around, and I place most of it at the feet of those who ran a campaign of complete dishonesty.


November 8th, 2008

African Americans are about 7% of California’s population. I don’t know where you calculated your numbers, but there no way that the black vote in California is that powerful, no chance at all. SO even if they all voted, and voted as a unified bloc, they would not have made the difference in the passing of Prop. 8. Hispanics, maybe so, but again that is obvious by the numbers. I do not appreciate when blacks are blamed as not supportive of gays, and the white gay establishment then tries to equate the current movement with that of the 60s. Most people DON’t equate and probably never will.


November 8th, 2008

So our choices seem to be that a large majority of black voters are either hopelessly bigoted or hopelessly stupid.


Stefano A

November 8th, 2008


The percentages you site, for example the percentage of Hispanic votes you say could nearly off-set the non-Hispanic white vote, and the 70% of black voters you cite are the percentages within those racial groups.

However, are you figuring into your assertions the actual number of votes that would be?

Black voters, if I recall from voting states released a day or so ago were only 10% (or less, I forget the exact figure) of ALL voters.

Just askin’…

Stefano A

November 8th, 2008


Timothy Kincaid

November 8th, 2008

CL and Stefano,

See the calculation above.


I’m inclined to think that they, along with the rest of the voters, were greatly deceived by an orchestrated effort that was devoted to lies and deceipt.

Stefano A

November 8th, 2008

I looked at the link you referred to.

And those figures, as I said, are derived from the percentages from within a group.

In effect you’re talking about 70% of 10% for example.

For an accurate break down to determine if a group actually could be a tipping point you need to work with the actual number of real votes, not the percentages from within a percentage.

In other words, if you have 100 total tovers, 53% of that 100 voted yes, then what percentage of that 53% does the 70% of 10% represent?

If I misread the link and your post so that 70% was actually 70% of ALL yes votes and not 70% of all black votes, then I’ll stend corrected.

Stefano A

November 8th, 2008

Basically you can ignore the above as this is what I’m really interested in…

If you have 100 total voters,
53% of that 100 voted yes,
then what percentage of that 53% does the 70% of 10% represent?

I’m not interested in the breakdown of how many yes votes there were within black voters.

I’m interested in knowing the percentage of black or hispanic yes votes etc. from ALL yes votes.

Stefano A

November 8th, 2008

My bad.

Sorry, I posted my comments without having seen your update table.

That did give the clarification I was seeking.

Timothy Kincaid

November 8th, 2008


Because of the anonymity of the polling booth, we cannot work with real numbers. I’m commenting on what information we have.

In other words, if you have 100 total tovers, 53% of that 100 voted yes, then what percentage of that 53% does the 70% of 10% represent?

It comprises 7% of the vote. See the grid above. About 13% of the total yes votes were from black voters.

Stefano A

November 8th, 2008

I had to do a page refresh a couple of times before I could see the update rather than just the comments.

Again, I’m sorry Timothy.

I appreciate your update table further clarifying your original post.

Timothy Kincaid

November 8th, 2008

thanks… i know that it can be confusing


November 8th, 2008

Did anybody else read that op-ed by Jasmyne Cannick in the LA Times today? What the hell was that all about? When there are black gay people having the n-word shouted at them by their fellow gays, writing that piece was an astonishingly stupid thing to do.

Here’s a link to it:,0,3295255.story


November 8th, 2008


Rephrasing your initial sentence to read –

One of the lessons learned in the vote on Proposition 8 is that *a majority of* black and hispanic voters did not support marriage equality.

would bolster your later claim that you are not blaming African-Americans for the unfortunate passage of this discriminatory amendment.

prof black woman

November 8th, 2008

I have often read this blog and look to it for important information going on in our community, but I have to tell you that this post gives me pause.

First, even using the numbers you have above, it is quite clear that if you subtract 30.9% (the white vote) from the yes votes for prop 8 there is absolutely no way that prop 8 could have passed even with all of the people of color yes votes combined. So it is not in fact black voters who passed this measure.

Your grid purposefully sets out black voters so as to add their final percentage of votes in as the deciding votes. That percentage is based, as you say, on questionable polling and multiple rounding issues that have exaggerated the numbers. If you had singled out white voters you would have gotten the same ultimate number except that then it would be white voters who were being intentionally isolated as the deciding factor and your readers may have been more inclined to notice that 30.9% is considerably higher than 7%. Put another way THE NUMBER OF WHITE VPEOPLE WHO VOTED YES ON PROP 8 IS 4xs THAT OF BLACK VOTERS.

In fact, we could use your grid to isolated anyone of the racial groups and make them appear responsible, because it does not matter how you add, once you add them up who ever is isolated from the rest of the group will look like the tipping point if we follow your argument. It is only when we isolate each group that we find the truth: THE MAJORITY OF YES VOTES FOR PROP 8 WERE CAST BY WHITE VOTERS.

I keep mentioning these white voters not to case blame on white people but rather to highlight the offensive, unsubstantiated, and divisive nature of the race baiting going on in the post prop 8 after math.

Your caveat that you are not blaming African Americans does not change the way you and others have manipulated the numbers in order to prove an unprovable point; nor the fact that so many in the white mainstream queer community are so eager to blame black people that they can be swayed by such obvious numbers games.

Blaming black people erases the considerable amount of work that African Americans did to support the effort to stop prop 8, exacerbates existing racial tensions in the queer community and between the community and African Americans who do support gay rights (30% of them voted for prop 8 after all). Ultimately it alienates queers of color from the cause making it that much harder to mobilize in the future.

I’ve written a rather extensive post on the impact of this race baiting on our ability to work together as a multiracial queer community and across issues of race and homophobia in the future. I have also, as some one who teaches statistics, deconstructed the numbers and the ideologies underpinning them there as well.

Let’s be clear the only people who benefit from the race baiting and racist argument that black people are some how responsible for the passing of prop 8 with their whopping “7%” vote are the people who want neither gay rights nor race based civil rights b/c instead of us coming together and continuing the fight for equality that people from EVERY RACE fought for with prop 8, we are fighting each other.

And while we are talking racist falsehoods, let’s also address the fact that prop 8 was authored by white people, largely funded by white people, and canvassed by white people who ultimately targeted the black and Latino CHRISTIAN vote near the end when we, the queer community and its allies, started to make a dent in their projected numbers.

If you want to blame someone look at those people and then look in the mirror, b/c the internet is lit up with people of color who supported gay marriage and are now reeling from the unsubstanted and racist assertion that we, not Christian conservatives nor the Mormons you spent so much time writing about pushing prop 8 here on this blog, are to blame.


prof black woman

November 8th, 2008

PS. will you be writing a post about the documented cases of the mainstream queer movement not translating any of its materials into Spanish and Vietnamese until a Latina advocate working to end prop 8 discovered the “oversight” and did it herself? Or of the number of queers of color who had to fund their own PSA’s because the money for PSA’s had been funneled to English only sources? B/c you see, there is actually proof of racism in the movement to stop prop 8 but the internet is not lit up with people writing posts about how white queer racism ultimately doomed prop 8. 1. b/c white people cast the majority vote, so it wouldn’t be true and 2. b/c we understand that race baiting in any direction will ultimately harm all of us.


