Monica Roberts

Fallin' For The Okey-Doke

Filed By Monica Roberts | November 07, 2008 7:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: African-American, civil rights, GLBT community, Monica Roberts

I'm coming to you live from beautiful Boulder. CO. I'm here to give the keynote address later tonight for the opening of the TRANScending Gender Conference being held on the CU-Boulder campus November 7-8.

No on 8 protesters

I was flying from Da Ville most of the day and have only just begun reading many of the nuclear-level verbal missiles and the fallout coming from our gay and lesbian allies over Prop 8. Y'all have every right to be angry about the situation, but y'all need to chill with the animus you're directing at the African-American community.

By distracting yourselves hatin' on African-Americans in general instead of focusing your righteous anger on the real culprits, the Mormon Church, the sellout Black megachurch ministers, The Catholic Church, the TVC and the peeps who share your ethnic heritage that signed the petitions making it possible for Prop 8 to be on the ballot in the first place, you're playing right into the conservative movement's hands and making possible a decade long goal of their movement

Splitting African-Americans from the GLBT civil rights coalition.

Bear in mind that many GLBT peeps and some of our leaders are African-Americans. Some of us are also Christians. Pam, Jasmyne, Terrance, I and many other people of color have warned our white GLBT brothers and sisters about this foul development for years, but those warnings have fallen on deaf ears.

Can you hear us now?

If you're shocked that 70 percent of African-Americans voted against marriage equality in Cali and Florida, then you've been in severe denial, my GLBT friends.

When that odious constitutional amendment banning same-gender marriage passed and was added to the Texas Constitution the state and local Republican Party leadership openly bragged about how they didn't have to go whip up their base this time.

In my hometown it passed with higher numbers in South Park, Sunnyside and other traditionally African-American neighborhoods than it did in the Republican leaning 'burbs of Sugar Land (Tom Delay's old turf) and Montgomery County

I must point out as well that the legislator who stood up on the Texas House floor and eloquently spoke against it was an African-American, state Rep. Senfronia Thompson

The right wing bamboozled many of you into hatin' on Rev. Jeremiah Wright (who by the way is a major friend to the Chicago GLBT community) for out of context comments he's made that Faux News played ad nauseum. I noted that they've been awfully silent about another Chicago African-American minister named Gregory Daniels who stated that 'he'd ride with the KKK' to prevent same sex marriage.

Bishop Eddie Long along with his associate pastor at New Birth Baptist Church Rev. Bernice King (MLK's baby girl) led a 2004 anti-marriage equality march in the ATL a few years ago that started at the foot of Dr. King's grave.

Bernice is also on my personal caca list for uttering this statement.

I know deep down in my sanctified soul that my father didn't take a bullet for same-sex unions.

The opposition here in Louisville has been spearhead by my resident homobigot Rev. Jerry Stephenson. I called him out during our 2004 marriage amendment fight in Kentucky for saying he was tired of gay people "hijacking our civil rights movement."

Then there's Grace Jones' brother, Bishop Noel Jones, who flew to Jamaica to address the Jamaican Parliament and urge them to "resist the pressure from US activists" when they briefly considered repealing their British colonial era sodomy laws that are a root cause of much of the anti-GLBT violence going on there.

It's no surprise to me that when the Hi-Impact Leadership Coalition was founded by Bishop Harry Jackson and his fellow Black megachurch haters at a Los Angeles meeting in 2003, Lou Sheldon's grinning mug was the only white face in the photo.

The point is, the gay community has been sleeping for far too long on this, and now the lack of attention paid to cultivating GLBT leaders of color who can effectively counter the conservative "this a white gay movement" spin is coming home to roost.

Anyone who paid attention to politics should have noted the fact that no civil rights legislation gets through congress without the support of the "Conscience of the Congress," the Congressional Black Caucus. It should have been noted that the CBC members control major committees and subcommittees, many of the CBC's 43 members sit in secure seats that Republicans have a snowball's chance in Hades to win.

