Prop 8 and the Race Factor

Updated

At Thursday’s Proposition 8 protest, there were some reports of racial taunts and the N-word, including some aimed at African-American same-sex couples who were part of the demonstration.

This report comes from writer Rod McCullom: “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.”

“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.”

In The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates challenges the notion that the heavy turnout of African Americans were the key to the passage of Proposition 8. (Even Jon Stewart referred to the claim on “The Daily Show” on Thursday, below.)

“Yesterday, I tried to outline a humanistic case against the whole “Teh blackz did us in!” argument. I also linked some math. Now we have better math. The basic idea is that you need black folks to have been about 10 percent of all votes cast on Prop 8 to make a difference. Black folks are one of the smallest minorities in California, making up about six percent of the total electorate, which numbers at about 17 million. At 6 percent, black folks are worth about a million or so votes. There were just over ten million votes cast on Prop. 8. For blacks to cast ten percent of those you would need a turnout of 90 percent in the black community. Lemme repeat that–90 percent. It’s possible, I guess. I leave it to you to weigh the odds.

“I’m still embarrassed by the fact that 70 percent of those who did vote, voted yes. It means we have serious work to do. But I’m seeing a makings of a disreputable trend to turn a problem into a black problem. We use disproportion as a crutch–what’s important is that blacks are disproportionately poor, not that there are large numbers of white poor people. Ditto for homophobia. What’s important isn’t the large minority of whites, and the influential majority (barely) of Latinos who passed Prop 8, but the roughly 5 percent of the California electorate who voted for it.”

I’ve heard disappointed same-sex marriage supporters made the same race argument, but I have faith it will be quickly tamped down by leaders in the No on 8 movement. As Coates spells out, but it goes down the precarious road of identity politics where no one wins. Again, watch my “video of the day” post from John Duran.

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  1. Thelea Draganic says:

    I am upset about this erroneous finger pointing at African-Americans regarding Proposition 8. Why are you so quick to believe whatever you hear? If someone told me 70 percent of gay people voted against Obama my first thought would be, excuse me Jesus, that is crap! I don’t believe it! This political year was fraught with right wing lies. Bear that in mind.
    “Religious organizations that support Proposition 8 include the Roman Catholic Church], Knights of Columbus, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) a group of Evangelical Christians led by Jim Garlow and Miles McPherson, American Family Association, Focus on the Family[and the National Organization for Marriage Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, California’s largest, has also endorsed the measure. The Bishops of the California Catholic Conference released a statement supporting the proposition. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has publicly supported the proposition and encouraged their membership to support it, by asking its members to donate money and volunteer time. The First Presidency of the church announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter read in every congregation. Latter-day Saints have provided a significant source for financial donations in support of the proposition, both inside and outside the State of California. About 45% of out-of-state contributions to Protect Marriage.com has come from Utah, over three times more than any other state.”
    Still, even though gays were fighting to preserve a basic right, it was the anti-equality side in California that seemed to have the most fervor. A symbolic low point for the gay side came on Oct. 13, when the Sacramento Bee ran a remarkable story about Rick and Pam Patterson, a Mormon couple of modest means – he drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic, she raises their five boys – who had withdrawn $50,000 from their savings account and given it to the pro-8 campaign. “It was a decision we made very prayerfully,” Pam Patterson, 48, told the Bee’s Jennifer Garza. “Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children.”
    This is your real enemy. Don’t trust exit polls. I think they are pitting one group against the other. African-Americans are less than 7% of the state population, do the math. Many more Whites voted and they put this over, not Blacks. What are the total numbers of each group that voted. Someone dug into the data and found that we’re just now learning is that the exit poll was based on less than 2,300 people. If you take into account that blacks in California only make up about 6.2%, we get roughly 224 blacks who were polled. 224 blacks to blame an entire race! The original percentage of black voters who were expected to say yes to Prop 8 was only around 52-58%. Anytime you get a vote that much higher over the projected vote, something went wrong.
    I know someone who watches C-Span and they said most Blacks did not even address the question at all. And they do not have the money to fund a tens of millions of dollars Proposition 8 campaign. Note that they also targeted affirmative action for eradication in another state.
    I cannot believe that these groups get a pass and Blacks are being targeted for the blame game. Rather than be upset at the phantom African-American menace, fight like hell. There is no right wing black conspiracy against gay Americans. When you tried to align your struggle with that of Blacks you inherited their enemies. These same enemies are now trying to pit one against the other because they fear the combined numbers of both.
    How many gay activists supported the civil rights movement in the 1960’s? Then how do you automatically expect support in return? Have you asked Blacks to support you or did you just assume?
    No one gave Obama anything and they will not give gays anything either. Obama stands on the shoulders of a lot of brave people who gave their lives for him to stand on that podium last night.
    Never trust exits polls because in all my years of life, no one has ever been seen at a polling place asking anyone anything when they left.
    Don’t fall for the lies.

  2. Like when Hillary lost the nomination and Black America got a taste of how their party mates really felt about them (thank you Harriet Christian and P.U.M.A.), the white gays are following suit after not being able to defeat Proposition 8.
    To date, 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.
    But I know one thing, they won’t bring that shit south of the 10 freeway.
    All I can say is that I wish that had been me in Westwood some gay called a “nigger.” I keep bail money and a lawyer on retainer for exactly these types of occasions.
    If gays want to blame someone for Proposition 8, they can start with their leaders—also known as the gay mafia, whose egos, white superiority complex, and misunderstanding of Black people’s priorities for this election season guaranteed certain outcomes.
    Keep it up and maybe the Black people will come to West Hollywood and hold a protest of their own—I’d be happy to lead it.
    http://www.jasmynecannick.com/blog/?p=2857
    http://www.jasmynecannick.com/blog/?p=2846

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