November 8th, 2008

prof black woman, Timothy made clear that it was not an attempt to blame black voters.

However, the issue is that in spite of the lack of outreach to minorities — which is certainly a huge factor — votes among Latino, Asian-American and “Other” voters were split in half, yet African-Americans voted 70 percent in favor of Prop. 8.

I’m sorry to say it, there’s no explaining that away.

Stefano A

November 8th, 2008

I think the point of Timothy’s post was not to blame the African-American voters for causing the defeate of Prop 8 but to point out the benefits of doing a better job in reaching out to non-white communities generally. The same thing you were ultimately saying.

And what’s this bullshit about Prop 8 being written by “white people”?

It was written by Christians based upon an evangelical Christian ideology that is shared across denominational and racial lines. So if you want to fight against “race baiting” then you can start with checking the implications of your own words.


November 8th, 2008

Again, take a look at the supremely stupid column in today’s LA Times if you want to see race baiting.


November 8th, 2008

Blacks are being blamed. See the post at Rod 2.0 about the protest in West Hollywood:

Geoffrey, a student at UCLA and regular Rod 2.0 reader, 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.

Los Angeles resident and Rod 2.0 reader 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.


November 8th, 2008

Timothy – according to the stats I saw, voter turnout in San Fran county was a pathetic 53%. So damned near half the registered voters there did not even show up at the polls. Maybe all the queer folk voted, and the 48% are the straights who all stayed home? Where do we get off blaming the blacks and latinos if we don’t even bother to vote. (Just out of curiosity, what were the turnout figures for WeHo?) (And don’t get me wrong, I think it’s ridiculous and un-American that anyone’s civil rights can be eliminated by plebiscite.)

Stefano A

November 8th, 2008

AJD, Cannick wrote a very similar piece last June for The Advocate.

Both that piece and this most current one continues to show a complete lack of understanding that the gay civil rights organizations sole purpose is to focus on exactly that, LGBT rights, not all these other social concerns she always throws in as examples of supposed selfishness and lack of concern for or interest in other social concerns. Their mandate is to focus on LGBT rights, not to subjugate that fight to any and all other social issues that may be of concern.

Now if for Cannick LGBT rights are a lower priority on the ladder of social concerns that are of importance to her personally, then that is a personal choice of prioritization she has made for herself but wants to impose as being the priority mandate for groups whose sole purpose is to place LGBT rights as the priority.

Cannick also never explains how the gay marriage rights won only benefit whites.

In California, Massachusetts, Connecticut or in any state with domestic or civil partnerships any gay person can benefit from it regardless of skin color and the same goes with any other LGBT rights that have been one. If black gays as Cannick asserts are not taking advantage of their newfound right or are not concerned with it — and Cannick never bothers to cite any research to show this is actually the case — there is probably some other underlying social explanation. But I don’t think it’s because “white people” are not behind those rights being available for all. Cannick herself could also pertake in those benefits if she chose to but instead she makes it a point to actively work against those benefits.

Cannick also in her resentment of gays “co-opting” the black civil rights movement seemingly ignores how Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, John Lewis, Julian Bond, Loving, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (to only name a few) have all made similar analogies between the two fights with Tutu even going so far as to say homophobia equates to apartheid.

That said the only point I ever agree with Cannick upon (and would agree with profblackwoman above) is that there does need to be more reaching out to non-white communities both in the outreach and in the leadership involvement in the major LGBT organizations.

Otherwise, I fail to see anything in what Cannick ever has to say that comes across as anything other than bitterness.


November 8th, 2008

And I agree with Cannick and prof black woman on that point as well — there needs to be more outreach.

Still, Cannick has some serious issues with being a lesbian, methinks.

Maybe BTB should create a “David Benkof Award for Self-Hating Homos” and make her its first recipient :b


November 8th, 2008

Stefano, by the way, you forgot to list Huey Newton :)

Not to mention Bayard Rustin and Angela Davis…

prof bw

November 8th, 2008


“It appears that black voters determined the passage of Proposition 8”

this is race baiting by definition as it blames a racial group for the failure of a measure for which they represent 10% or less of the total votes. 10 does not = 100 no matter how you do the math. 10 is not more than 30 no matter how you do the math.

As for my comment that white people authored the ballot, I chose my words very carefully. A white person wrote the ballot, and I mention the race of that person specifically to point to hypocrisy in the analysis that lays the blame, however passively, at black people’s feet.

No ballot. No vote. Again pretty simple.

Perhaps the reason you see race baiting in my factual comment and not in the fictional repetition that black people are to blame for the failure of prop 8 is because it is normal to see race in front of statements about people of color but abnormal to see them in front of statements about white people. Thus you erase the white author of this bill by focusing on Christians as a whole as if they have no race. While ultimately a multicultural group of Christians supported prop 8, the bulk of the money and support for the proposition came from white evangelicals and Mormons. More over the Mormon religion excluded black people until the 1980s and had a specific theological teaching about blackness that likened it to demonhood. And even if all of the Christians were people of color, it still would not negate the fact that the person who wrote the bill was white.

As I say in my blog, my point in naming whiteness where white people were either the authors, funders, or supporters of prop 8 is not to reverse the argument – ie white people are to blame not black people – but rather to point out the hypocrisy in blaming black voters while exempting white voters from the same race based critique.

White people are not being blamed for the failure of prop 8 despite their vote being the largest of all of the racial groups represented in the yes on prop 8 group. Why is one set of logic being applied to one group and a different set to another if not racism?

As I say in my post both poc and white people, gay and straight, fought to end prop 8. Both groups gave money. Both made PSAs. Both knocked on doors, gave speeches, mobilized their communities. Both had widely recognized organizations that publicly condemned Prop 8. Etc.

Where they differ is 1. who wrote the bill and 2. in actual number of votes for prop 8. In both cases the answer points overwhelming in the direction of the group not being blamed. If that is not racism then I am unclear what is.

As I say in my post, where mainstream queer analysis is able to see diversity in white culture and to draw distinctions between progressives and conservatives so as not to make a racial argument about whiteness and queerness, they seem unable or unwilling to do so with regards to other racial groups. If that not is racism, then what is?

More importantly, in the same way you took exception with seeing white people blamed, perhaps now you can see why poc would take exception with seeing poc blamed since my statement was true and still got your back up. And if you can see that, then you can also see my major point which is this race baiting blame game that is unprovable is ultimately divisive and will inevitably lead to increased tensions between members of the queer community and between the queer community and various communities of color that can only decrease our effectiveness in organizing in the future.

I am also deeply offended by the equation of me and some conservative black author who I have never read, nor referenced, nor are we talking about the same thing except that she appears to have also mentioned racism. And when say “equation” I mean saying you agree with both of us in a whole diatribe about her and her issues or that you agree with us in a comment about self-hate (internalized homophobia).

