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As a political person who has to deal with explaining to white liberals i work with over and over why the beliefs of people of color are more closely aligned on many issues with white evangelicals than the MoveOn/DailyKos crowd, we MUST understand these beliefs if we are to hold onto the African American vote. Laughing at REpublican outreach efforts and their history of racism won't do much good when they start making serious inroads...

this beliefnet article does a decent job highlighting some of the major points where african americans diverge from white liberals.

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/138/story_13891_1.html

A study from the Pew Forum on Religion found that 50 percent of polled African-Americans said Bush uses too little religious rhetoric compared to 8 percent who said he uses too much and 28 percent who said he used the right amount.

African AMericans are the only group who wanted Bush to use MORE religious rhetoric.

Two-thirds of blacks said churches "should express their views" about politics--about the same percentage as white evangelicals

An idea usually viewed with abhorrence from people here, but given the legacy of abolitionism and civil rights movts, makes blacks much less hostile to the integrating of church and politics--indeed, they see it as CENTRAL to their politics.

61 percent said they wanted more religious leaders advising the candidates. Asked the same question, only 19 percent of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics agreed.

African AMericans are still overwhelmingly Democrats because some folks are still warm and fuzzy from the 60s civil rights and on the questions of economic justice, health care, and the war. but make no mistake that the fundamental divide on cultural/religious issues between white liberal activists who comprise the Dem party and black voters is going to be exploited for all it's worth by a very saavy GOP that understands this, and a Democratic party with activists who for the most part are oblivious about it (or who love to write "ABortion is about autonomy" diaries).

given the issues of criminal justice, the drug war, unemployment, poverty, etc, folks of color usually don't have the luxury to obsess over gays or abortions the way the white evangelicals like to, so addressing their issues and speaking to their main concerns should hold politicians in good stead. we can agree to disagree on religion, abortion or homosexuality with our white activist secular liberal brethren while training our eyes on our common enemy: the fanatical power-hungry war-mongering corporate GOP.

oh, and the article makes the silly assertion that Lieberman had the most "natural" appeal to African Americans because of his overt religiousity. the authors of the article are white Christians, so i think they miss the distinct nuance of black theology, which is the REAL belief in GRACE. unlike some white evangelicals, black folks really do practice and exemplify grace in action (you have to be to live in a country which brought you over on slave ships...). this is why black folks were the MOST supportive of Clinton during impeachment and prayed for him--we understood his failings, his flaws and forgave him. on this issue, there was a fundamental divide between white evangleicals, Clinton's harshest detractors, and black evangelicals. Lieberman-like judgmental sermonizing on CLinton's immorality rubs us the wrong way. also, lieberman's capitulation during the FLorida debacle in 2000 and his refusal to ever ONCE mention the disenfranchisement of black voters still burns in the hearts of many. so no way in hell was Lieberman gonna win over many black voters. understanding these type of theological nuances is key to maintaining our coalition.

Originally posted to ihlin on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:15 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good diary (4.00)
    Recommended. We need to have this discussion, too.
  •  Even More Than Having This (4.00)
    discussion about them would be having it with them.

    Screen text is the same color no matter who's typing it. We seem to be able to build online partnerships with foreigners.

    Maybe we should try to find some ways to parter with some of those people.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:33:57 AM PDT

    •  absolutely (4.00)
      I don't know for sure what proportion of Kossacks are black but I have a good idea it's pretty small. Part of the reason may be the race/class gap in internet access. Daily Kos is not only largely white, it's largely (based on site polls) upper middle class white.

      What if we had a Kos spinoff Scoop blog based on working class, race/ethnic, and poverty issues???

      •  and for that matter (4.00)
        religious values issues from a left of center but tolerant perspective.
      •  Good idea. (none)
        Someone here at Kos could compose an open letter to the NAACP, maybe?

        Perhaps we could get a few representatives from that organization to start coming here and posting diaries.

        It was a cold, bright day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.

        by Stradavus on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:11:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yeah (none)
          though my own preference would for the emphasis to be on class moreso than race. There are plenty of non-blacks who share very similar concerns to working class blacks.
        •  You don't need that when you got me (4.00)
          I am Black and I am as verse in things African American as anyone else you can find at the NAACP. And i have been posting here for a little while.

          I have said before that I am different that other Kossacks but that has not deterred me from speaking out.

          I am always amazed at how white authors can make analysis of the Black community so easily and be instantly considered credible.

          I wonder how the questions were asked in these surveys.

          I along with my African brothers and sisters are for the most part raised in very religious environments and are naturally inclined to want their leaders of all kinds to be connected in a religious or spiritual way.

          However, if people get an impression that blacks cannot make a distinction between morality and the needs of the state.  But blacks are very interest in having the morality of social justice of the Bible be a cornerstone to our principles in America and therefore our politics that result in our policies. It is definitely interconnected. Simply put, doing the right thing by the people of America.

          •  Not black (none)
            but serve a large African American community--nothing about this post really makes sense to me--all this Blacks-want-their-politics-served-with-religion-on-the-side--is just a smoke screen for election fraud.  They have to try to explain why black voters "flipped"--flipping actually courtesy a little ballot massage--so they start trotting out the "Blacks want more religion"

            I'm only white here but I think that African American's would prefer politicians to have at least heard of the Voting Rights legislation of our life time

          •  Imposed Religion (4.00)
            wdmosley: "I along with my African brothers and sisters are for the most part raised in very religious environments..."

            I've often wondered about the odd disconnect that African-Americans have with Christianity.

            Was not Christianity IMPOSED upon the slaves in America? Were they not FORCED to abandon their traditional African Pagan beliefs and adopt the religion of their white slave-masters? Some cleverly encoded their Pagan beliefs in a veil of Christianity (as in Sanataria or Voodoun), mostly in the Caribbean and South America -- Catholicism, with it's pseudo-pantheon of saints, lends itself to that kind of incorporation. But in the USA, slaves and their descendants adopted the Protestant Christianity of their masters almost unchanged.

            Does that seem to be an strange anomaly, or is it just me? I'd have thought one of the first things the newly freed slaves would be saying is, "Praise the Orishas, I don't have to pretend to believe in that crazy white-man religion anymore!"

            Christianity is a meme that lends itself to creating authoritarian hierarchies. The Roman Emperor Constantine knew this when he made Pauline Christianity the state religion -- it's a good system to dominate the masses. It's how the GOP is using it now.

            Black Christians tend to be Biblical literalists, and this is the hook the GOP is exploiting right now. Homosexuality is "an abomination" in the Biblical text, so... well, there it is. Democrats, say the Republican theo-cons, are in favor of a Biblical abomination. Women are inferior and their place is to serve their fathers and husbands. It says so right here. Case closed.

            By trying to bring the power of the Black churches into today's progressive political causes, like gay tolerance and gender equality, is not going to work.

            "They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one-half so bad as a lot of ignorance." -- Terry Pratchett

            by Joe Max on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:05:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Emmm I disagree (none)
              Gender equality movement is undoubtedly a part of the civil rights movement.  I'll admit that there is a big disconnect with gay marriage with black churches.  But last I looked the U.C.C. was the only major church that endorsed it and takes no active steps to restrict the act.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

              DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

              by DWCG on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:56:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  U/U as well (none)
                (Unitarian/Universalist)

                And the Episcopalians are feuding over their gay bishop...it's a hierarchical church and the hierarchy is OK with gay priests and parishioners.  

                •  If they're feuding... (none)
                  ...then it's obviously not "OK".

                  What you've got is people knowing that prejudice against gay people is ridiculous and wrong, but are trapped by their belief in their scripture as inerrant. The "holiness" of the Holy Bible is a primary tenet of Christianity. If anything in it is questionable, then EVERYTHING in it is questionable. Hence the cognitive dissonance.

                  Christians who support gay rights are simply fooling themselves into thinking their holy book doesn't say something it obviously DOES say in no uncertain terms. And not just in the Old Testament, which is the way they usually weasel out of confronting their own weird hypocrisy.

                  Saul of Tarsus, aka "Saint Paul", wrote: "God has given [people who worship false gods] up to shameful passions. Their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and their men in turn, giving up natural relations with women burn with lust for one another; males behave indecently with males and paid in their own persons the fitting wage of such perversion."

                  Paul also writes: "Make no mistake: no fornicator or idolator, none who are guilty either of adultery or of homosexual perversion, no thieves or grabbers of drunkards of slanderers or swindlers, will possess the kingdom of God."

                  I don't know how much clearer than that you can get. In this, I agree with the Fundamentalist Christians. They're right, their Bible DOES say that.

                  So the real solution for those who don't agree with that belief is to simply renounce Christianity and change their religion, not try to pretend that it says something is acceptable when it emphatically says it is not.

                  "They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one-half so bad as a lot of ignorance." -- Terry Pratchett

                  by Joe Max on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:08:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  asdf (none)
                    I said the Episcopal hierarchy was ok with the gay bishop, not that all the parishioners were.

                    It is an interesting case.  A pastor here in CT has defied his gay bishop, and there was a huge church meeting recently about excommunicating the pastor for not obeying his bishop.  The outcome either was not in The New London Day, or I missed it (most probably).

                    What is even more interesting to me was a conversation that I had with one of the parishioners.  He said that he would be OK with the gay bishop as long as the gay bishop stayed celibate.  

                    On the other hand, if all the Episcopal bishops were celibate and recognized the Pope instead of the Archbishop of Canturbury, they could all be Catholics and not Episcopalians.

                    All of us in this day and age are cafeteria Christians--there are many, many items in Leviticus that no one observes.  Otherwise no mixed fabric sheets could be sold.  Houses would be pulled down for leprosy.  We would be stoning witches.  We would be punishing adultery by stoning.

                    Personally, I try to rely on the gospels' content.  Jesus was not very big on preaching about sex.  Paul of Tarsus was, but on the other hand, he never heard Jesus preach.

                    •  Relying on the Gospels (none)
                      Have you ever seen the Jefferson Bible?

                      http://www.angelfire.com/co/JeffersonBible/

                      Thomas Jefferson basically distilled the Gospel accounts down to only those events on which all four agreed. Then he removed all references to "miracles", as he considered those to be fables not worthy of consideration by a logical mind (including all references to ressurection.) He kept in ALL of the actual quotes of Jesus.

                      Now that's a kind of "Christianity" I could respect. But of course, that means you'd have to give up all the "savior" and "son of god" mythology and respect Jesus for his teachings alone. Which I can certainly respect as well, like I can respect the teachings of Plato, Lao Tse or Buddha.

                      "They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one-half so bad as a lot of ignorance." -- Terry Pratchett

                      by Joe Max on Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 11:32:14 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Thank you (none)
                      Jesus was not very big on preaching about sex.  Paul of Tarsus was, but on the other hand, he never heard Jesus preach.

                      I begin every religious discusion about sex with that statement.  Our puritanical views of sex derive from St. Paul not Jesus.

                      DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

                      by DWCG on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 01:44:58 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  I do believe you have hit the nail on the head (none)
            Or one of them, anyway!

            IE, the POINT is the morality in the policy, NOT religion.

            For those in the black community who insist upon having the latter (as well as in the white community) I would say a good argument must be made to them to disavow them of having a stew of govt and religion served up to Americans. If that happens, we are in the stew, so to speak.

            Perhaps an area here, where we can carve out some space to make things more comfortable for ultra religious Dems is in the area of making it clear, in words and deeds, that believing in religion is not denigrated, and all are welcome.

            Although that works both ways. Just like an ultra religious person doesnt want to hear "religion sucks!" at a Dem gathering, likewise, I and many others dont want it to turn into a prayer meeting.

            Separation of religion and government is there for an extremely important reason, and it is one of those things that is America at its BEST. People do need to understand that "at its best" never means perfectly tailored to each individual's wants. There is always something that must be given up, like that tax money I'd rather keep in my paycheck, or like the religious person not able to hear about or speak about God at a govt agency or in public school. We dont get all of our paychecks taken away, just some, with taxes. The religious person can practice and speak on religion ... just not in some places, overtly. By insisting on having it all, it comes out much worse. And that goes for having religion in all places. (Just look at the struggle in Iran, to remove that oppressive yoke.)

            Anyway ... I do agree its the morality in the policies, not religion in the politics, that most in the black community wish for.

            What I dont understand about the diary above is the idea that at THIS time in our nation we are in danger of black people trending Republican -- not with Bush and the GOP so obviously promoting policies that are so harmful to so many blacks, and low to middle income folks of all races (me, white, on the very low end these days :-( )

            Not just domestically, but in foreign policy, I would think blacks would be most averse to the GOP in these times. I think blacks, disproportionalely to whites, were far more against the Iraq war, for example.

            And then there is the voting fiasco ...

            oh, ps - I hate bankruptcy bill (+ ANWR) traitor dems.

            by NYCee on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:39:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Is religion mere words, or deeds? (none)
              Black folks, like any savvy group, know that true religion involves deeds, and not just words.  Our Bible-thumping pals across the great divide talk a wonderful game about their Christian commitment, but their message is always negative:

              no sex
              no booze
              no music
              no abortion
              no gay rights
              no tolerance
              no listening to anyone except themselves

              When was the last time you heard a Bible-thumper referring to the Sermon on the Mount--espousing tolerance, understanding and forgiveness?  Nope, these birds are building a Habitat for Inhumanity.  That's all they stand for,  making money and grabbing position and power for themselves,  by any means possible.

              What rough beast, its hour come round at last/Slouches toward Bethlehem waiting to be born?

              by cova1 on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:01:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Well I'm black and I've opined (4.00)
            Blacks are Opposed to the Christian Coalition

            The divisions are far bigger than even what you state, which I think is accurate but has a propensity to change.  The Republican message, which is predicated on fear, entitlement, superiority and racism just does not appeal to blacks.

            DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

            by DWCG on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:44:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure... (4.00)
        a spinoff would be productive, overall. Black, White, Latino, Native American, Asian etc voter issues, women voter issues, men voter issues, gay voter issues, poor voter issues, rich voter issues, healthcare focused voter issues, working class voter issues, labor voter issues, environmentalists voter issues (and whoever I've not listed voter issues) are all Democratic voter issues.

        And if on the largest progressive political blog on the internet it is not possible to gain at least  some interest for all of the above voter's issues... then we're in a heap of trouble, I think. Parties don't win individually... only by all working together.

        A new world is not only possible, she is on her way. -A. Roy
        Human Beams Magazine

        by Nanette K on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:23:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Umm No (3.83)
        "What if we had a Kos spinoff Scoop blog based on working class, race/ethnic, and poverty issues???
        "

        Why don't we have a spin-off blog based on everything else?  What the hell is a Democratic blog if not one about working class, race/ethnic, and poverty issues?  That's like a Republican blog saying 'hey lets have a spin-off blog to address big business and capital gains tax cut issues'.  The reason that such a suggestion seems to make sense is what is wrong with the Democratic Party.

        •  ironically enough (4.00)
          This was a central tenet of the DLC back in their early days (and still is), to battle against the balkanization of the Democratic coalition by microslicing so-called "outreach" efforts.

          Of course, the preferred solution (let's all kowtow to big money) they come up  with was, I'll wager, slightly different from yours or mine, but they were right about needless divisions and so are you.

        •  These issues are not all that well covered here. (4.00)
          I say that as a poor person. These are not issues that most Kossacks connect with all that well--this is an upperclass group. That is the real issue. Even if poor minorities turned up at dKos I'm not sure they would see their key concerns reflected all that well or that they would relate to the perspective and the mix of issues that most well to do white Kossacks are passionate about.
          •  Well it's not addressed by the party either (4.00)
            What happened to our War on Poverty?  When's the last time you saw our presidential candidate even mention it...1980?

            DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

            by DWCG on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:37:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Didn't you hear? (4.00)
              The war is over and the poor people lost.

              I'm serious!  There was a diary around here recently quoting some Republican that literally said "Rich people are winning"

              LOL

              I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

              by diplomatic on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:47:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Rich Little impersonating Reagan (none)
                at an inaugural ball:
                Though there was no official poem for the occasion, impressionist Rich Little, emceeing the Constitution Ball at the Hilton Washington, did provide a bit of inaugural doggerel.
                The gist of it was: "Let's get together, let bitterness pass, I'll hug your elephant, you kiss my ass!" And the crowd went crazy.

                Little said he missed and adored the late President Ronald Reagan and "I wish he was here tonight, but as a matter of fact he is," and he proceeded to impersonate Reagan, saying, "You know, somebody asked me, 'Do you think the war on poverty is over?' I said, 'Yes, the poor lost.' " The crowd went wild.


                (from this diary)
      •  asdf (none)
        dunno if that would be a good idea. It feels like it would be a ghettoization/barriofication of this issues into a seperate neighborhood would isolate kossacks from issues and opinions that they should be looking at.

        than again, if there were lots more minorities here with a more street-smart attitude would end up pissing on the rosy colored reality glasses of the upper middle class whites/assimilated minorites.  

        •  This is a very white, upper middle class community (none)
          And a sort of anarchic one... there's nobody really dictating what Daily Kos' agenda is and what attitudes are acceptable here. It's not clear to me what, if anything, could make Daily Kos more appealing and welcoming to poor and minority Democrats.
          •  What's appealing and welcoming... (3.88)
            ...are people with opinions similar to those in the Kos community.  That's why this Black female checks in here daily. Leave this website alone! It's fine for everyone who gets it and has a computer and knows how to use it. You can't do anything about the poor who don't have computers and are at the bottom of Maslow's pyramid. And no one really knows how many of us Black folk are out here.

            I have too many middle class Black friends who aren't interested in politics, and/or are turned off by what passes for politics on TV, and/or they're not sufficiently computer literate (remembering that I'm in my 60's)to have developed an appreciation of blogs vs. mainstream media.  A shame, too, since they have children and grandchildren who are doomed to pay the prices levied by this administration throughout their lives.  That's their problem, not that of the Kos community.  They get their understanding of life at church on Sunday.  I get mine online.

            I also live in a very white, upper middle class community.  In the 5 years that I've been here, they have ignored me, looked through me, and chatted up my white husband when I'm not in sight. They aren't my kind of people (they are George Allen-type Virginians. I am no more interested in them than they are in me.  

            So, by and large, if I'm going to talk to white people about issues, and realize that whits are all not like my neighbors, it's going to be on Kos and other life-saving blogs that explore reality-based issues.

            •  Seems to me (4.00)
              the best thing any of us can do is talk, convincincly and as often as is reasonable, with friends and family who may not know of sites like dailyKOS or really have any idea what is actually happening in the world - black, white, whatever else or anything in between... though I haven't been at it as long as you probably have...

              As a black female in her mid-20's who recently acquired a white fiance, I see myself where you are in a few more years.

              Right now, my closest connection to the very religious black community is my extended family, and they hear from me every time I visit.  I do think that what the author says is true in one respect - the Democratic Party downplays the importance of religion to its members to its peril.

              What we should be pointing out relentlessly is that separation of church and state is the most important thing that this country could ever do to PROTECT religious beliefs.  The answer isn't pretending to find Jesus every 4 years and losing Him in the interim, or actually any specific belief, really --- the answer is respect, tolerance, and understanding, which is different entirely.

              Oh, and the other thing I want to point out generally is that black people are not some anonymous other, that need to be philosophized about, ignored, or as one poster put it above "assimilated."  We are just people, capable of logical thought, love, intelligence, and dignity --- even the poor and/or religious ones.  Above all, we are real people.  With whom you can have a conversation.  Some of us are even trusted users.  Goodness.  Separate but equal doesn't work for dialogue either.

              War is NOT a preventative measure.

              by demandcaring on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:23:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Bliss you ... bless you ... ??? (none)
              ..  for putting up with Virginia!

              I am generalizing here, of course, but I am going by Cspan callers ... Whooee! Some real doozies. I thought Kentucky was bad, but Virginia seems to have been vying for their spot these days, ie, most boneheaded rightwing callers. I dont think they can pass Kentucky though. You have Allen, but they do have Bunning.

              Oh god, there are too many of them out there, competing like mad to be the worst, arent there? Like Duncan Hunter, from CA, spouting nonsense and lemon chicken platters re Guantanamo.

              Glad you come on board here.

              oh, ps - I hate bankruptcy bill (+ ANWR) traitor dems.

              by NYCee on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:24:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  It bothers me that as I scroll down the string (none)
        of first responses here, no one is RESPONDING to the issues raised!

        Instead of jumping to figuring out how to get more blacks on board, talk to the one who is HERE!!!

        Really, I know the intention is good, but it just seems removed and tin ear.

        Okay, nuff said. Now Im jumping off so I can practice what Im preaching <<---pun Pun PUN!!!

        oh, ps - I hate bankruptcy bill (+ ANWR) traitor dems.

        by NYCee on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:55:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wow, Thanks to You All (4.00)
      for this amount of discussion.

      dKos does have minority participants, some elderly participants, some military, union workers etc. but relatively small numbers. Even boomers are probably underrepresented here.

      I think that a place to start is <fumbling, grasping-at-straws> probably some kind of standalone project, some kind of partnership with an existing on-the-ground minority organization, or perhaps inviting a representative of some such group to be a regular diarist.

      I see mention of a system upgrade. If some kind of "sections" are ever enabled, they would seem to facilitate making spaces here for minority and other types of unrepresented participation where people who don't normally mix can visit and begin talking and working together.

      In theory, blog technology should enable masses of people to work together as never before. It's truly a more powerful Tower of Babel than the Biblical myth. People can be participating here, shaping the community, from inner-city libraries or churches if they don't have computers at home, or from Native reservations.

