Anthony Carter

Why Black Fear Matters

Filed By Anthony Carter | April 05, 2011 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: blacks, civil rights, GLBT, homophobic behavior, marriage, Prop. 8

I write this essay as a direct response to all of the drama surrounding the belief, statistically factually proven or not, that the black folks in our great state of California overwhelmingly voted for Prop 8.

IMG_0283While there is much confusion on everyone's part regarding Prop 8, black folk took a whole lot of heat and once again where made to seem more homophobic than any other groups in question. Even though I have severely mixed feelings regarding marriage for anybody, I would like to offer my view on what I think went down and continues to keep us afraid, confused and somewhat apathetic regarding this issue.

Scapegoating is very popular these days. Sound bites and shots of passionate individuals from the pulpit is not nearly enough information to base an opinion. I am convinced that someone will suggest, and I will accept, being the poster boy for pointing out why this is a civil rights issue and why it is similar and different than the civil rights movement of the 60's.

My problems with all of this is that like most issues, I understand and see the potential for greatness and misunderstanding in all arenas.

As an African American living in this society, I understand and have witnessed first hand the inequities and incredible opportunities that exist within our culture. It is clear that so much is available and yet who gets to decide who gets what and how much of it ?

Once again, it is an issue of power.

Black folks know on a cellular level what it means to be denied and have to survive and develop self-love in a culture that is dominant, dismissive, and oppressive. Having lived through the things that my parents endured, it is not a very exciting proposition to even suggest that their offspring endure any hardship.

In other words, we fought, died and marched to make changes so that you wouldn't have to or at the very least not have to endure what we did.

Why look for trouble? Take your place at the table, it's been paid for tenfold.

Yes, gays and lesbians are or should be extremely grateful and humbled by the work done by previous generations and it is not enough.

While appreciation should be the norm, the next evolution involves taking things even further. It is with this spirit of love and refusal to back down that we now pick up the baton of activism and carry on.

If you, as an elder, are keenly aware of the results of demanding more (rocking the boat) and understand it can and has lead to death, you would definitely have reservations regarding any one you care about being visible and vocal to a very powerful group.

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It's all true; as Frederick Douglass said "Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand." The struggle is ongoing on all the various fronts of the civil rights struggles. By the way, "Yes on 8" votes correlated much more strongly with age and degree of religiosity than with race. By far the largest # of Yes votes came from middle aged and elderly religious to "very religious" white voters.

It's all true; as Frederick Douglass said "Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand." The struggle is ongoing on all the various fronts of the civil rights struggles. By the way, "Yes on 8" votes correlated much more strongly with age and degree of religiosity than with race. By far the largest # of Yes votes came from middle aged and elderly, "religious to very religious" white voters.

There's plenty of work to be done. And gay orgs have to be willing to go into minority neighborhoods.

Yet, sadly, they've been reluctant to do so.

They have started to do so since learning their lesson after the Prop8 defeat; and more GLBT folks from minority groups have been stepping up to volunteer and they are slowly making inroads.

Albert Santeler | April 6, 2011 7:27 PM

Anthony, the BIG reason behind the loss of that prop 8 fight is because the LDS Church threw money at the Catholics (and hid behind the catholics) and a huge overwhelming support system for discrimination was born. Too many on our side rested on their laurels ("Ohh this is California ..can't happen HERE!!") PUH - LEEZE ..'cause we all KNOW what DID happen. And then some morons thought they could blame it on the black church and black folks, when it was the underestimation of the Mormon church by our own LGBT folk that is truly to blame. I urge everyone to see the film "The Mormon Proposition" (available from Wolfe Video).. it will open all eyes who watch it! Therefore ..that old cliched statement rings true: "Freedom is NEVER free". -A-

Albert that's a good point. The Catholic Knight's of Columbus donated $1-2 million, but the Mormons donated many more million than that, plus they got their congregations to tithe up to 10-15% of their annual income to pass Prop8. (many from out of state). PLUS, most importantly, they had ARMIES of volunteers who went door-to-door, especially in rural/central areas where many of the white, older voters who were the largest demographic to vote Yes on 8 lived. But they also went around in L.A. County and L.A. county passed prop 8 too! If the courts don't rule in our favor, then next time GLBT folks and their allies will need armies of their own from every race, religion and age demographic to ensure it doesn't happen again.