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Romney, Obama and Race
Marriage and Other Gay Rights
Village Voice writer Steven Thrasher discusses whether the Obama endorsement of gay marriage will shift the black vote and takes your calls on whether his endorsement shifts your view.
Who cares if Obama or the Democrats lose "the black vote"? The Af-Am community is not theirs to have forever and ever.
If African-Americans as individuals or as a community are not able to understand the fundamental injustice done to the LGBT community who are refused access to a loving marriage, then they're no better than evangelical (mostly whites); Irish, Italian, and Hispanic Catholics; Orthodox Jews; conservative Muslims, or anyone else who shares that view.
African-Americans have been identified with social liberalism and the Democratic party for too long anyway. Either that relationship or the presumption that it exists needs to be broken. Likewise, the political culture needs to break the assumption/ stranglehold which identifies rural whites and religious peoples as inherently conservative and Republican.
If in the end, African-Americans vote more conservatively, then good for them. I hope it proves an effective means to advance their concerns.
It might not (and probably wont), but since social conservatives are wrong on gay marriage they choose to engage wedge issues at their own risk.
fuva from Harlemworld,
Perception actually is a big part of the problem because perception is the basis in which people judge others. The reason why effeminacy in males is demeaned is because it is perceived as weakness and weakness is unacceptable in the traditional strong patriarchal tradition rooted in the Black experience. The same goes for women who are perceived as "male" oriented who are demeaned because they don't exude femininity. The major problem with these perceptions is that they are generated from a narrow and stereotypical pathology. In fact, perception has been a problem throughout American society.
If perception is changed and a wider understanding of people is shared, then all of these negative and incorrect assumptions of character would no longer exist.
MIKE from Inwood: I stand by my statement.
The Truth from Becky replies: "Mike from Inwood: that statement is too broad, I see lot of flamboyant, white and hispanic gays persons in fact, a lot of 'em are on tv right now."
TTFB: You're entitled to your opionions. For that matter, there are very macho men of all races, but in US, the Black & Latin cultures are much more ostensibly macho than White culture. I think this is obvious to any perceptive person who has spent time in both and has a shred of honesty. I think his observation was quite insightful and that you cannot see the forest for all the trees.
No one's saying that same-sex couples must be married in a house of worship, but in a legal, civil unions. I wish people would understand that. Plus, the African-American community should be really careful when it comes to discrimination within our community. Growing up, I was mistaken for being gay when I was just being quiet and shy.
jgarbuz cool thanks for the info
Emma Lazarus was a liberal-feminist Jew.
I heard this segment and I have just read the comments in this space. The two most important issues that I have seen addressed in this space are these:
(1) The use of "topple" to describe the impact of marriage equality on the institution of marriage. I was profondly offended by the comment and Brian's failure to take the user to task for using it and what its use implied.
(2) The fact that many people DO NOT make a distinction between a state controlled license and a religious based ceremony by church leaders. Marriage equality does NOT concern itself with the goings-on in religious institutions (as it shouldn't). It concerns itself with rights under our civil laws. Period.
[Note: I have just heard Brian ask a Muslim leader if he would perform a religious ceremony for a same-sex couple. His guest waffled. Brian's question was inappropriate for the reasons that I have just given. Libertarians don't give a fig about what religious people do in their places of worship as long as they confine their actions to that space and do not try to infuluence state or federal civil rights.]
Becky, true. This is an important distinction between gayness and blackness.
ladyjay114, thanks. And thanks for your point about the priorities of the black community. But I'm not sure you get my point...'Perception' is not the problem. Demeaning effeminacy in males is the problem...It is NOT OKAY to hate/ disrespect/ condescend to/ assign 2nd class status to effeminate males (who are perceived as effeminate males). Or tommy women.
and Christopher, don't be fooled, Lincoln didn't "stand up" for Blacks, keep reading the rest of the proclamation, it was political strategy.
Call's 'em - I bet you're wrong.
@Calls 'em from McLean:
The election is still 50-50. It will come down to which candidate brings out the voters; most Americans really like neither candidate. Obama is perceived as weak and Romney is perceived as a phony. The biggest factor that will decide this election is the economy.
Religion will continue to be an influence in people's social lives but Americans will always vote on Election Day with their wallets.
Mike from Inwood: that statement is too broad, I see lot of flamboyant, white and hispanic gays persons in fact, a lot of 'em are on tv right now.
