Tag Archives: Jesse Jackson

The ‘new’ pride flag: Oh, HELL no!

Updated below (on Monday, June 26, 2017)

New Pride Flag

Misguided, overzealous people from within their safe spaces in Philadelphia recently decided to add two new stripes to the traditional pride flag in order to represent brown and black people who are non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming.

As “President” Pussygrabber might say: SAD!

The “new” pride flag, which I reject and hope is widely rejected, is wrong on many levels. Let me count the ways.

Anyone who has been to a left-of-center protest or demonstration knows the problem of too many groups trying to be seen and heard. It’s fucking selfish and rude and disrespectful for, say, a marijuana-rights group to show up at an anti-war protest, but I’ve seen shit like that. You don’t piggyback onto someone else’s cause in order to promote your own. That is lacking in all class and tact.

There are many good causes and righteous crusades out there, and of course intersectionality is very important. (It is so important that if you don’t know what it is, you should click on that link to find out.) You’ll get no argument otherwise from me.

But how cluttered — and how co-opted — are we going to let the pride flag become?

How are Asian or biracial LGBT people represented by the “new” pride flag? What about the deaf or the blind or the physically and/or mentally disabled or the mentally ill? Where are their stripes? Do the poor get a stripe? The elderly? Jews? Muslims? Atheists? I consider myself to be a socialist; where is the stripe for socialists? (“The red stripe,” I hear you say. Or maybe, “Add a pink stripe!” Shut the fuck up.)

The pride flag always has meant, or at least its significance always has included, diversity, including racial diversity. Remember Jesse Jackson’s National Rainbow Coalition from the 1980s? It exists today as the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and here is its logo:

Shit, not only does it not include a black or a brown stripe, but it doesn’t even have the green or orange stripe of the traditional rainbow! It is very pared down! No black or brown stripe! (Did I mention Jesse Jackson? And no black or brown stripe?)

And I remember the first pride-flag bumper stickers of the more homophobic 1990s: “Celebrate diversity,” they proclaimed, because apparently celebrating a vague, gauzy “diversity” was much more acceptable than was celebrating much more specific “gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.” We had to water it down for the homophobes and heterosexists, you see; we didn’t want our cars to be vandalized or to be the victims of violence.

The “new” pride flag as proposed by our Philadelphian sisters and brothers is too busy and unattractive.* Aesthetically (and we gay men are supposed to be all about great aesthetics!), brown and black don’t belong with the colors of the rainbow any more than does gray or even white (of course, black, white and gray aren’t colors).

And, of course, actual rainbows and prisms don’t display brown or black, for fuck’s sake, but display violet/purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. And that’s it.

More colors than those basic six are fabulous — but go get yourself a big ol’ fucking box of crayons and leave the fucking pride flag alone. It has stood the test of time and it doesn’t need your Johnny-come-lately tweaks.

The “new” pride flag is too busy and too unattractive, and I have a real problem with the co-option of the LGBT movement by race-based movements, especially when race-based movements so often in the past have shown nothing but contempt and disrespect for those of us who are LGBT.

Black Americans have been notoriously homophobic, and many Latinos, with their culture of Catholicism and machismo, have been, too. (I’m not saying that Asians have been all that much better, but the black and brown stripes of the “new and improved” pride flag apparently primarily symbolize blacks and Latinos.)

So often have I heard, especially from black Americans, that gay rights are not civil rights. (I once even had one black homophobe venomously tell me, “You can’t compare race to sin!” Another black homophobe once wonderfully lovingly to me referred to being non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming as a possible “birth defect.”) Now, these very same people want on my flag? Oh, fuck no!

These homophobes would have a fucking stroke if the LGBT movement tried to elbow its way into their movements, so why the fuck is it OK for them to encroach upon the LGBT movement? Are we gay people supposed to just bend over and take it up the ass? (Isn’t that what the homophobes and heterosexists always have thought of us? That we’re passive pushovers who are easily steamrolled?)

Again, intersectionality is important. Many of us within the LGBT community not only are non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming, but we’re also not white or we have a disability or some other trait (a physical trait, membership in a minority religion, we’re not a U.S. citizen, etc.) that puts us into another minority group or groups as well. But we can’t put all of the possible permutations of minority status on one fucking flag, each minority group with its own specific, distinctive element.

So: Leave the fucking pride flag alone. It’s fine the way that it is. It doesn’t need your “improvements.”

And: We non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals have fought for decades for equal human and civil rights. It was just two years ago later this month that our right to marry whom we love finally was recognized. (No, that constitutional and human right was not “given” to us by generous heterosexuals. Not only did we fight like hell for it, but it always existed, but the homophobes and heterosexists had refused to recognize it — and many of them still do!) And it was just a year ago this month that the largest gun massacre in modern U.S. history was perpetrated — on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

And: We non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals have the additional obstacle and burden of the fact that many of us are discriminated against and rejected by even members of our own fucking families. Most other members of other minority groups at least have the support of their own fucking families.