      The only reason it hasn't happened is that we're so naturally segregated that we have no real-world history to bring here. Probably military people would bring the most real-life experience in integration.

      There are answers out there to be found and created. Step #1 is beginning to imagine the scope of the opportunity.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:53:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What makes you think they aren't already here? (none)
      Don't buy into stereotypes about race and class. There are many African Americans that are online. I'm here.
  •  yes, this is disconcerting... (4.00)
    but I don't know how we get around it--or any of the other "values voters" issues--without turning our backs on what most of us hold very dear: the right to privacy.

    And the LAST thing I want is more religion in government. What genius is going to figure out how to stem this tide? How on Earth did the Republicans get so many poor folks to vote against their own economic self-interest? That's the kind of strategist we need...

    •  because as Christians (4.00)
      we place a higher priority than economist self-interest!! funny that liberals who are so condemning of selfishness and cost-benefit analysis of free market ideologues now condemn people when they factor in other things besides money in their voting behavior!

      why do all the hollywood actors vote Dem even though they're freakin rich as hell? do you want them voting their economic self-interest?

      •  What is it you place the priority on? (4.00)
        Can you explain the Christian preoccupation with sexual behavior, given that Christ's only treatment of the subject was to befriend a prostitute and save an adultress from stoning?

        How did American Christianity evolve into a kind of psuedo-Christianity whose only morality is sexual? Can you explain that?

        If poor people are using Christianity to justify voting against their own self interest, how do they justify using it to keep others poor, to exploit others, to enable the killing of <i?others?</i>

        •  blame the puritans (4.00)
          i do for everything wrong with America.

          don't ask me how christianity became solely about sexual sin, but it frustrates a lot of us Christians. i do think that as the economy has become more and more unregulated, deregulated, and people are left thrown to the wolves of the market, they have become more insecure and frightened, so that they believe that it's only sexual morality that the govt can try to control, esp. since Dems have not made an argument for regulated markets/corporations and activist govt in ages, so people don't blame Bush or the GOP for their own shitty economic situations and think govt can't help. it'll take another Depression probably before people will wake up.

          i heard from some folks at church say that, "yes i should vote Kerry because it would be better for my checkbook, but that is very selfish when you think about all the unborn babies that will die if he's president." i don't agree with the sentiment AT ALL, but i find something strangely noble about it--that people ARE capable of caring about something other than themselves and their own welfare. i just wish they'd maybe care as much about immoral wars or homelessness or deaths caused by the lack of heatlh insurance...

          •  Noble? (4.00)
            When did being a moralizing busybody become noble?  Only in the sense of busybodies arrogating to themselves the status of nobility, i.e., aristocratic privilege to interfere in the lives of others.

            I don't care what color religious fanatics are, they need to learn the First American Commandment:  Thou shalt MYOB.

            •  Since when did (4.00)
              caring about things other than yourself make you a moralizing busybody?

              I suspect I agree with you on the specifics, Dancing Larry, but the greater point is that when people vote against their economic interests, in ways I approve of, for moral reasons (wealthy Dems), I salute them , but if they do so in ways I disapprove of (poor evangelicals) I condemn them.

              Frankly, though I'm heartily disgusted with the results of their actions, and with what I see as ignorance and small-mindedness, I do respect the poor evangelical who said, "I know I'm voting against my pocketbook when I vote Bush. I don't care. My pocketbook isn't the most important thing to me." Though I think the vote itself is reprehensible, the sentiment against the primacy of pocketbook is--to my mind--noble.

              Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

              by GussieFN on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:36:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  hmm... (none)
                what makes you think they know they're voting against their own economic interests?

                and what makes you think there's any virtue in a vote based on intolerance or ignorance (ban gay marriage because it'll ruin society, for example)?

          •  Yes I heard that too (4.00)
            and so did my very Christian, Baptist mother. Her response to those who felt they had to vote Bush  was, " Jesus cared about the poor and he was forever preaching about giving to the poor". She went on to tell them that Bush cares only about the rich and he has plunged us into War. That is not what Jesus was about.
            Jesus was compassionate and loving and said we should look after those less fortunate.

            I get really tired of the Christian right who will martyr themselves in order to vote against a Democrat. Then they go on to complain about the high cost of living, rising fuel prices, and how they must suffer as Christians for a nobler cause. But challenge them on some issues and they run away because most of Bush's policies are not Christian oriented.

            We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

            by wishingwell on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:28:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cheers to your mom (none)
              She is a wise woman. I think I would enjoy having long conversations with a person such as her. You should get her to post here.

              If the children ask you why so many died, tell them, because their fathers lied." Rudyard Kipling

              by TexDem on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:15:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I think you're onto something here (4.00)
            People don't really understand, nor feel they have any control over the market/economy (at least true for me).  They do, however, understand sex.  The next time says something to you about 'unborn babies that will die if he's [Kerry] president,' you might mention how Clinton's policies lowered the abortion rate and how it has gone back up under Bush.

            Nice diary.

            Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act. - Orwell

            by TracieLynn on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:31:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  churches' influence (4.00)
            Excellent diary. Highly recommended!

            I'm not an African American (and as a side note, as an editor I've been told by publishers that it's not PC to hyphenate that term), but I have some reflection on the church side of things that I'd like to add to the discussion. As a former member of a rather fundie church that had a good number of blacks, including on the deacon board, I think I have some insight into what's been going on with the churches' influence.

            From what I witnessed over the past decade, a large number of evangelists, both the ones who visited the churches and the ones on TV, began beating on the "we have to take back America" drum. Their sermons pour the guilt of the blood of all the "abortion murders" over all who listen. To be perfectly frank, I don't think most of the people surrounding me gave two hoots about the aborted fetuses, but when they're continually bombarded with the rhetoric that if they don't do something about it, they're guilty of all the "murders" as well, and that the blood of all the "unborn babies" is on their hands and will cause God to turn his back on our nation if they don't try to stop it, it makes them squirm in their seats.

            The pastors then picked up the topic and continued to preach on it, handing out Voter's Guides with neat little checkmarks all down the Republican side--and this happened as far back as the 2000 election, and maybe earlier--the main criterion being whether the candidates were pro or anti abortion.

            As a churchgoer hearing these things, at first it makes you think that you're not quite sure whether what they're telling you is true: Is it really murder? Will it really bring God's wrath against America? Will you really be in danger of his condemnation and share in the guilt if you don't try to stop it? Then as you continue to hear it preached and squirm some more, and these guys tell you they hear directly from God, and all the other folks around you in the congregation seem to be buying it, you figure you'd better get on the bandwagon and try to stop all abortions, just in case they really are right.  And you muster up some concern and vote for the people who are antiabortion, even though deep down inside you don't really care all that much, just because you think you really should.

            That's how I felt, and that's how most of my fellow churchgoers, both black and white, that I knew personally felt as well.

            Now that I've joined the reality-based community and look back, I think it was a form of brainwashing abetted by peer pressure and the herd mentality. And behind the evangelists, I think I see Rove's suit peeking out. The Voter's Guides are a dead giveaway.

          •  Nothing noble (4.00)
            about being a Sheep and following the dictates of a Pastor or drinking the Kool Aid of Right wing propaganda. I thought it was more noble for someone like my mother who attends an Evangelical church who told her friends she would not vote for Bush and why. She stood alone and stood her ground despite suffering from the effects of chemotherapy and her Stage IV cancer. Now that was noble and took courage. It also took courage for my nephew and other military personnel to undergo a verbal barrage of insults for standing up For Kerry.

            It is more noble to go against the grain and do the unpopular thing. And for a Right wing church member to vote Bush is NOT going against the tide or standing up alone.

            We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

            by wishingwell on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:34:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And the irony is that the GOP will, in my view, (4.00)
            never make abortion illegal: what else would they use to get votes with???

            "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

            by adigal on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:35:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This statement is right on (4.00)
              I have been trying to point out to people for years that while as progressives we are all afraid of the GOP turning over R v. W, the fact is they havn't and have made no serious attempts at such. I don not believe that the GOP power people have any interest in doing so. After all, rich white girls get abortions too.

              Using the abortion issue has made evangelicals and southerners the sweetheart cheap date of the Republican Party. All they have to do is promise them a meal some time in the future in order to have them at their beckon call. It is a brilliant plan, it equals free votes.

              They get votes and never have to actually deliver, abortion is still legal, and in the meantime they pass legislative actions that actually take money out of the pocketbooks of these voters. So in reallity it's even more brilliant than it seems, not only are they exchanging votes for nothing, they are actually getting votes and paying themselves at the same time. Brilliant.

              The question is, what will it take for your average southern and or evangelical voter to open their eyes to the fact that the GOP is playing them for fools?

              Prisoner of hope.

              by comeon on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:57:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Even IF Roe v. Wade is overturned (none)
              The issue would go back to the states.  Some states would abolish and others wouldn't.  Frankly, I think that a development like that would cause further division as the pro-life wingers would then focus on the states that kept abortion legal, and we all know the characterizations they would use.
              •  Yes, but maybe not (none)
                The medical marijuana case allowed federal agents to arrest people who had marijuana prescriptions legally.  I think that the same reasoning could be applied to abortion, if R v W is overturned.

                With the House, the Senate, and the presidency, the Republicans could theoretically make abortion illegal right now for the 3rd trimester even with R v W in place.

                And as we have seen in Marth Stewart's case, just lying to an FBI agent is a crime.

                If it goes back to the states, only 13 states are anything like ready--many states have neglected to repeal pre Roe anti abortion laws, for example. In others, there are statutes that were deliberately passed to outlaw abortion.

                And many blue states have more anti abortion legislation than some red ones.  Alaska is one of the 13.  PA is one of the worst.  RI is not much better.  

            •  Right, because it's not about the babies, (4.00)
              even though the babies are the ostensible pretext, and of course even though the babies are innocent and need protecting.... but nevertheless it's NOT about the babies-- it's about controlling women.

              It's about controlling women's sexuality, and curtailing women's ability to make decisions independent of either male authority, or some other institutionalized and very traditionally hierarchical authority structure.

              They want many other sorts of prohibitions, or limitations, or impediments, to work in tandem with the specific language that targets abortion procedures, as a cluster of inroads into reducing women's control over their own bodies and sexual spheres.  Thus the proposed, and sometimes passed, parental consent laws, the pharmaceutical-freedom-to-not-dispense-birth-control laws, the only-a-married-couple-can-obtain-fertility-clinic-services laws, the medical-insurance-will-cover-viagra-but-will-not-cover-emergency-contraception laws, etc. etc.

          •  Values v Self Interest (4.00)
            Thank you for so clearly putting the shame to the self interest argument.  Given a choice people should vote for what they think is right not what earns them more money.  We can't rally against Bush for giving his friends money and then tell other people to vote for what will give them more money.  The Democrats won't win by advocating greed.

            I do think that white liberal Democratic values are more closely aligned to the values of Black Christians than white consercative Republican values.  We need to get better at listening to each other and finding more of our common ground.

            I've read a few of your diaries as they are consistantly good, but I have very little sense of what is important to you from a religeous standpoint.  I understand, but disagree with your positions on abortion and gays, but how much do you feel your religeous views inform your economic politics or other areas where we are more likely to agree?

            The only international crime is losing a war

            by Luam on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:39:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  economic justice (4.00)
              is fundamental to me. if you look at my diaries, you will see my obsession with globalization and free trade and union rights. those very much stem from my understanding of Catholic social teaching and the values of Jesus. i have been involved with anti-globalization movements for years now,esp. forgiving the debts of African nations, where we just got a big victoryu this week. the Jubilee movement is based on Leviticus (usually reviled by liberals for its anti-gay sentiment) and what it says about debt forgiveness and a moral economy. without religion and faith, you don't get an active labor movement in this country. Jews and Catholics were some of the leaders in this effort, and much of it stemmed from their faith.

              on abortion and gay rights, i'm still pro-choice, pro-civil unions (i think the state should get out of the marriage buisness generally). it's just i understand my community, and i want Dems to win, so i understand how things need to be framed (an "it's my body dammit" rhetoric just doesn't sit well with me as a Christian. i''m pro-chocie based on the concept of grace).

              Martin Luther King's magnificient, radical "beyond Vietnam" speech has influenced the way i look at capitalism and the inherent sinfulness of SOCIAL STRUCTURES that leads people to be in poverty.

              http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm

              Evangelicals for Social Action is a group that also uses scripture to look at structures, instead of simply individual moral behavior, as a way of explaining soem of our social problems.

              •  Thank you (none)
                I was wondering if you felt that your other economic and social issues were religiously based.  And I was considering asking if the position you took on abortion and gays in the diary was philosophical or tactical.  It sounds like it is tactical.

                I don't think that the positions you state are very different from mine, or even that far out of the mainstream for Kossacks.  You may draw your political inspiration from a higher source, but my internal moral compass leads me to similar conclusions.

                I agree that our people need to talk about our morals and the values that drive us to our political positions.

                The only international crime is losing a war

                by Luam on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:08:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  howcome they don't think about the war? (none)
            "when you think about all the unborn babies that will die..."
            I understand what this person was thinking, but it's surprising to me that they didn't weigh this against "when you think about all the brave young men in the army that will die if Bush is elected president..."

            Why isn't this transparent to everyone? I don't understand why the abortion issue works so well as a wedge. Neither party is going to outlaw it in the next four years.

            Meanwhile, ending the war should be near the top of everyone's prayer list.

            •  it works so well as a wedge (4.00)
              because it has been crafted as the ultimate morality test. Most evangelicals I know believe you cannot be a real Christian, no matter what you might think, if you support choice.

              Abortion touches on so many panic issues.  Sex, female control, autonomy, a modernity that they fear and resent, and also a misunderstanding of religious texts that make them sure that to support choice is to oppose God and be guilty of 'sacrificing one's children."

              It's black and white, (or so they say) the way they like things. You are with us or against us, or, in this case, 'pro life' or not.  And for many conservative  Christians, it also acts as a sort of batsignal, a secret handshake, that indicates you are in agreement on a host of other things as well.  

          •  Community as a value (4.00)
            Thanks for the provocative and informative diary.

            Yesterday when we were discussing core values, there was a large contingent for "community" or something else that captured the idea of caring for one another, working together, etc.  This is a value that both the secular people and Christians such as you would seem to have in common, though it is expressed in different ways. That seems to me to be one bridge.

            Talking about economic policies that mitigate the feeling of being throwen to the wolves, such as keeping Social Security, keeping opportunity open through student loans and small business loans and managing the programs fairly, and health care for children might be another.

            Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ---Paulo Friere

            by Mimikatz on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:27:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  absolutely!! (4.00)
              the one thing minorities believe in is MORE social and government spending. we do NOT believe in starving the govt. we believe govt can be an instrument of the community that helps one another. this is why so many of us support universal single payer healthcare.  

              but when certain white folks want to just talk on and on about separating church and state, how religion has no business being in politics, that people should not enforce their morality on each other, that kind of rhetoric just doesn't hold much attraction for people of color...

              which is why i really liked Howard Dean and his vision of the beloved community. i thhink his message was a very spritual one that resonated across faiths. even seculars/atheists like to be and feel inspired by a higher calling and greater good.

              •  But do you understand (none)
                why breaking down the separation of church and state terrifies some of us?   This is where the conversation breaks down too often.  Many of us secularists--who you've made your disdain for clear--may jump too quickly...I won't dispute that.  However, I think you often misrepresent some of our positions.  I want a secular state, not necessarily a secular society--don't conflate the two.  A state combined with a given church has the real potential to harm religious freedom, as this case reminds us.

                But I'll also say, from a personal perspective of self-preservation, the thought of a more religious state chills my blood.  You describe a justice orientation from churches of color, but this same justice orientation is quite often turned against my community--we haven't suffered enough, we're evil and out to destroy the family...one minister went so far as to say he'd ride with the Klan to oppose marriage equality.  Forgive me if that doesn't provide much comfort about bringing more religion into government.  I'll be honest, when my life is on the line, I don't trust the churches.

                I am a revolting homosexual!

                "If you don't like me, I'm going to make you hate me."*****Margaret Cho

                by MAJeff on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:43:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  well (4.00)
          I'm guessing here, but I think that most people are buying into the image of a party that claims to be guided by a religion-based morality (which is to say, a party that is guided by the same principles that I, the voter, am). The specifics are for the kind of people who spend their time of politics websites. The question for the voter is, which party is going to make the right choices, and which party is going to make the bad ones?

          One line I hear from a lot of evangelicals is that if you don't believe in some kind of God, how could you possibly have a sense of right and wrong? The concept of secular ethics does not exist to most people. God is the source of morality. The sexuality stuff is not the basis, it is just used as signifier of a general religiosity.

          The Democratic party is for "the separation of church and state," a position which has, I think, been subtly branded by the GOP as God-less, and thus ultimately morally bankrupt.

          The more I think about it, the concept of Grace brought up by the diarist is really interesting politically (if that's not too cynical a thing to say). Because another GOP meme is self-reliance-- which could be interpreted as Prideful (one of the deadly ones) in a Grace-focused Christianity...?

      •  How about just (none)
        factoring in the Bill of Rights?

        "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

        by Passing Shot on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:06:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly right (none)
        We need to reclaim values, but quoting the bible once at a meeting isn't a start.  We need to speak up at our churches and speak up when people using the bible as a club do it in our presence.

        One thing that worries me is this: the further we get away from the Civil Rights era, the less we can count on African Americans voting 85-95 percent for Democrats.  The crucible which made African Americans associate their well-being with the Democratic Party is growing smaller in the rearview mirror. As fewer African Americans have direct experience with the trials of that era, the less likely they are to consider themselves reflexively Democrat.

        We have already experienced this with the New Deal generation and with union househoulds.  The experience that bound them to the party is gone or waning and nothing has replaced it.

        We cannot become complacent and just think we can ignore African Americans while reaching out to Hispanics.  The GOP isn't trying to get a large percentage of African Americans, just enough to weaken our coalition.

        A nation afraid of the world cannot lead it. JW

        by Velvet Revolution on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:23:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  less talk, more action (4.00)
          an even better start would be to do something about these issues.  we can't just sit back and say "hey remember we were on the right side of civil rights, well some of us were, uh forty years ago."  that's just lame.  people ask "what have you done for me lately?" and they should.

          too many of our elected dems, especially in washington, have gotten lazy and are getting fat on corporate ties and the K-street buffet.  and that's why traditionally democratic voters are staying home these days.

          the solution is not to just talk about these issues, but to demonstrate that we're serious about taking action.  otherwise we're no better than the GOP making noise about abortion but never planning to deliver because it would lose them a big issue.

          and don't tell me "but we're in the minority, what can we do?"  there are plenty of states where we have a majority, and even more municipalities.  start there, and people will notice.  then they start voting for us again.  then we can take back congress.

          l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

          by zeke L on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:20:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  In a just society... (none)

          Would 85-90% of African Americans (or any group save the poor) vote Democratic?  If their social and economic interests coincide with that of the comfortable and content, they will have less reason to vote Democratic.  To this, contrast Republican attempts to recruit African Americans to their old history of repelling them at every turn.  

          Hopefully, with every election (after 2008, at least), more and more blacks will self-identify as Republicans.  This means that perhaps we have to go back to the issues that led to decades of Democratic dominance:  a moderate redistribution of income of the rich to the "common man".  

      •  Listening to everyone talking about (4.00)
        "values" as they relate to religious belief systems, I have to ask this question.

        "Can anyone describe one single, meaningful human value that requires a religious context within which to be legitimate?"

        For me, it seems that the common good is usually served better when we transcend those aspects of religious doctrine that divide us rather than unite us. Black, Brown, White, Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Rural, Urban, Northerner, Southerner, American, French, African, Democrat, Republican; our species is the human species. We always have more in common than we have separating us. Yet virtually all our political and religious discourse continually seeks to divide us further.

        Defeat the sound-bite.

        by sbj on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:14:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Correct me if I'm wrong (3.50)
        but no Founder of the nation specifically stated that commercial success is, in effect, fundamentally poisonous to civil affairs (government) and, ultimately, to the liberty of The People.

        They did, however, specifically forewarn Americans that tyranny would result from religious intrusion into civil affairs.

         James Madison, a principal architect of the First Amendment and driving force behind the Constitution of the United States of America, made a thorough consideration of it in his 'Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments'.

        Thomas Jefferson, the other principal architect of the First Amendment, made his views quite clear in a now-famous letter written to Danbury Baptists.

        In fact, the Virginia Assembly's statute of religious freedom (predecessor to the Establishment Clause in the US Constitution) stated, "Be it therefore  enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument  to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities".

        We call that a wall between Church and State. It is there for good reasons, all of them.

        I don't care how fervent one's faith in their religion is. Neither they nor you are welcome to rewrite our history in order to suit your religious ambitions.

        You and your ilk are in the wrong. If you believe otherwise, you are mistaken. Period.

        And, not for nothing, but why would Hollywood actors vote Democratic?

        Because they struggle for years, often for decades, before they become rich and famous. They remember the sting of successive defeats on the heels of hard work, they remember the role that good fortune played in their lives at present. But above all, they remember that the alternatives to being a wealthy star, paying beaucoup taxes, are far worse and far more prevalent in America.

        That's why.

        •  And another thing (none)
          before I head out to mow my lawn.

          Why are we even discussing an attempt, however well-intentioned but misguided, to rewrite the very intellectual underpinnings of our Constitution and our government because a supposed 61% of African Americans are so desperately pious that they can't abide governance without sermons, on the same day we find out that twenty US Senators refused to publicly support an anti-lynching resolution yesterday?