Ultimately, this exchange and this post have made me take this blog off my daily reading list. I regret having spoken here at all & it is this feeling that many of us queers of color are taking away from similar prop 8 discussions that again will ultimately hurt our community not the people who took our rights.


November 9th, 2008

prof bw,

Where, exactly, did I accuse you of “race baiting?”

And where, exactly, did I take exception with seeing white people blamed? I can’t find any comment I’ve made that suggests that. Did you read any any of my comments about the Mormons, before they were removed for being too inflammatory?

Second, regarding Timothy’s original post, saying that black voters determined the results of Prop. 8 is not the same as saying the blame all falls on black voters’ shoulders; 30 percent of black voters still opposed Prop. 8. He also noted the Yes On 8 campaign’s campaign of deception in black communities. He’s obviously saying that the blame is on the people who put the proposition on the ballot in the first place.

And no, saying that I agree with a point that you and Cannick made does not constitute “equating” you with her. I’m sorry if you thought that’s what I was doing, but it’s off the mark to say that I was.


November 9th, 2008

And where do I try to “erase the white author of this bill?” You’re putting words in my mouth.

It would be incorrect to blame Prop. 8’s passage on black people, considering the forces behind its passage were predominantly white. But it’s not scapegoating to point out that 70 percent of black voters gave it enough of a boost to push it over the 50 percent mark. It’s also not scapegoating to point out that 70 percent of black voters is a hell of a lot more than the 49 percent of Asian voters and 53 percent of Latino voters who opposed it.

Stefano A

November 9th, 2008

prof black woman:

First, let me say that there was no intent to equate yourself with Cannick. Please do not read more into the comment than what was written in order to attribute a motivation. The comment meant no more nor less than what I stated, an agreement that more involvement and outreach needs to be made to people of color including more involvement in leadership roles in the LGBTI movement.

The comment of saying that I could agree with Cannick (whom I despise) on one point, with you as a separate unrelated individual to Cannick (whom I was not conflating as being the “same as” you) I could agree with on one point. That on that one point we all had common ground in so much as we all agreed that more outreach and involvement with people of color was and would be required and would be a good thing regardless of if its within the context of the fight for marriage equality with regard to the LGBTI movement or in movement leadership in general.

Second, you seem to have conflated the comments of different speakers and responded to all as if we were one and the same. But I’m presuming you were not just addressing ADJ’s comments.

Third, the intent of Timothy’s post that he is “blaming the African-American community” for the loss of Prop 8 appears to be one of perception and an unintended implication on Timothy’s part. On first read, I too thought he was attempting to lay blame upon the black community, but taking into account my knowledge and awareness of all of his posts — that is not reading this thread as a stand alone out of context to everything else he has ever written on the subject here — and taking into account his updated table and updated comments that initial reaction changed.

Which is why in my first post I was questioning the validity of the 70% of 10% highlighting and then later on stated what my perception of his actual intent was which I am reiterating here.

That intent being to point out that if the No on Prop 8 movement had done more outreach we might have picked up more minority votes than we did. The No on Prop 8 was already targeting mostly white mainstream constinuency and as you pointed out doing a poor outreach job to poc so increasing mainstream targeting probably wouldn’t have helped us.

Which leads me to your comment about “white people” writing the ballot initiative.

As for my comment that white people authored the ballot, I chose my words very carefully. A white person wrote the ballot, and I mention the race of that person specifically to point to hypocrisy in the analysis that lays the blame, however passively, at black people’s feet.

No ballot. No vote. Again pretty simple.

If your intent was to point out race was as much a fallacie with regard to who wrote Prop 8 as it was in the failure of Prop 8, I would also agree. However, that was not clear, at least to me. It was an ambiguous way of making a point.

The bottom line is that although we both came at the issue in different ways, we were both attempting to point out that “whites” as a race were no more to blame for the ballot initiative being written than people of color were for it’s loss.

However, that said, to say that if we had done better outreach in order to possibly pick up more minority votes is not the same as blaming minority voters for the loss. If anything, it is pointing out the failure and short-sightedness of not having done that outreach.

It would have been no guarantee that we could have picked up more no votes, but it might have helped.

Although, I can see how even in what I just wrote it could be perceived as indirectly implying non-white voters were to blame.

I think African-Americans were “selected out” — as an example of the importantance of picking up more poc votes through stronger out-reach and how that could have helped — was because in this particular instance the discrepancy between Hispanic and Asian vote splits between yes and no voters was not as wide as it was in the African-American community.

It cannot be denied, that knowing having a person of color as a presidential candidate would probably increase the vote draw of the minority communities, that made it even more imperative to have made a strong attempt to reach out to those communities with the vote-race being as tight as it was. Because Prop 8 was already heavily targeting a white mainstream constinuency and as you pointed out doing a poor outreach job to poc, increasing mainstream targeting wouldn’t have helped us but possibly picking up more minority votes from poc could have helped.

And that was Timothy’s point. That because the over-all race was so close the loss was, in fact, in part because a stronger effort was not made to reach out to poc which could have helped narrow that wide discrepancy in the yes-no African-American vote in a race where even small gains in a no-vote mattered.

And by the way, Cannick is not “some conservative”. A radical, yes, but not a conservative radical.

Willie Hewes

November 9th, 2008

Guys, I don’t want to judge you just on the basis of the few words on the screen, but I can’t escape the feeling that there is an epic level of Not Getting It going on here.

What is outreach?

If outreach is “this is what we need you to do for GLBT rights” I think you’re doing it wrong. Outreach should sound like this: “you’re gay, like us, so we got your back. What do you guys need?” You need to ask that, and listen, before you tell them what YOU need.

Listen to black queers. What do they need to get the message to their community? What makes black communities hate and fear gays? (And don’t say religion, that’s just a conduit for the fear lying underneath.)

You got one right here; Cannick. And yes, she’s clearly a bit radical, but the lady has an opinion, and she’s in touch with the community you want to have “outreach” towards, so why are you dismissing her? Listen to what she’s saying. It makes a lot of sense to me.

“If black gays as Cannick asserts are not taking advantage of their newfound right or are not concerned with it — and Cannick never bothers to cite any research to show this is actually the case — there is probably some other underlying social explanation.”

Yep, that’d be my guess. And while “blame the whites” is silly, it’s equally silly to ask people to storm the barricades for something that isn’t a concern to them. Even without research, I think she’s on to something when she says they aren’t concerned, so your job is to find out why, not dismiss it and tell them they ought to be.

Wow, black women voted overwhelmingly AGAINST the gays? Really. And you have no idea why? Interesting. Because I would dare venture a guess, and if a lily-white Dutch girl living in the UK thinks she knows what’s going on, and an American gay activist, who is in the middle of this fight, doesn’t, there’s something odd going on, no?