Once the Dems took over in 2006, the CBC members would be wielding unprecedented levels of power in a new Congress . For example, South Carolina's Rep. James Clyburn is the majority whip. Us political junkies know about Rep John Conyers chairing Judiciary. Oh yeah, there's a CBC member who will be moving into the White House in January.

The Religious Right sure did. That's why they hurriedly invested money into the Hi Impact Leadership Coalition. The smart play for the GLBT community would have been (and still is) to have people who can speak the cultural language lobby these politicians on GLBT issues and simultaneously "edjumacate" our community at the same time.

Today the Religious Right, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and the rest of the right wing Cylons are pleased because their plan to split the African-American community from the GLBT one is working to perfection.

And the counter to it doesn't start on Rhode Island Ave. The National Black Justice Coalition has been around for several years and with more funding could be an effective counterweight to them,

We also can't be ignored junior partners you call only when you need some melanin in the picture to prove how inclusive you are. When you're formulating the strategy, we need to be at the table helping plan and executing it. When we African-American GLBT peeps tell y'all something, quit dismissing it and listen.

The civil rights you save may be your own.


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Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | November 7, 2008 8:45 PM

I've known for a long time that the African-American community tended to be conservative, but I'm shocked and horrified by the racism I'm seeing from some of my fellow white GLBTs. I've always thought our rainbow flag stood just as much for racial diversity as sexual and gender diversity.

Reformed Ascetic | November 7, 2008 9:41 PM

Hopefully everyone will listen and get your point this time around.

I saw this issue go down in flames here in Georgia when it came up for a vote never mind any first year law student with a pen can poke holes in the law that passed.The general public when you say Same Sex marraige just plan out freaks. These folks should be our allies not our enemies. So its time to change tactics and maybe even the name of what we want to something less inflamatory.I know this sounds horrid but come on folks Florida went down in flames to same as California! So time to regroup and rethink how to get what we want with out pissing our other wise friends off?

I too am upset that people are confusing color with religious beliefs.

To me it's a matter of separation of church and state. Tax those churches that support things like Prop 8.

The LGBT has needed to address our racism problems for a long time. Let's work together people.

GOBBLEDYGOOK!!!!!!!!!!
You cannot defend one without defending all and you fail miserably at that.

Welp, if you think church going folk are the problem then gird your loins, my dear. Before you know it we'll have a President of the United States of America who GOES TO CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY.

Talk about who has been sleepin' on what, do you know how many black HOMOSEXUAL men do the same EVERY single Sunday and NEVER acknowledge the fact that when nobody’s lookin’ they are gettin’ their funk on with another guy?

What sayest thou my brothers and sisters who were all so very pleased with yourselves to cast a ballot in favor of THE CANDIDATE WHO DEFINES MARRIAGE AS A UNION THAT CAN ONLY OCCUR BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN?

Now, am I the only one around here with a bunch of buddies who are gettin’ ready to “PRAISE THE LORD” at their local religious establishment now that we gotta black man for president?!! Say “AMEN” somebody, I DARE YOU TO!!

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | November 8, 2008 5:54 PM

Amen! We finally have a President Elect who has promised to repeal DOMA and DADT and get an inclusive ENDA and hate crimes bill passed.

You are being so naive. Obama will not risk any political capital on any of these issues, never mind all four.

can you substantiate your claims for ANY of the above? i sincerely doubt it very much.

Why should I we give them a pass on their bigotry?
Because they have historically been discriminated against. I still cannot see any valid reason they should not be called out on it. Saying they are bigots is not racism, it is the truth. They should know better. Just because I am white I am supposed to shut my mouth and not say anything because it was people like me who failed to educate the poor black folk about me. That is condescending. They knew exactly what they were doing. So I choose instead to give them credit for their bigotry, instead of thinking they were too dumb to know better.