“Until we are all free, we are none of us free. ” ― Emma Lazarus
I am always offended by the comparison of the struggles of the Black Community to Gay Community. The Gay Community is not fighting for the same acceptance based on the color of their skins! Gays come in all shades of the "rainbow" Black is Black. Please stop offending the atrocities suffered by the Black African in America.
Here is a simple example for the confused: You can hide your gayness and get a job you walk in the interview Black every time!!
Given our statistics, blacks who will now NOT vote for O, based on his expression of PERSONAL support for gay equality, make no sociopolitical sense.
@Fuva - I completely agree with you. A part of the problem is perception and it has to change.
Let's face it, 0bama is toast in 2012. 94% of Blacks voted for 0bama in Cali in 2008, but 70% of Blacks voted to ban gay marriage. Other states have similar voting and every single state that voted on gay marriage saw the voters of every background reject it - rightly or wrongly. This difference could mean millions of voters that either sit out the election or vote for Romney in 2012. I believe that similar trends exist in the Latino and even in the Asian and Indian subcontinent communities. Religion plays a bigger role in the life of Blacks, Latinos, Asians, East Indians and most recent immigrants (last 50 years) than anyone at WNYC or NPR can ever understand since both are still bastions of secular, white, middle aged male privilege. Religion is still a powerful and positive unifying force among people and a force for good in most people’s lives. The Marxists like many in the current regime and many in the media have alienated themselves from so many of their countrymen.
I vote for jaggerbuttz to the office of Official Identifier of Children's Sexuality!!
But, ladyjay114, be clear:
Finger-snapping and swishing and effeminacy in gay males as a reason for black homophobia is still UNREASONABLE. Basically, it is hate against those with gender-complexity -- which is also NOT a choice -- and it is unacceptable. And I'm mad at Brian and the guest for apparently missing this point...
jgarbuz silly, the contract protects both parties not just the males.i think dressing in black all summer fried your brain
When I moved to NYC in 1987, a new friend from Washington Heights who was half Cuban and half Puerto Rican made the same observation that one of the last callers made - that openly gay males in communities of color are often especially effiminate. While the guest was correct in noting that closeted gay men in these communities are often just explained away as 'living with a roommate' and conveniently ignored, the caller's observation was also correct - that openly gay men are are often wildly effiminate in a way white gay men are not. Why? My Cuban/Puerto Rican friend explained it this way: Being wildly, openly gay is the only to be openly gay in a place where most men are still very macho. If you aren't closeted, you can't be casually openly gay in a more macho culture, you must to be defiantly openly gay as a signal that you are not to be messed with. Openly gay white men do not have to be so flamboyantly effeminate because they're not as openly oppressed.
Susan Telt from NYC~
@Christopher & @Barry - you guys make fantastic points.
@Barry - Unfortunately the Blacks who are against gay marriage don't link the Civil rights movement and the LGBT rights movement because (1)many blacks still think that this is a white persons problem, (2)you have many Blacks who think that "Civil Rights" can be ONLY associated with the plight of Black people and (3)it shows our society's ignorance of the complexity and diversity of Black culture.
first time make any sense to me. Marriage is being abolished already. It's only a pro-forma, meaningless ceremony. An occasion for a party, that doesn't last long anyway. Marriage is dying and gay marriage will kill it off. Great! Men will be better off when it is OFFICIALLY dead and buried once and for all.
You finally said something that actually makes sense. Yes marriage is a CONTRACT to protect male rights to his property and to their children, as well as at one time being a degree of protection for women's rights alongside the man, so that he cannot randomly abuse her or deny her a fair use of the property and so on. He could not simply take the children away. Now women can kill the children in the womb, and take away a man's property as easy as pie. So it is now men who are the abused party in most cases. The power has radically shifted.
@HSJ...ok I assume you are being satirical...but if not...a hetro couple gets the lic for the same legal rights....call it whatever u want its still a civil union done for the rights that comes with it. if u call it marriage awesome....call it whatever u want. Same sex couples get the same "rights" of protection, if they call it marriage great, but the gvt has no say in the matter, that's what we should be fighting for LESS gvt intervention.