I am very concerned with the lack of interracial understanding on display in the wake of prop 8. And although this discussion is very different to the kind of racism that goes on on Queerty, for instance, I’d say it carries the same stink.

Timothy, I believe you when you say you didn’t write this post to blame the blacks, and if I came close to calling you racist in the last paragraph I want to explicitly take that back. You’re not a racist. But you would have done well to address the question of why the black community voted the way they did and what the gay community should do about it.

And in general, folks, saying “well a lot of black people are very homophobic” and “we need to do more outreach” is too superficial to do the trick. Please dig deeper, or you’ll be saying the exact same things next time around.

a. mcewen

November 9th, 2008


I don’t see how Cannick’s column was stupid. I thought a lot of it was on point. I think that her comments reveal something telling about the lgbt community and it is shared by a lot of lgbts of color:

It has been assumed that we should get behind the marriage equality fight. While it is a good fight, lgbts of color have other issues on our plate that we feel deserve some attention. However, our needs and desires have been taken for granted by the lgbt community at large.

We have never been asked. Our opinions have pretty much never been sought. The lgbt community at large make assumptions as to what we want or need and then get angry when we refuse to go along with those assumptions.

You see this is why lgbts of color are needed in leadership positions in the lgbt community at large. And this is why there needs to be more degree of visibility for lgbts of color.

Jim Burroway

November 9th, 2008

I’m white. Therefore I have no clue as to the experiences of African-American LGBT people. Nor do I have any idea how African-Americans see us generally, except to say that statistics — those cold, hard numbers which are open to interpretation and misinterpretation – seem to indicate a higher lever of homophobia generally on this issue in California.

But because I’m white, I have no clue as to some of the deeper issues that divide us. Shame on me for that.

I asked before, and I’ll ask again. What specific outreach activities took place within the No on Prop 8 campaign to reach out and speak to the African American community? How many African-American leaders, entertainers, and other opinion makers did No on 8 seek for endorsements, messages, commercials, posters, etc.? How many black voices were asked to lend their voice to defeat Prop 8?

And on the longer term, how often are black leaders invited for dialogue, discussion, etc., to try to meet the needs and aspirations of Black LGBT people? And how do we even interact with Black LGBT people themselves? How much do we listen to them? What do we even know about them?

African-Americans are, by far, the largest ethnic minority impacted by AIDS. Do you see much happening within the LGBT HIV/AIDS prevention and service organizations to deal with that?

I agree with Alvin. Their opinions have pretty much never been sought. And because of that, LGBT people of color are surprisingly invisible within the larger LGBT community. Surprising, because you’d think that skin color would not be invisible. But just go to the Castro at any time to see what I mean. It’s shocking, actually.

I don’t think highlighting statistics like those that Timothy posted are an indictment of the African-American community, although I do know that many people will read them that way. If anything, they must be read alongside the questions that I posed above. When you do that, I think the real indictment is on us.

You know, people like me, who don’t know sh!t about Black LGBT people as a group, as a community, or barely even as individuals. And I know I’m not alone, so don’t get all defensive and say that this is just my problem.

Okay, so now who’s to blame for the African-American vote? Okay, sure. African-Americans are. But who else?

And more importantly, what do we do about it specifically?

Ben in Oakland

November 9th, 2008

There was no outreach to anyone form no on 8 as far as I could tell. I asked repreatedly aobut speakers bureaus and such. I was told by the communications director of no on 8 that “there wasn’t any demand for it.”

Huh? she’s the communications director, and there isn’t any demand for communication?

why don’t you go out and create some?

This was the ineptitude displayed big time.


November 9th, 2008

These calculations are certainly correct based on the exit polls, but as you point out, the exit polls show a .5% point bias against passage. Because we don’t know if the error came from measuring one group, or was just an across-the-board bias, it makes most sense to adjust figures across the board by .5%. In this case, the Black vote does NOT matter.


November 9th, 2008

a. mcewen: If Cannick wanted to make the point that there wasn’t enough outreach to minorities, I would absolutely be with her. If she wanted to use her being a black lesbian to talk seriously about homophobia among African-Americans, I would be with her. If she wanted to write a column about racism in the gay community and talk seriously about racial fetishes and Shirley Q. Liquor, I would most certainly be with her.

Instead, however, she decided to write an inflammatory article filled with unsubstantiated assertions that concerns about same-sex marriage was confined to white men. This type of thinking pervades her writing — she repeatedly refers to “the gay community,” insinuating that it solely comprises rich, white men, and that she isn’t a part of it. She also likes to capitalize “Black” while spelling “white” lower-case.

She talks about how HIV/AIDS is more important, with no thought as to how societal homophobia contribute to the epidemic, and how the full legal recognition of our relationships would be a huge step toward combating that.

She writes, “There’s nothing a white gay person can tell me when it comes to how I as a black lesbian [how many f****** times does she have to use that phrase? Does she think readers will forget and think she’s the princess of Belgium?] should talk to my community about this issue.” She writes this right after openly admitting she has done nothing. She could have registered voters while wearing a No On 8 T-shirt or button, or just casually said “By the way, I’m a lesbian — vote no on 8!” while walking away. Instead, she did nothing because apparently gay rights don’t matter all that much to her. That’s just irresponsible.

And most of all, that whole column is blatantly irresponsible. Maybe you’ve heard that a black man carrying a “No On 8” sign had the n-word shouted at him in WeHo. It’s clear that the way black voters voted on Prop. 8 has brought out a lot of racism, and Cannick’s column will do absolutely NOTHING to improve communication between the gay and black communities (as if they’re mutually exclusive, as Cannick sees it) and temper that racism. This is exactly what the people behind Prop. 8 want — I’ll bet James Dobson is reading that column and laughing his ass off right now.


November 9th, 2008

Basically, I see Cannick’s column as a pitiful attempt at excuse making. We can blame 70 percent of African-American voters ticking “Yes” for Prop. 8 — as though they would have something to lose by ticking “No” — on lack of outreach, but that fails to explain how every other minority group voted almost in sync with white voters.

And correct me if I’m wrong, but did the ballot language not say the amendment would “Eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry?”

I can tell you that I wouldn’t need any persuasion to tick “No” as soon as I saw the first three words on that, no matter the group targeted.

And I’m going to emphasize again, I strongly disagree with the claim being made by many on the Internet that blacks were to blame for the passage of Prop. 8. Second, I’ve already contacted the marriage equality organization here in NY to urge them to do a better job this time.

And another thing about Cannick: She should have used her power of the pen to do some outreach of her own in the black community. Instead, she has done nothing but further paint the issue as one of “blacks vs. gays.”

a. mcewen

November 9th, 2008

You miss the point – what Cannick is saying is somewhat the general mindset in the lgbt of color community regarding marriage equality.

Marriage equality is an important issue but not necessarily one that is high on the list of priorities of black gays and lesbians as of yet because we are still dealing with issues of self-esteem, racism, health (i.e. HIV/AIDS),and a dual invisibility in both the black and gay communities.

