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Race Differences on Marriage Equality in Los Angeles

Timothy Kincaid

June 19th, 2009

A new LA Times poll shows that support for marriage equality differs in Los Angeles by race:

White voters were most emphatic in their support for same-sex marriage, with 68% supporting it and 27% opposing. African American voters were strongly against it, with 54% opposing same-sex marriage and 37% supporting it.

Opposition to gay marriage by African Americans was widely seen as a major factor contributing to the passage of Proposition 8. Latinos in the current poll were split, with 45% supporting same-sex marriage and 46% opposing.

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Pender
June 19th, 2009 | LINK

I thought it was considered racist to acknowledge that black people are less favorable to gay equality than the population at large. At least, I get yelled at every time I try to acknowledge it no matter how much I qualify it and explain that diagnosing the problem is the first step towards curing it.

steve
June 19th, 2009 | LINK

Shows the need for prominent straight & GLBT African Americans and Latinos to stand up and speak out in their communities! Especially in the religious communities!

Burr
June 19th, 2009 | LINK

Even blacks get castigated by fellow blacks for pointing that out.

That said, the blame falls on our outreach. Getting angry at them won’t get us anywhere. The great thing is there’s plenty of room to improve and we won’t need much to push it over the top.

The Lauderdale
June 19th, 2009 | LINK

Where are the figures pertaining to corresponding levels of religiosity? church attendance etc. This looks like more of what we saw back during Prop 8: pointing to skin color and not to cultural factors like religious observance. (Unless, y’know, it’s Mormons.)

Alex
June 20th, 2009 | LINK

Has anyone done a study about why this is?

----
June 20th, 2009 | LINK

What do you expect? The majority of blacks in America belong to the most fanatical sects of Christianity (and Islam in some extent). They seem to forget that it was the same people who had them in chains, whipped, and cast away from the rest of society, who had them profess the religions most of them follow blindly and without questioning.

JJQR
June 20th, 2009 | LINK

Time to sock it right back at those politically-correct wannabe-tyrants, Pender. Just because they don’t like the facts is no reason we should be forced to pretend along.

JJQR
June 20th, 2009 | LINK

Blame gangsta rap, too, —-. No music espouses as much anti-gay violence as that category does.

Trey
June 20th, 2009 | LINK

Wow…it’s like the recent victory in DC didn’t happen. Your comments may not be racist, but they are definitely prejudiced. I guess blacks deserve all of the blame and none of the credit.

Graham Shevlin
June 21st, 2009 | LINK

It depends on your meaning of the word “prejudiced”. Discussing facts revealed by surveys showing that African-Americans are more hostile to gay rights than other ethnic/recial groups does not seem to me like prejudice, it is discussion of facts and realities. The prejudice, I would submit, appears to lie within the African-American community.

Trey
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Like I said, it’s as if DC didn’t happen. So I’m not supposed to see comments such as “majority of blacks in America belong to the most fanatical sects of Christianity (and Islam in some extent),” or “Blame gangsta rap, too, —-. No music espouses as much anti-gay violence as that category does” as not being evidence of prejudice? Shrug…I’m used to be people using “facts and realities” make all types of claims against blacks (that we’re dumber, violent, hyper-sexed), so what’s one more?

If you all want to go through life thinking the majority of blacks that you come across are “hostile to gay rights,” so be it. At some point, I just need to get over my desire to be seen as human rather than a statistic. Despite all evidence to the contrary, people will always think the worst. One survey of a number of blacks (how many?) in California is clearly representative of an entire people…in every state…the diaspora, even.

Just remember to cross the street when you see a bunch of black youths coming your way.

Pender
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Trey, I think the problem here is not that I or anyone else interprets “blacks are more likely to ___” as “all blacks ___,” but that you refuse to believe that we are capable of making the distinction between the two. Or maybe you yourself don’t understand the distinction. Or maybe you think we’re all secretly racist and merely say the former when we mean the latter. In which case, my alternative answers are, in order, yes we can and in fact do, figure it out, and screw you.

Trey
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

I have a problem when anyone says that blacks (or any other race) are “more likely to” do anything. Statemens like that are inherently prejudiced. It’s ridiculous that anyone should make any generalizations about a race. I’m not the one who has a problem with distinctions…I said that the comments that I was reading were prejudiced, not racist.

You’d never accept a commenter saying that gays are more likely to be racist; or that gays are more likely to be rich; or that gays are more likely to be hostile to women. Those comments would be see as prejudiced, and rightfully so. Then, again, maybe I have just been giving you, and other posters, too much credit.

Alex
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Trey,

You keep saying “it’s as if DC didn’t happen.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the gay marriage bill in DC pass in spite of the opposition it saw from most of the city’s black community?

Trey
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

sigh…no, that’s just how reports have been spun.

http://ta-nehisicoates.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/05/gay_marriage_and_dc.php

There are 13 members on the board that voted to recognize out-of-state gay marraiges…6 were black, and the one lone dissent was Marion Barry.

http://www.washblade.com/thelatest/thelatest.cfm?blog_id=25624

I guess the black homophobia meme sells more papers and increases traffic. Everyone concentrated on Marion Barry’s opportunism rather then the support of black allies (including Adrien Fenty).