          These people want to vomit and spew "Christ" and "Godliness" into every sentence of their political rhetoric, but they can't afford to offend bigot constituents that, apparently, think lynching was a good thing in America's history? That's crazy vile.

          Yeah, good call on the diary addressing pressing concerns of African Americans, on our political landscape, today.

          Talk about fiddling while Rome burns...

      •   I agree and I question (none)
        First, thanks for a good food for thought diary.

        The Lieberman portion really rings a bell from my own experience, and I am white:

        I worked in inner city (NY) areas for years, had black as well as white colleagues, supervisors, etc. (What I have to say is also true from other experiences Ive had outside of work.)

        Although the atmosphere and experience was challenging and wasnt always easy to deal with, upon reflection, I realized the black people I worked did have a certain forgiving quality, in general, that was special. And I have seen it elsewhere. There is a place where things are known and shared, hardships, struggles, human shortcomings and positives, in a way that is broader and deeper and often needs no explanation.  As a rule, there is a distinction ... and I really have felt it comes from KNOWing the prejudice and hard times from past to present, in their various forms. I have had tough, scary black supervisors, but never VICIOUS, like some white people in their shoes. The latter would press the button to eject you and if they destroyed you in the process, no sweat. Not always to me, personally, but I experienced it and saw it.

        As for the religon-speak, I didnt sense that my black colleagues wanted more of that in govt or anywhere. They may have gone to church religiously (redundant!), the whole nine yards, but it just wasnt worn on their sleeves, I didnt feel any pressure. If I had polled them, they may have been against abortion, but there are plenty of women of all colors in the city's abortion clinics. If push came to shove, would the black community really vote to abolish abortion?

        As for the religious values voting, given all the other issues black folks care about -- in general -- combined with how badly Bush/GOP have performed on these issues, why are we in more danger now that blacks would start trending Republican? Hasnt the GOP left a really bad taste? Arent they transparently anti-anyone-but-wealthy to the black community? I believe blacks tended to be much more against the Iraq war as a group, probably the Haiti deposing of Aristede, too ... then there are the program cuts, the whole kit and kaboodle re a level playing field, that impacts so many of us, regardless of race, where Bush/GOP are so blatantly awful.

        I dont know what to do about the religion thing. Why do people look for this in government? And why not, as a poster (black) above said, isnt this looked for in MORALITY in the policy, rather than in words, which can be so damn cheap? That poster said the point is morality for the black community.

        I suppose the sticking point is that folks who do feel deeply religious feel this is not accepted, and that shouldnt be the case. That may be the fly in the ointment that we need to work on and resolve, but I dont think melding religion and govt is the solution. It would create far bigger miseries than feeling your religious belief is not valued by some in your party, no doubt!

        I think we do need to speak more MORALLY on issues, not RELIGIOUSLY. That would bother me, bigtime, as I am agnostic -- so is my mom, my boyfriend. Multiply me times many. I dont want to hear about THE WAY as JESUS. Not from my govt. If a well meaning believer says something nice to me re Jesus, fine by me, but why must GOD be referenced to satisfy? (God means Christian God for most of our pols, most in this country. So are we to list all the other religions, each time God is invoked?) Are not the works, and not the words, the essential teaching of Jesus, et al? Isnt the manifestation of those words the important thing, and cant it be evident in other words and, more important, in DEEDS, without having to say "God" or "Jesus" or Mohammed or whoever?

        As for the moral words from our leaders, they are in damn short supply. This is a BIG problem. For example, no one, but no one, speaks of all the Iraqis slaughtered in this war, on mainstream news, but for once in the bluest of blue moons. That is immoral. There are tons of examples where we fall short here.

        I would respectfully say, that just like I want REeducation focused on a certain bloc of whites, in terms of their mistaken notions re what they support and agitate for in this nation, perhaps that is also necessary for the black community, for those who, as you seem to be saying, insist on references to religion in their politics. Shouldnt the point be made and made and made again that they are welcome to revel in their religion, to practice it and preach it where appropriate, but to stick it into govt is a very backward and dangerous road to go down -- just not the way America is, at its best. And that means you always have to give something up, without giving up everything. Giving up religion in government is just such an example of that.

        It's what oppressed people are struggling so hard to leave behind (Iran, for a prime example).

         

        oh, ps - I hate bankruptcy bill (+ ANWR) traitor dems.

        by NYCee on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:04:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  clinton's speecjh (none)
          have you read the CLinton speech i referenced below? does it offend you to hear the president talk about the "Grace of God"? i am genuinely curious about this.
          •  Let me answer it this way: (none)
            I want to see the tone and the policies keeping religion out.

            I want to see a poulation, black, white, brown ... whatever, that doesnt insist on hearing the word God in a speech in order to be crazy for a president.

            I want them to be crazy for a president because he/she shows a deep and abiding knowledge of this country's needs and those of the world and a desire and ability to serve those well -- in deed ... As for words, there are many, many ways of speaking the word of God, in the sense of ethical, compassionate, just treatment of others, without ever uttering the word God.

            The word God in a speech now and then doesnt bother me. What bothers me is not that he said it, but that there is a sense that he must, by far too many in this country, to pass muster.

            oh, ps - I hate bankruptcy bill (+ ANWR) traitor dems.

            by NYCee on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:08:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  this is a religious country (none)
              get used to it. you want nice and secular where politicans never ever say "god bless you"? go to Europe. i have long made my peace with the fact that this is the electorate we have and that we must deal with to win elections. wishing it weren't so doesn't help us.
              •  Yup, I was thinking Europe, with a deep sigh. (none)
                Europe is my model in many ways. They have internalized some deep mistakes much better than we have, we with all our high falootin God talk and so much backwardness and hypocrisy.

                I want people to roar and rock and praise god till they shake the crosses off the walls in their little churches ... I want to hear them singing a half mile away. I want the Arabs downstairs to call out their prayers five times a day in their grocerette, loud and lusty, while Im buying my soda or cat food.  Just keep them the hell out of my government -- except that I would like all the loving and tolerance and justice they got infused with during worship on Sunday, or Saturday or Friday to inform their political actions on that and all the other days.

                Amen!

                oh, ps - I hate bankruptcy bill (+ ANWR) traitor dems.

                by NYCee on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:24:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Secularism is not the demonization of religion (none)

        DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

        by DWCG on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:18:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think maybe (4.00)
      the problem is, voting GOP doesn't necessarily seem to be voting against one's economic self-interest anymore.

      Granted Bush's tax cuts, a failing economy and spiraling healthcare costs make life economically tougher for many people, but have the Democrats done anything to address these issues?  

      Minority party, yes, I know, but why is no one even SPEAKING on these issues?  Where is the message that, come 06 and 08, Democrats will be the ones who can address these problems?

      They're too busy voting for the Bankruptcy Bill.  Think about it.  

      Visit www.theseguys.com - a blended double-tequila margarita of pop culture & LA nightlife.

      by KB on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:49:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great points. (4.00)
    I am an African-American and I can tell you the number of times lately I have had discussion with my own family and friends and some of the issues you diaried about is true.

    There is a disconnect in the Black community in regards to the social order and religious involvement in the Country. That needs to be understood by those in our party. This leads to the crappy effort to reach out on the religious basis to Blacks through payola to Black Ministers. I do disagree with the taking of Faith Based Monies to buy off support by the GOP and then not support Affirmative Action or the Voting Rights Act and dishonest GOP tactics. We can't take the Black vote for granted RoveCo is brillant in trying to pry voters based on wedge issues.

    Most Blacks are more concerned with trying to stay ahead of the curve, healthcare and jobs.

    "These guys are biggest bunch of lying crooks I have ever seen" John Kerry

    by alnc on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:41:06 AM PDT

    •  faith based initiatives (4.00)
      i have no beef with it. if you're a pastor in inner-city detroit or milwaukee, and your church is in the middle of burned out buildings, crack addicts, and gangs, of course you will take whatever money you can get to build after-school programs, do prison ministry, job-training, etc. i do not begrudge any minister who does this. speaks to the failings of Dem candidates and our policies as we have neglected the cities. as one black pastor who was invited by Bush to the White HOuse said, "Just because we had a date doesn't mean we had intercourse." i don't assume so easily these folks can be bought off.

      faith based initiatives, along with vouchers, are two other issues which have a great deal of seduction for people of color which the GOP is now pushing.

      •  That is fine (none)
        I am not totally opposed to faith based iniatives. In some areas and for some needs, it can work. The problem I have is if the church discriminates as to WHO can have the help. If the church insists that only Christians or church goers can receive the social services or help provided, then I object.

        I am also opposed to only Christian psychologist and social workers being provided the funding to provide therapeutic services in a community. I am opposed to ONLY faith based iniatives being used. I think a combination would be fair. For instance, County Mental Health Services should continue to receive some resources to help their poor clients. As Churches will need to be monitored to be sure they do not discriminate, based on religion.

        We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

        by wishingwell on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:41:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  vouchers (4.00)
        I always love your analysis Ihlin.

        But vouchers?  

        Since I do live in a black community, I think I speak with some knowledge.  I don't hear the dems at the Ward 8 meetings, my neighbors or those I see at the grocery store talking about wanting vouchers.

        Sure we want our kids to go to good schools, no one wants to put your kid in a failing school.  But All too often we don't have the time to be parents when we work 2 or three jobs and still only bring in 25k or maybe up to $30K to clothe, shelter and feed our families.

        We want dads to be dads.  We want child support paid and paid timely.

        We want affordable GOOD child care so we don't have to worry about our kids when we're working.

        We want good, affordable, high quality health care instead of having to sit for hours on end at SouthEast or in one of it's ER waiting room setas.  We want SouthEast to stay OPEN.

        We want to have the mayor acknowledge our presence by actually coming across the river and meeting with us.

        We want to know that we're considered for a job based on our abilities and despite our educational level.

        We want to own our own homes.  To raise our kids in healthy quiet neighborhoods where we all know each other and our neighbors aren't being mugged on their doorsteps.

        We want services for returning offenders.  So that they can once again be our fathers, husbands, sisters, and daughters instead of excons, prostitutes or vagrants.  

        We want to know that our society cares about rehabilitating drug addicts instead of locking them up.  And yes, this includes the addicts who deal who need our love and help to find out they can put on a pair of boots in order to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

        In the end, we want all the same things as those who live in White picket fence Suburbia.  We simply need to know that this party holds these beliefs as close to the heart that everyone in my neighborhood does.

        Where I live, we really do know everyone else.  We talk to each other and BBQ together.  We want community.  But I can't speak for my neighbors.  Despite our common desires.  In the end, I'm still the white woman on the corner with the African kid.  And, for right now, that's okay for me.  Cause everyone still knows me and knows that my issues are their issues.  We have the opportunity to knock down barriers, everyday.  More of us should take a chance and try to do a little more.

  •  strategy (4.00)
    I would think that strategy-wise, Dems should play up the moral righteousness of an anti-poverty, anti-discrimination, anti-war, pro-social services, pro-equality, pro-little guy platform.

    (Paging Barak Obama!)

    As a white liberal, I don't see much of a difference between the conning of white evangelicals and the conning of black evangelicals. The GOP has used the "Gays and God" strategy to brand itself the party of old fashioned morality, and American people of a wide variety of backgrounds have bought into it. Not just white and black-- significantly, Hispanic voters also.

    •  Paging Barack? (none)
      Just for the sake of history, I'd love to see Barack Obama and Robert Byrd side-by-side leading the Democrats on this. The GOP loves to hammer on Byrd's racist past; the symbolism of the old ex-Klansman and the new generation of Black leadership (I know, I know, but that's how the media will spin this) working together on a common agenda for social justice is going to be very difficult for them to counter.

      However, I'll take any Democrat with iron guts (so not Biden or Lieberman) and a silver tounge (so not Dean) who's willing to back this. Obama and Byrd are  good picks for this, but I'm sure there are others. Durbin? Boxer? Schumer?

    •  old-fashioned morality (none)
      Bluesteel, that phrase got me thinking about other aspects of old-fashioned morality as the R's see it, such as the old Presbyterian notion that being financially rich reflects that God is smiling on you (what God thinks of the poor in such a paradigm is pretty obvious).  I think a number of the old robber barons from the tail-end of the 19th century fit into this mindset.

      Be a patriot! Buy a hybrid vehicle!

      by billlaurelMD on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:38:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The big con (4.00)
      You are right on. It is about the policies, not the rhetoric. I think minorities can see the hypocrisy as easily as anyone else can, especially when a disproportionate number of minorities are in poverty, in jail, in the military, etc. The GOP is the party of old fashioned values -- 160 year old values.

      I would personally love if the GOP had something genuine to offer minorities. If neither major party relied on the Southern Strategy, it would mean our society as a whole has moved forward. But what I see instead is the GOP dragging us backward. They say one thing, do the other.

      I just posted a diary yesterday about Secular Humanism in which I discuss the GOP use of scapegoats as a unifying cause (I Am The Boogeyman). Minorities are one of those Boogeymen, as are gays and the non-religious. It is a strategy of divide and conquer. It would be a shame to see large numbers of minorities duped by this strategy.

      I also point out that the same secular humanists the religious right attack have values that are more "christian" than the "values" the religious right promotes. Actions speak louder than words... I just hope FOX doesn't brainwash people into forgetting that.

      "The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government" - Teddy Roosevelt

      by mrboma on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:47:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are Some Differences, I Think (4.00)
      I do see differences between many white evangelicals and Black evangelicals.  Many white evangelicals have the luxury of focusing on the Rapture because day-to-day survival issues for their families are less of a worry.  Even the most deeply religious Black folks I know, and I know a lot, don't spend all their time praying for Jesus to reappear on earth and cleanse us from sin and asking God to cast his wrath down on folks who don't live life the way they do.  Their approach to Christianity is far more pragmatic, by historical necessity.

      I would think that strategy-wise, Dems should play up the moral righteousness of an anti-poverty, anti-discrimination, anti-war, pro-social services, pro-equality, pro-little guy platform.

      This is, and has been, always a winning strategy.  Most African-American Democratic voters vote Democratic precisely because these issues matter so much to them - on grounds that are as much religious as political.    

      But the few people who have bothered to study African-American vote patterns have always known that when it comes to issues of personal morality and personal responsibility, African-Americans may be one of the most conservative demographics in the country.  And that their party affiliation is just as often because of a sense of communal responsibility, instead of a deep-seated belief in "individual rights" or genuine agreement with many white liberal "free to be me" perspectives on personal morality.

      Every time I see folks call "personal responsibility" a Republithug frame to be rejected at all costs, I shudder because this reflects a complete lack of understanding of the views held by many African-Americans in the grassroots.  At least in the Old School, personal responsibility, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, no excuses no matter what, and you have to do for yourself no matter what are CENTRAL themes, central messages that children are reared with.  This is true even though in those same families, racism, classism, sexism are all acknowledged as existing and harmful.  

      Thus, you can get lots of folks to buy into the concept that the education system in America is at best disinterested in and at worst actively limits the life choices of African-American kids.  But if you assert to most Black parents that any of this is an excuse for their kid getting shitty grades, you'll get your head torn off.  It's easy to get agreement on the idea that the criminal justice system is discriminatory, but many of these same folks will take offense at solutions that punish perpetrators less - particularly when it comes to drug dealers - or lets them off the hook morally.  Similarly, it is comparatively easy to get Black religious people to agree that what gay, lesbian and bisexual people do is none of their business and that whatever goes on is ultimately between them and their God.  But those same people will fight you to the death if you try to force them to change their moral view that homosexuality is a sin.  

      And, yes, abortion is the same type of sticky-wicket, as I tried to say yesterday.  I don't see a whole bunch of Black people running around sloganeering about abortion as a "my body my choice" issue without saying anything else.  You'll find just as many, if not more, who acknowledge the necessity of abortions in some cases yet will sloganeer you to death about folks who "don't keep their dress tails down and their pants legs up" or who are "too stupid" to "figure out how to use birth control" (yes, this is harsh language, but this is language I hear ALL THE TIME from people who have never pulled the lever for anything but a Democrat in their lives; and anyone reading this comment please spare me a lecture about all the rare exceptions; having read the statistics myself, I am well aware of what the unpleasant truth is:  just under 17% of all women seeking abortion services report perfect use of birth control that failed and resulted in their pregnancies, and only another 2% report getting pregnant because of rape or incest).  In other words, the same people who support abortion rights up to viability often hold heartfelt views that abortion is an unfortunate and tragic necessity, not a God-given right that women have, such that relying on it rather than either rigorous use of birth control or ideally in some cases, abstinence, is morally wrong.

      Yet despite these differences in the underlying thought process that one can readily find in any African-American community, nearly 90% of African-Americans vote Democratic as a matter of habit.  Unfortunately, the complexity of their reasoning in doing so (because they care about other people's lives and misery, which most would tell you is the Christian thing to do) is becoming lost in the noise machines of dogma.

      Please don't take my word for what folks say in the streets for any of this - go talk to people, and not just the politically active ones, either.  Now, I am by no means asserting that all Black folks feel the same, any more than I would assert that all white folks feel the same.  But by ignoring the different paths of reasoning people take to get to the same political place, in the end -- to discuss only on the easy arguments rather than the hard ones -- we fall right into the hands of the GOP, that apparently recognizes and is taking full advantage of the fact that for many African-Americans, their religion and moral views are not just afterthoughts, not just minor aspect of a secular personal and individual identity that can be suppressed for political convenience, but a central part of their political perspectives.

      My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

      by shanikka on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:03:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  good point about perspectives (4.00)
        Using the abortion issue as an example, friends on the Reservation have a very different view than the one commonly expressed here. Those who attend a fundamentalist church may make arguments based on "preserving life" that sound much like the standard conservative concepts. However, beneath that layer of 'white people talk' is another level grounded in the idea that every Native American life is valuable because so many have been lost.

        Concerning rights for gays and lesbians, the issues are also a bit different. Several families have gay or lesbian members, who while personally valued and loved, do not necessarily represent a call for tolerance.  One of the more moving funerals around here in years was one for a young man who had died of AIDS. However, that didn't translate in the broader community as an argument for acceptance of his life choices. Those who live in these relatively small family oriented communities see no disconnect in the admonishment to love the sinner but hate the sin, as they define it.

        The family centeredness yields another difference with white oriented liberalism. While white liberalism values (and rightly so) the expansion of opportunities for the individual, a common Native American perspective is that that which does not benefit the family is of less value than that which does. One of the harder epithets one can hurl is, "So and So acts like he doesn't have a family."  For example, given this perspective, a proposal to provide college scholarships, while welcome, is of less value than the funding for a community health clinic.

        One of the more appealing things about this online community is that we can share these centralities in political perspectives, and note how to best work with one another.

      •  policy (none)
        "But by ignoring the different paths of reasoning people take to get to the same political place, in the end -- to discuss only on the easy arguments rather than the hard ones -- we fall right into the hands of the GOP"-- this is deeply true. I think this is the stumbling block for a lot of white liberals.

        FWIW, your characterization of African-American views on abortion rings true with my experience as a teacher in an "urban" (all African-American and Latino) Brooklyn school, talking with kids who were, I imagine, generally repeating the views of their parents. "People shouldn't get themselves pregnant if they're not willing to have a baby!" Very much in line with what you were saying about personal responsibility. That said, even most of the pregnant girls were essentially pro-choice-- they understood that not everyone should/could make the choice they were. I remember talking with one girl who said she was going to have her baby because she had a supportive family that she knew would help her; if she didn't have that family, she could understand making a different choice.

        Re: White evangelicals and Black evangelicals, my point was that in terms of voting, they are being targetted by the same GOP strategy. I don't think the GOP has a specific strategy aimed at Black evangelicals, except that they pair their faux-morality issues with a fairly damning afterthought: "Besides, what has the Democratic party done for you lately? Aren't you being taken for granted?"

      •  dfsdf (none)
        just under 17% of all women seeking abortion services report perfect use of birth control that failed and resulted in their pregnancies, and only another 2% report getting pregnant because of rape or incest).

        so, basically, nearly one in five women seeking abortion services made perfect use of birth control that failed anyway or became pregnant through rape and/or incest. in my world, that a big percentage.  

        how many made less than perfect use of birth control  that still wasn't grossly irreponsible still got pregnant? half?  more than half?  

        it is your opinion that abortion is immoral.  it is not an opinion shared by many other americans.  
         

      •  personal responsibility (none)
        Every time I see folks call "personal responsibility" a Republithug frame to be rejected at all costs, I shudder

        speaking for myself, i haven't seen people here reject the concept of personal responsibility.  what they reject is the GOP's use of it, because they are so not the party of personal responsibility, and you just have to look at the life of dubya or their attitude toward corporate crime to see this.

        instead, they use this phrase as a codeword to their base to mean "i got mine jack."  

        i think that democrats are truly the party of personal responsibility - at least we're becoming that from the grassroots up.  we believe that people should be accountable for their actions, and not be allowed to shift the blame elsewhere.  remember we're also the party of harry truman and "the buck stops here" though much of our washington leadership seems to have forgotten.

        because this reflects a complete lack of understanding of the views held by many African-Americans in the grassroots.  At least in the Old School, personal responsibility, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, no excuses no matter what, and you have to do for yourself no matter what are CENTRAL themes, central messages that children are reared with.

        this isn't just the african american community.  these are central themes for all of american culture.

        but we believe that we need to have not only personal responsibility, but community responsibility.  yes, i am my brother's keeper, as obama would put it.  from what i've seen, this sense of community is much more well-developed in african american society than in anglo society.

        l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

        by zeke L on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:37:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  bill cosby (none)
        while the white liberals here called him classist and a fool for his comments regarding the "lower class" blacks, and a couple of the elite activist blacks said the same thing (Black Commentator, Michael Dyson), among rank and file black folks, all i heard was "damn straight!" cosby only said what folks in the community have long been saying, but to white liberals, they just couldn't wait to harsh on Cosby. the notion of personal responsibility and family values is very much ingrained into folks, so the GOP rhetoric is not totally off.

        i think you can still think there is some legitmacy to Cosby's comments while still supporting DEmocratic policies.