And I think that dual invisibility is important to remember. Because there have been little attempts to use the marriage equality issue to bridge the economic and social gap that exists between lgbts of color and the lgbt community at large. That is why it is seen as a “white gay issue.”

Also, there have been incorrect assumptions made about the needs and desires of the lgbt community of color.

There are assumptions that we will fall into line and ignore the other issues that plague black gays and lesbians, just like there are assumptions that blacks in general will fall in line for the issue of marriage equality due to how racism has impacted them in the past.

These assumptions are dangerous because they cause the lgbt community at large to act in ways that are counterproductive.

For example, unfortunately in many cases dealing with marriage equality (and it has happened here in South Carolina), the lgbt community at large bypasses any outreach they can do with the lgbt community of color and tries to go straight to the black churches.

That sends a negative message not only to the black churches but to the black gay community. The black churches think “how can gays outreach with us when they bypass their own?”

And the black gay community think, “see they don’t care about us. They only want that marriage mess. Then they will ignore us.”

Several lgbts of color, including myself, have continuously, but to no avail, pointed these things out. The only reason why people seem to be standing up and taking notice is because the outcome of this hit us in a an area where we should have won.

It’s the classic case of ignoring the hole in the dam until the flood comes rushing in.

Mike Airhart

November 9th, 2008

From the start, the anti-amendment campaigns adopted a soft, fuzzy approach that hid gay couples, ignored ethnic and religious minorities, and did nothing to pre-empt the mud that was likely to be thrown at them.

Why do the leading gay equality groups repeatedly shun obvious issues and wait to be put on the defensive??

It seems that nobody spotlighted the Catholics, evangelicals, and African Americans who support gay marriage. No one emphasized the negative impact of the amendments upon these demographics. No one got ahead of the lies that were likely be told by the antigay groups about the positions of African Americans — past and present, from Barack Obama to Rosa Parks — regarding gay equality.

I appreciate that the anti-amendment groups sought to run a clean, positive campaign — but they completely misjudged the political and cultural climate.

And to this day, they seem not to have launched legal challenges against the pro-amendment campaigns’ incidents of extortion, Internet DOS attacks, and the use of little kids in antigay ads without their affirming parents’ consent.

Mike Airhart

November 9th, 2008


You, Willie, and Prof BW (among others) communicate these issues in a manner that folks like me can readily understand and agree with.

Cannick, unfortunately, resorted to a lot of name-calling and conversation-stoppers. Her underlying bullet-points had merit, but they got lost in a sea of antiwhite animosity — and what I perceived to be her own internalized homophobia.

Cannick would not be my first choice for a panel to promote LGBT interracial conversation and reconciliation.

a. mcewen

November 9th, 2008

I agree Mike with the need to be on the offensive at all times. And it’s the simplest thing to see. Look at the Clinton and Obama campaigns. While its true that they communicated a message of change, the main thing is that they were always on the offensive and never allowed a lie to take root.

Our community should do this; not just on marriage equality but on all issues.

The religious right has a huge graveyard of bad research and tactics but I have never seen a huge campaign solely devoted to making them explain their association with someone like Paul Cameron or John R. Diggs. Or making them address the numerous complaints about their distortion of science.

Its always us who are doing the explaining.

Stefano A

November 9th, 2008

Alvin McEwen:

Jim inadvertently pointed out a distinction that is no small one.

African-Americans are, by far, the largest ethnic minority impacted by AIDS. Do you see much happening within the LGBT HIV/AIDS prevention and service organizations to deal with that?

Only within some limited educational campaigns such as the “Black and Boo” campaign.

But this distinction made above is an important distinction and what I wish to make a point about in this post rather than commenting on any single issue.

What I mean is this…

The LGBTI movement is working on several issues simultaneously and as such there is a distribution of responsibilities. Sometimes all agencies work in tandum to unite on a specific issue, but most of the time not.

For instance, Equality Ohio prioritizes its work toward Equal Employment and Housing non-discrimination legislation, domestic partner benefits, etc., and before 2004 marriage equality (which since 2004 has taken a back burner since the passage of the Ohio constitutional amendment).

Various organizations such as the Columbus AIDS Task Force take charge for HIV Education and Prevention.

The Buckeye Area Anti-Violence Program works on issues of homophobic and domestic violence.

Organization like the GLSEN, Safe School Programs and Gay-Straight Alliances work for anti-bullying and tolerance programs within schools.

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association focuses on concerns within the healthcare systems and treatment of those who access the system.

I make no demand on the nature for how that outreach occurs or is conducted as a result of input and involvement by people of color in those organizations. I have no disagreement with people of color who complain of not being included in the leadership of those organizations in order to improve community involvement and outreach.

However, my “gripe” with Cannick, Alvin, is this: That she conflates these various fronts being worked on by LGBT organizations in all of her argumentation as if there should only be one battle that should be worked on.

That she in her own self-agrandizement appoints herself as the one who has decided what that universal priority should be and how that priority should be the over-riding one on all fronts for all LGBT organizations.

In addition, she throws in all these other social concerns of hers that are not a mandate for any LGBT organization (except tengentially) as an indictment of LGBTI organizations for not being concerned about these “other” social ills al the while not only failing to contribute an ounce of effort to the cause of LGBT rights but assailing it all the way and in the process exacerbates the antagonism and animosity.

And that is what has earned her my irk.

She writes about the social conerns of the economy, the price of gasoline, unemployment, whether or not people can pay their mortgage, get community invovlement in just voting for candidates on those issues nevermind also getting them to vote while they’re at it for LGBTI issues as being the concerns of the black community.

Alright, fair enough … plainly put, most people regardless of race or orientation are more concerned with those domestic bread-and-butter issues . . . But Cannick asserts: “except for within the gay civil rights movement, where it has been full speed ahead on marriage” as she says.

But the thing is, those issues are not the mandate of LGBT rights organizations. LGBT rights organizations weren’t created to lobby for economic policies that will solve the financial crises, to lobby for minimum wage increases, to lobby for more job creation (for anyone within or without a poc community), or to lobby for immigration reforms per se.

Furthermore, Cannick fails to understand that for instance, supporting immigration reform, medical health and access reform, marriage equality and gay rights are not mutually exclusive. She exposes a short-sightedness regarding the marriage equality fight and how it does impact some of her “other” concerns that she considers higher priorities.

For instance:

LGBT organizations do become involved with those issues; for instance, immigration or employment, but only in so much as it remains within their mandates, e.g., lobbying for marriage equality that would benefit changes in immigration law for LGBT citizens so that they could sponsor their spouces or partners dependent family members, lobbying for marriage equality that would allow in the employment arena for gay family spouces and dependents to be added to health insurance benefits provided by employers, lobbying for employoment non-discrimination, etc.
And marriage is shown to be not only a stabilizing institution for the raising of children but a financially stabilizing institution. Married people earn far more money than singles and have an established safety net should one partner become sick or unemployed.