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | November 8, 2008 6:14 PM

I certainly don't think we should give them a pass. We need to call them out on what they've done and criticize them for it. But...

1. We need to make it clear to them exactly why we're criticizing them, and that it's not because of race.

2. We need to make sure we're not singling them out, when plenty of other groups contributed to Prop. H8's passage.

3. We need to approach them as a potential ally, even as we criticize them.

Imagine how our GLBT people of color feel when we rail against the black community. Those are precisely the people we need to empower.

Paige Listerud | November 8, 2008 2:14 AM

Thank you so much for being a voice of sanity.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | November 8, 2008 2:48 AM

No On 8 did not make a serious effort to engage minority communities, including Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders, African Americans and others. There were a few last minute radio and TV ads but that won’t cut it. They never made a serious attempt to engage the homophobic institutions in minority communities. They left the field of battle as is those communities didn’t count and that explains the vote. If you don’t fight you don’t win.

The bigotry of Obama and McCain, the timidity of people like Feinstein, Schwarzenegger and others combined to allow bigots to outvote us. And now they want to go after Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey.

The No On 8 leadership misled. They should have known how powerful the message ‘god’s in the mix’ would be, and probably did, but they refused to call Obama and McCain on their open and often repeated bigotry.

We need to be clear that it was primarily the bigotry of EuroAmericans voters, organized by christer cults and galvanized by Obama’s bigotry that beat us in all three states. Republican EuroAmericans, not Democrat African Americans or Latinos were the largest bloc of bigots voting against us.

Our ‘leadership’ failed because they refused to take on the political bigots and refused, for the most part, to go after bigot cult leaders, exposing their relations with Karl Roves White House, attacking and debating them, doing mass leafleting, and organizing demonstrations and rallies.

We should have won by a landslide. But the numbers tell the story.
In LA Obama got............1,845,000
In LA we got ..............1,296,000
The difference is ........451,000

Statewide the bigots got.. 5,163,000
Statewide we got...........4,760,000
The difference is........ 403,000

If Obama had fought for us instead of betraying us we’d have won by the difference in LA County alone, to say noting of San Diego, Riverside, Sacramento and San Bernardino.

With Democrats like Obama who needs Republicans.

The blame game has begun and Bil Purdue you need Republicans to blame for every thing that goes wrong after all you cant blame Democrates now can you?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | November 8, 2008 3:49 AM

Keathrey,

We got clobbered and we'd better figure out why. So why do you call it the blame game? That term is just a slick way of avoiding the issue.

Now go back and read my post. I think our defeat was caused by, and in this order, the misleadership and bigotry of Obama and McCain, the hateful bigotry of the christer cults and the ineptness and timidity of the No on 8 leadership. We need lions, we got mice.

I hope that clarifies your thinking.

I think both parties are our enemies, which is why I say "With Democrats like Obama who needs Republicans."

I'm the product of 16 years of Catholic education: elementary school, high school, and college. Even my graduated degree is from a Catholic school but that that really doesn't count. I have no problem saying that the Catholic Church is amoung the agents of homophobic intolerance in the USA. How many people think this is hate speech and how many think I'm stating the obvious?

Tuesday's election proved what I had already suspected, that the African American community is very homophobic. I fully recognize the wonderful black leaders who stand at the forefront of every fight for equality for any marginalized group. I am very greatful. But that does not change the facts just points out the paradox.

My very Irish Catholic Republican family acepted me with immediate open arms when I came out to them as transgender and it demonstrated to me the truth of a saying I had frequently read. It is easy to hate a stereotype of people you don't know but when you put a face of a loved one to those people hate becomes a whole lot harder.
The Washington Post yesterday published an article on the black vote in California. Every black gay they interviewed said they would never come out in their communities.

Gay African Americans have a problem and it is primarily yours to solve. How can we help?
Laura Hart

brownstocking | November 8, 2008 3:11 PM

people like you cannot help communities of color. You work on the homophobes in your community. Let POC work in their own communities. Dealing with one prejudice should be enough, but "well-meaning" additional prejudice will just shut down any discourse or outreach.