        •  actually (none)
          I've heard the opposite.  Like me, many of my neighbors have said, "sure Cosby, but how about you say it here" In the end, he still talks to the middle and upper class when saying there's a crisis.

          He's not living it, so why should we believe or trust one thing he says to groups who don't even know what working for a living is?

          So, apparently, we're talking to very different groups of people.

          •  He's Not Living It?!? (4.00)
            Bill Cosby? The man who has spent his life giving millions of dollars to Historically Black Colleges & Universities?  The man who has spent his life trying to improve the lot of Black folks through his time, talen, and treasures?  The man who has done everything he could to be the best role-model possible in the public eye?  That Bill Cosby?  Not living it?  Maybe I missed your meaning - help a brother out here.
            •  That doesn't mean (none)
              he can't stumble sometimes and say things that are ultimately hurtful to the people he'd like to help. And that also doesn't mean that all his riches haven't to some degree created a lot of distance between him and the people in communities where the entire deck is stacked against them from birth.

              I know Bill has capital because of his past and present deeds within the black community, but his statements were not only mean-spirited, but counter-productive.

              NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

              by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:51:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sensitivity (none)
                His statements weren't exactly diplomatic - and I'd certainly prefer it if he didn't air our dirty laundry in front of er'body - but that in no ways says that he isn't living it.  People will differ on his comments - that's why people were given brains, to think for themselves - but if there's anyone who has earned the right to speak his mind whenever and wherever he feels like it then that would be Bill Cosby, even when I disagree with him.
            •  the last round (none)
              I spent a night with a couple of neighbors who were spitting mad.  Okay, perhaps this is more of a single mother point of view than anything.  ANd we do say some pretty damn angry things about the ex's.

              But we were all pretty pissed that he says crap to the bougoise but ever see him at Ballou?

              It's different for us.  We battle not having men around for their addictions, their women, their stupidity, but we stay and hold families together and this man stands up and says that the men aren't doing enough but that the women aren't either.  That's what we get for the raising of kids.  Working.  We get the blame for men who can't get their shit together.

              So, again, quite possibly, our feelings may have been tempered with our relative social class.  But that was my point.

              •  I See (none)
                You personalized the generality.  I can understand that, especially when it's a particularly sore point with you.  When you're catching hell every day you're not trying to catch more hell from Cosby.  I get that.  But trust me when I say that for ever Bendygirl who is doing everything that she can to handle hers, there's two or three Shaniqua's out there who only care about getting her hair and nails did.  

                I work in urban ministry in the largest projects in Louisville - I see it every day.

                As for the brothers? Well, the prospects are bleak, at best.  We have a lot of work to do, and we have to begin with the brothers because that is where the fight is won or lost.  So far we're looking like the Pistons against the Spurs - Ginobili's got his foot so far up our coccyx that he's tickling our uvula with his toes.  We've got work to do.

          •  yeah, (none)
            i don't deny there is a class divide among blacks or minorities in general and that Cosby plays into that, but some of my friends had a fair share of agreement with his sentiments. kinda like Chris ROck's infamous n***s vs black people speech that folks loved...
        •  And it wasn't (none)
          just elite black activists (whoever that is anyway--I mean wouldn't that include you??) who criticized him. I heard criticism of Cosby come from a WIDE range of folks--from the man on the streets to DJs and a variety of bloggers.

          Good lord, the glee you seem take in classifying people in order to dismiss them never ceases to amaze me.

          NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

          by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:01:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  is this a general (none)
            statement:

            Good lord, the glee you seem take in classifying people in order to dismiss them never ceases to amaze me.  Or is it directed at me.

            seems counterproductive to the discussion.

          •  Oh Lord (4.00)
            The Cosby Discussion (TM).

            This is another one of Those Discussions where folks just have to accept that there were two very different types of discussions that took place:

            (a) what was said when Black people were in earshot of Everybody

            (b) what was said when it was Just Us.

            (Sort of like the OJ Thang).

            Across the entirety of the economic spectrum I heard Black folks say all sorts of things about that speech, what it meant, what he meant, what he didn't mean, yadda yadda yadda.  Including but not limited to "How dare he air our dirty linen in public when he knows that those people" are just going to take it and run with it" at the same time as "He is speaking at least some truth and while it may embarrass the hell out of us, it's still truth" to "He's got his - what does he care about us".  Sometimes, I heard them all on the same day.  None of it surprised me in the least.

            Respectfully, just as white racists will say some pretty enlightening things if they believe they are talking only in the presence of other whites (or, occasionally, politically decolorized folks of color), there are many many many things that many African-Americans simply will not candidly discuss if they think they are in earshot of white people - at the top of the list being anything that people worry could possibly provide more "cover" and "ammunition" for folks whose only agenda is to reinforce their own anti-Black views of the world.  Call it silence for survival's sake, something that was indeed actually required for survival not that long ago.  This phenomena is signficantand reaches to everyone, friend or foe, sometimes.  Even liberal white people.  Sometimes, especially liberal white people, depending on who folks are talking to.

            That's the depressing, unfortunate reality of our cultural legacy and the resultant distrust of generations.  Younger folks are thankfully taking more communication chances, and in some ways getting farther because they are increasingly farther away from the historical hurts and pains (or at least, they perceive themselves as being so.)

            For the record, IMO Cosby's actual statements were a living example of a person from his generation who had dedicated extraordinary efforts to advancing his people in his own way (through his emphasis and funding of education), had very old school values reflecting his age, who then suffered a life changing, very hard experience (the murder of his son by a young thug), and appears to have finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired.  So he lashed out.  For me, I heard that lashing out in light of what had happened to him, and the subconscious rage that must exist in a man who has everything he could ever want in the world, but who could still not save his son from the very violence that all that success was supposed to be saving him from.  Part of me suspects that while Cosby would never claim that what he had to say was untrue - and it wasn't completely so -- he may regret how he said what he said, now that he has seen how it ended up being interpreted (far far broader than what he actually said) and being used - against Black people's interests.  That's one of the key reasons that such discussions rarely take place at all, IME.

            My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

            by shanikka on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 05:29:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  In our black voters... (none)
      In our African American voters rests the strategy of attracting middle class and lower white voters in the South.  Why do we get African American votes even if they disagree with us on some major social issues?  Because the Democratic Party believes sincerely in providing them with opportunities denied to them and righting unjustice against them.

      Apply the same attitude to white southerners who have been left behind by economic development and I bet you'd see some inroads into that demographic.

      Anyway, what you said... :)

  •  Thanks for Posting (4.00)
    Perhaps folks will actually see what you've been trying to say -- and what I've been trying, but largely failing, to say -- about this type of thing.  And want to talk about it in more than dogmatic soundbites that simply refuse to acknowledge or accept the reality that is on the ground, for a change.  I mentioned something similar in the abortion context in a thread that Stormcoming wrote yesterday - what appears to be black and white thinking is really shades of grey when it comes to issues of morality.  I predict that what I was trying to say will be ultimately ignored into non-existence - it's easier to ignore the challenge it presents to a simplistic analysis of the "hard" political subjects (a not uncommon result when black and white dogma about a pet subject is challenged as refusing to acknowledge shades of grey).

    I'm not counting on any meaningful discussion of your diary, though, even though of course I'm going to recommend this diary and I do genuinely hope I'm wrong.  It's just that the track record speaks for itself at this point.  It's far easier to dismiss views that complicate one's dogma than it is to investigate why those views exist, accept that they are legitimate differences in perspective grounded in different life experiences, and come up with political strategies that respect the difference yet still provides a basis for political coalition.  It is far easier to discuss senators who did not vote for a largely-symbolic "apology" for lynching law -- as if such a thing actually means something in a world where up to 50% of brothers living in urban centers are chronically unemployed -- because such a thing challenges almost nobody's existing thinking about "right" and "wrong".  

    Depressingly, it is also obvious that diaries that focus on African-American political perspectives, particularly when they do not reinforce the mainstream party line, are virtually always ignored.  (I always count myself very lucky if I get home after a day of work and can still find a posted diary with African-American perspectives at its center which is still visible or even has more than 10 comments and/or recommends on it.  10 out of a community of 50,000 people -- maybe 25K now, given the Pie Wars.)  It tells you what priority is given to the viewpoints held by members of the most loyal constituency of the Democratic party has ever had, when it comes to taking positions and developing political rhetoric.  As I have said since last year, folks have gotten awfully complacent and think they know stuff they clearly don't know but would know if they spent any meaningful time actually listening to -- instead of just talking at -- people of color in the grassroots.  I am not looking forward to the day of reckoning when folks are going to once again act genuinely taken aback and confused about something that it was completely in their power to avoid - increasing African-American affiliation with the positions taken by the Republican Party, made easier by the fact that somewhere between 7 and 10% of African-Americans have been registered Republicans for the past 40 years depending on whose numbers you believe.

    Oh well, you cannot save people from themselves.  Even supposedly politically savvy ones.  

    (I admit that I am very weary today.  But I'm sure the original OP understands that feeling, as far too many of us are forced to understand it day-by-day pretty much from birth.)

    My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

    by shanikka on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:56:06 AM PDT

    •  Excuse Me (none)
      but it is the diarist who went on his/her white liberal rant and belittling the issues these "white liberals" value. I'm all for debates and I'm all for Democrats reaching out to every demographic but there are people who just cannot be reached be they White, Black , Hispanic, Asians or whoever.
      •  uh (none)
        are you talking about this diary? what issues were belittled in this diary?
        •  Here (none)
          activists who for the most part are oblivious about it (or who love to write "ABortion is about autonomy" diaries)
          .
          .
          .
          As a political person who has to deal with explaining to white liberals i work with over and over why the beliefs of people of color are more closely aligned on many issues with white evangelicals than the MoveOn/DailyKos crowd.
          •  You mean (none)
            taking issue with the framing of the abortion in terms of autonomy is out of bounds for debate?

            As for the second quote, are you saying s/he is lying about his/her personal experience? I don't get it.

            •  Diarist has (none)
              issues with DailyKos/MoveOn crowd and choice. It isn't the framing, it is the issue itself.You don't get it because you don't want to. Me, I'm very wary of people who chose to blame DailyKos/MoveOn crowd and not where it belongs.
              •  I think you're right that the diarist (4.00)
                has issues with the dKos crowd and choice--and race. That's one thing that makes his (her?) comments so valuable.

                Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

                by GussieFN on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:39:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  what? (4.00)
                Ihlin never criticized the dKos/MoveOn crowd.

                "the beliefs of people of color are more closely aligned on many issues with white evangelicals than the MoveOn/DailyKos crowd" is not a criticism of dKos or MoveOn. It's a statement of fact.

                Ihlin didn't say s/he was opposed to dKos/MoveOn.

                •  Try clicking on (2.50)
                  ihlin's name and read some of his/her comments/diaries. Thank You.
                  •  oh (4.00)
                    so you're carrying over beef from other conversations and trolling on this thread to make your displeasure known. I get it.

                    I just did glance over Ihlin's profile, and didn't see anything even controversial, let alone actually objectionable.

                    •  No (4.00)
                      There is a reason Ihlin hasn't responded to my posts- it is true. Follow my advice and actually read his/her comments. Ihlin's point of view is pretty well known here. He/She wants Democrats to conform to pretty specific point of view and has no actual solutions to the problems mentioned here and elsewhere.
                      •  Ihlin had a pretty good discussion with me below (4.00)
                        There are alternatives to "abortion is autonomy" (a position I agree with. If a man somehow found his way to live inside a woman's womb, a woman should have the right to evict him from her womb, even if it meant it might cause that man death).

                        There are even alternatives to the personhood argument (a position I also agree with. That a wad of cells is not a person, the same way that someone whose brain connection has been severed from their body is not a person, even if they've 'alive').

                        The thing that a lot of black folks identify with, despite being somewhat socially conservative, is that social issues and economic issues are tied together. When someone is excluded from the workforce, you can tell that the economic system isn't just dollars and cents but something that's really messing with peoples' lives.

                        Some people get abortions despite believing they are carrying a living, feeling person in their tummy. Their justification and reasoning IS economic -- how am I going to provide a good life for this child when I can hardly provide a good life for myself?

                        Which is why we shouldn't be so reluctant to embrace pro-life elements in the Democratic party (as opposed to anti-choice elements). When Hillary Clinton (who I'm no big fan of) says we need to improve the economy to prevent abortions, we shouldn't get angry and shout "why are you admitting abortions are bad?!" We should support this, because that's a way to make the Democrats a big tent party without compromising major principles. We maintain privacy rights by tying them to economic fairness. It's win win, no matter how much people say this is "letting republicans win the frame".

                        The Republicans will try to make themselves into a big tent party by plugging into the big tent of religion, let alone religious conservatism. We can't help them by denouncing these points of view entirely.

                    •  Pursewarden is not trolling (none)
                      I agree with ihlin on some points, and I'm certainly inconsistent at times, but there have been so many mixed messages and unpleasant implications in these diaries, with the main implication I have seen over and over being that people who support gay rights (or abortion rights) are athiests and/or clueless white liberals who don't understand how natural it is for people of color to be anti-gay and anti-abortion. It sets up a situation where someone has to practically apologize for supporting abortion or gay rights. There were also a lot of fights with other people because of comments about women who talk about coat hanger abortions, and so on.

                      If you want to disagree with pursewarden, that's fine, but she isn't trolling.

                      •  Not having witnessed the apparently (none)
                        traumatic discussions on abortion, what I'm saying is, in this diary, I see a lot of willfull misreading and needless antagonism from pursewarden, with a lot of pre-emptive bending-over-backwards-to-be-unthreatening/inclusive by Ihlin. It looks like Pursewarden is at best not contributing, at worse trying to derail the diary. That's trolling.
                        •  If pursewarden were (none)
                          personally attacking ihlin, cursing people out, making things up, deliberately saying vile statements just to get attention, I would see the trolling. But here, all I see is pursewarden trying to mention some of the past arguments on these matters.

                          There are a number of us here who do not feel that some of ihlin's past comments were even close to "inclusive". Bringing that up does not equal trolling, as far as I'm concerned. If you disagree, fine, but there's a lot more history here than just one diary. Even this diary basically has the same implication, that it's "noble" to oppose gay rights and abortion and that anyone who doesn't agree must be a white liberal.

                          •  argh (none)
                            i never said it was "noble" to be socially conservative. i'm pointing out the OBJECTIVE Data and i'm trying to give some advice to Dems on how to navigate these issues so we can build our coalition which will benefit BOTH gays AND people of color.

                            but we don't need to fight our battles again JamesB3. we're on the same side ultimately.

                  •  her white rant? (none)
                    Wow.

                    It's amazing how you can assign a race to a person you've never seen based solely on her comments.

                  •  very unproductive (none)
                    This isn't even on topic.

                    People who don't agree with everyone here aren't necessary anti-Move-on or any other progressive groups.  Hell, I don't participate in much of Move on stuff and rarely support them in a thread (if ever).

                    The diary is about not taking each other for granted.  That as white liberals, it's all to easy to not address or understand issues related to race.  

              •  i'm not against MoveOn or Kos (none)
                they are a crucial part of the Dem coalition, as are african americans. i am trying to point out what Rove and the GOP are trying to do, because they, unlike MoveOn/Kos folks, understand what issues they are aligned with black folks on.
    •  i understand the frustration (4.00)
      but this site is i believe only 2% african american, so of course the issues that matter most are not gonna be discussed and the perspective not shared by most on this site. that is fine. if i wanna talk about the Hot97 radio racist incident in NYC or misogyny in hip hop or gentrification battles, i don't come here. i discuss that elsewhere, becasue those things aren't what usually people here want to focus or discuss.

      i usually come here becasue i understand we have to make some common cause with our Dem white brothers/sisters, so i come trying to explain and bridge the gap. my other diary the other day focused on a memo put out by top-level Latino Dem operatives on the Kerry campaign, blasting away at the Dem's approach to minority outreach and the continued exclusion of voices of color in Dem politics. it didn't get that many comments either.

      i used to warn Dem activists all the time about gay rights issues and how we needed to tread carefully, esp in communities of color. i would get called a fundie bigot for daring to question the principle of equal rights. it's not that i don't support gay rights. it's that i know how this issue plays out and i'm not gonna hand Karl ROve an easy layout. after the election, my ma said, "kerry lost because he didn't stand up for family values." unbelievable. from a woman who opposed the war, worries about being discriminated against on a daily basis, believes in universal health care, thinks corporations have too much power, etc etc. so that brainwashing within our own churches/community has to also be addressed by us--we can't expect whites to do it.  

      •  I used to live in New York (none)
        and listen to Hot97.  

        Can you tell me about the "radio racist" incident you're referring to?

        Visit www.theseguys.com - a blended double-tequila margarita of pop culture & LA nightlife.

        by KB on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:46:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Shortly after the tsunami, (4.00)
          the station played a parody song that used racist language to mock people who were killed by the tidal wave. (It was played during Ms. Jones morning program, and she and several other people were suspended because of it.) HipHopMusic.com has been following the story since it broke and there's actually a recent post there that addresses organized protests against the station.

          NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

          by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:00:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Isn't it funny Jane, (none)
            that we aren't supposed to get this because this kind of topic isn't discussed "here", yet both of us answered KB's question. I guess we didn't get the memo.
            •  Yup (none)
              Like I said, things aren't as black and white as people want to believe.

              NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

              by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:15:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  oh that's funny (4.00)
                cuz I missed all those diaries by dKos members itching to talk about the Hot97 controversy. Please.

                She didn't say you wouldn't get it, she said it isn't a high priority topic for dKos.

                As opposed to, say, pie.

                •  She may not come here (none)
                  to discuss the topics she listed, but they are very much discussed here. Obviously a diary specific to Hot97 would receive less commentary here, if any at all, because it was a NYC-centric story. As well, it was totally an open and shut case. The station behaved in an irresponsible and racist manner so there wasn't a whole lot to discuss.

                  I've also, until now, ignored the fact that she stated that black members make up 2% of this community, which is a number that cannot be backed up by any reliable study on the racial makeup of DKos posters because none has been done(and no, Kos throwing up a poll doesn't count).

                  Like it or not, Ilhan brings her contentious history into this diary with her. For whatever reason, she likes to push buttens and occassionally fan flames. By no means do I think that invalidates everything she says, but if people are responding to her with some hostility here it's perhaps because they know a little more back story than you do.

                  NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

                  by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:23:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You do know that was MONTHS ago, right? (none)
                  The tsunami song was around December. There were several diaries at that time. Why would there be diaries today? Of course there would be more pie diaries when the tsunami song was months and months ago.

                  I haven't seen any diaries about anti-gay groups trying to force the AFL-CIO to drop support for gays. Does that mean I should castigate the people here for being too stupid or selfish to care about gays?

            •  Hey, I'm white and bisexual (none)
              I'm really not "supposed to get it".

              But I'm very interested in racial issues (I was raised in a very ethnically diverse school district, but surrounded by prejudice), and ihlin's posts are always a very interesting combination of excellent points and things I disagree with.  

              Visit www.theseguys.com - a blended double-tequila margarita of pop culture & LA nightlife.

              by KB on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:15:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I could be wrong but (none)
          I think that this is about that "tsunami" song (a parody of We are the World which had all kinds of ugly anti-Asian slurs and joked about mothers drowning in the tsunami while their children watched) which got some female DJ (Miss Jones?) fired.
      •  please, let's talk about gentrification (4.00)
        i mean, if you were to write a diary on such a topic, and i was around while it was posted, i would eagerly participate.

        here in oakland recently the was an initiative to turn a relatively working class neighborhood in to a lgbt business district (article here), not sure what is happening with it now, though, since the council member who was pushing it resigned.

        •  wow that is fascinating (none)
          thank you! i used to live in Oakland around the parkway theater. gentrification is an interesting subject since it does tend to pit upper-middle class liberal whites (and gays) against working class minorities. i would be interested in your thoughts on this proposal.

          Danny Wan is a good guy. very cute! very proud to have a gay APA on the COuncil. i'm sorry though if this effort hurts people of color in their attempts to draw in higher income folks...

          •  seemed like a good idea (none)
            i think you hit the nail on the head with your analysis.

            any sort of business development in east oakland is a good thing in my opinion.  home prices are already so inflated, even in east o, as to be out of reach of many in the working class that some of the negatives of gentrification may not be as big of a deal.  the danger is mostly far in the future, if the neighborhood were to become the east bay's Castro, then eventually wealthy property owners will do nearly anything to prop up their real estate even further.

            i read recently that much of the angst against gentrification is misdirected, except for in certain areas such as SF, NY, parts of DC, etc (as opposed to Detroit, and Philadelphia, for example) where low-income residents are getting completely pushed out.  to me it seems an intracable situation that will only be solved by dedicated urban planning efforts to mix low-income housing in throughout all neighborhoods. anyway...

      •  Gays won't sit on the back of the bus (4.00)
        Some Dem supporters clearly want to soft-peddle the issue of civil rights for gays and lesbians.  The exception, of course, is most gays and lesbians - the ones whose lives are actually affected by the reality of unequal protection under the law.

