(UPDATE Truth Wins Out's Wayne Besen condemns racial intolerance within the LGBT community and says it is "reprehensible to look for scapegoats." People for the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert also releases a statement. Both after the jump.)
Not that this wasn't expected. The recent passage of California's Proposition 8 has exposed some of the latent racism of many within the LGBT community—instigated in part by many in the e-telligentsia such as revisionist Andrew Sullivan and sex advisor turned sociologist Dan Savage. Unfortunately the "blame the blacks" meme is being commonly accepted by some so-called "progressive" gay activists. A number of Rod 2.0 and Jasmyne Cannick readers report being subjected to taunts, threats and racist abuse at last night's marriage equality rally in Los Angeles.
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.
Jasmyne Cannick has a similar and unfortunate report. "I have received several phone calls from Blacks, both gay and straight, who were caught up in Westwood around the time of that march. From being called 'niggers' to being accosted in their cars and told that it was because of 'you people gays don’t have equal rights and you better watch your back,' these gays have lost their damn minds."
The verbal harassment follows a steady stream of racist comments left on this blog and many others across the gay virtual community. At least a dozen racist comments have been removed from this blog since Tuesday, such as, "Thank you Black people for denying gay people the same rights that you deserve and have", "Black people make me feel like a piece of shyt when it should have been a night of celebration for all," and the succinct, "F--K you niggers."
Pam Spaulding notes the larger gay community continues to "ignore the elephant in the room" and emphasizes this is an especially difficult time to be both black and LGBT. "What is painful is seeing the how easily I am marginalized in any of the identities I inhabit. There is nothing to gain in slicing our movement up in this manner because we're all hurting," she notes, taking to task those who made racial remarks were made on her blog who "either conveniently forgot my commitment to LGBT rights as a matter of self-interest or have never read my vast archive of criticism of homophobia in the black community."
There is more than enough blame to go around—the homophobia of the black church, lack of outreach by mainstream LGBT organizations, reluctance by the Obama campaign, many blacks gays and lesbians in the closet, deep pockets of the social conservatives, take your pick—but it is a statistical fact that millions more whites voted for this initiative than blacks. You want to blame somebody, go to overwhelming white Orange County, Bakersfield or San Fernando Valley and blame them. Or better yet, head up to San Francisco and blame the 50 percent of voters who didn't even bother to vote. Look, whenever the rights of a minority are put to popular vote, they almost always lose. But very telling indeed many white gays instantly revert to racism to explain Prop 8's passage. It's going to be difficult for gay groups to reach out to blacks with this mentality.
Did You Read ...
WeHo Marriage Rally Attracts "Noah's Arc" Stars [R20]
"Yes We Can" to "YES on 8": Blacks Overwhelmingly Approve Prop 8 [R20]
Anti-Gay, Black Pastors Use Children for Prop 8 [R20]
Blige, Etheridge Raise $3.9M for No on Prop 8 [R20]
"Noah's Arc" Cast Urges "No" on Proposition 8 [R20]
"Noah's Arc" Actor Doug Spearman, Black Ministers Urge "NO" on Prop 8 [R20]
SCLC Leader Criticizes Anti-Gay, Black Pastors [R20]
Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, which has done outstanding work fact-checking the ex-gay groups, speaks out against blaming black voters for Prop 8. Besen cites this post and says it's time to join forces and move forward.
Truth Wins Out today expressed its grave disappointment in those in the LGBT community who have emulated our bigoted opponents by scapegoating minorities. It has been reported that African Americans have been verbally abused and have had racial epithets hurled at them during Anti-Proposition 8 rallies.
“It is reprehensible to look for scapegoats and target innocent people with vile racial epithets,” said TWO Executive Director, Wayne Besen. “We call on all GLBT people behave intelligently and act responsibly, so we can figure out–together–the best way for our movement to proceed and achieve equality.”
The past 72 hours have brought an extraordinary range of emotions - great joy at the election of Barack Obama and defeat of John McCain, and sadness and anger at the passage of anti-gay initiatives in Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and California. That sadness has turned to outrage at the speed with which some white gay activists began blaming African Americans - sometimes in appallingly racist ways - for the defeat of Proposition 8. This is inexcusable.
As a mother who has raised two children in a 30-year relationship with another woman, I fully understand the depth of hurt and anger at voters' rejection of our families' equality. But responding to that hurt by lashing out at African Americans is deeply wrong and offensive - not to mention destructive to the goal of advancing equality.
Before we give Religious Right leaders more reasons to rejoice by deepening the divisions they have worked so hard to create between African Americans and the broader progressive community, let's be clear about who is responsible for gay couples in California losing the right to get married, and let's think strategically about a way forward that broadens and strengthens support for equality.
Kolbert is spot-on and frames this issue exactly as it is. A divide and conquer strategy by the religious right. If you check out any of the many right-wing blogs who have linked this post such as The Corner at The National Review, the assignment desk for the right wing, or freeper central at Ace of Spades, you will see they are loving the gay-on-black hostilities.