And: The LGBT movement still has a long way to go; it didn’t end with the long-overdue legal recognition of same-sex marriage in all 50 states two years ago. For example, being non-heterosexual still isn’t a federally protected class. Nor is being non-gender-conforming (although the federal courts in their rulings are starting to view discrimination against the non-gender-conforming and/or the non-heterosexual as a form of sex discrimination, which it is).

So: Perhaps those who are chomping at the bit to co-opt the LGBT movement — I have to surmise that their goal is to minimize it and to push it back into the shadows so that more attention is put on their own special-interest groups — at the very least can wait until we non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming individuals have the same federally protected status that they do before they even think about desecrating our flag.

Update (Monday, June 26, 2017): Today is the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the U.S. Constitution prohibits banning same-sex marriage anywhere in the United States, yet, according to a Pew Research Center survey taken earlier this month, only 51 percent of black Americans support same-sex marriage.

That’s only a few percent more than Repugnicans who support same-sex marriage (47 percent of them).

Among all Americans, 62 percent support same-sex marriage.

Yeah, I’m thinking that the Only Black Lives Matter set really needs to stop lecturing us LGBTs on the topic of equal human and civil rights.

And I’ll really go out on a limb and pronounce that they really, really need to give a fuck about us before they expect us to give a fuck about them.

That barely half of black Americans support same-sex marriage two years after it was made the law of the land indicates that black homophobia is alive and well. We LGBTs should be demanding to be on their flags, not vice-fucking-versa.

*The original gay pride flag, which debuted in San Francisco (appropriately) in June 1978, looked like this:

I’m glad that the flag later was altered to delete the pink and the turquoise stripes. I have nothing against pink or turquoise — or brown or black — but the original, eight-striped pride flag was too busy, and the natural spectrum doesn’t have pink (arguably, I suppose, it does have turquoise).

The traditional pride flag is much simpler and cleaner:

This version of the pride flag has been in use since 1979, and again, I, for one, won’t accept its desecration. There is a lot of history and a lot of human pain and suffering behind it, too much history and too much pain and suffering for those who weren’t even alive during all of that to then come along and blithely fucking ruin it in their coddled ignorance and self-centeredness.

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Is Ferguson a symptom of black American panic?

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Finally (maybe), the president we voted for in 2008

“You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son,” President Barack Obama remarked during a press conference yesterday, immediately adding, “Another way of saying that is [that] Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” He also remarked that while “Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race,” “It doesn’t mean that we’re in a post-racial society” and “It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated.” Anyone who has a problem with these words is a part of the problem.

I usually agree with Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, but not this time. He begins his latest column thusly:

We should talk honestly about unresolved racial issues, such as those exposed by the Trayvon Martin case, but President Obama is not the best person to lead the discussion. Through no fault of his own, he might be the worst.

Indeed, yesterday President Hopey-Changey unexpectedly during a press conference at the White House finally discussed American race relations apparently in a way not meant to placate the incredibly easily rattled whitey.

This was the Obama I voted for in 2008 but could not vote for again in 2012, in no small part because of his history of probably being worse on the issues of race relations and racism than an actually progressive white president would have been.

Here are some nuggets from Obama’s remarks (which I recommend that you read in their entirety):

…[In] the African-American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here [in the Trayvon Martin case], [and] I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away.

There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.

And there are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

…The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.

…And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent — using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

…So — so folks understand the challenges that exist for African-American boys, but they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it or — and that context is being denied. And — and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different. …

Now, I don’t agree with every word that Obama spoke, such as his mindless, pro-plutocratic promotion of nonviolence — “If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family,” he remarked, even though the U.S. government and all other levels of government in the U.S. resort to violence for our plutocratic overlords all the fucking time, abroad and at home, while we commoners are never to respond in kind, thus helping to ensure the status quo (including, of course, our serfdom) — but even simple, obvious, irrefutable reminders of what black Americans routinely go through, such as being followed around at department stores and hearing the clicks of car-door locks in their presence, are powerful.

These simple truths are powerful because in the United States of America they so rarely are mentioned in the public square, and certainly, until now, never by the U.S. president.

These truths aren’t controversial because they’re truths, but because in the dysfunctional family that is the United States of America, truths that make many people uncomfortable are not to be uttered at all, and those who utter them usually are punished — not for lying, certainly, but for uttering the truths that, the unspoken but usually quite understood rule is, never are to be uttered because they make certain people — gasp!uncomfortable.

This dysfunctional bullshit needed to stop long ago, and the reason that Obama got my vote in 2008, at least in part, is that I trusted his ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change”; I trusted him to start to break through all of the bullshit.

Unfortunately, Obama apparently has waited until his second term to begin to do so.