        Queer folks aren't going to shut up and sit down until historic injustices are remedied, however some may fervently wish it.

        Given this reality, the challenge for Democrats is - as it always has been - to strongly and sensitively articulate their core value of equal protection under the law.  Justice, in other words.

        Or does the Democratic Party no longer hold this as a core value?

        "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

        by fishhead on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:49:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Don't Tread On Me" (4.00)
        The leitmotif that runs through ihlin's post is that there needs to be a soft-pedaling (at best) of support for gay rights (and abortion rights, although I will focus on the former) by the Democratic party as the price of preventing more African American voters from responding to the siren song of the Republican right. This assumes both that those within communities of color who oppose treating  gay people the same under the law as everyone else is are incapable of changing that view and that it behooves the Democratic party to play to that view rather than to try and change it. I disagree. I think instead that bridges can be built between communities. What is needed though is not "treading lightly," as ihlin urges, but  leadership, which few of today's Democratic officeholders are reader to offer when it comes to gay people.
              That we should be able to find common cause is clear from the example ihlin gives-- his mother who "worries about being discriminated against on a daily basis" but votes Republican because of their  supposed family values. If she understands discrimination, why assume she can't come to understand and empathize with other's experience of discrimination. If she values family, why assume she's incapable of understanding that gay people have families they love, value and want to protect like everyone else does. If she wants family medical leave to care for a sick spouse, why would she be ready to leave the Democratic Party because gay people want that same legal protection. Ihlin, what did you do to try change her views?
              To be sure, as ihlin notes, many people find affirmance for their hostility to gay rights in their church or religion. But just because you have a religious reason for supporting discrimination does not mean you have an acceptable reason. Slaveholders found ample passages in the Bible to justify slavery. So did segregationists. So did those who oppose suffrage and other rights for women. So did opponents of the Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s. So did opponents of marriages between people of different races. With the passage of time, does the Biblical basis for these beliefs make them more defensible? Ihlin, what is mom's answer?
        •  trust me (none)
          i have talked till i am blue in my face on this issue. homosexuality is just wrong and a sin to these folks. why don't you go talk to some black folks yourself?

          however, you CAN convince them of equal rights on certain things. when i said that lovers can't allowed to visit their dying lovers in the hospital if they are gay, my mom said no hospital would ever do that. so laying out the facts helps. showing gays as full human beings helps. she had a coworker die of AIDS and is now much more empathetic and says "she feels sorry for them being born that way." so you can now get her to believe in equal benefits for gays, but not marriage yet, since that's "between a man and a woman." patience is what it takes.

    •  shanikka (4.00)
      i for one valued both you and ihlin's input yesterday. i might not agree with you, but i sincerely appreciate the fact that you are sticking around and trying to overcome the ignorance shown by some folks on this board.

      race issues are very near and dear to me as someone who grew up in the racist south in the 70s and 80s. i have personally tried very hard to overcome the prejudices that i was taught as a youth, and although i have made great strides i also recognise that the work will probably never be complete.

      ihlin and i have been having discussions on the net since 2002, and i respect her opinions and input. she gets a lot of shit on this board because (IMO) she is very blunt and sometimes her frustration shows through. but IMO it's justified, as this community is still largely white and somewhat affluent. and i know that race issues get ignored around here because many of us think we're "over it". the truth is that we're not over it, there is still a divide, but i don't think it's too late to bridge the gap.

      "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

      by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:37:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  have some faith (none)
      i came on here well over a year ago as a pretty dogmatic (and lazy) san francisco (actually, oakland) bay liberal, and i have found that i have been moved and influenced most by those writers who have different perspectives than me, even including the abortion issue (i now consider myself pro-choice and pro-life).

      keep writing, we'll be reading...

  •  Dilemma (4.00)
    This diary post speaks to a big dilemma within the Democratic base. On the one hand, if we ignore the needs and wants of African Americans, there's a better chance that African Americans will stay home, vote Republican, or vote for an independent candidate (e.g. Louis Farrakhan, who's apparently mulling a bid). On the other hand, if we ignore the needs and wants of liberals and progressives, there's a better chance that liberals and progressives will stay home or vote Green. We can't afford either.

    White liberals and African Americans have some common ground on economic issues. On social issues we're going to have to hammer out some compromises. Ironically I think the most likely compromises are going to be found on abortion, if we can agree to keep it legal on the one hand while sponsoring programs to help reduce the abortion rate on the other. On matters like gay rights, religion in public schools, etc., we're going to have some much bigger problems.

    One thing to consider is that white liberals in particular are more likely to associate religion with fascism, possibly because a lot of them have seen religion work less as an instrument of God for social justice and more as an instrument of society for social conformity. This is a deep theological problem that has become a political problem more or less by accident.

    •  focus on the common ground (4.00)
      hell, do you think most latinos and blacks agree 100% with GOP policies? so wht they do is just pick out the 1 or two issues that can unite them all (gay marriage, faith based initaitives) while ignoring the 1000s of others they do not.

      minorities have LOTS more in common with liberals, and the belief in an activist governemnt that protects people from rapacious corporations, along with a moral foreign policy. any candidate who comes right out for universal health care will receive major mojo from people of color. or predatory lending reform. or protesting shitty bills like Bankruptcy which disproportionately harm people of color. labor rights is another huge issue, with AFSCME and SEIU having significant minority membership. however, it's usually on these economic populist questions that 1. DLC-New Dems sell us out on and 2. the liberal blogosphere tends not to focus on, as they love to focus their energy more on bashing Dobson, relgious theocrats, gay marriage and legal abortion.

      •  exactly...it's about poverty, stupid. (4.00)
        The culture wars helps Republicans more than democrats. To help turn things around,  liberals should feel more free to enter the debate about what religions have to say about economic populism. Or at least what the democratic party says about poverty--that needs to become the focus again to win.

        Even a politician who's an atheist can ask:  Where in the bible is there talk about tax breaks for the rich? Or gutting social security?  If you're religious, or were raised that way, I see nothing wrong with quoting the bible.  Or the Koran.  Or whatever. Show me the religion that calls for an end to the estate tax.  

        And for those who would rather NOT talk about religion: "The democratic party doesn't need to wear our values on our sleeve--we actually walk the walk when it comes to our policies."

        That said, Democrats should NOT compromise on gay rights, women's rights, or abortion rights, or any other issue for the sake of appeasing right-wing evangelicals.  The point here is to fight back...

        The point I would make is James Carville in some ways go it wrong back in 1992...it's about poverty, stupid. If it was just about economics, why did so many poor evangelicals vote for the Repblican Party in 2000?  

        Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

        by markymarx on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:24:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  End to an estate tax, (none)
          well it aint christianity

          Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."

          This statement has also been used as an argument that Jesus himself recognized a fundamental divide between the matters of church and state.
          Though there are of cours arguments against that as well.

          Prisoner of hope.

          by comeon on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:17:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  So you're only real argument, here, is (none)
        with the emphasis of the Dems? That is, just downplay some of the more divisive policies, stop trumpeting those? Not necessarily even do a great deal of changing of priorities, just of emphasis? The problem you're primarily addressing--in this diary at least--is one of speech, not action?

        Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

        by GussieFN on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:45:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Breaking through the rhetoric (none)
        I agree there is lots of common ground to be focused on. I think this is how to get out the minority vote. Right now, I think many minorities don't think either party represents them, so they stay home. If we can build upon the common ground, then maybe we can get minorities and the young to vote in the same proportion as white males, and the Democrats would win in a landslide. Not an easy proposition, but definitely an important one -- not just so Dems win, but so we can make the country a better place for all.

        But this diary argues that blacks might be lured to the GOP because of the religion/values rhetoric. I don't buy that premise. Bush can talk about God all he wants, but when he is sending minority children off to die in a war for a lie, underfunding No Child Left Behind by billions, cutting Community Development Block Grants, pandering to corporations, killing social services, etc. I think minorities see the hypocrisy.

        Actions speak louder than words. I don't think Bush has acted very Christian, so I don't see him luring many black voters. Am I wrong?

        "The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government" - Teddy Roosevelt

        by mrboma on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:15:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is also a dilemma... (none)
      for the GOP. The more they reach out to minorities, the more they endanger the support from a substantial portion of their base. As evidence, look at the frothing at certain conservative mouths, vis a vis illegal minority immigrants. Do you think there would be nearly as much of a conservative outcry if the illegals weren't brown skinned? I live in New Jersey and see a wave of young European workers flood the Jersey shore every year. No one cares. For the most part, people appreciate that there is someone to do jobs that no one else wants, and keep the already summertime inflated prices lower. Why would anyone in the the southwest feel any different. There is only one logical answer.

      There is an racist undertone to a lot of the conservative anguish. Not saying that all Republicans are racist, but there is a vocal portion of the base that fits the redneck /NASCAR stereotype to a T.  Hell, Lee Atwater's famed southern strategy was clearly based upon the closet racism that existed, and still exists, in the south.

      IMO - The presence of racists in the GOP base probably negates any issue advantage they have with regards to minority voters. This is not to say we shouldn't do a better job in listening to the wants and concerns of this valuable Democratic constituency.

      •  immgration (none)
        is another issue that frankly keeps me up at night, but i don't worry about it because for now, it tears apart the GOP more than us, but make no mistake--many black folks voted for Prop 187 and illegal immigration has caused tension in several communities in LA, and gang members in prisons now have to be separated based on race. white union members also have a lot of problems with immigration issues, so i think it's wrong to just assume this problem will tear apart the GOP.
  •  Great topic (4.00)
    Although I take some exception to your title.

    No Black voter I know agrees with the Christian Coalition. Some may agree with some points, but maybe it's a product of being Californian, most I know have a sort of 'live and let live' type attitude, and are more concerned with issues such as jobs, education and health care, how to keep their kids alive until adulthood, and so on. This actually may be what you are saying.

    I think the Democrats have not only been abysmal in outreach to various minority communities (beyond swooping into churches in the weeks before an election) but I also believe there is just a general feeling of abandonment by politicians and parties of all stripes on matters that are important to lower income people, of whatever color.

    "Welfare reform", the cutting of housing subsidies, the cutting of Pell grants and other methods for getting a higher education, the tinkering with Head Start, the cutting or elimination of the various Star or other educational programs that encourage and work with young minorities to get into college, of early reading programs, the continued underfunding of many schools, childcare subsidies and a host of other things, many of them very successful programs, that have been cut or eliminated with very little fanfare or outcry might cause some to wonder if anyone at all is fighting for their interests. Or if they are not only just accepting but promoting a permanent underclass.

    The business of America being business, and cheap workerbees being always needed and all that.

    Some of the bought preachers are certainly willing to help transfer the focus onto other oppressed minorities, such as gays, in order to get funding for their issues (and some for their own pockets) but I don't think the remedy is to join them, or to validate that.

    I think the remedy is for Democrats to be out in the communities, working day by day and not just at election time, to address issues, to show that they will stand and fight for the oppressed and in general be what they are supposed to be.

    A new world is not only possible, she is on her way. -A. Roy
    Human Beams Magazine

    by Nanette K on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:00:16 AM PDT

    •  Keeping Them Separate (4.00)
      Many of the Christian black voters I know still have a strong sense of what issues the government should be working on vs those issues that churches should be working on.  While they may agree with some of the hot button issues (opposition to abortion) they'll be pretty clear that they think that the government ought to be working on issues that lift all boats, so that working people can actually take decent care of children.

      In places where the repubs have made some inroads, it is with the newer evangelical churches that often  make central the acqusition of stuff that are more vulnerable.  But as the repubs are invoking Christianity as the new identity politics (vs a spiritual practice and journey) they might be able to peel off more of us -- especially as the government gets weaker and weaker on issues of economic and political justice that held the coalition to Democrats.

      Whenever a Voice of Moderation addresses liberals, its sole purpose is to stomp out any real sign of life. -- James Wolcott

      by cassandra m on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:15:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, exactly (4.00)
        That the church is the center of many Black communities is not a new thing. From that has come the Civil Right movement and other things causing people to focus on the social and economic justice issues, as well as being the center of community outreach and so on.

        I personally believe that some of the change has come about precisely because of the lack of real progress on social and economic justice issues, and the feeling that issues such as that are no longer at the core of the Democratic party. I believe this feeling goes across racial lines, as well, which may be one reason we are losing in other places.

        The lack of priority on these matters leaves a vacuum and we all know what nature (and Republicans) does with that.

        A new world is not only possible, she is on her way. -A. Roy
        Human Beams Magazine

        by Nanette K on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:59:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A Belief in Grace (4.00)
    The strongest part of your diary reflects on the concept of grace.  All of us have done things that are wrong; none of us lead perfect lives.  The belief in grace makes it possible to see that we can do better.  

    The Democratic Party does need to refocus on making a commitment to the poor, to people of color, and to the middle class.  We need to emphasize the right of all people to earn a decent living,  receive a good education, healthcare, and to able to use the ballot box and the courts to make things better.  All people want dignity.

    In some ways, vouchers are a "seduction."  No private school can be forced to accept a student.  In Washington, D. C., we now are beginning to see some racial tension in the limited voucher system project available here as some private schools that accepted voucher students have decided that some of the voucher children "do not fit in."  

    Faith based initiatives fare better in my view.  However, I do not want people to be denied government services because they do not want to pray or they pray to a different god.    

  •  Well the problem is, should we pander to (4.00)
    bigotry just because the bigots are black ?

    Even more important, African-Americans tend to concur with the Republican position on the hot issue of gay marriage. Sixty-four percent oppose it as compared to 44 percent among white mainline Protestants and 30 percent among secular Democrats. Blacks even support the Republican position on the death penalty, despite evidence that its implementation tends to discriminate against blacks.

    Or do we do the same thing we do with everyone else - try to show them that their religious-based bigotry is wrong ?

    •  As far as I'm concerned... (4.00)
      Bigots are bigots. I personally don't give a pass to  bigotry based on religion (regardless of color), because for just about anyone one wants to hate, people can find a basis for it in the various religious books (through creative interpretation or whatever).

      I think not standing down in the face of bigotry, while also working and making real progress on other issues that are as important (or most likely, more so) might be a good way of doing things.

      A new world is not only possible, she is on her way. -A. Roy
      Human Beams Magazine

      by Nanette K on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:19:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think that this is something that (4.00)
        Democratic politicians CAN address - and the calls that Dems start acting like preachers is silly.

        It IS a problem, but it is the black christian PREACHERS that need to address the problems in their own churches - we can't fix it.

        Almost the only one of nationwide stature I have seen stand up on this is Coretta KIng, and she obviously hasn't made much of an impression.

        In the meanwhile, almost every big city has a black preacher leading marches opposing gay marriage, and the CDC just annoounced that the largest group with HIV in the country ( and growing ) was black males.

        I saw one survey that put the number of (probably gay) young black men at dances and clubs at 44 % HIV positive.

        •  Not the churches (none)
          I agree that it's the black christian preachers (and congregations) that have to address this issue within their own churches.

          I'm speaking overall, on the issues that concern people within the communities. I just don't think that this would have even the foothold it does if Democratic politicians and operatives were out and working in and with communities on a regular basis, and actually standing up for people, loudly. I could be wrong, of course.

          Also, there are groups of Black ministers and other prominent people who have gotten together to condemn some of the rhetoric coming out of some of the Black churches, and calling for them to return to the focus on social and economic justice and so on. And others have spoken out as well... I think it's a growing problem and people are seeing that and making attempts to at least show up and state that they will not be counted on the side of the bigots.

          But, Michael Jackson wore pajamas to court, ya know.

          A new world is not only possible, she is on her way. -A. Roy
          Human Beams Magazine

          by Nanette K on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:40:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  J. Jackson, J.Jackson II, Al Sharpton, K Mfume, (none)
          J. Bond....  should I go on?

          ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

          by chloe wofford is my fav on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:39:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes you will (none)
            J Bond is a hero of mine - and he is no preacher.

            Don't know where Sharpton stands or is even classified, but I know that J Jacksno has told gays they are not welcome in the Rainbow coalition any more.

            Whoever is speacking up ( and as I said the only one that I have heard is Ms. King ) it isn't having much of an effect, which is what counts.

            This is a community that needs to heal itself - not have Democratic Politicians teach them their religion.

            •  Co-retta ain't no preacher either. Point? (none)

              ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

              by chloe wofford is my fav on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:28:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think she got some props because of her hubby (none)
                the basic point being, again, that it is the black churches which are failing to heal themselves.

                They are, in may ways, as tied up in prejudice as the fundamentalists and are doing not only the rest of us, but their own congregations, a disservice.

                •  What does that mean for Rev. King, (none)
                  ....Rev. Berniece King, that is, who vehemently opposes gay rights.  Does she get props because of her father?  After all, she has more of his blood coursing through her veins than Co-retta does.

                  ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

                  by chloe wofford is my fav on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:35:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  OK - you win (none)
                    whatever point you are trying to make, you are proving that even MORE of the black leadership are bigoted than I originally claimed.

                    Congratulations.

                    •  Can't let you get the last word (none)
                      I wouldn't characteize Rev. King (the youngest) as a Black leader.  I was only suggesting that ministers and non-ministers within the African-American support gay rights.  Many also oppose them.

                      The question posed was about the absence of support among African-American leaders for gay rights.  I merely cited the names of some off of the top of my head who have taken supportive positions on gay rights.

                      I also wouldn't equate the absence of support with bigotry.  I think there is some biblically-based proscriptions against supporting what many consider a sinful lifestyle.  (As a practitioner of that lifestyle, I can tell you that it's the kind of sin for which I love and live!)  Others view gay rights as a civil rights issue.

                      I understand the religious stuff, although I don't agree with it.  The Bible says that all sins are equal.  It's never been clear to me why many African American preachers (which is my experience) spend time focusing on this sin, and not on others like stealing, lieing, etc.  Consequently, as an African-American, Christian church-goer, it's been important for me to find a church that focuses on uplifting, healing messages. (It's a Black-run church, by the way.)

                      ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

                      by chloe wofford is my fav on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:07:28 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That is the problem (none)
                        I also wouldn't equate the absence of support with bigotry.

                        You see, it is. What we see are only Black preachers leading marches in opposition to gays.

                        You don't see any "other side" which leave the impression - indeed MORE than an impression, that the entire community is anti-gay.

                        •  You see white preachers also (none)
                          YOU don't see the other side.  I do.  There are African-American ministers who have made VERY explicit statements of support for GLBT people.  There are also African-American GLBT groups who have made VERY explicit statements of support, as well.

                          Look beyond the MSM tip, for your info bro!

                          ?There, I'm still last!/

                          ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

                          by chloe wofford is my fav on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 08:28:57 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  You see white preachers also (none)
                          YOU don't see the other side.  I do.  There are African-American ministers who have made VERY explicit statements of support for GLBT people.  There are also African-American GLBT groups who have made VERY explicit statements of support, as well.

                          Look beyond the MSM tip, for your info bro!

                          There, I'm still last!

                          ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

                          by chloe wofford is my fav on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 08:29:11 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

      •  homophobia (none)
        calling people bigots may make you feel better about yourself. what's more productive might be to understand the roots of homophobia in the black community, which are initimately tied to slavery, cult of masculinity, racism, etc. does not mean i condone it, simply that i understand its very deep roots and that changing people's attitudes don't happen overnight.

        but this subject is killing people literally--with brothers on the DL and women of color becoming the fastest growing HIV population. the changes are being fought at the grassroots, by heroic organizations with little $$$ and institutional backing, and will take time. but some folks would just like to call people names instead of actively working to understand others and to persuade them to their POV.

        •  Oh Really (4.00)
          women of color becoming the fastest growing HIV population

              Because of homosexuality?? These high rates are because of improper education and poverty. Certainly, root causes -education and economics- need to be addressed but how is homophobia helping any?

          •  hello? (none)
            i said homophobia was killing both black men AND Women who are in freakin denial about the whole issue.

            if you read Essence magazine, they have run good articles on this adn why so many sisters are dying of AIDS. not all of it is attributable to the DL phenomenon.

            •  And you do (4.00)
              realize that this homophobia is fuelled by churches that you want to be pandered to. Which is the more common-sensical approach- Democrats start pandering to black churches which won't help any or tackle the root issues- education, bigotry, poverty that feeds the status-quo? My problem with your posts is that you take most of your time admonishing "white liberals" instead of suggesting solutions. Why shouldn't Democrats and progressives insist on building institutions that can substitute for churches?
              •  beccause the church (none)
                is the center of our community!! and they are our lifeblood. i choose to remain in the church, despite my disagreements, because it's what i know, and we in the grassroots pew are trying to change things little by little. w.o the church, we don't overcome slavery or segregation, and even today, they do far more good than bad. for immigrants, black folks, the church will always have a role. for white seculars, they can have their meetups, but that model doesn't work in our community (thus why i'd be the only colored person at a DFA meeting...)
                •  I know (none)
                  Church is the center of African-American community and I do know that this shouldn't be the case in future. You want to maintain the status-quo and want the world to twist around to fit your status-quo but changes have to happen. Chaurches have a very narrow focus on issues ,yes even important issues like education and economical well-being, and longer there is no alternative institution to challenge the hegemony of church longer these issues will persist. Monopolies are bad, be they secular or religious.
                  •  you make the churches (none)
                    out to be some monolithic force. there are wide varieties, from liberal UCC/Quakers to the evangelical megachurches to Catholic peace and justice churches. quit painting with such a broad brush. i don't deny that many of the churches in the US are cancerous sores, wiht their Bush worship, but that doesn't mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater...
                    •  The broad focus (none)
                      of churches is what I'm most concerned about. Whether a Church supported Bush or Kerry should be irrelevent in the grand scheme of things. The million dollar question is if Churches help or hurt a particular community overall? Sure you'll find me examples of Churches helping people and being socially active in areas which require help but Churches by their very theological nature are not supposed to lead in every sphere. They just cannot do it in the society of today. I already pointed out that their focus on education is very narrow and, don't kid yourself, education is IT. Education is what'll serve any community in the longer run. Churches shouldn't be the lifeblood for one very simple reason- hierarchical institutions like Churches are not very open to changes and progress. Blacks, whites, Hispanics , Asians etc. need alternative institutions to grow and proper. Churches, Temples and mosques will only help you so much.
                •  I'd feel a whole lot better . . . (4.00)
                   . . . if just once I were to read a diary or a comment from you that records what you are doing, or what you have done in your church community, and in your larger African American community, to combat the attempts by the right wing to co-opt black churches.

