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Something told me this was going to happen

teyla, missing, ep related
Apparently, Black people are to blame for Proposition 8 passing. You heard it right: it's our fault. We went out and voted for Obama but gave a shaft to gay people.

If anyone saw the commercials for the No on 8 campaign here in California, then you know that the few times when they did show people in them, they were overwhelmingly white. The Yes on 8 campaign? Busted out with a clever commercial (and I'm gonna call it clever because it sure as hell was), that showed a Black preacher, a Latino gentleman (you couldn't tell what he was doing but he was positioned Joe Regular) and then a white woman with a child. They hit the high notes: church, San Francisco judges (boo, bad!) , and 'what do we tell the kids?'

Yes on 8 did massive organizing in POC communities. No on 8? barely a blip on the radar screen. Richard Kim in The Nation writes:

For years, the California Christian-right apparatus, long hampered by nativism and racism, had been unable to make inroads into the state's brown, yellow and black populations--a demographic gold mine in a state that is more than 50 percent minority and growing. Prop 8 may prove to be their gold rush. From the beginning they bought up ad space in Chinese, black, Spanish and Korean media; they hosted massive rallies for ethnic Christians. The Sunday before election day, I went to Los Angeles City Hall for the most celebratory, most diverse rally I have ever attended; it was organized by Yes on 8 Chinese advocates.

But it's only in an organizing vacuum that bald lies and racial pandering find room to thrive. Gay activists, by most accounts, were simply outmaneuvered. Andrea Shorter, a black lesbian volunteer for the No on 8 campaign, told me that the outreach to the African-American community began in earnest a week ago. "What's happened is that there's been an outcry from communities of color, including African-American communities, who say, 'Include us!' Now there's a GOTV strategy, but for some it seems last minute," she said in an interview before the election. Another No on 8 activist, Karin Wang, told me at the City Hall rally that when Asian Pacific Islander groups went to buy ads in Chinese and Korean newspapers, they were informed that Yes on 8 had been renting space for weeks.


Most people may not know it, but the California NAACP came out solidly against Prop. 8. You'd never know it because of the bland campaign.

I spoke to Anthony, a community organizer(!) last night while I was doing laundry; turns out he voted in my precinct. He works for ACORN - oooh, the terrorists! - and they had been going door to door in heavily Black populated areas in Oakland doing voter registration but also working to get Rebecca Kaplan re-elected and to garner support for No on 8. Basically, he found out the same thing: the Yes message had already been entrenched in the community. People had alredy heard from their preachers and had the usual sterotypes in mind when it came to gay people - the biggest one being that they're usually white. It's what they see on TV and even on things coming from San Francisco. I've had people tell me that they thought gayness = whiteness until they met me. And yeah, there's a much longer conversation in this about GLBT POC and their relationship to their communities of origin.

But there's a bigger story here: it's about allies and coalition.

I went to the 1987 March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights. At the rally, people like Jesse Jackson, reps from the NAACP showed up to support gay and lesbian rights and there were people in the crowd who took that message back to their communities.

Fast forward to the 90's: when Proposition 187 (which targeted immigrants) and Propostion 209 (the strike against Affirmative Action at UC schools) rolled around, the white gay community as a whole was conspicuously silent. You did have some of the usual suspects show up to fight the good fight: white gay and lesbian community organizers who had been doing this kind of work forever (and actually have a clue as to how things are connected), along with a host of POC and youth groups. But when it came to the big dogs in the area? The crickets were chirping. Folks remember who came to their aid, and even if they don't necessarily agree on all points, they'll show up because they know that bodies in the streets means something.

*That's* what the Yes on 8 people were able to do: pull together groups that normally don't deal with one another and get them to work in force. Seriously: evangelicals and Mormons? No love lost there. But they got the machine going, got the rallies going, got the money rolling in.