In his remarks about the Trayvon Martin case Obama also offered some policy changes in order to prevent similar cases from happening in the future. Among those remarks were these two:

“I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it — if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than defuse potential altercations” and “…[If] we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?”

I think he hit the nail on the head — the two big takeaways from the Trayvon Martin case are the problems of racial profiling (and racism and race relations in general, which, of course, are behind such profiling) and right-wing state laws that indeed actually encourage Wild-West-style violence rather than work to reduce violence.

The only Americans who possibly could have a real problem with Obama’s remarks are those who are guilty as charged. These would be the racists and white supremacists who have opposed Obama from Day One anyway.

I get it that Obama also from Day One was careful, probably especially once he stepped into the national limelight, not to appear to be an “angry” black man, lest too many white (and other non-black) people be put off by it and not vote for him. (There is a reason that someone like Obama, and not someone like Jesse Jackson [who did run for president — back in the day I went to his presidential campaign stop at my university], became our first black president.)

However, up until now Obama has gone too far in the direction of caution, neglecting the issue of race to the point that, again, I seriously have considered that an actually bold, progressive white (or other non-black) president would have done much more to improve the lives of black Americans than Obama has.

Obama’s chronic over-caution has had the paradoxical effect, I suspect, of making the fact that he’s been our first black president to be fairly meaningless, in terms of the quality of black Americans’ lives. Hell, not even just meaningless, but actually detrimental, given his “leadership” style of holding back and doing little to nothing (not only on race relations but on most matters of importance; for instance, I’ll never forget his relative inaction while British Petroleum just filled the Gulf of Mexico with oil, arguably the first real test of his presidential mettle).

Still, I suppose, better late than never, although none of us should expect that Obama now will be talking frankly and candidly about race and race relations with any frequency between now and the end of his second term. It’s never been his style, and I can’t see him radically changing his style now.

But it is the job of the president of the United States of America to talk about social issues, and to be a leader to the nation that elected him or her, and probably the most controversial social issues are the ones that need to be discussed the most, just as the most painful parts of your body are the parts that most need medical attention — certainly not denial and avoidance.

And a part of the American body politic that needs medical attention — stat — is the demographic of young black males. “We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys,” Obama also remarked yesterday, adding, “There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?”

Obama continued: “You know, I’m not naive about the prospects of some brand-new federal program. I’m not sure that that’s what we’re talking about here. But I do recognize that as president, I’ve got some convening power.”

Indeed. As president, Obama does have power, power that thus far he hasn’t used nearly enough for good.

So I have to disagree with Eugene Robinson when he states that “The record indicates that honest talk from Obama about race is seen by many [white (let’s face it, Robinson, who seems almost as timid as Obama does, very most likely mostly means white)] people as threatening” and that therefore, “the unfortunate fact is that if his aim is to promote dialogue about race, speaking his mind is demonstrably counterproductive.”

No, it is Obama’s up-to-now historical silence on the topic of race — other than non-threatening/non-“threatening,” throw-away platitudes — that has been demonstrably counterproductive.

Those who — gasp! — feel threatened!/“threatened”! and/or uncomfortable! need to get a fucking grip already, because they are the ones who have been preventing the United States of America from fulfilling its up-to-now fairly empty promises of liberty and justice for all.

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When it rains, it pours: NAACP now is on board with same-sex marriage

I still believe that President Barack Obama, for his ubiquitous campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” publicly came out for same-sex marriage too late in his presidency — the time to do the right thing is (almost) always right now — and I still believe that Obama publicly came out for same-sex marriage only after he’d calculated that it was politically safe to do so (and maybe even only after he’d calculated that it was politically harmful to continue not to do so).

And I certainly don’t want to be told that I should be thankful that Obama politically went out on a limb for my fellow non-heterosexuals and otherwise non-gender-conforming individuals when, in fact, we helped put him in the Oval Office, and when, in fact, our equal human and civil rights always have been and always will be far more important than is one politician.

All of that said, Obama’s belated pro-same-sex-marriage proclamation seems to be having benefits that perhaps even he didn’t foresee.

Not only have leaders within the black community such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton proclaimed that they support same-sex marriage — Jackson not long ago enough was adamant that same-sex marriage is not about civil rights — but the NAACP yesterday announced its support of same-sex marriage, calling same-sex marriage a civil right.

The Associated Press quotes NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous as having proclaimed: “Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people.”

Wow.

True, Jealous is a young black leader — he’s 39, the youngest president that the NAACP has ever had — and it’s true that younger people are much more accepting of same-sex marriage and other equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals than are older people. And it’s true that there are many, many older people (and yes, plenty of younger people), of all races, who are going to take their homophobia with them to their graves, regardless of what Barack Obama or Benjamin Todd Jealous or Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or you or I have to say about same-sex marriage and equal human and civil rights for all.