                  Those of us who have been around here a while know where you stand on these issues. Now what are you doing about them?

                  Until I read some of that over your name, please pardon me if I remain skeptical of your motivation.

                  "Lash those conservatives and traitors with the pen of gall and wormwood -- let them feel -- no temporising!" -- Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1837

                  by Ivan on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:49:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  oh jesus (none)
                    let's see, i'm part of the African Americans for Democracy, which is trying to seek out a progressive PAC for black candidates (this includes not gay baiting), i argue with my parents and their church members all the time about their obsessino with sexual sin, i subscribe to Sojourners magazine, i attend churches that are NOT gay-hating, i've cried and counseled my colored gay friends as they talk about being ostracized from their families and churches, i've counseled my friend who came out as lesbian first and then became a transexual who wanted to commit suicide when we were in college together. i've gotten my formerly anti-gay evangelical friend to now embrace civil unions, if not gay marriage. i've given money to grassroots AIDS minority organizations and go to any gay minority festival to lend support.  

                    so what have YOU done to help the minority community in general, other than calling us bigots and homophobes?

                    •  I'm not jesus (none)
                      so what have YOU done to help the minority community in general, other than calling us bigots and homophobes?

                      When you can document a single instance in which I have called you, or anyone else on this blog, or any member of any minority community anywhere, except for Ken Hutcherson, a bigot or a homophobe, then maybe we'll have something to discuss.

                      Until such time, I'd like to see a diary in which Ihlin, or any other black Christian, calls out a black preacher in front of his congregation for spreading right-wing talking points. Because this IMO is what needs to happen to reverse this perceived trend.

                      "Lash those conservatives and traitors with the pen of gall and wormwood -- let them feel -- no temporising!" -- Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1837

                      by Ivan on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:25:13 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  ihlin (4.00)
          maybe you can help explain something to us. i have a problem with the black preachers who go up and stand with the evangelicals at anti-gay marriage events. to me, it's bigotry because i believe that gay people are born that way.

          however, i do realise that this hasn't sunk in to the black community. i think it's real hard being gay in america, but being black and gay is a whole nother all of wax. from what i can tell, the black community is somewhat in denial over the gay thing.  let me explain. the DL "phenomena" is a fucking crock, IMO. you aren't DL, you are GAY.

          what worries me is that the culture of masculinity that you mentioned leaves no room for gay men of color to truly accept who they are (i suppose the same thing could be said for many latino gay men). these men "on the DL" are hiding who they really are, and they are endangering their wives by engaging in risky behavior. from what i understand, many men on the DL don't practise safe sex (hence the rising HIV rates you mentioned), in part because they don't think they are gay and so therefore they aren't going to get sick.

          it seems there is a huge cultural divide that we've got to bride on this subject but i have no idea where to start. is the idea of being gay something that a black man of today is even equipped to deal with? what kind of support is he going to get if he comes out, or will he be shunned? does the black community believe that being gay is a choice or a biological imperative?

          it also seems to me that there is some ignorance in the black community regarding the gay community. black folks sometimes don't seem to understand that there's nothing wrong with being gay. can you explain this to me?

          i am asking because i want to learn. i think from our conversations in the past you probably know that.  enlighten me.

          "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

          by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:46:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  roots of black homophobia (4.00)
            is best explained by Earl Ofari Hutchinson in this two-part series:

            http://www.qrd.org/qrd/www/culture/black/articles/ofari1.html

            http://www.qrd.org/qrd/www/culture/black/articles/ofari2.html

            very good primer into the thinking of the community.

            i have minority friends who are gay. it is the hardest thing in the world to be. most of them have either been disowned by their families, or are still in the closet. then they gotta deal with the racism of the white gay community. no wonder so many of them are suicidal!

            i thank you for trying to understand different perspectives. this is how we all try to build coalitions that we need to unite us against the real evil and that is the GOP.

            •  i will read those links (none)
              thanks very much for the linkage. i'll take some time to read them after work today.

              i just had to pipe up in your thread because i think this is a conversation we really need to be having. as someone who is very much a gay rights proponent, i want to be able to help the black community come to terms with the reality of the situation.  but in order to do that i need to understand the black community's reality as well. somehow we have got to bridge the gap.

              i wonder if we will ever get to a point where the equal rights argument will work with black folks. do you think that argument holds any weight at all with them? if not, do you have any ideas on how to broach the equality subject in relation to gay rights with the black community?

              "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

              by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:29:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  equal rights is fine (none)
                many minorities are very sympathetic to treating people equally. but when you get to equating gay marriage with the civil rights mvt or interracial marraige, all hell will break loose and Scripture then starts being thrown around. so my advice? only black folks should use the Civil rights = gay rights analogy. only they have credibility, not white folks from HRC. and even then, it's an uphill battle. show up and support gay minority groups. lord knows they need it. i used to work at a Men's Resource Center where we had special counseling and group sessions for LGBTQ men of color.  

                and most of all, just respect folks who don't agree with you and try to understand where they are coming from. for a lot of folks, esp. immigrants, who don't think they've ever met an out gay person, it's hard for them to see gays as fully human. what they know comes from leathered up guys at a San Francisco gay pride parade and that's the stereotype they have. a lot of times, when they finally meet a gay person, their views tend to change over time (as i have seen in my own family and friends).  

          •  I'm not Ilhin, but I'm Black (and gay) (4.00)
            The primary problem that African Americans (and not just preachers) have with the gay rights movement is the attempt to equate anti-gay attitudes and behaviors with anti-Black attitudes and behavior.  To many of the people who visit this website, the so-called progressives.  The motivation is the same:  hate.  The behavior is the same:  discrimination and violence.  Thus, the two issues are the same.  Even more support appears when you consider recent efforts to identify genetic predispositions for homosexuality (i.e., we were born this way just like you were born Black/African-American).

            This position, however, fails to acknowledge the long and continued history of brutality and kidnapping that brought many of us to this country; almost 100 year period of enslavement, which included not even being acknowledged as a human; resulting 100 years of government-sanctioned discrimination and continued brutality; and a continuing period of some 35 years of policies that ran the whole gamut from infantilization to indifference.  African-Americans have a very unique history of being subjugated and demeaned in American society, with policies that were developed and enforced by government at all levels.  That is the difference between being gay and being African-American.  That, IMO, is why African-American preachers (and many others) have problems when the GLBT community tries to equate equal rights for the GLBT community with equal rights for African-Americans.

            As a person who is both African-American and gay, I understand this position.  Even for me (as an out-and-proud-marching-in-parades gay man), I am and always will be Black/African-American first.  I view the world through that prism/worldview/socialization/experiences that was/is shaped by an African-American family.  Being gay is a part of who I am, and represents my attraction to a particular gender, but it does not define me in the same ways that my race/ethnicity define me.  Any mistreatment that I've ever experienced (even in the gay community) has been because I'm African-American/Black.  It has never been because I'm gay.

            ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

            by chloe wofford is my fav on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:56:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That is bullshit (none)
              That, IMO, is why African-American preachers (and many others) have problems when the GLBT community tries to equate equal rights for the GLBT community with equal rights for African-Americans.

              Not that what you are saying is bullshit - it is quite true, that IS the attitude of many blacks.

              Their position, however, is total bullshit - it is basically saying that no one else has the right to appeal for equality ounder the law, because we black people own it.

              And they don't own it, you knw - in many ways the gay rights moovement has more in common with the women's rights movement.

              So when you get right down to it - it IS anti-gay bigotry, dressed up in black self-righteousness.

              •  Re-read my comment again, please. (none)
                It's not about an appeal for equality and who owns that.  If you ask most African-Americans:  Should gay people be treated the same as other people?  I believe that the answer would be an overwhelming "yes."  That's based on my sense of the community and my own experiences with my family and with other African-Americans.

                The point I was making is the effort of many GLBT groups to try to latch onto the African-American story as a way of building support for their own issue.  That's different.

                ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

                by chloe wofford is my fav on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:32:13 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nope (none)
                  If you ask most African-Americans:  Should gay people be treated the same as other people?  I believe that the answer would be an overwhelming "yes."

                  Not if you look at the poll numbers - they show that blacks are much more opposed to gay marriage, for instance thaan whites.

                  Again, higher incidences of "DL", higher HIV rates, etc.

                  The point I was making is the effort of many GLBT groups to try to latch onto the African-American story as a way of building support for their own issue.

                  GLBT "groups" present their case as a struggle for eqaul rights - and that is exactly what it is. Blacks don't own it.

                  •  Gay marriage is not the same as (none)
                    equal treatment.  That's your judgment about equality and is much more narrow than the question that I posed.

                    As an example.  If you asked white people:  should black people be treated the same as other people?, I expect that you'd get close to 100% saying 'yes.'  If you asked this same group of people:  should your daughter be allowed to marry a black man?, I suspect that you'd get a different answer.

                    ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

                    by chloe wofford is my fav on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:09:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yes it is (none)
                      Gay marriage is not the same as equal treatment.  That's your judgment about equality and is much more narrow than the question that I posed.

                      It is more than "my judgement" - equal is equal.

                      As an example.  If you asked white people:  should black people be treated the same as other people?, I expect that you'd get close to 100% saying 'yes.'  If you asked this same group of people:  should your daughter be allowed to marry a black man?, I suspect that you'd get a different answer.

                      If you change the question to should a white woman be allowed to marry a black man?

                      Then you might get some "No" answers, but the ones who said No are bigots.

                      •  More importantly (none)
                        it doesn't matter what the bigots think. If a black man wants to marry a white woman, he can. The laws against that were wiped off the books ages ago.

                        NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

                        by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:27:20 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  It isn't just about marriage (none)
                        Some polls cited higher black support than white support for recriminalizing sodomy. So if people think that this is only about marriage, they're wrong.
            •  thanks (none)
              it was really interesting to hear from someone who's both black and gay.  we don't get a lot of that around here you know.

              i gotta say, though, i guess i understand what you're saying... but i still don't get it.  maybe that's because i'm white, i'm not sure.

              but to me, the equal rights argument nails it. i sure hope we don't have to have 35+ years of laws on the books discriminating against gays before the AA community realises that it's just jim crow for gay folks.

              i don't know.  i'm still thinking about this.  thanks for giving me some more stuff to chew on.

              "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

              by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:17:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  you can also listen to commercial hip hop (none)
                and see the filth spewed towards gays. only women get it worse, but 50, Dre, even Tupac, has made demeaning remarks about gays in their work.

                but i'll still groove to "disco inferno" cause it's a dope song.

                •  i hear ya (none)
                  you know i downloaded some 50 cent because you mentioned him to me via email back in the dean nation days! lmao

                  and you know, i have no use for his type of hip hop (i'm more into paris, PE, arrested development, etc etc), but i understand that he's popular and some folks get off on hearing him talk about "i'm not into makin love" blah blah blah.  

                  but man, you gotta admit the beat is badass.  i just have no use for his lyrics.  i find them demeaning and filthy for the most part.  but i would never censor him. i just don't buy his music.

                  ihlin, if you get the chance, check this guy out if you're not already familiar with him.  he rocks and i think you'd really appreciate his lyrical content.

                  "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

                  by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:48:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  "Brothers on the DL" (none)
          Can we please start calling them "closeted gay men"?  I'm pissed that we enable the incipient shame and denial concerning male homosexuality in the black community by adopting the code terms.

          "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

          by fishhead on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:54:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There is more to that statistic (none)
      Than the author suggests.

      If you look at the exit polls, you find that black voters are generally less supportive of bans on same-sex marriage than white voters.

      Otherwise, I don't know how the author draws the death penalty conclusion from the survey.  According to the survey, black Protestants are the group most supportive of replacing the death penalty with life without parole.

  •  I'm recommending (4.00)
    but as I often do, I'm protesting your broad brush statements re: white liberals as clueless idiots on minority issues. The world is changing Ilhin, it's literally not so black and white anymore. Amongst the many friends of mine who are not white, NONE of them "agree with the Christian Coalition."  

    However, that's just my usual quibbling. My bigger beief is that we need to stop worrying about winning over every voter out there even if--as a group--they have traditionally voted Dem. Voters who choose Republicans because they are motivated by the single issue of abortion are lost causes and we should waste our resources trying to turn them to our side.

    NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

    by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:16:33 AM PDT

    •  as a white liberal (4.00)
      I'd say it with a big broad brush-- white liberals are generally clueless idiots on minority issues.

      Your view of white liberals might be off (imho) from  living in nyc (where I moved from last year), where there's a lot more genuine diversity, and thus, understanding, than the rest of the country.

      Also, I'd disagree about giving up on abortion. The "safe, legal, and rare" approach is right, morally right. We can make the case.

      •  Perhaps (4.00)
        you don't know this, but Ilhin, who I disagree with greatly on many issues but generally like and respect, has a tendency to go after both white liberals and feminists in her posts.

        As I've stated in my post, it's just quibbling, but I don't see why she always has to single out this group (why do you Ilhin?). White people in general aren't so great on minority issues, why zero in on liberals, whose familiarity with minority issues is likely above the national average.

        And you can forget safe, legal and rare. There are some Americans who view abortion as baby killing. To them, killing fewer babies is no consolation. They will never vote Dem and will not be satisfied until abortion is outlawed.

        NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

        by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:38:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can't speak for Ihlin (none)
          but talking about race with my own white, liberal parents (for examples), I often get the same feeling I get thinking about Joe Lieberman. This person is supposed to be my ally-- why does he keep stabbing me in the back?
          •  Yeah but (none)
            I think that if any group is open to learning about and becoming less ingorant about minorities it is white liberals. I understand the frustration with having to teach people who should know better, but the diarist has had enough knock-down battles on this site that she herself should know better. And it's a shame because her arguments would be that much stronger if she could ditch her tendency to slander.

            NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

            by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:05:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  What bothers me the most is (4.00)
          the idea that we are supposed to base so many decisions that will affect the lives of millions of Americans on this one point. So many of these diaries seem to have the same point - they sem to be that ihlin found religion and now sees that gay rights and abortion are sinful. Stupid white people don't understand that blacks hate gays. ihlin's mother told her she's so happy that ihlin isn't gay and isn't that so sad because what are the Democrats losing if ihlin's mother doesn't support

          Many of the comments in these diaries seem like white people who beat themselves up for not "understanding". For being "liberal". For not believing that gays are sinful. And so on.

          There is nothing noble about voting based on who Jesus tells you to hate. If a white man said that he voted for Republicans because Jesus told him that blacks were disgusting, they would be torn to shreds. If a white man told ihlin that the Bible believes Asians deserve to be in internment camps, I wonder if ihlin would believe that's noble.

          We are supposed to believe that it's noble for blacks to vote based on abortion or on thinking gays are scum. If someone calls me a faggot, or votes to ensure that I can't even visit my dying partner in the hospital, should I thank them for their piousness? Should Democrats go out of their way to further push public hostility towards gay rights (this is not just about marriage, this is about even sharing a bed with a member of the same sex, this is about being fired for being gay, this is about not being able to see your children because you are gay) because of some stereotypical image of pious believers who will be forever grateful if those homosexuals and baby-killers are put in their place?

          People who vote based on hating gays and abortion will vote for the GOP. Democrats have bashed gays and blamed gays time and time again, and they have yet to gain any real electoral benefits from it. But I know that people will keep on pushing this line, because it's so "noble". It isn't common sense to support gay rights. It's white liberal guilt, and it's an easy way out. You don't have to work on making any real connections with minorities or with any other voters, because you can just say "I'm white, what do I know?" and "I don't hate gays or abortion, who am I to judge?" Then when Democrats lose more elections, you go back to those same issues. You move further to the right. You feel more guilt for your beliefs. Rinse and repeat, as the country becomes more and more virulently opposed to any shred of respect for these "liberal" beliefs.

          That is the general gist I have always gotten from these comments. Stupid white God-hating liberals had better get away from those queers or all the Jesus-loving non-white people will go to the Republicans. And anyone who argues this point has to fight guilt based on what they cannot change (their race) so they have to go along with this somewhat condescending idea that blacks and other racial minorities just can't help being against gays. It's just natural. It's what Jesus wants. And on and on. That type of attitude is partially responsible for so much of the skyrocketing violence against gays in this country. Gays are beaten and assaulted and murdered day after day and because of the unspoken belief that it's wrong to criticize anti-gay rhetoric and the constant spin among churches that gays are less than human, people do not see gays as deserving the kind of humanity they would give to a dog, or a turtle, or even an ant. They just see this corpse, they see Matthew Shephard or Gwen Areijo, and they think that these "sick" souls got what they deserved.

          Personally I would rather work to make all people tolerant of all human rights, instead of continuing the patterns where people can say whatever the hell they want about gays (say they are AIDS-ridden pedophiles) and anyone who complains is viewed as God-hating, or as "PC". I would rather set up a world where you cannot endlessly defame millions of people you have never known and then hide behind religion so no one can criticize you.

          •  And ihlin (4.00)
            if you don't think gay rights are sinful, or abortion is sinful, then you have my apologies. I have never really known what your position on these issues are because you have said in the past that you used to think this or that before you found religion; I've never been sure exactly what you believe. I somehow get the impression that you have put up a wall on gay rights where you give people a pass if they oppose gay rights based on the Bible. I know people who are religious and oppose equal marriage rights, and they still treat everyone with compassion. Those people I can deal with. But there are many Christians of all races who support sodomy laws, who have spoken about putting gays in camps - I hope that you do realize how widespread this extreme type of view is in many evangelical circles today.

            If you want people to move towards the black church on gay issues you should consider differentiating on what type of speakers you would like Democrats to connect with, because people like Donnie McClurken (who basically said that gays should be killed if that keeps them away from children) or Ken Hutcherson are evil, evil human beings, and not worth talking to.

          •  Great post, James (none)
            And it's true. There are a lot of self-loathing white liberals out there. Partially it's the climate, but it's also because of the rights' years of smears against us. Personally I am not going to do their dirty work by viewing myself as somehow wrong because I believe in equality for all people.

            NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

            by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:35:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks (none)
              The thing is I'm really not even that liberal on most issues. But over the past few years I've realized that what used to be seen as liberal is now  just caring about everyone, wanting to treat everyone with respect, wanting to be fair and kind to all people. There's nothing bad about that.

              What really annoys me is the double standard in a lot of these "stupid white liberals" type of statements, because white liberals are supposed to understand and support the beliefs of other races and religions, yet they are endlessly belittled and shamed and told they will NEVER understand, they will NEVER be good enough to leave their God-hating Sodom and Gomorrah cities and join the real world.

              The message seems to be that white liberals are damned either way.

          •  That's why I dislike the title of this diary (4.00)
            I'm a Black voter, my family are Black voters, many of my friends and neighbors are Black voters, many are also religious and the vast majority are appalled at some of the hate rhetoric being spewed by various Black and White churches.

            Maybe we're just one oddball enclave in a sea of Black anti gay bigots, but I don't think so. The people I know either don't care (most of them) or are out there speaking out about equality for gays and against the violence inducing (or condoning) rhetotric. Some, especially older ones, may not be comfortable with gays, but there is not this level of hatred I see evidenced by some of the preachers showcased on TV or whatever.

            I really, really dislike the thought that anyone would think that this diary or anyone else speaks for me as a "Black voter", or that the impression would be given that there are not Black people out there standing up for gay equality, standing up against the violence and the rhetoric and rejecting bigotry against anyone, whatever their color or religion.

            A new world is not only possible, she is on her way. -A. Roy
            Human Beams Magazine

            by Nanette K on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:45:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you, JamesB3. (none)
            I now have a new sig line.  with attribution, of course.

            There is nothing noble about voting based on who Jesus tells you to hate. ~ JamesB3

            by CJB on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:12:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're way too kind (none)
              People are going to look at your sig and say, "he's quoting that asshole!!" but I'm still very honored you thought my comment was worthy of mention. Thank you.
              •  Actually, I imagine (none)
                that they'll look at my sig line and say, "Man, that JamesB3 is a spot-on genious!"  And you replaced a  Bill Moyers quote, so you're in damned good company.

                (And that's Mizz CJB to you ;) )

                There is nothing noble about voting based on who Jesus tells you to hate. ~ JamesB3

                by CJB on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:56:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you for cogently (none)
            summing up all the sentiments I've had toward this diarist since they first popped up around the time of the pope wars. I, probably, would be much less polite if I posted at this point. Hence I refrain.