When white people roll up on Black folks about being oppressors, there's some truth to it but that gets lost when people start to remember: "Hmm, that rally for (immigration rights, education, housing, etc. etc.). I didn't see you there." In some areas, if you throw in gentrification and how it plays out when white gays and communities of color collide (as evidenced by the movie, Flag Wars, then you get some idea of how easy it was for the Yes on 8 people to make the inroads that they did.

Sometimes the fight isn't always about what you want but about reciprocation. It's also about fighting like your life depended on it. One thing I wish the No on 8 campaign had done from the beginning - hammer home the message about discrimination. Emphasize how easy it is for a group of people to have their rights taken away by the popular vote of the people. Skip the oh so gentle assimilationist approach ('oh, but we're just like you. Really') and go straight for scorched earth - "You don't have to like us but if our rights can be taken away, it can happen to you. This is a constitutional change not a Sunday picnic. Think about it."

If that was the message that was put out over and over in POC communities, street by street, door by door, face to face *that* would have gotten through even if it was only to a few. That's what would have made some people stop and say, "Bwah? Seriously? Oh HELL No."

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cynthia1960
Nov. 6th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
Sometimes the fight isn't always about what you want but about reciprocation. It's also about fighting like your life depended on it. One thing I wish the No on 8 campaign had done from the beginning - hammer home the message about discrimination. Emphasize how easy it is for a group of people to have their rights taken away by the popular vote of the people. Skip the oh so gentle assimilationist approach ('oh, but we're just like you. Really') and go straight for scorched earth - "You don't have to like us but if our rights can be taken away, it can happen to you. This is a constitutional change not a Sunday picnic. Think about it."


You hit the nail on the head there. Couldn't have said it any better, thanks.
ladyjax
Nov. 7th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
You're very welcome.
(no subject) - jpelletier1977 - Nov. 7th, 2008 07:57 am (UTC) - Expand
gategrrl
Nov. 6th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
You make excellent points.

All over the place I saw lawn flags saying "Yes on 8!" but hardly ANY for "No on 8!" The No on 8 campaign was anemic and...I don't know how else to put it, but flaccid.

I heard the NPR commentary about how the rush of black and hispanic voters to get out and vote for Obama probably worked against 8...I went "huh?"
ladyjax
Nov. 7th, 2008 05:46 am (UTC)
I think flaccid is the best description of the No on 8 campaign I've ever seen.

There was no push, no real rallies to get people fired up; it's as though folks sat around thinking, "oh, it'll never pass." Meanwhile, the opposition was treating the campaign like it was D-Day. That's how they did it.
poisontaster
Nov. 6th, 2008 07:58 pm (UTC)
I basically copied from an email with my friends on this same topic, but my sentiment remains the same:

...it's really the same old problem--a lack of intersectionality. "Minority" movements (and I use that VERY loosely) that are not race oriented (i.e. feminism, LGBT, etc.) are CONSISTENTLY failing to include PoCs in their campaign strategies and outreach and I think that more and more that lapse is both showing and causing major faultlines within and without the communities, because whether they agree with the cause or not, the most obvious face of it is that they're being marginalized and--logically or not--it leads to "Well, if you don't care about ME, I don't care about YOU" in a big way.

*sighs* I don't know. It's just these are NOT the communities I thought I was going to have to have these fights in, you know?
ladyjax
Nov. 7th, 2008 05:46 am (UTC)
I hear you. It's hard to see this kind of infighting and what a lot of folks don't get is that by ignoring intersectionality, you'll more moments like Prop. 8 and more fingerpointing.
wild_irises
Nov. 6th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
I agree 100%. And I'm glad I didn't skip.

I'm pretty out of charity with the maniac "8 passed; world is ending" folks anyway.
ladyjax
Nov. 7th, 2008 05:48 am (UTC)
*chuckles*

Thanks, hon.


I'm pretty out of charity with the maniac "8 passed; world is ending" folks anyway.