But the good news is that old bigots do die, that they have fewer days ahead of them than they have behind them. And as today’s younger bigots grow older and their bigotry becomes less and less acceptable, at least they increasingly will keep their stupid fucking mouths shut and keep their ignorance and hatred to their miserable selves.

Given that blacks have been the one racial group in the United States most opposed to equality for non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, having the likes of Obama and Jealous and Jackson and Sharpton now proclaiming that the black community should share the civil rights pie already with non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals should, within a few years, I surmise, put a fairly solid majority of Americans (say, at least 55 percent of them) in favor of equality for all.

There is a pretty good article on the topic of black homophobia that Slate writer William Saletan posted in November 2008, shortly after the nation elected its first black president — and after black voters were the largest racial group of voters in California who voted down same-sex marriage by voting yes on Proposition 8. Saletan begins:

[November 4, 2008] was a good day to be black. It was not a good day to be gay.

Arkansas voters approved a ballot measure to prohibit gay couples from adopting kids. Florida and Arizona voters approved measures to ban gay marriage. But the heaviest blow came in California, where a gay-marriage ban, Proposition 8, overrode a state Supreme Court ruling that had legalized same-sex marriage.

A surge of black turnout, inspired by Barack Obama, didn’t help liberals in the Proposition 8 fight. In fact, it was a big reason why they lost. The gay marriage problem is becoming a black problem.

The National Election Pool exit poll tells the story. Whites and Asian Americans, comprising 69 percent of California’s electorate, opposed Proposition 8 by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent. Latinos favored it, 53-47. But blacks turned out in historically high numbers — 10 percent of the electorate — and 70 percent of them voted for Proposition 8. …

I remember that Election Day well. I had cast my vote for Barack Obama, only to learn within the following days that while I had supported the black community, the black community had coldly turned its back on me.

Saletan’s article even indicates that perhaps black homophobia helped get George W. Bush a second term in 2004:

A report from the pro-gay National Black Justice Coalition attributes President Bush’s 2004 re-election in part to the near-doubling of his percentage of the black vote in Ohio, which he achieved “by appealing to black churchgoers on the issue of marriage equality.” This year, blacks in California were targeted the same way.

The NBJC report paints a stark picture of the resistance. It cites surveys showing that “65 percent of African Americans are opposed to marriage equality compared to 53 percent of whites” and that blacks are “less than half as likely to support marriage equality and legal recognition of same-sex civil unions as whites.”

It concludes: “African Americans are virtually the only constituency in the country that has not become more supportive over the last dozen years, falling from a high of 65 percent support for gay rights in 1996 to only 40 percent in 2004.” Nor is the problem dying out: “Among African-American youth, 55 percent believed that homosexuality is always wrong, compared to 36 percent of Latino youth and 35 percent of white youth.”

Saletan then goes, at some length, into the black homophobes’ “mutability”/“immutability” “argument,” which I just don’t fucking buy. (Who chooses to be a member of an historically reviled and oppressed minority group? Fucking duh.) I still surmise, as I wrote recently, that most homophobic blacks remain homophobic primarily because (1) they want to remain, in the national story, the only victims of prejudice and discrimination and oppression, because their identity is wrapped up in race-based victimhood, real or imagined/fabricated, and (2) because they want there to be one minority group that even they still can shit and piss upon, because it’s better to be near the bottom of the sociological dog-pile that is the United States of America than it is to be at the very bottom, isn’t it?

This is cruelty and hypocrisy, of course, to demand equality for one’s own minority group but to continue to shit and piss upon the members of another historically oppressed minority group. When the historically hated and oppressed become the haters and oppressors of others, it’s pretty fucking ugly. (Are you listening, Palestinian-oppressing Israelis?)

And, of course, homophobia within the black community doesn’t just hurt gay whites like me. It hurts blacks in many ways. Being rejected by your own family for not being heterosexual and/or gender-conforming contributes to such problems as drug and alcohol addiction, emotional and psychological disorders, suicide attempts, and the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, because individuals who have come to believe that they are shit for not being heterosexual and/or gender-conforming often don’t worry too much about protecting themselves because they probably want to die anyway, their self-esteem is that low.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in fact, reports:

African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Despite representing only 14 percent of the US population in 2009, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections in that year. Compared with members of other races and ethnicities, African Americans account for a higher proportion of HIV infections at all stages of disease — from new infections to deaths.

Black homophobia — and its attendant ignorance and fear and stunning lack of education and enlightenment — probably is the No. 1 reason for those grim statistics, and, of course, heterosexual black women are less likely to contract HIV and other STDs if their black male sexual partners who actually are homosexual or bisexual don’t feel pressured to lead double lives in order to give the appearance of heterosexuality in order to please the homophobic bigots in their lives. (The CDC reports than for 2009, “Most [85 percent of] black women with HIV acquired HIV through heterosexual sex. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women was more than 15 times as high as the rate for white women, and more than three times as high as that of Latina women.”)