I am not irked, in fact, quite the contrary by people of color who complain of not being included in the leadership of those organizations in order to improve community involvement and outreach. I make no demand on the nature for how that outreach occurs or is conducted as a result of input and involvement by people of color in those organizations. I agree that the involvement needs to be there within all of these organizations in order to more effectly make headway on each battle front.

I am irked by Cannicks indictment of the LGBT rights fights by her assailing the benefits that can be obtained in a multitude of areas both directly and indirectly especially when, for instance, she writes pieces as in the past complaining that Morehouse, a historically black college, had named a white student as valedictorian. Never mind that the student had a 4.0 GPA. Cannick was outraged. “Is nothing sacred anymore?” she asked, and then levels that indictment that LGBT’s aren’t trying to be inclusive in the input and leadership. Some of us are trying and also calling for that inclusion and trying to point out the benefits of doing so. The end goal
being a decrease of homophobia in all of our communities and an increase in benefits for all of us.

The above was composed before Alvin’s latest post, so I will add this addendum.


Marriage equality is an important issue but not necessarily one that is high on the list of priorities of black gays and lesbians as of yet because we are still dealing with issues of self-esteem, racism, health (i.e. HIV/AIDS),and a dual invisibility in both the black and gay communities.

There are many, many, many underlying social explanations for the issues of why the church is so important to the black community and the communities involvement in the chuch, the issues of self-esteem, HIV/AIDS and dual invisibility and other issues you mention or allude to that illustrates why the difference in priorites is understandable.

You make an excellent point in the failure to work with black LGBT community leaders in seeking their input in how best to approach and present the issues to the black community.

However, no matter the level of the priority of the concerns, they are not mutually exclusive, and do not provide a reason for why, if given the opportunity to make headway on a lower priority issue or as a member of the black community to use her insight in how to present the issue when given the opportunity.

Even if it is not a high priority for Cannick she does not encourage the opportunity to use that opportunity and actually made a point of pointing out that she shunned taking advantage of that opportunity.

And I think that dual invisibility is important to remember. Because there have been little attempts to use the marriage equality issue to bridge the economic and social gap that exists between lgbts of color and the lgbt community at large. That is why it is seen as a “white gay issue.”

I would agree as I have attempted to express, but as I was trying to express above regarding why Cannick “irks me”, it is because she herself does nothing herself to attempt to show the economic and social benefits of marriage equality and its tangential benefits, but to the contrary actively assails and demeans it.

I may still be “not getting it” and missing the point, but the dialogue on the subject is an attempt to understand the issues we’re being confronted with.

a. mcewen

November 9th, 2008

I understand why folks don’t agree with Cannick. She can get extremely fiery.

But there are two points to remember:

1. While they should have been probably expressed less viciously, the points she makes are somewhat vaild.

2. I think she is reacting to a lot of anger that was thrown at the african-american community. two wrongs do not make a right but a perfect example of what the blame game leads to.


November 9th, 2008

I can sum up why Cannick’s op/ed was garbage: Here is a woman who not so long ago announced she was withholding her vote from Barack Obama because he didn’t “get it” on a host of issues, not the least of which was her desire, as a lesbian, to be able to marry legally.

Now, after canvassing for Obama, she turns around and blames whites for failing to give AA’s any reason marriage equality would benefit them — thus, she was not “inspired” to campaign against Prop 8 herself.

Aside from the fact that Obama never changed his position on SSM, when did Cannick suddenly forget how important marriage equality was to her?

Cannick is an opportunist in the worst way — and that her LAT op/ed came out after the results of the Prop 8 vote were certain tells me she was just waiting to be on the “winning” side.

Whatever valid points she might have made in that op/ed were buried under a pile of garbage.

All I learned from Cannick’s op/ed is that Cannick is wildly inconsistent, and has a ridiculously short memory — or hopes that the rest of us do.

My problem, for the record, is not with AA’s as a community, but with Jasmyne Cannick — who is not only not helping matters, but throwing gasoline on the fire.

And she’s not even doing it with honesty or integrity.

Stefano A

November 9th, 2008

My problem, for the record, is not with AA’s as a community, but with Jasmyne Cannick

Yeah. I’ll second that.

And, Alvin, I’m going to be very blunt and brash.

I don’t view Cannick as sometimes being merely “extremely fiery”, I view her as a racist.

A white racist may occassionally make a valid point regarding any given topic or issue, however, simply because they may occassionally make a valid point that does not incline me to give them credability or to come to their defense.

I feel the same way about Cannick. Because she may occassionally make a valid point, I first and foremost see her own racism and as such I’m not inclined to give her credability or come to her defense.

Stefano A

November 9th, 2008

Also, I failed to add…

… she is reacting to a lot of anger that was thrown at the african-american community.

Her re-action is not some new development that was in re-action to Prop 8. Cannick has a history of of antiwhite animosity.

Ben in Oakland

November 9th, 2008

I think it is pretty much pointless to blame anyone for the defeat….

….including mor(m)ons, Catholics, blacks, Latinos, or even the gay community…

except for the incompetent, politics-addled, unthinking idiots that ran our so called campaign using a strategy based on a (IMHO) on a premise that has the distinct stench of internalized homophobia…

and which has failed repeatedly in every venue where it has flapped its mud-spattered and bedraggled tailfeathers.

Please, please, please be nice to us, please stop hitting us, we’re really quite nice, just like you are, and you don’t really want to treat anyone badly, do you? I mean, c’mon, my mother really likes me and thinks I am as good as you, except that I shouldn’t appear next to her.

This is not a political strategy, it is a suicide note, a kick-me sign nailed, not taped, to your spine.

These political creatures may be good at phone banking (I’m 40% of all phones in Ca are unlisted cel phones with caller ID), web-site design (they work), email blasts to supporters (I breathlessly awaited each one), and fundraising ($35mill gone–we should have own with 1/2 the amount), but as students of psychology, humanity, the closet– well, they suck, and not in a good way.

The only thing that I saw them excel at was an astounding ability to avoid the obvious– what my dear old Dad used to call recto-cranial inversion. Simple examples. Swarzenegger said he would campaign against 8. Where was his lesbian Chief of staff and his PSA? Instead, we got Feinstein aka Grandma Chicken. Where we all the gay people in the ads? Where were our kids? Where were the public speakers? Wonderful, we got newspaper endorsements, which I agree are incredibly valuable. Great job. Except for the fact the newspapers everywhere are in trouble, and a lot of people don’t read them. Yes on 8 sells fear. No on 8 begs you, really, really, to be nice.

and I could go on and on. I’m not a politician, and I don’t play one on BTB. In my 58 years, I have learned a few things. One of the things I learned as I stepped out of the closet 37 years ago is that the closet is one of the most pernicious, corrosive, destructive, and perverted institutions ever invented by man for the torture of others. It perverts and twists even the love of G, and in so doing, it ranks right up there with the idea that we are so filled with stinking sin that only the suicide of the god who invented the sin to begin with can atone for how horrible and worthless we are, and only he has enough love in him to forgive us for our stink and save us from the hell he invented. Benny the Ratz has a castle on Lake Gandolfo financed by that one.