I'm right there with you. People got their asses in the streets to demand better treatment options for AIDS. You would have thought that there would have been a push for that kind of loud activism for No on 8.

But. No.
delux_vivens
Nov. 6th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
"At the rally, people like Jesse Jackson, reps from the NAACP showed up to support gay and lesbian rights"

A gesture so meaningful and worthwhile that 20 years later, the white gay community seems to have forgotten it.

Sometimes I wonder if I hallucinated that whole day.
velvet_tipping
Nov. 6th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
Showing up to support gay rights is fabulous.

Voting no on Prop 8? Even better.
(no subject) - delux_vivens - Nov. 7th, 2008 12:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ladyjax - Nov. 7th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - velvet_tipping - Nov. 7th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ladyjax - Nov. 7th, 2008 05:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - delux_vivens - Nov. 7th, 2008 07:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sairaali - Nov. 7th, 2008 06:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - charles_rb - Nov. 7th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - buria_q - Nov. 7th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - delux_vivens - Nov. 10th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
femmeflame
Nov. 6th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU.

I just finished writing about just this - that no-folks were LATE on the coalition building.

I am linking your post around... thanks to DV for bringing it to her lists attention!
ladyjax
Nov. 7th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC)
Yeah, go for the linkage.
fa_ikaika
Nov. 6th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
Good thoughts. I wish more people would also remember the fact that California as a whole has a very small number of black people in it (I think 7% was the total I heard) so the proposition could only have passed if WHITE people voted for it.

Just sayin'
fightingwords
Nov. 6th, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC)
It's under 7% now.
(no subject) - savia - Nov. 6th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ladyjax - Nov. 7th, 2008 01:26 am (UTC) - Expand
viciouswishes
Nov. 6th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
I wish I could say that it's shocking that the No on 8 people didn't target POC until the last minute. But it definitely is shockingly stupid of them for ignoring any large, voting population. It's also stupid to blame 8 passing on anything besides bigotry and a poor campaign. You are very correct in that we need to support and uplift each other because we all know that scorched earth happens.

I hope the courts declare it unconstitutional.
fightingwords
Nov. 6th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
fightingwords
Nov. 6th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
Also--I know Anthony!
(no subject) - ladyjax - Nov. 7th, 2008 01:26 am (UTC) - Expand
badgerbag
Nov. 6th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
The bullshit that just got unleashed on my local obama campaign mailing list is amazing.

Good thing we all have a lot of practice with the internet drama because we're going to NEED IT
sparkymonster
Nov. 6th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
It's also about fighting like your life depended on it.

Fuck yes.

If the No on 8 people cared about PoC other than as someone to blame, they would have been out there in our communities knocking on doors, calling people and helping the fuck out.

also

Fast forward to the 90's: when Proposition 187 (which targeted immigrants) and Propostion 209 (the strike against Affirmative Action at UC schools) rolled around, the white gay community as a whole was conspicuously silent

God damn yes.
hederahelix
Nov. 6th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
I'm still so pissed off I've tried composing this comment three times in my head, and it's still not right, so I'll just say this.

There's going to be some time at BASCon to rant about all this, right?
hederahelix
Nov. 6th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
Erm, okay, and that came out all wrong.

Clearly, I'm still too pissed to be trusted near a computer. Now, with bullet points:

1. Hey, wait. There are queer POC? No, no, my brain, it explodes from the intersectionality.

2. Because that whole 6.7% of Californians clearly swayed the election. (Unsurprisingly, I did not realize the numbers were *that* low, partly because they aren't that low in my city.)

3. Before the election, I was annoyed with the no on 8 strategy. Now I'm not willing to sigh and let it go. I just don't know what precisely I can do next, but I'm going to figure it out.

4. There will be a time for us to get together at BASCon and snark, right? Because I really want to figure out how to make a t-shirt about the chickens.