And, of course, it’s much easier for me and other non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals to be supportive of the members of the black community if we have the same love and respect from them that they want from us.

With equal human and civil rights for everyone, everyone wins.

Except, perhaps, for the members of the right wing, who have opposed equal human and civil rights, who have opposed liberty and justice for all, forever.

That so many blacks have shared that trait with the white wingnuts is nothing short of tragic.

P.S. Here is the text of the NAACP’s decision to support same-sex marriage, from the organization’s website:

The NAACP Constitution affirmatively states our objective to ensure the “political, educational, social and economic equality” of all people. Therefore, the NAACP has opposed and will continue to oppose any national, state, local policy or legislative initiative that seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the constitutional rights of LGBT citizens. We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Further, we strongly affirm the religious freedoms of all people as protected by the First Amendment.

Of course, that last sentence, an apparent afterthought, apparently had to be thrown in there in order to appease the churchgoing set. Of course, one’s religious freedoms do not include the “right” to impose his or her own religious beliefs upon everyone else, which the churchgoing set has a problem understanding, thus their incredibly insane claim that they are victimized if they are not allowed to victimize others, because their religious beliefs include the supposedly Bible-based victimization of others.

Not being a member of the black community, I don’t know how much sway the NAACP has within the black community. The organization’s website proclaims:

The NAACP has addressed civil rights with regard to marriage since Loving vs. Virginia declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional in 1967. In recent years the NAACP has taken public positions against state and federal efforts to ban the rights and privileges for LGBT citizens, including strong opposition to Proposition 8 in California, the Defense of Marriage Act, and most recently, North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which changed the state constitution’s to prohibit same-sex marriage.

While I am happy to see the NAACP’s comparison of same-sex marriage rights to mixed-race (heterosexual) marriage rights, if it is true that the NAACP showed “strong opposition to Proposition 8 in California,” the fact that 70 percent of the state’s black voters voted down same-sex marriage nontheless indicates, unfortunately, that the NAACP doesn’t have an awful lot of sway within the black community, at least not here in California or in North Carolina or in the other states where black voters have shot down same-sex marriage in much higher percentages than have their white, Latino and Asian counterparts.

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Thanks to Obama, Jesse Jackson, et. al., seem to have evolved

Um, let’s not call Barack Obama “the first gay president,” but let’s credit him with being influential within the black community where equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals are concerned.

Newsweek’s May 21 cover pronouncement of Barack Obama being the nation’s “first gay president” is typically-for-Newsweek hyperbolic — Obama is no more the “first gay president” than Bill Clinton was the “first black president” — but Obama’s belated pronouncement of last week that he supports same-sex marriage (although he hasn’t changed his “states’ rights” “argument” and thus he has not argued that same-sex marriage should not be prohibited by any of the states) might have the benefit of easing some of the homophobia within the black community.

Seventy percent of the black voters who voted on California’s Proposition 8 in November 2008 voted “yes” and thus voted against same-sex marriage here in California — on the very same election day that brought us the nation’s first black president, mind you.

Seventy fucking percent. (Overall, 52 percent of the state’s voters passed Prop H8.)

The Washington Post at the time of Prop H8’s passage reported that “Similar [anti-same-sex-marriage] measures passed easily in Florida and Arizona. It was closer in California, but no ethnic group anywhere rejected the sanctioning of same-sex unions as emphatically as the state’s black voters, according to exit polls.”

This, I think, was for two primary reasons:

One, most black Americans have adopted the toxic, backasswards, ignorance-, hatred- and fear-based religion of those who once were their enslavers. They and their equally fucktarded and bigoted white counterparts call this patriarchal, misogynist and homophobic bullshit “Christianity,” but I’ve read the New Testament, and Christianity this ain’t.

It’s unfortunate that so many black churches are just like white churches. The only significant difference between the black Protestant churches and the white Protestant churches, it seems to me, is the race and the racial identity of the churchgoers. The ignorance, hatred, bigotry and the us-vs.-them, fear-based bullshit pretty much are the same.

Two, many if not most blacks refuse to share the victimization pie. These blacks don’t want to acknowledge that any other historically oppressed minority group also has been oppressed in the United States of America. Their victimization (real and/or fabricated) is their identity, after all.

Of course we cannot exactly compare gay rights and the historical oppression that non-heterosexuals and the non-gender-conforming have experienced to race-based rights and the historical oppression that blacks and other non-whites have experienced in the United States of America.

Slavery, and being discriminated against for your race, are a whole other ball of wax from being discriminated against for your sexual orientation and/or your gender expression. Obviously and of course.