That actually was my point. I can't help in communities of color. People of color have to address the issue. I resent your "well meaning additional prejudice" comment. Nowhere in my post did I place the blame on the black community for the loss on 8. However, there is a clear problem here and ignoring it by placing the blame on everyone else doesn't make the problem go away.

Incidently, I work on the homophobes in my community all the time.

WOW, I live underneath a rock. So, what is the SOLUTION? What's next? I have a life to actively live......

There aren't enough African-Americans in California to influence this or any other election. So, there's no point in blaming them for the way that this election went.

Gays went overwhelmingly for Obama. Black Californians betrayed gays out of religiously inspired hatred. They don't get a free pass using a religious excuse. I was for affirmative action and was generally sympathetic and I supported Obama and the dream of a black president. But I don't give a shit anymore. Not because African Americans voted this way but because I've heard one to many African American GLBT speakers say that I am to blame for being unsympathetic to blacks. I am not about to kiss any black ass anymore.

The truth is that gays don't need to give a damn about blacks to succeed politically. Gays only need to side with the pro-choice crowd, educated liberals, the anti-war crowd and everyone else who was pissed off that religious fanatics hijacked the government and all the other secularists in the liberal movement. That's pretty much everyone but blacks. We'll use Congress and the justice department to force the IRS to penalize any group that makes an endorsement from the pulpit regardless of race or politics. This will help gays and it will force blacks to secularize their politics or lose their place at the table.

There aren't enough African-Americans in California to influence this or any other election. So, there's no point in blaming them for the way that this election went.

Gays went overwhelmingly for Obama. Black Californians betrayed gays out of religiously inspired hatred. They don't get a free pass using a religious excuse. I was for affirmative action and was generally sympathetic and I supported Obama and the dream of a black president. But I don't give a shit anymore. Not because African Americans voted this way but because I've heard one to many African American GLBT speakers say that I am to blame for being unsympathetic to blacks. I am not about to kiss any black ass anymore.

The truth is that gays don't need to give a damn about blacks to succeed politically. Gays only need to side with the pro-choice crowd, educated liberals, the anti-war crowd and everyone else who was pissed off that religious fanatics hijacked the government and all the other secularists in the liberal movement. That's pretty much everyone but blacks. We'll use Congress and the justice department to force the IRS to penalize any group that makes an endorsement from the pulpit regardless of race or politics. This will help gays and it will force blacks to secularize their politics or lose their place at the table.

Frank, you are way too comfortable with your anger. Monica is right, we should reaching out to create allies, not employing some kind of Roveian strategy of mobilizing a theoretical anti-religious base (which may not win elections, even if it does exist).

The truth is that gays don't need to give a damn about blacks to succeed politically.

Frank,
That attitude you just expressed is why Prop 8 lost.

Andy Gilden Andy Gilden | November 8, 2008 3:30 PM

"Gays only need to side with the pro-choice crowd, educated liberals, the anti-war crowd and everyone else who was pissed off that religious fanatics hijacked the government and all the other secularists in the liberal movement."

Is that how Dems won this year? What we need to learn from this election, in both its victories and defeats, is that political coalition is an absolute must in this country. Take a peak at McCain/Palin's strategy of just playing to their base and as a result alienating the political center they needed. If white liberals are gays' only friends, we're fighing an uphill battle against this country's demographics.

We need to reach out, open our ears, and make this a movement that takes into account a broader range of racial, gendered, economic, and religious interests.

Monica,

Seeing this hysterical rage towards Black folks just seems to prove how many gay white people feel like this towards Blacks in general; prop 8 (which did not pass because of Blacks, who are outnumbered approx 2-1 in that state by Asians who also voted for the prop) has just given these folks an excuse to parade around in their lavender tinged sheets.