As in: there are more people in the state who worry about the ability to chickens to get up and turn around in their cages than there are people who think it's a bad precedent to write an amendment taking peoples' rights away from them into my state's constitution.

And I thought nothing could make me think too many Californians were dumb when they voted for the Governator.

Still seething, and thinking about checking my luggage to bring the good single malt . . . one cranky ivy.

....has been educated. - cleojones - Nov. 6th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ....has been educated. - cleojones - Nov. 6th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ....has been educated. - ladyjax - Nov. 7th, 2008 01:27 am (UTC) - Expand
gordonzola
Nov. 6th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
absolutely. I am outraged by the No campaign. More than I'm mad at the evangelicals and Mormons even (I mean, that's what I expect from those folks on this issue). It may have been the most enmbarrassing, elitist, and racist campaign I ever supported.

Thanks for writing this. (came here via Fightingwords)

princessrugger
Nov. 7th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC)
yes. i'm now over the passing of prop 8 and have now moved onto being PISSED THE FUCK OFF that no on 8 screwed this up so badly--this should have been such an easy win!
(no subject) - jadeserenity - Nov. 8th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC) - Expand
lavendertook
Nov. 6th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
100 white people. 53 of them vote homophobia into the constitution.

10 black people. 7 of them vote homophobia into the constitution!

OMG the blak comoonitee iz soooo homofobic! Is awl thayr fawlt!!!!!!
delux_vivens
Nov. 6th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
that's how the we roll, baby.

grr, argh! be afraid! be very very very afraid!!

*tiptoes away, giggling at you*
(no subject) - lavendertook - Nov. 7th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC) - Expand
savia
Nov. 6th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
I got here from fightingwords...

All I can say is, fuck yes. So well stated.

I've been astonished at the lacklustre campaigning and organizing that's happened with No on 8, especially in the face of the Yes on 8 blitzkrieg in the final days before the election. It's clear that the No on 8 campaign was caught resting on their laurels, thinking that it was going to be an easy campaign when the early numbers were showing strong opposition to Prop 8. They never anticipated the attack, and were caught being continually reactive rather than pro-active, and were not able to shape the narrative or the resulting conversation. Once the insidious thought-worm of "our kids are at stake!" was out, it was out, and there was no putting it back in the can. Especially not with the empty strategies of the No on 8 campaign.

I think a major problem here - and I say this as a white liberal - is that white liberals, in their efforts to be "color blind," which is typically a response to feelings of guilt, etc., often don't realize that it does no one any good to be color blind, because hello, we all look different. We just do. So rather than repress that, we have to bring it to the surface, confront our assumptions and prejudices that may take a long time to see, etc. It's a subtle (to whites, not so subtle if you're not white) kind of ethnic prejudice that deserves to be called out. Thank you for doing it in such a grounded way.

Cornel West said in a CNN interview yesterday in response to the journalist saying that Barack Obama ran as a "post-racial" candidate that one has to be careful about what they mean by "post-racial." I'm paraphrasing from memory, but the gist seemed to be that if one means "post-racial" as in white people have started to become aware of systemic prejudice and have started to do things to counter-act that, to reach out to people of color, then that's a fine term to use. If you mean "post-racial" as a mythical world in which we're all color-blind, where people of color just disappear completely, it can be a harmful term that will just keep (predominantly white) power structures in place, like sweeping the problem under the rug.

SepiaMutiny did some great coverage of the racial diversity of the two political conventions. The only reason the DNC had a lot of people of color (roughly half the delegates were POC) was because there was intentional organizing and recruiting in communities of color. The RNC, by contrast, without doing any targeted recruiting or organizing in communities of color ended up with a convention that was 99% white.

White liberals here, then, are falling into the same categories as Republicans; they (we? I am sure I fall into this category sometimes, too) assume that they can make a broad message with their own faces and that people will just naturally, through common sense, be drawn to it. But as a non-profit marketer, I know that you have to speak to people, to individuals as well as communities, and show people that you care about them and their interests in their communities, that you see them. As white people we're so used to being the standard image of "American." I hope with Barack Obama, that starts to change, as white Americans will have to identify with a black President.