However, it’s also true that gay males and lesbians and other non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals are the only minorities who routinely are rejected even by their own families. Racial minorities, on the other hand, almost universally are accepted by the members of their own families. (There are exceptions, of course, such as in the cases of biracial children; a white supremacist white family probably would to some degree reject a biracial child born into the family, for example.)

But getting into arguments over which historically oppressed minority group has had it worse probably isn’t very constructive, and fuck it, I will say it: Those blacks who make stewing over the injustices that were done even primarily to their forebears their second or even their first job probably are quite stuck in their development, and since they have a difficult time living in the present, but remain stuck in the past — even others’ past — their chance of making significant progress in the present is slim. They are sad cases who not only are miserable themselves, but who do their best to make those around them miserable.

I mean, shit. I can’t marry my same-sex partner of five years here in the supposedly liberal and progressive state of California, and I can think of no other minority group that isn’t allowed to get married. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1967, in Loving vs. Virginia, that no state can outlaw mixed-race heterosexual marriage, but here I am, decades later, and I don’t have marriage rights. Gay indeed apparently is the new black. (Maybe that is reason No. 3 for rampant black homophobia: Many if not most blacks want to ensure that there is at least one minority group that they still can shit and piss upon. In this dogpile that we call the U.S. of A. it’s still better to be next to the bottom than to be at the very bottom of the dogpile, isn’t it?) I could stew over this gross injustice a lot more than I do, but I would like my life to be about more than stewing over this injustice.

All of that said, same-sex marriage rights and other equal rights and human rights for non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals are civil rights.

Civil rights is a large umbrella — an umbrella that doesn’t cover only blacks. Wikipedia notes in its entry “civil rights”:

Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.

Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples’ physical integrity and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as physical or mental disability, gender, religion, race, national origin, age, status as a member of the uniformed services, sexual orientation or gender identity; and individual rights such as privacy, the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press, and movement.

Fuck it, I’ll say it: If you maintain that civil rights cover only your group, you’re a selfish fucking hypocrite who demands that your group be treated with fairness and with justice, but you don’t give a flying fuck about other groups. Therefore, you don’t fucking deserve the same respect that you demand that others show you.

Therefore, I was incensed when Jesse Jackson announced some time ago that gay rights (or at least same-sex marriage rights) aren’t civil rights. As recently as two years ago, Jackson reportedly declared, “Many African-Americans believe gays are discriminated against, but they don’t believe marriage is a civil-rights issue. [Really? Loving vs. Virginia, which allowed mixed-race heterosexual marriage, was not over a civil-rights issue?] There are issues of acceptance [of gays], but there is no back of the bus; there are no lynchings.” Um, Matthew Shepard and countless other non-heterosexuals who have been killed for their sexual orientation and/or non-gender-conformation have not, in effect, been lynched? Jackson at that time added that being non-heterosexual “is not immutable” and “is not an externally observable characteristic unless you want to flaunt it.”

Actually, for most non-heterosexuals it is not a choice, any more than heterosexuals have a choice as to who they are and are not sexually attracted to, and of course, that word choice — “flaunt it” — reeks of homophobic bigotry (the only way for effeminate males and masculine females not to “flaunt it” is to [try to] pretend to be who and what they are not, which is soul-crushing), and of course the “immutability” “argument” is bullshit where civil rights are concerned. Civil rights protect one’s religious beliefs, for example, and certainly one’s religious beliefs are not immutable. (And why, oh, why, must so many “Christians” flaunt their mutable, bullshit, backasswards beliefs that they wish to inflict on all of us? And why do the “Christians” want to convert our defenseless children to their perversion?)

However, Jesse Jackson seems to have evolved on the issue of same-sex marriage since his earlier effective public proclamations that blacks have the monopoly on civil rights.

The Los Angeles Times on Thursday surreally reported (emphases are mine):

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Thursday praised President Obama’s decision to support same-sex marriage, comparing the battle for such unions to the fight against slavery and anti-miscegenation laws intended to keep blacks and other ethnicities from mingling and marrying with whites.

“This is a bold step in the right direction for equal protection under the law for all citizens,” Jackson told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday morning. But, he said, he wished the president had gone further, pushing for federal protection for all citizens instead of leaving the controversial issue of gay marriage up to the states to decide. [!!!]

If other hard-won civil rights battles had been left up to the states, Jackson said, African Americans would have been on the losing end of those battles.

“If the states had to vote on slavery, we would have lost the vote,” Jackson said. “If we had to vote on the right [for blacks] to vote, we would have lost that vote.” …

Wow. Here is Jesse Jackson now more or less comparing the fight for same-sex marriage in all 50 states to the fight to eliminate slavery in all 50 states, a comparison that I recently made myself and was expecting to get shit for (but miraculously did not).