The closet was what this campaign endorsed, and so it is not surprising that it perverted the campaign. In that sense, Our Fearless Leaders are not to blame entirely. They were operating out of their limitations, rather than their strengths.

Just like to bulk of the people who voted yes on 8.

OK. I’m feeling better now.

Timothy Kincaid

November 9th, 2008

Prof black woman,

I hope you change your mind and decide to stick around. I’m sorry if I offended you or left you thinking that I’m engaging in race-baiting.

But I do think it is important to spend some time thinking about why black voters were so very out of sync with the rest of the voters and ask ourselves what could have been done differently to reach and appeal to these voters. Whatever we were doing clearly did not work.


November 9th, 2008

alvin, I understand fully what Cannick was trying to get across. I still think it’s stupid.

This is not a battle that gay people started — it was brought to us. The language of Proposition 8 said explicitly that it was removing a right from a group of people.

How much prioritizing does it take to write a check mark in a “no” box? How much outreach does it take?

If black voters had voted 55 percent in favor of the amendment, or if all the minorities had voted 70 percent, I wouldn’t be saying this. But the fact remains that 70 of black voters supported Prop. 8, compared to 53 percent of Latino voters, 49 percent of Asian voters and 51 percent of “Other” voters (and you know that includes Native Americans, who have in many ways have faced far worse oppression in this country than African-Americans).

If this indicates anything, it’s that homophobia is far more pervasive in the African-American community than racism is in the gay community.

Instead of doing something about it, however, Cannick just wants to make excuses for it, all the while adding fuel to the fire with her incendiary column.

Thelea Draganic

November 10th, 2008

I am upset about this erroneous finger pointing at African-Americans regarding Proposition 8. Why are you so quick to believe whatever you hear? If someone told me 70 percent of gay people voted against Obama my first thought would be, excuse me Jesus, that is crap! I don’t believe it! This political year was fraught with right wing lies. Bear that in mind.

“Religious organizations that support Proposition 8 include the Roman Catholic Church], Knights of Columbus, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) a group of Evangelical Christians led by Jim Garlow and Miles McPherson, American Family Association, Focus on the Family[and the National Organization for Marriage Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, California’s largest, has also endorsed the measure. The Bishops of the California Catholic Conference released a statement supporting the proposition. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has publicly supported the proposition and encouraged their membership to support it, by asking its members to donate money and volunteer time. The First Presidency of the church announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter read in every congregation. Latter-day Saints have provided a significant source for financial donations in support of the proposition, both inside and outside the State of California. About 45% of out-of-state contributions to Protect has come from Utah, over three times more than any other state.”

Still, even though gays were fighting to preserve a basic right, it was the anti-equality side in California that seemed to have the most fervor. A symbolic low point for the gay side came on Oct. 13, when the Sacramento Bee ran a remarkable story about Rick and Pam Patterson, a Mormon couple of modest means – he drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic, she raises their five boys – who had withdrawn $50,000 from their savings account and given it to the pro-8 campaign. “It was a decision we made very prayerfully,” Pam Patterson, 48, told the Bee’s Jennifer Garza. “Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children.”

This is your real enemy. Don’t trust exit polls. I think they are pitting one group against the other. African-Americans are less than 7% of the state population, do the math. Many more Whites voted and they put this over, not Blacks. What are the total numbers of each group that voted. Someone dug into the data and found that we’re just now learning is that the exit poll was based on less than 2,300 people. If you take into account that blacks in California only make up about 6.2%, we get roughly 224 blacks who were polled. 224 blacks to blame an entire race! The original percentage of black voters who were expected to say yes to Prop 8 was only around 52-58%. Anytime you get a vote that much higher over the projected vote, something went wrong.

I know someone who watches C-Span and they said most Blacks did not even address the question at all. And they do not have the money to fund a tens of millions of dollars Proposition 8 campaign. Note that they also targeted affirmative action for eradication in another state.

I cannot believe that these groups get a pass and Blacks are being targeted for the blame game. Rather than be upset at the phantom African-American menace, fight like hell. There is no right wing black conspiracy against gay Americans. When you tried to align your struggle with that of Blacks you inherited their enemies. These same enemies are now trying to pit one against the other because they fear the combined numbers of both.

How many gay activists supported the civil rights movement in the 1960’s? Then how do you automatically expect support in return? Have you asked Blacks to support you or did you just assume?

No one gave Obama anything and they will not give gays anything either. Obama stands on the shoulders of a lot of brave people who gave their lives for him to stand on that podium last night.

Never trust exits polls because in all my years of life, no one has ever been seen at a polling place asking anyone anything when they left.

Don’t fall for the lies.


November 10th, 2008

“Thelea Draganic,” how many LGBT blogs are you going to post that comment on, verbatim, without actually reading and participating in the discussion?


November 10th, 2008

In other words the “Gay, White person” is more readily accepted by his/her White, Straight community.

Whereas gay Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc. are not accepted by their own ethnic communities, because they are Gay.

Then the White, Straight community doesn’t accept them because they are ethnic and Gay on top of that. Double whammy.

I don’t think that there’s any way for an “outside” ethnic community to exert influence into the “internal” politics of another community. It would be like two brothers fighting and then some third, unrelated party attempt to intercede between the two brothers. They will both tell the third party to mind their own business.

It seems that many White, Gay people can leave their ethnicity at the door and just live their own lives as Gay, White people. Not Irish, not French, not German, etc. Just Gay.

For ethnic minorities, it just seems that many of us still cling to our roots and want to be accepted by BOTH parties. Our own culture and Gays.

Perhaps we should learn something from our Gay, White brothers and sisters. That we should leave behind our ethnic identities and assume a new, unified identity, I.E. Gay.

Isn’t that what made America great many years ago? When Italians, French, Germans, Asians, Hispanics, etc. came to “America” and chose to live as “Americans” and not “Italians” or “French” or “Germans” etc.

They gave up their ethnic identities and became a new one, “American”. Doing so allowed them to become “one” identity.

United we stand. Divided we fall.

paul johnson

November 12th, 2008

How can you put out such nonsense and call it journalism? Do you remember when the state of California recalled affirmative action? How much of the gay community turned out to reject the recall? Not very many. I spoke with the head of the HRCF then the F was included in the name, and the organization did nothing to protest the affirmative action ban. Why then should the African American community care if gay people should be able to get married? Did you ever look at what support is given to the African American community? Why do minority gay health organizations receive less funding than organizations that serve the gay white health organizations. You have a responsibility to be objective and there was none. And the line about not wanting to blame African Americans is laughable. You call attention to an issue but then try to so oh that really is not the reason prop 8 lost. Why did you not make the subject of your article about the badly run campaign and the dishonesty? You chose to make the article about race and therefore you are perpetuating racism in this country. You have responsibility to your readers you have failed them miserably!!