And it's not just the No on 8 campaign, but a whole hell of a lot of non-profits, actually. I've worked for several non-profits who did a lot of hand-wringing about how white their leadership was, and constantly wondering how to reach out to communities of color and diversify their leadership without actually doing much about it. Again, white liberal guilt.

I wish I had an answer to all this, I don't. I make plenty of mistakes. And I have been getting extremely angry about this whole "black people hate gays" narrative that is emerging. I wish I knew what to do about it.


Edited at 2008-11-06 10:07 pm (UTC)
savia
Nov. 6th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
And all this aside from the fact that, as other commenters have noted, why aren't people more concerned that more white voters didn't vote for it?

I think this is because white voters are "voters" and black and latino voters are "black and latino voters." Rubbish.


Edited at 2008-11-06 10:33 pm (UTC)
sadie_sabot
Nov. 6th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
(here via delux_vivens)

thank you. would it be ok to link to this?


ladyjax
Nov. 7th, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
Please do.
kateelliott
Nov. 6th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks. We got very little coverage on this issue here in HI, so I appreciate this on both the particular and the general levels.
darkrosetiger
Nov. 6th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
YES

May I link to this on LJ and my blog? I wanted to do a follow-up to my posts from yesterday.

I'm not surprised to see the Blame the Black People meme. I wish I could be.
ladyjax
Nov. 7th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
Go on with your bad self. I figure my Black lesbian crankiness will carry us far.

And no, I'm not surprised either.
deadpoet83
Nov. 6th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
Yes!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

May I link to this?
ladyjax
Nov. 7th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
Sure.
e_juliana
Nov. 6th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
Here via sparkymonster, and yes. Thank you. I'll admit, I don't watch TV or listen to the radio, so I didn't realize exactly how anemic the No on 8 campaign was. Now that I've read post-mortems, it's depressing to realize how truly pathetic it was.

May I link to this post?
ladyjax
Nov. 7th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
Go for it. It was an anemic campaign and no amount of late-day quarterbacking is going to change that.
oyceter
Nov. 7th, 2008 12:14 am (UTC)
Yes, thank you! And it drives me crazy that the effort the Yes on 8 campaign ran to get POC voters is now turning on the POC voters themselves and just arrrrrrgh.
moondancerdrake
Nov. 7th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
I agree with all my heart. We are not done with this fight, straight allies and LGBTQ alike, reguardless of class, heritage, education, etc... It's only together that we can hope to see total equality. I want to cheer like I still do in the light of Obama's victory on the day that all of the people I care so deeply for can marry those they love and have full rights like everyone should. I want no limitations on my children on who they can love and make a family with or what they want to be when they grow up.
pene
Nov. 7th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
Great post. I am disgusted by this.
mysterc
Nov. 7th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
Wooooo!
Well said, well said, said well
Its a wrap
geishaghost
Nov. 7th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
my girlfriend and i knew we were in deep deep shiznit when we went saw yes on 8 ads in chinese, korean, tagalog, on vietnamese tv, in little tokyo.....

there was nothing from the no on 8 types.

how on EARTH can you spend so much money in white enclaves--i mean aren't there only so many jamba juices you can protest in front of before you notice you haven't left your neighborhood?

and i'm sick of the self-congratulatory white folks who insist they worked with community representatives and did all they could. fuck that!

why didn't one of their sources tell them that a vote in san bernadino county or compton or fresno or in monterey park counts just the same as one in west hollywood? that translations might be nice? god fucking damn...

black people are at fault for this? idiots....
jadeserenity
Nov. 8th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
i mean aren't there only so many jamba juices you can protest in front of before you notice you haven't left your neighborhood?

It's more fun to preach to the choir... >:
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