Of course, not being allowed to marry the one you wish to marry absolutely is not just like being involuntarily owned and involuntarily worked like livestock instead of being treated as a free human being, but the idea of allowing any of the states to put the treatment of and the equal human and civil rights of any minority group up for a fucking vote is anti-American. And I do believe that while of course we cannot directly compare the prohibition of same-sex marriage to slavery, we can more or less directly compare laws that banned mixed-race marriage to laws that ban same-sex marriage. Yes, marriage rights are civil rights.

I have been critical of Barack Obama for still not having gone far enough on same-sex marriage — and, by and large, most Americans, even non-heterosexual Americans, seem to be letting him off of the hook for his willingness to go only so far thus far — so it is gratifying to see Jesse Jackson’s proclamation that Obama hasn’t gone far enough on same-sex marriage.

The L.A. Times reports further of Jackson’s recent pronouncement (emphases mine):

His statement comes as a growing number of African-American leaders and civil-rights activists are stepping forward to voice their support for same-sex marriage. Their positions are significant because there is a stronghold of opposition to same-sex marriage within African American communities. This week alone, African-Americans voters were instrumental to passing North Carolina’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. [Deja vu all over again…]

Acknowledging that gap, Jackson called on religious leaders nationwide to address the issue with their congregations.

Jackson said gays and lesbians are among the ranks of soldiers dying for their country, the teachers educating the nation’s children and even the pastors guiding parishioners through the Bible. It’s time to reward gays and lesbians with equal protection, he said.

He urged opponents to remember that same-sex marriage isn’t about taking rights away from anyone else, but rather extending those rights to all. He also recalled a painful time in America’s not-too-distant past when African American men in the South faced swift punishment or even death if they tried to date a white woman, even as white men boldly dated across racial lines.

With such history in the rear-view mirror, Jackson said, it’s time to stop dictating the actions of others.

“You may choose your mate, but you cannot deny someone else the right to choose their mate,” he said. “The law protects you from being abused. It doesn’t threaten your lifestyle for someone else to have the right to exhibit their lifestyle,” he later added. [“Exhibit” — I hope that that’s not just a euphemism for “flaunt”… And your sexual orientation, in the vast majority of cases, is not your “lifestyle.” Your lifestyle, by definition, is your choice. Your sexual orientation, in the vast majority of cases, is not your choice.]

Other African-American leaders were also vocal this week in their support for gay marriage, joining Jackson in reframing the issue as one of civil rights.

“I salute President Obama’s statement today supporting same-sex marriage,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement that went on to add: “This is not about mine or anyone’s personal or religious views. It is about equal rights for all. We cannot be selective with civil rights. We must support civil rights for everybody or we don’t support them for anyone.”

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, seen as a rising [black] star in the Democratic Party, appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC Wednesday to lend an impassioned voice in support of gay marriage rights. [I saw that interview, and I like fellow Gen X’er Cory Booker, and he is, I think, an example of the fact that one’s age largely determines his or her stance on same-sex marriage. Younger Americans, as a whole, are more accepting of same-sex marriage than are older Americans, such as Jesse Jackson, regardless of their race.]

And, earlier in the day, the social media savvy leader tweeted: “Historic day for justice and equality. Our United States President Obama endorses marriage equality. I rejoice in this announcement.”

I suspect that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, et. al., wouldn’t be as on board with same-sex marriage as they are now if our “first gay president” weren’t black and if our “first gay president” hadn’t first made his (limited) support of same-sex marriage public, but I’ll take their (belated) support anyway.

Truth be told, their support of my equal human and civil rights makes it much easier for me to give them my support of theirs wholeheartedly.

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Sherrod should tell them to shove it

Shirley Sherrod, the U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who became famous overnight for having been sacked by the Obama administration over right-wing lies without due process, reportedly is deciding whether or not she’ll accept the administration’s offer to take her back.

She should refuse it.

After what the Obama administration did to her, how could she ever feel good about working for it again?

The Obama administration doesn’t deserve someone of Sherrod’s caliber, and that the Obama administration fired her first and asked questions later reveals volumes about its character.

Obama’s skin color doesn’t matter, but his character does, and his character, we have learned, is for shit.

“Change” is the bullshit title of a fucking fundraising e-mail I received under Barack Obama’s name today. In the e-mail he asks for forty fucking dollars. (Actually, “$40 or more,” the e-mail requested. Because in this economy, all of us have at least $40 just sitting around, right?)

Oh, I don’t fucking think so, not right after he knee-jerkedly sold Shirley Sherrod down the river because of right-wing lies that, as usual, were so fucking easy to debunk.

“Change”?

Oh, fuck you, Barack Obama. With you it’s only been more of the same. You’re far more interested in pandering to the right wing and the dipshit “swing voters” than you are interested in supporting those who put you where you are now.

And Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack — what a sack of shit.

He says that he takes full responsibility for the way that Sherrod was shat and pissed upon.

Fine: He should fucking resign, then.

Shirley Sherrod’s treatment by the Obama administration was the last fucking straw for me.