            "Neither falsehood nor appearance and beauty are 'foreign' to truth. They are proper to it, if not its accessories and its underside." - Luce Irigaray

            by lucid on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:57:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Game. Set. Match. n/t (none)

            **

            Writing dialog George Lucas so terrible at is. --Yoda

            Visit The Next Hurrah

            by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:58:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  i'm for gay rights (none)
            i'm pro-choice. i'm just trying to look at how the GOP is swaying folks to the dark side through these idiot appeals to homophobia and religion. you of all people know just how bad it has gotten in our churches and i deeply apologize for it. you and i are both disgusted by it. now how are we to deal with it? by just acknowledging differences of opinion. most of the black folks who voted Kerry probably didn't endorse gay marriage, but voted for him on other reasons. this will always be the case. but i have NEVER EVER SAID Dems need to be anti-gay to win these voters. i just said be respectful and understand.

            interesting that Schweitzer gets so much love around here, even though he endorsed MT's gay marriage amendment as a pragmatic tactic. and i think that's fine for now, if it gets Dems elected. maybe we will part ways on that. Montana gays are much better served by Schweitzer being there than some idiot fundy GOP. the purists will howl and say Schweitzer sold them out, just like some of them howled at Howard Dean for only endorsing civil unions and not marriage.

            •  The problem is that (none)
              gays in Montana still have to deal with hate and prejudice, being sold down the river, no one wanting to stand up for them. They can vote for Democrats to the legislature but all they can hope for is that the Democrats will not pass any ugly legislation. There will be no anti-discrimination laws, or civil unions passed by that legislature. So you can't really blame gays if they complain about Schweitzer, because yes, he's much better than the alternative, but that's about it. They certainly shouldn't be chided for "howling", especially since I heard very few gays complain about him. Most gays know that they always have to pick between the lesser of two evils.

              As for the rest, I honestly think that we would agree on many subjects but we just have very different points of view. I have a deep distrust for many evangelical sects today because I came from that world and I know what they would do to people like me. I hope that you really do work to change hearts and minds. But all I'm saying is that I also hope you realize that a) those of us who support gay rights are not all some kind of elitists who are ignorant or prejudiced against other races and b) there's nothing acceptable about bigotry, regardless of the faith of those who preach that hate.

              •  evangelicals (none)
                trust me, i hate and loathe them as much as you do. i did not convert for many years becasue i was so consumed by hate for them and their intolerance, until a wise man just told me "Only Jesus matters. so if you love and follow him, you can forget that his followers oftentimes defile his name." jesus sure as hell was not a gay basher and obsessed with abortion. and as a Christian, i am supposed to love my Christian Coalition brethren adn Jerry Falwell. that does not make me happy.

                i think you do need to distinguish among the evangelicals. there are the fanatical anti-gay haters like Dobson and that nutcase Fred Phelps, which a lot of CHrisitans do NOT agree with. then you have moderate evangelicals, who while being uncomfortable with homosexuality and gay marriage, are not foaming at the mouth with hatred, and do try to honestly "love the sinner" and deplore the tactics of PHelps/Dobson. those people CAN be persuadable on civil unions, equal rights/benefits, but only through lots of work and patience, not name calling.

                Didn't MT Courts rule for health benefits for MT college employees? Maybe you will get more pro-gay judges just by having a Schweitzer there.

  •  I think we may be looking at this issue backwards (4.00)
    We should be asking "why do black voters support Dems, even though their 'values' are similar to those white evangelicals who support Repubs? And what lessons can we draw from that black support in an effort to woo white evangelicals?"
  •  Thanks for this (none)
    Sometimes we forget Martin Luther King was religious. Black activism has been tied to religion for a long time.

    Dean speaks out the truth. I like it
    Iraq is based on a 'pack of lies.' Telling the truth looks like the only remedy to it.

    by lawnorder on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:19:05 AM PDT

  •  As usual, you make some great ... (4.00)
    ...points, and, as usual, I have some strong reservations when I look at what following those points to their logical conclusion might mean.

    For instance, because so many African-Americans believe that politicians should rely more on religious leaders for advice and "are much less much less hostile to the integrating of church and politics," should the Democratic Party stop worrying so much about separation of church and state? Speak against rulings like Engel v. Vitale? Encourage the display of the Ten Commandments in tax-paid venues? How does catering to these evangelical beliefs play out in a political campaign?

    Having working closely with people of strong religious faith in the civil rights and antiwar movements (including opposition to U.S. policy in Central America in the 1980s), I deeply appreciate the commitment to social justice that religious belief gives some people.

    In those instances, however - just as with Abolition - the commitment was to stopping injustice. But, to give one example, keeping gays in a permanent state of inequality is quite the opposite of social justice.

    Following the path certain religious people want the country to follow can lead to some extremely bad policies, even if their hearts are in the right place. The temperance movement was a product of religious commitment. Those who became involved in it had real grievances and, clearly, alcohol abuse generated real social ills. But the result was Prohibition, one of the worst domestic policies this nation ever enacted.  

     

    **

    Writing dialog George Lucas so terrible at is. --Yoda

    Visit The Next Hurrah

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:30:51 AM PDT

    •  I think you've reached a wrong conclusion (none)
      Because the poll indicates that African-Americans believe that "politicians should rely more on religious leaders for advice" doesn't mean that we/others like me want JC, Allah, the Pope, my dog, or any other religous figure to guide public policies.  I think it means (at least for me), that the politician(s) has a strong, faith foundation that helps to guide his/her policy decisions.  Basically, a belief/hope/wish that people who are leading our nation/state/county/city recognize their own limitations and fallibility, make decisions and think about the potential consequences, and care for people who are not able to care for themselves.  It's a politics of compassion that faith brings, along with a recognition of G-d's Grace and Mercy to help you overcome and learn from mistakes.

      Many of the people posting here seem to have a very negative attitudes towards this, but think about Bill Clinton as an ideal type of politician.  (Ya'll remember Bill, the first Black President.)  Clinton had a connection with G-d, had experiences with adversity, and made mistakes and learned from them.  (You can substitute GWBush and say the same thing.)  He/they are also very comfortable talking about a belief in a higher power.

      To me, that's the nugget/interpretation of those data.

      ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

      by chloe wofford is my fav on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:06:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Short response (4.00)
    Black voters are nothing like white Evangelicals because Black voters do not vote their faith.

    Can you tell me how many African-American voters voted for Democrats the last election versus those who voted for Republicans? I believe that number is somewhere around 90 percent. You can go to Donkey Rising which does polling data analysis to confirm this.

    Can you tell me how many white Evangelicals voted for Republicans this election versus those who voted for Democrats?  I believe that number is around 60 to 70 percent, but again you can confirm this with other polling data analysis.

    The voting patterns were reversed.

    You may wander why this is the case, and the answer will not be found in diaries such as this talking about people's "beliefs." We vote on different issues than White liberals and White Evangelical voters would be an honest appraisal of the true situation. When asking people last year while I acted as a poll monitor in a predominantly black neighborhood, why they were voting (most had Democratic stickers or took materials from Democratic representatives), I found that the answers had to little to do with right wing faith based issues.

    Every few weeks or months, this diarist above keeps arguing the same position which has little, if anything, to do with the low income communities, or middle class communities that I have lived in that are of color.  The concerns there are primarily economics ONLY. Things like Iraq are a distant second. They may have an opinion of the social issues, but it doesn't determine how they vote. The point that I am trying to make is that if you talked about gay marriage, abortion and all the other social conservative hot button issues in the way that social conservatives' talk about them, you would still not sway the African American voter.

    The real issue with AA voting is apathy. If you want to talk about real issues for AAs, this is the one.

    •  of course they vote their faith (none)
      it just happens to be a faith that differs in some regards (still) from white evangelicals, a faith rooted in social and economic justice.

      20% of weekly black churchgoers voted for Bush. had Kerry won the same percentage of OHio blacks as Gore/Clinton, he might be in the white House. anyone who did grassroots organizing in that state knew the marriage amendment was a problem. even in FL, which you would expect blacks to still be pissed about 2000, bush increased his share of the black vote by 8 points.

      •  What evidence (none)
        do you have that all those gains were driven by Republican's stance on abortion and gay marriage?

        I honestly believe that while unemployment rates among blacks remain above the national average in urban centers, there is a significant portion of the black population that has made positive economic progress in recent years. And I think as they happens, we're going to have to accept that some black people are going to vote Republican because--as their wealth has increased--they've become more alligned with Republican economic philosophies that favor big business and low taxes.  

        NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

        by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:54:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's true --- AA's + Estate/Death Tax (none)
          "Forty-nine leading African-American businessmen and businesswomen, including Bob Johnson of BET Holdings, Earl Graves of Black Enterprise Magazine and Alice Houston of Automotive Carrier Services, took out an ad in newspapers across America yesterday to urge the Congress to repeal the "Death Tax...."

          "The Estate tax is unfair double taxation since taxpayers are taxed twice - once when the money is earned and again when you die. The income taxes you pay, in some cases up to 40 percent, already redistributes wealth and provides for government services. The government should not require you to pay taxes again simply because you die.

          As the National Black Chamber of Commerce notes, a person who works hard, pays taxes along the way - both corporate and income taxes - and invests and saves money should not be penalized with punitive taxes at his or her death.

          The Estate Tax will cause many of the more than 1 million black-owned family businesses to fail or be sold when the 55 percent Estate Tax is imposed on already undercapitalized minority-owned enterprises. The fact that the tax can be paid with interest over a number of years is off little comfort or no help to already cash-strapped minority firms. In addition, the entire Black community suffers when these minority-and family-run businesses that provide jobs and services in underserved communities are forced to shut down to pay the Estate Tax.

          Unlike most White Americans, many African Americans who accumulated wealth did so facing race discrimination in education, employment, access to capital, and equal access to government resources. In many cases, race discrimination was supported by governmental policies and failure to enforce equal rights laws. It is unfair and unjust for the government through the Estate Tax to seize a portion of the estate of the individuals it failed to provide equal opportunity.

          The Estate Tax is particularly unfair to the first generation of the high net worth African Americans who have accumulated wealth only recently. These individuals may have family members and relatives who have not been as fortunate in accumulating assets who could directly benefit from their share of an estate as heir. Elimination of the Estate Tax would allow African Americans to pass the full fruits of their labor to the next generation and beyond. Elimination of the Estate Tax will help close the gap in this nation between African American families and White families. The net worth of an average African American family is $20,000 or 10 percent of the $200,000 net worth of the average White family. Repealing the Estate Tax will permit wealth to grow in the Black community through investment in minority businesses that will stimulate the economic well-being of the Black community and allow African American families to participate fully in the American Dream."

          http://www.freedomworks.org/processor/printer.php?issue_id=1896 more at link]

          ...Mama said there'd be days like this, there's be days like this, my Mama said...

          by PhillyGal on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:03:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Black Families and Estate Planning (4.00)
            The greedy black millionaires who took out that ad should be ashamed.  First of all, anyone who has assets that would be subject to the Estate Tax can easily afford to take out a life insurance policy that would provide tax free benefits to heirs for the purpose of paying off any estate tax liability.  An iota of sense and a minimal amount of financial planning would eliminate any purported hardship.  Shame on all of those who sign up to this canard !

            The real issue concerning black families in estate planning for many is the loss of family farms that have been in black families for generations.  Thousands of black families have lost the land that many of their ancestors lived and worked on for generations as a result of real estate laws that allow for the partitioning and auctioning of land owned in common among multiple black family members.  A single family member is often induced to sell their "portion" of the land which most often results a public auction of the entire property, with the highest bidder inevitably some real estate interest outside of the family which intends to evict the tenant farmers.  Land that has been in Southern black families for generations has been lost this way.

            While there are a few black people who will trend Republican on economic issues, as a whole, black voters in middle class homes remain Democratic for a couple of real economic reasons.  First of all, as your post indicates, even among middle class blacks, net worth remains relatively low.  Therefore, many middle class blacks have a tenuous hold on their economic status.  Second, most middle class blacks have less affluent relatives and friends and maintain social ties to poorer communities that are often visited for church, hair care, etc.  

        •  please ask any activist in the black community (none)
          who did voter outreach in places like Georgia or Ohio or FLorida. they can tell you. it was an issue in my family's church, which is mostly immigrants and people of color.

          like i said, this is the stuff i deal with in my daily life--trying to get white liberals to understand what they refuse to want to believe...

          •  There ya go again (none)
            It's not about me refusing to want to believe. It's about me wanting real evidence as opposed to what you personally observed while organizing in one section of one state. As well, if this is a framing issue, then, if possible, offer some constructive frames. Wouldn't that be more constructive than making claims about how thick-headed white liberals are?

            NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

            by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:24:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  aha (4.00)
            so when you are talking about "african americans think this or that," you are talking about the southern african americans with whom you are in contact. not about all african americans, just the conservative religious southern ones.

            quite frankly, how is it that you claim the knowledge of the entire minority community's political decision-making process and deeply-held values? i have heard you make sweeping generalizations with the same infallible, omniscient air about both white liberals, feminists and people of color as if you'd met ever single one of them and looked into their souls. it strikes me not only as highly unlikely that you would somehow have special claim to this knowledge, but also exceptionally arrogant.

            tallk about your own feelings and experiences, and those with whom you have spoken, but give me a break on the rest. no person has that kind of sweeping insight, and no person speaks for an entire class of people. you're just poking around in the dark with the rest of us, guessing at the glimmers in your own community.

            crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

            by wu ming on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:31:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i am overgeneralizing (none)
              look at the poll data. that is all i'm saying. and those of my friends who do this sort of work.
              •  but the polling data doesn't agree with you (4.00)
                your argument would hold weight if people were voting on the issues that you point out as differing- ie secular white voters v black religious voters. However, the fact is AAs vote according to their economic views which are akin to the secular white voters. This makes your point moot, and not very useful in terms of how to address how to increase AA votes. You aren't going to get that 10 to 15 percent that has always voted for the "Party Of Lincoln" The real source of growth is to start early with the younger voters and develop in that group a sense of civi virtue to be found in voting . In other words, as I said below the real concern is apathy. Well, that and the incarceration rate of blacks which results in things such as the right to vote being taken away. These things you are talking about are so off the chart, that they don't even get at the thing you state is your goal.  

                Another anecdote- it's like this organization of black conservatives that came together to support black families. The only issues that they discussed were the same as those of white conservatives. But, at the end of the day what's hurting black families are many and varied issues, none of which are about gays or abortions. If you want to have a real discussion, then start talking about those things that matters to the Average AA voter which by the way is a result not of white liberal action, but white Evangelical conservatives. You are turning this whole situation on its head. Who brought up gay marriage in Ohio for example? Who brought it up in the other states in question? We both knwo the answer to that. So what would you have people do- ignore the question when it is put on the ballot?

                More importantly, how is it at all useful to turn it on the head like this. How does it make us less compatable with black voters who already choosing to focus on the issues of which we are compatable. By the later, I mean how can you choose hot button issues, which most black voters have said are not their issues, and turn it into the a divide in voting patterns when in fact it is not. The divide is between white conservatives and black religious conservatives- at least according to actual voting.

                •  i am saying (none)
                  that those of us who do grassroots minority work are pretty damn terrified of the GOP, because they are using faith and religion to woo our folks, and it is succeeding to a certain extent from what we see at the grassroots. bush gained among Latinos/Blacks. there is no question. and we should see that as a failure.

                  more and more latinos and blacks are being swayed by the moral values arguments. and the GOP's charicature of Dems as bible hating radical secularists is starting to take hold among some of them (including my family, who think Dems have become too "prohomosexual.")

                  •  Or, in other words, "homo-lovers ..." (4.00)
                    ...The problem I keep having with this construct is not that, like most Americans, African-Americans hold Christian beliefs which they use to guide their daily lives, and that they feel comfortable with politicians who have similar beliefs and do not denigrate people of faith. The problem I have is not your view backed by experience that that many white liberals don't really comprehend what matters in the public arena to people of color. The problem I have is in translating what this should mean for Democratic policy-makers. Because, when we get down to the hard kernels, what you seem to be saying - I'm happy to be corrected - is that victory at the polls depends on retreat from some principles.  

                    **

                    Writing dialog George Lucas so terrible at is. --Yoda

                    Visit The Next Hurrah

                    by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:49:23 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i don't think you need retreat (none)
                      from defending your principles. you do have to be smarter about it. Latinos were the ones who helped defeat the gay marriage proposal in the CA state legislature the other week. we need to be able to manage these tensions in the same way the GOP manages theirs.

                      i am always amused when i point out that minorities are more socially conservative that then i am accused by white liberals of "wanting to sell out our principles." no, i'm just pointing out the facts. do you see the GOP fight over selling out their principles even as they woo minorities? do they suddenly think they need to change their views on taxes, war, affirmative action, civil rights, in order to gain more blacks? heck no. thye just know they need to show up and at least show they care and understand the community. they are doing that through god and faith.

                      Clinton commands huge popularity among people of color still because he managed to merge spritiual values into his policies. he had people who were not tokens in his campaign and staff. this has not been the case with many Dems. even Donna BRazile was just windowdressing for Gore.

                      me, i'm not a Dem because of social issues. i could really care less. just concentrate on the fundamental corporate power ones (which means quit supporting shit like CAFTA and bankruptcy!) but certain folks like to have their litmus tests be --i won't support anyone who's not prochoice!! i'd vote for a pro-life person if he/she was good on the economic justice questions (a la David Bonior).

                      •  Well, I'm not a white liberal ... (4.00)
                        ...and I came to be a Democrat because of what people at the time called a "social issue" - the legally enforced inequality of people of color, especially blacks. Equality AND choice are core values for me, principles. There are some others, as well.

                        Certainly, Democrats at all levels ought to do a better job of taking the concerns of minority Americans more seriously. Failure by many to do is not only strategically foolish but morally wrong. Where I keep stumbling, however, is on the impression I get from your posts that what's really required is acknowledging that views contained in the GOP platform and GOP campaigns are winning African-American votes and that to counter this, Democrats must ease off when it comes to white liberal "obsessions" like abortion, other women's rights and gay equality.

                        I can't do that. I can change my language, my framing, the order in which I present my priorities. I can, unbeliever though I be, stand in a prayer circle or sit in a Baptist pew and march side-by-side in mutual struggles. But a party that surrenders to aspects of social conservatism that amount to bigotry should not expect my support any more than would a party that backs renewed segregation.

                        **

                        Writing dialog George Lucas so terrible at is. --Yoda

                        Visit The Next Hurrah

                        by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:46:31 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  no you don't have to water down anything... (none)
                          although a conscience clause in the Dem platform on abortion would be helpful, to acknowledge there can be thoughtful views on the other side. "safe legal rare" wins a lot of support, but i see here that some liberals hate that frame since who cares if abortion is "rare" or not. luckily, our Dem leaders are smart enough to keep on with the frame that can attract the most support.

                          the Dems sent Jesse and Al to remind black voters in the final weeks what was really important in this election: gay marriage, or jobs, health care, etc etc. this needed to be a way longer effort, with more resources devoted to that msg.

                    •  I think you are missing the point (4.00)
                      I don't see this as involving principles or changing principles in any way. The Democratic Party should remain strongly pro-choice and should be more strongly in favor of gay rights.

                      The question is really how do we win elections or how do we market the party? That involves two things: the lesser is how do we frame these issues so that people who don't share our views still vote for us - kos's front page series addresses that to some degree. Reid's proposals address that. Or are we so pure that we just want to label everyone who disagrees a bigot and tell them to not vote for us ever because we don't want their votes?

                      The more important question is do we want the Democratic Party to be represented solely and exclusively as the party of abortion and gay rights? Some people here seem to want to fight elections on that basis, despite the fact that very few people when polled choose those issues as the ones that decided their votes.

                      This is not just an issue of racial voting or opinion - it's exactly the same issue that Dems fail on in rural areas and with working class voters, so it seems important to discuss it and fix it.

                      I just had a discussion about Western WA vs Eastern WA. There is a feeling in more rural E WA that we get shortchanged by more urban and more populous W WA. While there may be some issues of equity, I'm pretty convinced from that discussion that the perception of being short changed is largely incorrect. But the fact remains that the perception exists (DHinMI had a post on TNH quoting Harry Reid that parallels this).

                      The problem is that perception. It's what's the matter with Kansas, it's why polling shows our postions have majority support (sometimes huge) but we still lose. It's a part of why E WA still votes 60-40 GOP when prior to 1994 both of our Representatives were Democrats (and both are Republicans today).

                      We're not losing votes because of our positions on issues like abortion or gay rights. We're losing votes because a lot of voters don't believe we have positions on anything but abortion and gay rights that we're willing to stand up and fight for.

                      However unfair that perception may be, it's the perception that exists and we have to deal with it or keep losing elections where we should have large natural majorities.

                      And it wouldn't surprise me to see this post criticized as anti-choice and homophobic, despite what I said in the first paragraph.

                      We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

                      by badger on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:09:34 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Don't a lot of people here... (4.00)
              Don't a lot of people on dkos do exactly the same thing about white Southerners, evangelicals in general, and Republicans?

              We have a habit of denouncing "infallible, omniscient" pronouncements about ourselves but practicing with respect to others.

              We should be careful of that.

      •  Kerry got (4.00)
        around 90 percent of the black vote. Gore got around 90 percent of the black vote. They both got a little bit more than Clinton who got around  mid 80s to 90 percent of the black vote. Look it up- there are quite a few sites, one of which is Donkey Rising that covers all the polls, election day exit polls etc. These polls say that you are wrong. This is a reality based approach to analysis versus agenda based rhectoric.

        Also, anecodotally speaking I know that you are wrong based on the AAs I know. Even amongst the evangelicals the support was largely for Kerry. I had folks say it to me.