Dawn Storrud | November 8, 2008 6:59 PM

Cathy and Deluz make valid points. We have let our opposition define the way we present and defend our goals. We do not need laws that allow gay or lesbian marriages, we need laws that treat all marriages, common law, unions, contractual agreements equally. We should be pushing for governmental and legal recognitions of every type of human relationship. Anything less allows our detractors to divide us.
We weaken ourselves when we fail to look at the demographics. If we do not acknowledge where we failed to win the hearts of voters we will never spend the effort needed to win those hearts.
By the way this has never been a matter of winning minds, it has always been about moving hearts. The only reason we have made any gains, is that the GLBT community no longer hides in closets. We are making friends each day by being proud of our heritage, by being brave and vocal when we are abused.

One poster noted that 27% of us voted for McCain
Others want to wallop the Black community for their homophobia.

It is the product of the Churches, my friends, the evangelican and the Roman Catholic churchs, lubricated with Mormon money in the same fashion that good wine lubricates an evening.

Biblical literalists cannot embrace our equality without rejecting the "inherent and inerrant truth" of the Bible. And every day, it seems, there are more and more of them and they are bolder and bolder.

It is not about the homophobia of a community, it is about the fundemental religious beliefs fo people that are irreconcilable with our existence.

I don't even get how people are accusing Monica of letting homophobes off the hook. She just listed and called out several prominent black homophobes.

The issue here is how we react to this information. Richard Kim just wrote an interesting article about this in the Nation, and he points out how the right side of this proposition was doing a far better job at racial inclusion than the our side was.

But this is one of the stupidest things I've read here in a while:

The truth is that gays don't need to give a damn about blacks to succeed politically. Gays only need to side with the pro-choice crowd, educated liberals, the anti-war crowd and everyone else who was pissed off that religious fanatics hijacked the government and all the other secularists in the liberal movement. That's pretty much everyone but blacks.

Well, this educated, liberal, pro-choice, anti-war gay who's pissed off at religious fanatics is sick of your attitude. All these groups of people voted against prop 8, and look what happened.

Monica: You are wrong yet again. African americans as a group do not need me or you to accept them or anyone else for that matter because they have equality written into law. We do not!!!!. I am not wasting my time trying to gain acceptance from black evangelicals, white evangelicals, mormons or anyone who is against me and goes to the poll to vote for discrimination. Hence, Frank is correct when he implies that gay people do not need to win over ignorant straight people of color at all to win politically anymore than gay people need to win over ignorant straight caucasians or anyone else to win politically. It is a civil rights issue and anyone who is voting against us is subject to scrutiny. I will repeat it again. If you cannot come to the defense of all groups who voted against us then you are incapable of being objective for reasons i don't have time or desire to figure out.

The issue is not, and let me capitalise this, NOT RACIAL!

The issue is one of biblical fundamentalism, beliefs in the inerrancy and immuability of biblical teachings and the pick and choose enforcement of biblical laws by religious leaders.

NOT RACE!

Do any of you get this yet?

Then let me repeat this to you from the perspective an expatriate from a country that fought long and hard to separate the Catholic Church from their government: The conservative Churches are the enemies of democracy. The Catholic Church has long acted thusly, preaching against the Spanish Second Republic and inciting hatred of it til people rose against the Church.

In the French Revolution, the Church's support fot the feudal nobility and monarchy was so intense that the Republic tried to smash the Church.

In post franco Spain, the Church funds huge rallies to put the francoists back into power and canonised those who supported Franco.

In Ireland, they crushed rights women already had, dissolved governments in the Archbishop's residence, destroyed pre-natal care for fear that Protestant gnecologists might aid Catholic women with birth control.

It is not just the Catholics, mind you.The Roundheads, the Covenanters, the forerunners of your Domionists and Christian Reconstructionists, were driven out of Great Britain and to your shores because their tyrranies were finally overthrown.