I’ll give Barack Obama not another fucking red cent and never another vote.

In fact, I want my money back, and I deeply regret that I wasted my vote on him in November 2008.

I’m almost missing George W. Bush.

At least with him, we knew what to expect. (After he stole the White House in 2000, it could only have gone downhill from there.)

P.S. I saw a news report that Jesse Jackson had demanded that the Obama administration apologize to Sherrod. And Al Sharpton had this strange response, according to The Associated Press:

…Sharpton said black leaders should refrain from calling for an apology from the Obama administration, saying that creates the impression that black leadership is fractured.

“We are only greasing the rails for the right wing to run a train through our ambitions and goals for having civil and human rights in this country,” Sharpton said.

WTF? The Obama administration fucks up royally but black leaders should just let it go because Obama is (half-)black? Uh, isn’t that in its own sick and twisted way a bit racist? Doesn’t it put race above principle, above right and wrong?

I lost all respect for Jackson after he incredibly stupidly aligned himself with the right-wing fucktards during the Terri Schiavo debacle, and both Jackson and Sharpton have long made me ill with their narcissistic spotlight-grabbing.

If there’s an injustice or alleged injustice done to a black person anywhere, there are the self-serving Jackson and Sharpton, predictably, trying to make it all about themselves.

Funny that Sharpton should caution against harming the cause and aiding the right wing when he does that just about every time he opens his mouth before the television cameras.

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Next to ‘I love you,’ ‘I don’t know’ is the best three-word sentence of all

OK, so I probably have been guilty of this myself to some degree, but there is an epidemic in the nation of individuals asserting statements of truth even after they have acknowledged that they don’t know all of the facts.

There is this from The Associated Press today:

NATICK, Mass. – A white police sergeant who arrested renowned black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. said [today] he’s disappointed President Barack Obama said officers acted “stupidly,” despite acknowledging he didn’t know all the facts.

Sgt. James Crowley responded to Gates’ home near Harvard University last week to investigate a report of a burglary and demanded Gates show him identification. Police say Gates at first refused and accused the officer of racism.

Gates was charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was dropped Tuesday, and Gates has since demanded an apology from Crowley.

Obama was asked about the arrest of Gates, who is his friend, at the end of a nationally televised news conference on health care [last] night.

“I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry,” Obama said. “Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three — what I think we know separate and apart from this incident — is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that’s just a fact.”

In radio interviews [this] morning, Crowley maintained he had done nothing wrong in arresting Gates.

“I support the president of the United States 110 percent. I think he was way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts as he himself stated before he made that comment,” Crowley told WBZ-AM….

I don’t watch corporately owned and operated television, since it’s mostly just corporate brainwashing, but I happened to catch the end of Obama’s press conference at a friend’s house last night, and I was flabbergasted that Obama indeed first admitted that he didn’t know what happened between Gates and Crowley but then proceeded to assert that Gates indeed had produced his identification to Crowley as Crowley had asked him to do.

Fact is, this is a he-said, he-said situation. Gates says he produced identification when he was asked for it. The cops say that Gates refused to produce identification. While I tend to suspect that Gates indeed refused to show ID, at least initially, because he wanted to make the whole thing into a “racist” incident, I wasn’t there, so I can’t say for sure what happened; I can’t say who is telling the truth and who apparently is prevaricating.

When asked about Gatesgate last night, Obama should have simply stated that he wasn’t there, so he can’t take sides. That he took a side, Gates’ side, was irresponsible. It was piss-poor leadership on Obama’s part and only could serve to further stoke the flames of interracial hatred, the flames that Gates and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and their ilk seem to want to stoke.

Remaining neutral in the Gates case wouldn’t have been pussy of Obama — it would have been wise, given his admitted lack of knowledge of the facts.

And then there is Rachel Maddow. I love Rachel. She perhaps is my favorite lesbian on the planet.

But I was astounded to hear Maddow, in a clip that I recently watched on the Internet, state that of course every statement that Bowe Bergdahl, the 23-year-old American soldier being held captive by the Taliban, made in the half-hour video that the Taliban recently released was coerced.

WTF?

Fact is, we just can’t know what is in Bowe Bergdahl’s head. Yes, it’s certainly possible that everything that he said in the half-hour Taliban video, with the probable exception of the sentiments that he expressed for his family at home and his wish to go home, were coerced to at least some degree.

However, I don’t rule out that he truly believes at least some, or maybe even most of, the statements that he made. (I at least find it at least a little hard to believe that Bergdahl truly is as interested in finding out more about Islam as he states he is in the video.)

Hopefully Bergdahl will make it home safely and we will find out from him what is in his head.

Until then, each of us needs to humble herself or himself and acknowledge:

I.

Don’t.

Know.

Those are three refreshing, liberating words that we just don’t hear enough.

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