Every see OZ? ouch, maybe prison rape is basis of the bias
Luke/20-25King James Bible: "And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's. To all Christians, black or white -- This statement of Christ Jesus is a clear separation of church and state. Marriage is a CIVIL RIGHT of consenting, sentient adults to legitimize their love and commitment to each other, and in the process have marital tax privileges, spousal medical insurance coverage, hospital visits when a significant other is critically ill, among other rights. That's why City Hall has marriage ceremonies. No church, synagogue or mosque has to sanction gay marriage or even allow married homosexuals to be in their congregations; but to outlaw gay marriage, is to conflate church and state, and oppose a fundamental principal on which this country was founded. Furthermore, like it or not, the BIBLE IS NOT EVERYONE'S HOLY BOOK NOR DOES IT SPEAK FOR EVERYONE'S CONCEPTION OF THE DEITY.
Why can't we ABOLISH marriage all together??
It's an obsolete, patriarchal system of "handling" women as chattel.
It's a shame that the gay community have to adopt these RIDICULOUS heterosexual paradigms in order to be afforded all the rights that everyone else takes for granted.
WELCOME to a SCIENCE-BASED, EVOLVED 2012!!!
I'm not a against gay marriage as long as they cannot adopt "straight" children.
JoeCorrao Marriage has nothing to do with love. There are people in love without a license.Marriage is a legal contract to protect property rights and protect any children that follow.
If Blacks are so religious, why are so many of us in prison? Why are so many born out of wedlock? Why have we gone from Nate Cole to L'il Wayne?If religion was such a powerful force in our community then we wouldn't be perceived as the "face of crime in America". Those of us against gay marriage on religious grounds should get off it. We like to believe that we are sooooo religious on Sunday but close our eyes to the way we really live and treat each other on Monday. We have a lot more problems than gay marriage. Heterosexuality is not what it's cracked up to be anyway. Nobody would risk going to jail with men if pu^$%%(%^^)^y was so good.
I am confused how some black people cannot see the relationship btwn the civil rights movement and the LGBT rights movement. The power structure in place discriminated and still does to both groups which one would think would make likely partners to push back against this discrimination. I find it ironic the a white man, Lincoln, is known for standing up for blacks and now a black man, Obama, will be know for standing up to Gays.It goes to show how crafty the opposition is when religion can be employed to pit one group against another in a war of hate which is antithesis of what Jesus Christ would do!
It's depressing that this segment again perpetuates this false framework in which the issue of marriage equality is most often presented.
No discussion of this should happen without first principles: what exactly is being discussed? Two things: 1) the marriage sacrament in a church of one's choosing, and 2) the civil, non-religious marriage license that is provided by the state as a function of civil society, the same as a driving license.
It is the *second* of these that is the key; and this is almost always conflated with the first - and as long as that is not untangled, the discussion will be forever confused.
Should people be denied the ability to get a driver's license because of their sexual orientation? And, to be clear on the consequences of this denial of rights, this means people can't get equal treatment in financial matters, hospital visitation rights, and the list goes on and on.
Anybody who will advocate that this second civil marriage license should be denied to individuals based on who they find attractive romantically is simply prejudiced and discriminatory, and if they claim they are not, they must defend their position with facts. If they are protecting "the institution of marriage" they can do so in the privacy of their own religious choice. In the civil sphere, where there is no "state religion" that is enforced for all, they should explain why it would not be proper to prevent someone with a history of domestic violence from obtaining a marriage license. Or someone with blue eyes.
Brian, I sincerely hope that you will pull back a little when discussing this issue, and define these first principles, so that there is a clear distinction between the sacrament of marriage within a particular faith, and the civil society "marriage license" which is a registration and legal document that, denied, disenfranchises an entire class of people with no rational basis. Pure and simple, a textbook case of discrimination.
This post is so long only because I'd expect your show, of all shows, to highlight this nuance in any discussion of this issue.
@HSJ yes exactly...why? You need to be lic. to live/love with a person of your choice...
I will add this: if you are Black and your panties are in a bunch about gay marriage, then your priorities are seriously awry. If there was a list of the most 100 biggest issues in our community, gay marriage should be #130. There are so many more important issues to be handled thann this.
Gina from West Nyack ~
Gay marriage is not going to topple marriage. It's just going to put the final nails into the coffin of what's left of it. Marriage is on life-support already, and has been since "no-fault divorce" with adultery now not even considered a vice much less a crime, and since men lost at least half their property rights, and all rights to their children, and have been mostly been written out of society altogether, and with women now in total control of who lives and who dies in the womb.