It is not about race, it is about the misse of religion to subvert democracy.

America's genius, Thomas Jefferson, understood this. "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

He understood the real enemy far better than many of us, and he made war upon them in return: "They [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion."

Yes, Jefferson understood the real enemy of democracy. When will we stop looking for the convienient scapegoats that our real enemies want us to find, and penetrate their cover and camoflage to strike back at them?

Maura: Dan Savage wrote and scrutinized on a piece regarding a segment of the vote. His topic was about race and the recognition on how a particular group voted. We know that not all people of color voted yes on 8 but it is appropriate to address who did and for fellow gay people to silence the validity of such a discussion backed with statistics and data is shameful in my opinion. To then defend one group because of race more than another by implying dismissiveness if disagreement occurs is even worse. Some people dismiss polls and census taking too while others do not. This is the same thing.

Ewe,
I consider the Black evangelicals a lost case. If you'll reread the post you'll note that I'm warning you peeps about doing precisely what the right-wing wants you to do, split the AA community from the GLBT civil rights coalition.

We in Louisville's went through this months ago when a mysterious group put out an anti-gay flyer that inflamed tensions in Louisville between the African-American and gay community here over a Metro council race involving an African-American councilmember who supported and voted for our GLBT rights here and a gay male challenger.

So I'm speaking from experience when I wrote that post.

What I am saying once again is that by failing to take the time to distinguish between hating on the African-American evangelical community and all African-Americans, you run the risk of pissing off the liberal, progressive voting African-Americans you need to help pass these referendums.

The facts are the No on 8 side (and the GLBT community in general failed to fight for those progressive voters who were being bombarded by only one negative side of the issue.

If you don't put ads on billboards in traditionally African-American neighborhoods and AA radio stations until late in the campaign, don't go to African-American progressive churches, don't aggresively use the African-American Hollywood stars, clergy, sports figures and businesspeople like Magic Johnson who opposed Prop 8, and only engage this community in late October, then you shouldn't be shocked with the results.

Monica, i am not split with you and i never did care about black or white evangelicals enough to be concerned with some power in the ether attempting to divide us. Be clear please that is is not me talking about the entire AA community, just a fanatical fringe group. I am referring to statistical percentage points in California not anything in Louisville so one does not correlate with the other in reality. I do not need majority approval to obtain equality. I need the courts. I may be mistaken to assume you would know that. This farce is going to turn out in our favor with the simple passage of time. We are not talking about voting in councilmembers, mayors, congressmen or even presidents here. This is an issue that will come down to "separate but equal" eventually delegating religious institutions the freedom to exercise privately adjacent to THE LAW. That means "stay the hell out of my affairs" to all evangelicals whatever their background or at the very least keep it inside the doors of your church, temple, dojo etc. I am in agreement that people were not rallied behind the correct ideology but as you may have said yourself a time or two in your own life, i do not care enough about those people to waste my time changing their minds much less educating them. Do you spend your days as a black woman concerned with enlightening white supremacists? I think not. Nor should you. Let them stew in their bullshit while you have the law that protects you. Lastly, i would like you to know that i am not the least bit "shocked with the results" just outraged and pissed off. That's all. I appreciate your column, i just do not completely agree.

Ewe,
I understand that. But hear me when I say that blaming 6-7% of Cali's population for the loss when the No forces frittered away a 15% advantage (assuming the polls are accurate) isn't the way to coalition build, especially with the GLBT peeps in your midst who happen to be African-American.

I find it simply amazing that once again, when it's something negative, that AA peeps are quickly singled out and scapegoated for it.

I'd like to see the percentages of gay peeps who voted for passage of Prop 209, Ward Connerly's anti-affirmative action measure.

The African-American community does need to be talked to in regards to homophobia BUT I think what needs to be said is that 70% number in California was a lie.

http://laeastside.com/2008/11/aha-more-on-prop-8/

So what are we going to do about that?

Browne