According to a SurveyUSA poll, 58% of black voters support Proposition 8, which would enshrine irrational fear and rank bigotry into the California Constitution in order to deny gays the right to marry. Black support is 10% higher than support of any other ethnic group. This is ironic, considering that in striking down the law banning same sex marriage, the California Supreme Court cited the landmark 1967 civil rights case Loving vs. Virginia that struck down the prohibition of interracial marriage.
A majority of California's voting African-Americans seem blind to that irony, however. They see no kinship to their own past as a reviled minority whose sexual touch toward a single white man or woman would sully the entire "race" of American whites--just as legally sanctioning the sexual touch of same sex partners would so sully heterosexuals' unions that they will... what? Seek immediate divorce? Abandon their children to the streets? Suffer mass orgasmic dysfunction?
58% of the black voting population sees no irony in accepting a "separate but equal" status for gays despite the fact that the Supreme Court freed us from just such subjugation with Brown vs. Board of Education; without it we would still be classifiable as second class citizens.
We see no slippery slope in enshrining hatred and bigotry against a specific group into our ruling document--our California Constitution. If we can enshrine the second-class citizenship of gays with respect to marriage, why not the second-class citizenship of blacks with respect to education, or Hispanics with respect to citizenship itself? Someone will always hate you with equal vociferousness to your hate for someone else. It's simply a matter of convincing enough to do so--as has been done in convincing 58% of blacks to support the same kind of irrational hatred that kept us in figurative shackles for most of the last century.
We say it's "Jesus." Jesus says... It's because Jesus hates the fags... The Bible says so... First, the Bible does not. The Bible contains no imprecations against homosexuality stronger than those against the eating of pork. Bacon anyone?
Secondly, it wasn't that long ago that the Bible (thrust upon our ancestors to make them more accepting of their enslavement) supposedly preached that black skin was a curse from God. The Curse of Ham or Noah's Curse infected Christianity and became a justification for our debasement. We were accursed of God, just like gays are supposed to be today. Jesus said so. The Bible said so.
That debasement is still at work. I believe its lingering effects account for much of that 58% black support for the repellant Proposition 8. Throughout American history, black men could not protect themselves, much less their families, from the predations of the majority, who could own, rape, maim and kill you and yours at will. Later, they could heap endless indignities upon you for your kith and kin to see; and there was not a damned thing in the world you could do about it. In the traditional sense of manhood, black men did not qualify. Once we began to develop some sense of self-respect, we overcompensated with a black buck hypermasculinity that's still apparent today. From blaxploitation movies to gangsta rap, it's been a constant in the images with which we're entertained.
Fear feeds those images. Fear of being once more less than a man, less than able to protect and defend what is yours. Fear of once again being treated as the dirt beneath white men's feet. Fear fuels Proposition 8. It's like some sci-fi creature that feeds on it; and we blacks have so much of it in reserve.
That 58% number makes me sorry for us all right now. It reminds me of what we've been through, and how it allows us to be manipulated by the same racialist, religious right zealots who've spent the last 40 years trying to deny us our rights to equal housing, equal educational opportunities, equal voting rights, and equal treatment under the law.
Today, our attempts to defend our pride in the manhood of our men, we only prove that we're still vulnerable to whims of those who've most reviled us. We're ready to open the door to the legalization of bigotry--a door through which we too might one day be shoved. We're not defending our "manly" bona fides through supporting Prop 8. We're only proving how damaged we remain.
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