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Dodging a bullet

A Commentary

Timothy Kincaid

November 7th, 2012

This spring I had a conversation with a community activist who expressed concern that should the President not be elected, some might be able to spin the story to blame his loss on his support for marriage equality. I agreed that would be a real challenge to our ongoing efforts for equality, but I didn’t see that as a likelihood.

I posed to him another challenge, one I saw as having greater possibility. My biggest fear for yesterday was that we would lose in Maryland and that it could be attributed to the black vote.

When proposition 8 passed in California and exit polls reported 70% support from black voters, a certain amount of racism and resentment resulted. Things were tense for a while and I feared that should there be an appearance that African-American voters had blocked equality that hostilities would escalate.

We have been fortunate recently that tension between the two communities have diminished to a great extent – and this has been due mostly to the leadership and integrity of those who are greatly respected in the African-American community. Perhaps the largest share of credit goes to President Obama, whose administration has stepped boldly and strongly on the side of equality and encouraged many African-Americans to join him.

And while exit polls showed that less than half of the black vote supported marriage equality, it is a significant improvement over the vote four years ago, and there is no reason to believe that our communities will not continue greater support and cooperation.

Comments

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Mary Sykes
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

As long as we continue to build coalitions, keep talking to all the people we interact with so they realize we’re human and these are *inalienable* rights we’re asking for, our numbers will get better.

Marcus
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

I support your intention in this piece, Timothy, but your phrasing gives the impression that African-Americans and LGBT are separate communities. We now know that African-Americans are more likely to identify as LGBT than whites. I recommend minor edits to the piece to reflect that.

Donny D.
November 7th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid wrote,

When proposition 8 passed in California and exit polls reported 70% support from black voters, a certain amount of racism and resentment resulted.

MY impression is that, especially in Southern California, quite a lot of gay racism came to the surface after the Prop 8 win.

Henri
November 8th, 2012 | LINK

We won in Maryland thanks to the overwhelming support in one county, Montgomery County, just outside of Washington D.C. In all other counties in the state, we got only a minority of the vote, including in Prince Georges County, which is also just outside of DC and predominantly black. While there was earlier support in PG county, it faded under pressure from religious leaders. While I deleware making progress in the minority communities, I still don’t think we can count on their votes.

Donny D.
November 8th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, I meant to add that I strongly support Marcus’s post. Your article did present the black and LGBT communities as fully separate.

Timothy Kincaid
November 8th, 2012 | LINK

Yes I am aware that there are many people who are part of both the gay community and the black community. And there is also a distinct black gay community.

Patrick
November 8th, 2012 | LINK

Wow, this isn’t good. First, the “polls” from the vote four years ago were mistaken, but that mistake has been propagated through the media ever since. Secondly, this piece reaffirms a hard boundary between communities that have more overlap than is apparent here.

Race isn’t a particularly helpful or predictive factor for understanding how these votes worked. Education, residence and SES are far better predictors. We don’t see any articles about rural, low-income, poorly educated whites voting as blocks against equality, but that is precisely what the number suggestion.

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