So nearly half of all men are concluding that marriage is a very losing proposition for most of them, and some are now pretending to be gay to get social supports. So gay marriage should finish off what's left of marriage very soon. I'm actually looking forward to it :)
Can we work on the invention of the belt, to avoid droopy pants, before we address national issues?? Lets get our priorities right!!!
@Nick: You missed that caller's point. He was trying to say that the perception of gays by blacks and whites are different - and that perception may be part of the reason why many blacks are against gay marriage. I'm also Black and I agree with that point. The perception of gays by many blacks is the weak and feminine male, while female gays are basically non-existent. On the other hand, the whites (even from my perspective) have a much larger context of gay people and generally have more acceptance.
Sad to hear African-Americans use the "tradition" argument on this issue; it's the same argument that was used to condone slavery and the outlawing of mixed-race marriages. Obama is a hero (even if it is just a campaign strategy!)
THERE is an ASTONISHING level of IGNORANCE on display, here!!
Thank you, jaggerbuttzz for leading the pack!
I agree, SO tired of comments from people like the caller Steve who only speak about "their tradition" - basically the easy/simple way THEY would like see things stay the same. This is about fairness under the law and equal rights for all citizens. North Carolina (and many other states) at one time has a law that made interracial marriage illegal. That discrimination was also defended as a protection of "tradition" and a defense of the sanctity of marriage.
So, black homophobia as a reaction to "switching, finger-snapping" gayness makes it better/ understandable/ tolerable? Please. There's nothing more progressive about hate that focuses on those with gender complexity.
becky --i am guessing jews have too many differing opinions for pundits and consultants to even pretend to commoditize their votes.
of course, blacks have differing opinions too, so do spanish speakers, etc., -- but for some reason it seems that it's still pc on wnyc to think of and refer to a skin color as a "community."
I take issue with the first caller's use of the word "topple" with reference to the institution of marriage, which has traditionally been held for heterosexual couples. The institution of the presidency was traditionally held by white males. Did Barack Obama "topple" that institution by being elected? Would a woman topple it? Management positions were traditionally held by men. Is that an institution that is toppled when women take a larger role in business? The institution of slavery was toppled. The end of a bad institution is a good thing. Broader inclusion into an institution is also a good thing.
With the eventual divorces that will ultimately ensue among the gay and lesbian community, the lawyers must be gleefully considered risky investment options!!!
If Gays want to marry, that's fine, but they should not be allowed to adopt "straight" children. They should not be allowed to compete in the adoption market against childless couples who cannot conceive, and thereby "bidding up" the "price" of "desirable" orphans.
The last caller's language concerning "swishy" "finger snapping" gays versus "Will from Will & Grace" gays is so offensive, I can not believe he was not called out on it. If someone used such stereotypes when talking about African Americans they would be knocked off the air.
JoeCorrao The government is the one who issues the marriage licenses
"I suppose you have a humanitarian feeling about negroes and Chinese. Wait till you've been at their mercy!"
"The Gadfly"E. L. Voynich
...oh the "FAMILY"...oh, the "TRADITION"... oh, the D_g-santioned, ever-holy, failing by over 50% HETEROSEXUAL marriage.
PLEASE give us a break!!
I just don't understand why _expanding_ marriage to include same-sex couples is considered _toppling_ the institution.
Nor do I understand this intrusion of religious beliefs into law. The ONLY justification for keeping marriage heterosexual only, is religious. There is no secular, civic, or civil justification for it. There is no societal downside, as there is in taking a life (however you look at that regarding abortion or capital punishment), or imprisoning someone, or with various tax or economic injustices, or abuse or abandonment, etc.
Sounds like the devil will play after all
The topic says race and gay marriage, so why are we targeting the Black Community? (as if I don't know) I want to hear from the jews.
this provocation is at best ... absurd. unfortunately American minority groups won't have the arsenal to fight back against the stereotyping - and the nature of the ... erm, argument.
you can't ask this question without considering the last MILLENIUM of very sophisticated civilised development. indeed, the "GAY" personification is only 25 years old as we know it. while homosexual behaviour is going to happen (no matter what) ... it doesn't mean it's OK. and it doesn't mean (we're) right in the way we live ANY aspect of our modern society.
you're just not thinking deep enough. you can't BULLY your minority class to go along with the majority class on political issues like "gay" rights. this is not MTV - this is the real world.
