Saturday, November 8, 2008

Divided we fall but united we shall conquer


November 5 was a bittersweet day for me. Still basking in the joy of Obama’s presidency, I became disheartened to hear the news that voters had voted to ban gay marriage in Florida, Arizona, and California. The day proceeded to go further downhill upon reading messages from friends who unleashed their anger upon black voters bashing them for their 70% Yes vote on California’s Proposition 8. For the two days since, I have heard so much anger coming from my gay friends and the gay community including commentary that “we elected a black president, but gays can’t marry”, “If only certain people valued my rights as much as I value theirs” “blacks think discrimination is reserved only for them”, etc. etc.

The 70% vote by blacks to ban gay marriage is undoubtedly appalling. As a black woman, I have a hard time fully grasping how a group that has been subjected to the most degrading forms of discrimination and oppression can in turn discriminate and act to prevent a group from receiving civil rights that are legally their due. Agreed, the historical and current suppression of blacks through slavery, through Jim Crow, through lynchings, through almost permanent glass ceilings, is on a different level from the current suppression of gay people. However, discrimination is still discrimination. Fundamental civil and human rights apply across all creeds and is not reserved for a group based on the severity of their maltreatment. That being said, to those of you now attacking the black race for the vote of a miniscule proportion in California, how is it helping you to point fingers and degrade, attack and pull down blacks because of a 70% vote from voters in a group that makes up only 12% of the population?

Please please, let us keep coming together as ONE and let us fight ignorance and fear together. Let us keep fighting for the cause; we should not divide ourselves with anger because the gay marriage cause suffered a temporary set back. And note, the Women’s Rights Movement did not succeed overnight and the Civil Rights Movement sure as hell did not succeed overnight. On November 4, we proved that you cannot put a black man in the White House without crossing and uniting all racial divides, sexual orientations, genders, class backgrounds, etc. It took all of us to come together to make this happen. Every single supporter is needed so let us keep fighting to inform the public and change its psyche. We have more work to do but we have NOT failed.

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