© copyright 2013 Betsy L. Angert empathyeducates BeThink
June 27, 2013
It is me, Betsy. I am writing to say Congratulations to you and all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans. It has been a great week for all our LBGT brethren. Sadly, it is a little less so for those whose complexion is Black or Brown. What or who am I kidding? It has been an awful week for America as a whole. Once again, we have done as we did since the day of our founding; we denied our brothers and sisters equal rights. I hope you understand that while I too think anytime rights are afforded to an individual or group it is a good time, a time to celebrate, this week I cannot. Indeed, I do not see a day when I will reflect on this Court's rulings and be ready, willing, and able to rejoice.
Affirmative Action lost. The inalienable right to cast a ballot for your Representatives, gone! It was not that either of these laws, in practice, ever brought about equality, but a girl can dream. I had hope. Now, I do not. Today, my heart broken, I can only reflect on the old adage; if my brother is poor or in pain then so too am I. John Donne spoke for me when he said “Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
I am unsure if you are with me Rachel. I listened to your review of the week and felt confused. Therefore I ask. On Thursday, June 27, 2013, you spoke of the angst yourself. You recounted the woe millions of California voters expressed on election night 2008. First there was elation; the first Black man was elected President of the United States. It seemed we had arrived. It was as you exclaimed. a "civil rights milestone." People took to the streets and danced. Corks were popped. Confetti fell from sky-high windows. Then, as more ballots were tallied, a dark realization set in. In California, marriages once declared legal would not be going forward. As you stated, "That whiplash moment, that California, alone, experienced the night
President Obama was first elected," was devastating. Perhaps, the man in the video clip you played this Thursday evening said it best for the LBGT community.
"In 2008 when we elected the first African-American
president, it was a glorious day, but later that night it was a horrible night when the returns for Prop 8 came in saying that we were going to be
treated as second-class citizens, and we just could not fathom being
treated like that anymore."
Therein lies the difference Rachel, one of many that I see. People of color can
fathom being treated like scum. Granted persons in the LBGT community can too.!
That said, the two experiences are not one. The color of our skin cannot be camouflaged. Sexual orientation is perhaps but a subtle "clue." In other words, Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders come out of the closet. Blacks and Browns are more likely to be invited into the [water] closet to clean the mess white persons' leave behind. Caucasians can be so cruel, as can those of a certain socio-economic "class." I guess anyone can be.