Timothy Kincaid
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

You’d never accept a commenter saying that gays are more likely to be racist; or that gays are more likely to be rich; or that gays are more likely to be hostile to women. Those comments would be see as prejudiced, and rightfully so.

Actually, Trey, I’d ask for a source. And I’d look at the motivation for making the claim. That’s what we regularly do here at Box Turtle Bulletin.

The source is provided. And there is nothing whatsoever to suggest that it is incorrect.

My motivation for including the above quip from the LA Times is clear: I want marriage equality. And information about those communities or population subsets that do not support equality is of great value.

If identifying that black Angelinos are the only ethnic block in which a strong majority opposes equality shames you, that was not my intent. My goal is to identify the problem and to seek a solution.

On the day that I posted the Times’ poll results, I also posted about how the Asian community has shifted on this issue due to hard work on the part of GLBT Asians who reached their community in ways that outsiders cannot.

I don’t know what will work in the black community. And I know that as a middle-age white guy I don’t have either the knowledge or credibility to try and dictate either methods or approach.

I also recognize that gay African Americans have a lot of irons in the fire and perhaps a greater burden than some other ethnic groups. Between fighting AIDS, urban issues, cultural homophobia, and residual racism, it may well seem that fighting for marriage equality is a questionable priority.

But I will not ignore or dismiss that this is a community in which we need to make advances. To say, “oh, we’ll make an exception for black folk” is to my way of thinking the most patronizing, condescending, and – yes – racist approach of all.

Timothy Kincaid
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Those who are perhaps a bit quick to point at “those people” who don’t support marriage equality, I hope you’ll keep in mind that while the black community may not as a whole be on our side, many of the heros of black America have campaigned on our behalf.

They include names such as Coretta Scott King, Mildred Loving, Maya Angelou, John Lewis, Rev. Eric Lee, and many many others. I cannot help but believe that in time the integrity and prestige of such luminaries will come to influence first the black church and then the black community.

Alex
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Thanks for the clarification, Trey.

Trey
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Thomas,
My issue wasn’t so much your reporting the poll, it was the comments to your post. Your citing a poll about blacks in los angeles was used as evidence supporting the “blacks are anti-gay” meme.
Every time I read one of these posts, the comments section comes alive with statements about gangsta rap, reggae, the DL, the black church, etc…as if these things were the long and short of black identity.

The black church that fights against gays in California doesn’t represent the black church that fights for gays in DC. Different black communities aren’t interchangeable…you’d think that would be understood.

I’d never say to ignore homophobia in any community, but the way this discussion is framed is pretty prejudiced and limited. It’s a shame that black people’s minority status won’t allow them to be seen as a community with a variety of view points and circumstances.

Alex
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

“Just remember to cross the street when you see a bunch of black youths coming your way.”

Trey, would you agree that cheap shots aren’t the best way to elevate this discussion?

Trey
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

eh…i just get tired of having to combat every prejudice in the book before someone sees me as an individual. I admire those who have the patience to quietly knock down those stereotypes…too bad their example is virtually ignored.

Trey
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

actually, just forget i said anything. it’s not worth the hassle.

Alex
June 22nd, 2009 | LINK

It seems that you are angered by the lack of accurate reporting regarding DC because it exemplifies the qualities and traits of a positive section of black citizens. However, your comments very clearly indicate your direct opposition to the posting and discussion of these statistics. For anyone to focus only on the negative and then incorrectly presume that the characteristics of this sample are transferrable to the entire community is the very definition of prejudice. Just remember that it is EQUALLY prejudicial to only acknowledge the positive portions of a culture and ignore their faults.

The only way to remain completely unbiased in thought and action is to have full disclosure of all things both good and bad and to simply accept that every group and individual has shortcomings.

If a young man is killed in an urban, densely populated area it is statistically most likely that he was killed by young black male. If 3 people are killed in a suburban or rural area it is statistically most likely that they were killed by a middle-aged white male.

Knowledge of these two facts and the distribution of them is not inherently prejudicial. Prejudice and ignorance on the part of the reader are applied to facts in an effort to rationalize their own bias or insecurity. As intellectual men and women we must learn to temper this practice and prevent it from coloring our view of the world.

RDM
June 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Although Kincaid rightly points out that several prominent people in the black community have been strong deffenders of gays and lesbians, I can’t help but feel that they aren’t talking to “their own” people about homophobia.

If we just look at black politicians, nearly all of them vote with us 100% of the time. But did any campaign against Prop 8? My representative (Laura Richardson) approved the use of her image on a Yes on 8 mailer, in fact! And has not commented on the issue since.

Black leaders are our advocates and allies, but they need to continue their advocacy not just when looking for our votes or donations.

RDM
June 23rd, 2009 | LINK

That said, I could make all the same complaints about many white politicians.

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