Exactly how does granting same-sex couples the right to marry "topple" the institution of marriage? Did the Civil Rights Act topple the civil rights of white people? Did the Suffrage Act topple the right of men to vote?
The black church should focus on the wopping amount of black kids born out of wedlock if they care about marriage.
...and the President's decision does not shift my vote in a negative direction. I will still vote to re elect President Obama, don't get your hopes up Brian. Toree is mis informed!
government has no right to police the language. If 2 consenting people want to be married they should be...keep the gvt out of it.
What becomes wearying is hearing the issue always discussed in terms of tradition, personal opinion or religious sanctity. There is one and only one issue at stake is equality before the law. And if that sounds familiar, it should.
Good followup, Brian. The claim of conservatism here doesn't square with unwanted pregnancies and single-parent families (big respect for marriage there). You can cite religion, but religion doesn't recognize any of these things. Sounds like more post-hoc cherry-picking to rationalize bigotry to me.
I am so tired of people like Steven using old stereotypes to predict the reaction of the Black Community. How about going to TALK to the Black Community?
clearly an election year tactics,O needs cash for the circus between now and Nov. 05, Biden is there to throw the ball, O strikes, calculated all around before, why O didn't say this convincingly a year or two ago?, he consulted his daughters about it , I'm weeping now ...
Doesn't having a gay family (with children) require high start-up costs? Surrogate Mothers or International Adoptions require many $10's of thousands. Of course that can offend people who are more likely to be poor.
KEEP IT IN YOUR CHURCH!!!
YOU'RE NOT REQUIRED TO MARRY ANYONE YOU DON'T WANT TO!!
"Traditional" my a*#!!
GIVE IT A REST!!
How does same sex marriage "topple" marriage between a man and a woman? How does it affect it at all?
So only stupid poor people are against "gay" marriage. In the 1880s only stupid people were against "scientific socialism," as Marxism was labelled by the "smart" liberal people. Stupid people are always against "enlightened liberal reforms" like gay marriage, abortion-on-demand, socialism, radical feminism, radical atheism, and so on. All these "progressive, enlightened" ideas that were adopted by Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba and the like.
Just anecdotally, why does every young black male in their church choir grow up to be a gay man? And their church doesn't want them?
HOW does gay marriage "topple" the institution of marriage? Ignant...Go AT him, Brian.
The current caller is incorrect to say that "most African Americans" do not support gay rights. He must not be African American in the East Coast.
Did I just hear Brian Lehrer intimate blacks are generally against gay marriage because they're ignorant? (He couched the statement in socio-economic terms, but his meaning was rather clear).
Just to be clear - I do NOT hold with this point of view.
Black folks love Obama, more than they hate "gay" marriage.
So ultimately, it won't matter.
More political waffling, BO-style.
It's simple, African Americans are on average much more religious. I'm 1/2 black and I see it among my own family that those who are more religious are more homophobic.
With black folk, this is Christian indoctrination and gay-ignorance. There is documented acceptance of gay or "3rd gender" persons in the history of the motherland...Ironically, the black church is DISPROPORTIONATELY gay. Actually, the black church kind of exemplifies how gayness is regarded in the black community: Folks can be obviously gay, and be loved and treated like family. But they can't be too open or seeking legitimacy AS GAY PEOPLE....Trifling, and counterproductive.
The black community loves its churches too much. Many don't understand the difference between the separation of church and state.
If you think Biden's comments were a "gaff", then you're "ignorant" of how politics work.
A better question is why do poor people waste so much time on myths and religion
The black vote? I certainly hope this is not code for "ignorant."
Steve Harvey (morning syndicated DJ, found locally on WBLS) is black. Yesterday morning he chastised churches for being so unloving and ignorant and hypocritical on this matter, defending gay marriage, ahead of Sunday's sermons. The "black people" I know -- many of whom have served their country overseas by battling against the evils of theocracies -- have always resented the ban the church has kept on civil marriage of any kind between two legal-aged humans. Isn't this the theocratic behavior Americans fight against -- frankly, sneer at?
Gay marriage is offensive to any American who is brave enough to stand up to the rich "holy men" who try and tell us what to do -- as Obama well knows. What the president has "done" is not liberal or progressive, it's just American.
Absurd that it took a Biden gaff to shake a plain truth from his lips.
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