Roxy Robinson

November 12th, 2008

Please allow me to give an explanation on why so many blacks voted yes on Prop 8. Yes it is true we voted based on our faith. Our faith is what has brought us this far and we will not be abandoning it anytime soon. Furthermore Black people are sick and tired of homosexual people stating being black is just like being gay. It is not.Many Blacks are offended by the comparison. We feel that being gay is a choice. We cannot wake up in the morning and be anything but Black. Black families have a hard enough time existing without throwing homosexuality into the mix. May I suggest that rather than pull yourselves up by our coattails, go down to Selma Alabama march through the streets and convince the people in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and the rest of the south to vote in favor of gay marriage then get back to us. You are to quick to say me, me, me too at our expense. And yes some of us may not be as sophisticated and socially evolved as those who believe in gay marriage. I will state again being gay is not like being black. If you ever want to advance your cause STOP saying that. Why not be satisfied with a civil union? Won’t a civil union provide as much benefit as marriage ? Personally I believe gay people have just as much right to be miserable as anybody else married just don’t call it marriage.Last but not least you will never advance your cause by attacking any religious institution. It only serves to further alienate yourselves. I notice that there is no protests at the large black congregations in our cities. I wonder why ? Tell you what come on down the the large Black Baptist church in your community and see what we really think. If you don’t believe in something you will go for anything, we believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. The people have spoken not once but twice. And please spare me the insults of being a bigot or ignorant. Find another way to achieve your goal besides aligning yourselves with the civil rights struggle. If your cause is so valid stand on your own two feet and achieve your goal don’t use Black people as your crutch. As you can see it’s not working.


November 12th, 2008

It’s not the same, but it’s similar.

It used to be illegal to be gay – we were thrown in jail, castrated, subject to frontal lobotomies, etc. Being black likely meant you were a slave. Different, yes. But similar as well in some regards.

Being black means you face discrimination, but so do your parents. Being gay means you face discrimination, but you have straight parents that are sometimes the agents of that discrimination. Similar yes, but different.

Being black meant you didn’t have the same rights as whites. Being gay means you don’t have the same rights as straights. Different, but similar.

But one thing is the same – those who do not see all people as equal do so out of bigotry or prejudice, regardless of their skin color.

And by the way, just because you think it’s a choice doesn’t mean it is. After all, I could claim being black is a choice -Michael Jackson is proof that you can change. That’s a better success rate for change than we can find for people who were gay and are now straight – still looking for those.

Roxy Robinson

November 13th, 2008

Well said Patrick, most of it that is . Michael Jackson is still a black man.Nadinola skin bleaching and Revlon perm cannot undo ancestry. There are some black people who look and have passed for white yet they are still black. I can imagine the same goes for those passing as straight who are gay .Thank you for a honest dialog on why perhaps the gay equal right movement equates itself to being black.
The black race did not achieve our goals instantly., it took centuries Keep your head up, maintain your dignity.Black people do not hate gays, at least not where I’m from in the San Francisco bay area.We welcome all in our community. Most families I know don’t cast out their gay members, we are tolerant. I really don’t think you have very far to go before you realize your dreams.It may not come through the ballot box either.It’s just not your time…yet.

Timothy Kincaid

November 13th, 2008


Patrick answered you well.

But I do want to challenge two things you said. First: “We feel that being gay is a choice. We cannot wake up in the morning and be anything but Black.”

I cannot wake up in the morning and be anything but gay. At this point I really shouldn’t have to prove this to you. It’s just a matter of fact and not subject to what you or anyone else may feel.

Second: “Why not be satisfied with a civil union? Won’t a civil union provide as much benefit as marriage?”

This sounds very familiar. I think you’ve heard this before, but with slightly different words.

Perhaps it was “Why not be satisfied with the back of the bus? It still gets you to the same place.” Or maybe it was “Why not be satisfied with the other water faucet? It’s still the same water.”

Now before you start stating that being gay is not like being black, stop and read what I said.

I did not say that they are the same. But I will state that discrimination is the same, regardless of the target or the face that it wears.

And I will state that you, Roxy, who have experienced discrimination, should be able to recognize it when you see it. And you should be able to empathize. You’ve been there.

The issue isn’t whether blacks have different circumstances than gays. Yes, there are differences. Yes the form of discrimination was different. Yes the face that it wore was different.

But the truth is that no one, black or gay or Jew or Hindu or poor or anyone, should be told, “take this lesser position of civil unions, it’s good enough for people like you”.

I am certain, Roxy, that when you think about this later you will come to agree. People should not be forced to accept lesser by their government or by society just because of their race or their sex or their sexual orientation.

I’m sure you can testify, Roxy, that when the government starts handing out what is “good enough” for “people like you”, it does matter who the “you” is or what they’re handing out, it is never right or fair.

Roxy Robinson

November 13th, 2008

Timothy ;
To some extent I can understand what you are saying. Thank you as well for your open civilized honest dialog on the matter. Even though I have friends who are gay we have never discussed issues such as these. What you are saying makes sense, why should you be denied or except “good enough”. I have always admired gay people for their courage. I don’t know where this is all going to end up in our society. Every human being is deserving of love. Every
human is deserving of a family. I think forums such as this may help persuade more straight people to perhaps see things as expressed here. I can say I think to achieve the desired goal of same sex marriage, the protests at churches have got to stop. It serves no purpose except to alienate straights even further. It may in the long run prove to be the death so to speak of the entire issue because it attracts negative attention to the cause. When you exhibit such anger it may galvanize those who were undecided to take a stand against the movement.It’s one thing to want what is considered an alternate lifestyle with all the benefits. It is quite another to lash out at religious institutions in the manner I have seen in the past week. Remember you have to convince middle America, and they are not going for it.Remember everybody is not as socially sophisticated as we would often like. A large part of the yes vote was cast by Latin Americans. Their
culture is all about “La Familia”. They are in fact the largest population in this country (Well maybe in California at least) if I am not mistaken.The minority is the majority. It was predicted and it has come to be.That segment is very religious and a large number of them are Catholic.While it has been my experience they are excepting, warm loving people who get along with everybody but start marching on their beloved Catholic Church and you are toast. You may be seen as Godless beings unworthy of their consideration. It’s not your time….yet.

Timothy Kincaid

November 14th, 2008


Even though I have friends who are gay we have never discussed issues such as these.


Your friends may be avoiding the subject fearing that you are judgmental or likely to say something that would make them have to drop you as a friend or even just that this is just something they can’t talk to you about. Prove them wrong.

Bring up the subject and let them tell you their experiences. Listen with love. I think that this will bring those friends even closer to you – they will be able to share all their life with you, not just the part that they think you will accept.

Incidentally… just some info to clear up a few misconceptions:

The Hispanic vote was pretty evenly split (53-47).

And we are not marching on Catholic Churches. Our protest is against the Mormon Church which hugely planned, manned, paid for and implemented the campaign of lies. (Those who recall their pre-1978 treatment of blacks may know what I mean when I say that this church has a long history of supporting discrimination).

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