        As for your theory that you are going to get that 10 to 15 percent- good luck. There have always, and will always be Black Republicans. The reason Clinton (hardly a "liberal" on gay marriage) got 85 percent was because of that minority of black folks who votes Republican. The Condi Rices and Clarence Thomases of the world who hardly represent. If you think you are going to convince someone like the black Reverend who said he would support the KKK over gay marriage then you don't get the real issue is the Reverend. He and you don't represent most black people. They may not support gay marriage, but they don't make voting decisions based on it either.

        Full disclosure, aren't you the guy who has more than once posted similar diatribes about gays and other groups that you think are "bringing down" the Democrats?  As I have told you like a million times, stop confusing your agenda (and it's clearly yours) with truth.  The truth for AAs is apathy. What do I mean by this? Well, where I was working as the poll monitor, I asked a lot of questions also of who was coming out to vote, looking at the age of the voters. It was startling that they were mostly older voters. More than that, there were quite a number of voters on the role who didn't come out to vote. The numbers, as I remember it, and if I am wrong, please correct me, for the number of AAs who don't vote is higher than for their white counter part.

        And for the record, AAs aren't voting "social justice" or any of that other nonsense- they are voting pragmatic pockebook issues. ie, if I am making 30 k a year and got a kid to put into college, how do I pay my bills, save and put my kid through college. When I hear concerns, this is the stuff I hear.

    •  The real issue is apathy. (none)
      That's consistent with my experience, from which I'll risk a generalization:

      African Americans will register and vote (if allowed to vote) if they believe the candidate or proposition can actually improve their lives. Jobs, equal rights, and equal opportunity are always pretty close to the top. Among many older Blacks, Kennedy is still revered.

      OTOH, appeals to abstract principles, religious or otherwise, generally fall short.

      Like Stevie Wonder sings: "If you really want to hear our view..."

      •  essentially this is it (none)
        and their terms are even more concrete. I don't want my son over in Iraq.  I want better health care. What are you going to do about my boss who is on my ass for overtime even though he doesn't want to pay for it.  The chief battle is to convince people that politics is relevant to their lives
      •  And access to voting machines (none)
        Ya'll remember the newspaper articles detailing the long wait-times in poor and minority communities for voting.  There was (I beleive) tremendous interest in voting.  Unfortunately, the system conspired against the interests of African-Americans in places like Florida and Ohio that led to very long wait lines in many communities.

        ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

        by chloe wofford is my fav on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:15:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Voting their faith... (none)

      If anything, it can be argued that black evangelicals read more of their Bibles than white evangelicals.  A more small-c catholic understanding of the Bible makes it harder to convince a believer that Bush and the Republicans are always right.  

      Perhaps it's not germaine to the topic, but it should be noted that white Democrats have not always experienced American Christianity as a benevolent force.  Gay and lesbian whites often are expelled from or feel unwelcome in church.  Protestants discriminated against Catholics.  Women often rankle at their second-class treatment in many denominations.  Catholics once driven leftward by discrimination are now being replaced by "recovering" Catholics grimly determined to keep clerical hands from secular power.  Finally, many of our ancestors fled from religious bigotry in Europe and the rest from a Europe firmly wedded to a "God" who ordained that the masses be kept just far enough over starvation to serve as cannon fodder.  

  •  Great diary. (4.00)
    However, I caution you, not to panic. You ended your first paragraph by saying . . . "when they (Republicans) start making serious inroads."  I seriously doubt that will ever happen for the following reasons:

    1. Republicans and the Republican party are NOT genuinely  interested in diversity. Yes, they recognize that they need the votes of blacks and other minorities, but that's all they want. If they could find a way to harvest these votes, then shove the voters back into the fields until they need votes again, that will be fine with them.

    2. Since they can't win black votes, they try to disenfranchise them. Black people know this. And no matter how much they try to woo blacks the Republicans would still be paranoid and when blacks go to the polls, they would still try to prevent them from voting as they'd suspect it's a Democratic vote.

    3. Republicans are NOT interested and not prepared to work to enact policies and programs that are of  real interest to blacks. Indeed, they'd love to abolish all the gains blacks have made over the years. They have a tough row to hoe as long as they continue to oppose things like like Affirmative Action, fair housing, fair lending practices, decent health care, raising the minimum wage,etc.  Heck, they won't even commit to renewing the voting rights act.  They just can't DO those things, it's not in their nature to help those who have less, and they don't want to. Basically, they wish they'd all disappear.  

    4. So, let them spin their wheels. From time to time we may hear a few so called black leaders (Russel Simmons?) say some nice things about the Republicans but is that going to translate into a mass exodus from the Democratic party?  I don't think so.

    "I mean, c'mon, toughen up, guys, it's only our Constitution and country at stake," she said. "Let's get some spine."

    by Lords on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:36:50 AM PDT

    •  they don't need mass exodus (none)
      Dems depend on winning lots of statewide elections by gaining 80-90%  the black vote, since white people are less and less voting for Dems. so any small shift means big gains for them, and makes it that much harder for Dems to win. and what i've said about black voters goes doubly for Latinos. the GOP doesn't want to be a party with too many colored folks, but they know they can't win w/o them.

      and given the memo put out by the Latino operatives about Kerry's outreach efforts, you shoudl also question just how much the Democrats really value diversity too...

      •  Two points. (3.75)
        1. I have friends who believe in all . . . well, most . . . of the things the evangelicals do -- abortion, prayer-in-school, antigay marriage, the works. Yet these people will swear to you that they will never vote Republican.  Ask them why, they cannot really explain it.  I think it's a matter of values, and bread and butter issues will always trump faith.

        2. I believe thet the biggest problem the Dems have is their inability to turn out the black vote. Dems do not do enough to excite that portion of their base so they may blacks shun the political process.  I worry about this a lot more that I worry about the Repugs shaving off 5, 10 or even 20 percent more blacks.

        3. One more for the road.  Bush spent his entire first term doing everything in his power to move the so called Jewish vote to the Republican column. Surprise, Surprise, when the votes were counted he did not advance much over 2000.

        "I mean, c'mon, toughen up, guys, it's only our Constitution and country at stake," she said. "Let's get some spine."

        by Lords on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:07:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  he still made gains (none)
          among Jews, he got 2-3 points higher than in 2000. maybe not a huge gain, but enough, esp. with states like FLorida. many of my jewish friends said they were tempted to vote Bush because of Israel, but it was the social domestic issues that kept them Dem.
    •  a couple points (none)
      1.  It's that we're so closely divided politically/ideologically that makes small shifts in a coalition stand out and become important.

      2.  Dems do take advantage of the black vote, and I think that's been true for a long time.  The trend has accelerated IMHO since this 'centrist' idea got traction in the Dem party to counteract the rightward shift in politics since 1980.

      3.  All you have to do to see the Republicans' true colors is to look at the proportion of people of color elected to office at all levels from their party.  In TX (BRIGHT RED!), there are NO people of color in any office of any kind, as I understand it. At any convention of Reps, the membership is almost universally white.  People of color are showcased on stage almost like some sort of minstrel show.  I find it disgusting.

      I think Jim Wallis (God's Politics) has some good points to make on this kind of thing.  He actually talks in his book about Howard Dean's defining speech on race in the last presidential cycle.  You'll NEVER EVER hear anything like that from Republicans; at least, not those Republicans whose voice means anything to their own party.

      Be a patriot! Buy a hybrid vehicle!

      by billlaurelMD on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:57:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just an IMHO on your first point (none)
      Simply exposing the truth through facts and figures and graphs and evidence is clearly not enough.  Lakoff nails it in Don't Think of an Elephant when he discusses why the truth doesn't matter and why voters seemingly vote against their self-interest: they essentially vote values and vales can only be communicated in a frame that the voter can understand.  The African American vote, it seems to me, is quite dual-framed, with one set of values closely aligned with progressives and the other more seemingly aligned with conservatives.  The conservatives masterfully manipulate framing which, in my opinion, allowed them to gain some numbers among African Americans in 04.  Democrats need to catch up - start talking in the frames and values that speak to the values of the voters they wish to retain.  To ignore that is to take them for granted, and what is not a "serious" problem today will be one tomorrow.

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution.

      by RenaRF on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:31:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and Clinton (none)
        always discussed values, faith, community, family in his speeches. he had a black speechwriter on staff who was able to frame these things in ways that resonated deeply among Afircan AMericans. merging religion and politics need not be the same as the version put forth by the right wing idiots.

        here is one of Clinton's most well known speeches, given to honor MLK at the church in Memphis where he last preached before being assassinated. the grace of God, a spriitual healing message, is contained within. i think there is a way to integrate faith into politics that respects our Constitution, and that politics that has a firm spiritual foundation is more powerful than the technocratic secular language.

        http://clinton3.nara.gov/Initiatives/OneAmerica/19970610-1134.html

        •  Thanks for the link (none)
          I'm a second-generation liberal to be sure.  My parents, both still young (62 and nearly 61) are rabid and my mother particularly so.  The idea of religious "encroachment" is deeply distressing to her.  I'm sure it has much to do with her formative years and family history and her beliefs are deeply held.  There's no budging her to some sort of middle ground in spite of the evidence that a middle ground is called for.  I'll also mention that she's a borderline-atheist which likely has something to do with it.  I respect her opinions and I see the points she makes.  However, sometimes it's not enough to be right.  We should seek out the inventiveness that has always underpinned our culture to be inclusive on our terms.

          I couldn't agree with you more.

          The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution.

          by RenaRF on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:59:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Your first point.. (none)
      I think you have a logical flaw in your first point.  You talk about Republicans not being interested in diversity, but the point is that they don't have to be to win some African American voters.  In fact, the issue is homogeneity, just in ideology rather than skin color.  If Republicans manage to spread the idea that "we don't care about your skin color, we care about your faith" and if the black middle class continues to grow (a catch-22 for us, since that's a desirable outcome), we may well lose a large chunk of even the lower income black vote.

      No, the issue isn't diversity.  All Republicans have to do is stop actively excluding blacks from the party and start tolerating them, and they can cut a huge chunk out from under us.

      Assuming that diversity is the siren call is dangerous, because it actually perpetuates some of the divisions we're allegedly trying to break down.  (But that's a subject for another diary...)

  •  what about the NAACP? (4.00)
    from July '04:

    "NAACP won't weigh gay marriage"

    The issue is nevertheless a hot one, pitting civil-rights convictions against Bible-based values.

    Jim Remsen
    Inquirer Faith Life editor

    "When the NAACP opens its national convention here today, one of the hottest issues of the moment - same-sex marriage - will be nowhere on its agenda.

    Gay-rights advocates have challenged African Americans to see the homosexual-marriage struggle as a modern-day civil-rights cause. And the timing for an open discussion or vote by the nation's premier civil-rights organization seems perfect: The U.S. Senate is debating the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would define marriage as solely a heterosexual institution.

    But no one pushed to have the issue aired at the convention, said NAACP board chairman Julian Bond. And he, for one, is just as happy.

    "It would be a healthy discussion to have," Bond said in a telephone interview. "But I would be fearful of what might happen" because "it very well could" cause moments of rancor - and a vote he would regret.

    In his case, that would be a vote against same-sex rights.

    Bond is a staunch supporter of gay civil rights, yet he knows that antipathy to same-sex marriage is widespread among African Americans, and may be roiling beneath the NAACP's official silence.

    A national poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in November found that 60 percent of black respondents opposed gay marriage. A December New York Times poll put the figure at 75 percent. The Pew poll found blacks less inclined than whites or Hispanics to support gay marriage, with just 28 percent in favor.

    Bond is in the front rank of African American leaders who affirm gay marriage as a civil right and defy what he calls "the biblical literalists" who find homosexuality sinful. Standing with him are civil-rights icons Coretta Scott King and U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D., Ga.), the Rev. Al Sharpton and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, former surgeon general Joycelyn Elders, actress Whoopi Goldberg, and the Rev. William Sinkford, head of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

    In February, when President Bush threw his support behind the federal amendment, Bond declared that opposition to gay marriage "is couched in much of the same language as opposition to interracial marriage once was. 'This will destroy the moral fiber of the country, and it will undermine existing, established institutions and organizations.'... It was bogus then, and it's bogus now."

    Without a formal board or membership position on gay-rights issues, Bond and the NAACP national staff have discretion to speak out as they see fit. With that authority, he and Washington bureau director Hilary Shelton have lobbied against federal and state marriage amendments, which they see as "writing bigotry into the Constitution" by "singling out a class of citizens and denigrating them."

    Still, they have made their case carefully. As Bond wrote to black legislators in three Southern states considering marriage amendments: "We [NAACP leaders] do not take a position for or against same-sex marriage. People of good will can and do have heartfelt differences on this question. But we believe there are right and wrong ways to address policy questions - a constitutional amendment is the wrong way."

    Claiming too broad a mandate for gay rights, Bond realizes, could blow up in his face.

    "So far, there is no pressure from our grassroots or board members saying 'Let's vote on this,' " he said. "I generally can predict how my board feels about most civil-rights issues, but I'm not sure they think this is a civil-rights issue, so frankly I'm not sure how an up-and-down vote would fare."

    He said he had seen legislators who initially fought state marriage amendments "cave in" when conservative clergy members "came out in force" for the proposals.

    In the same way, he said, he worries that moderate clergy in the NAACP "are frightened into silence" by religious conservatives.

    Since the gay-marriage furor came to a head last year in Massachusetts, much of the black clergy has been at the forefront of the opposition. To them, gay unions undermine a divinely inspired institution.

    "We believe that we are faced with a challenge: God versus same-sex marriage," Bishop Paul Morton of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship declared May 17, as he stood on Capitol Hill with other black clergy. "We represent God. We will not compromise in that area."

    On Wednesday, delegates at the national convention of the 2.5 million-member African Methodist Episcopal denomination voted unanimously to forbid its ministers from performing same-sex unions.

    Across the country, interdenominational coalitions of black clergy have held rallies, issued statements, and lobbied legislators. At a May rally in Texas, the Rev. Dwight McKissic, president of a Baptist pastors conference, declared that "the church of the living God cannot allow the gay-rights movement to hitch itself to the civil-rights movement without first putting up a fight."

    Comparing the two movements, McKissic said, "is to compare my skin with their sin" and is "offensive and racist."

    One group resisting that thinking is the National Black Justice Coalition, a new gay caucus that is setting up an information booth at the NAACP convention.

    Alexander Robinson, strategic director of the New York-based group, said about a dozen members would attend workshops to "provide visibility" and discuss strategies for stopping state marriage amendments.

    "We understand an educational process needs to happen," Robinson said. The amendments, he said, grow out of a "misguided fear" that gays want to force congregations "to change their beliefs and sanction same-sex marriage... . We are only seeking civil marriage, not religious marriage."

    Bond said he encouraged the group to set up shop at the convention, and he continues to speak out on the subject. In an essay in the current issue of Ebony magazine, he writes, "Like race, our sexuality isn't a preference - it is immutable, unchangeable, and the Constitution protects us all against prejudices and discrimination based on immutable differences."

    Bond, 64, was educated at the Quakers' George School in Bucks County, but he said he had been "unchurched" as an adult. His ardent support of gay rights, he said, was shaped by "many friends over the years who have been gay and/or lesbian, including many who were active in the '60s civil-rights movement with me... . How could anyone deny those who suffered and sacrificed the rights we won together?"

    The Rev. Julius Caesar Hope, a Detroit pastor who heads the NAACP's religious-affairs department, issued a caution. Bond "has a right to speak out," Hope said, but traditionalists in the organization are "staunchly opposed" to gay marriage and regard homosexuality, as Hope does, "as a disease."

    The NAACP "will have to take a position sooner or later," Hope said, because "a lot of people are guided by what we do and say." But a resolution to back gay marriage "would make some serious problems. I would think the membership would be overwhelmingly against, based on our tradition in the black community."

    Bond doesn't want to test that sentiment, saying, "I'm just as happy for the moment not to upset the status quo."

    link

    ...Mama said there'd be days like this, there's be days like this, my Mama said...

    by PhillyGal on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:41:20 AM PDT

  •  The Dems better stop selling out... (4.00)
    the working class.  Working class black folks have been in the Democats corner for years, but if the Dems keep letting crap like the bankruptcy bill go through without much of a fight these working class black folks are going say "well at least the republicans believe in Jesus".

    absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limit's the freedom of another.

    by jbou on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:46:41 AM PDT

    •  Where have you been? (4.00)
      The Democrats haven't had working class people since Clinton abandoned national healthcare and signed NAFTA. Since then they figured that both parties are going to screw them economically so they might as well side with the party that agrees with them socially.

      It really and truly boggles my mind that Democrats have not figured this out. Why they insist on acting like they have more credibility than Republicans on economic matters is beyond me. It's a loser argument to laid off, inbred, uninsured middle Americans.

      Why don't you call them on their bullshit on the air? You're an anchor for fuck sake! - John Stewart

      by The past is over on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:05:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  WTF are YOU talking about? (none)
        Democrats have the tax thing figured out, as Kerry so deftly showed in both the primary and the general election. AND the union support was as strong as ever, at least as far as the unions left standing go.  And what about the DEFECIT?!?
        Saying the Dems are economically challenged is baseless.  All you've got is NAFTA.  Healthcare is STILL an issue and only the Dems are on the right side.
        •  Yeah, you know it, and I know it (none)
          but the vast majority of Americans lost faith in Democrats when Clinton said fuck you to them with Nafta in the 90's. You can't get them back with rhetoric, you can only get them back with actions and the Dems haven't had control of Congress since then. The Republicans control the agenda and they have been using social hot buttons to control this retards and keep them voting against their better economic interests.

          Why don't you call them on their bullshit on the air? You're an anchor for fuck sake! - John Stewart

          by The past is over on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:43:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah. (none)
      White, black, yellow, brown, north, south, west, city, rural... There are a LOT more working class folks than there are industrial tycoons, but we've let the Republicans put up artificial divisions between groups that should be a natural fit for our social justice ideals.
  •  This is certainly something to think about (none)
    I don't think most people here - including this clueless white secular liberal - would disagree with your notion that the black church is a crucial political institution that needs to be taken more seriously than it has been of late.  As African-Americans are a very loyal Democratic constituency, they deserve more consideration than just at election time.

    The Democrats' real problem here was when they bought into neoliberalism.  That eviscerated their economic program, which tended to reduce the incentive to vote for the Democrats, leaving them open to cultural attacks (attacks I find disingenuous).

    The thing is, there must be a way to speak of these economic issues in terms that address the needs of various Democratic constituencies.  Health care is a moral issue, a black issue, a women's issue, etc.  It touches on a basic need we all have and that a caring society ought provide.  Put these things up front.

    I do agree, and I don't think this makes me clueless, that bigotry against gays and lesbians needs to be confronted somehow and that we shouldn't sweep aside the issue just because the source of the bigotry might be religious or black.  To me that's not an acceptible position, and I'm skeptical of the idea that if we just ignore it and wait ten or so years and the problem will be okay.  Our history shows things don't really work like that.

    And we'll all float on okay - Modest Mouse

    by Linnaeus on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:46:47 AM PDT

  •  Before I throw my own thoughts in, (none)
    I'm curious what you are suggesting here, ihlin.  Do you think we need to embrace religiosity and "moral values" more?  

    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

    by tryptamine on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:46:56 AM PDT

    •  yeah (none)
      but from a perspective that talks about a moral foreign policy, a moral economy, and building a spiritual community that unites us, instead of dividing us as the GOP does...
      •  Is that possible? (none)
        I mean, I would like to think it is, but is it possible to include both irreligious whites like me and religious blacks (like I am assuming you are) in the conversation?

        In other words, is it talking about God and Jesus (or Muhammed, or whatever other prophets I'm forgetting) that would make blacks feel more comfortable and happy with the Democratic party, or is it simply the language of morality that would do it?

        No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

        by tryptamine on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:17:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ask The Right Questions (3.50)
          We can agree on the "what" (issues) without agreeing on the "why" (philosophy/religion).  The problem is that many secular activists often have an allergic reaction to anything or anyone religious.  We're just saying take some Claritin - we don't need special attention, just don't attack religion in general and us in particular and we'll get along fine.
          •  True, in a way. (none)
            I definitely think we agree on the "what", but I think we also agree on the "why".  I may not have a specific religion that I adhere to, but I do have a very strong moral sense that forces me to be a Democrat.

            And I agree that some people seem to be allergic to religious things.  I, for one, loved what Jesse Jackson had to say in the primary debates and the fact that he is a preacher didn't bother me one bit.  But he also doesn't seem to talk about his specific religion a lot, which makes me feel more like I can agree with his statements than I could if he were constantly talking about God and Jesus like some politicians (Republicans) do.  If he had included that, I would not have been as enthusiastic about what he said, but I get the impression that ihlin thinks including more overtly religious speech would appeal more to black people in general.  

            So I'm just wondering what the difference is.  There is an obvious difference between the way that Jesse Jackson and, say, John Kerry talk about their own religiousness...  Do you think that difference is the key?

            No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

            by tryptamine on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:44:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Can vs. Must (none)
              I believe that in many instances we can agree on the "Why" of an issue, but when we don't agree on the "Why" that shouldn't be an impediment to us working together.

              It's not a matter of including religious speech in your campaign, it's a matter of being authentically yourself.  It's the authenticity that draws people, which is why my recommendation to Howard Dean during the primary was to never even mention religion - he's not overtly religious and trying to pull that off would come across as phony as a $3 bill.  And it came across as phony as a $3 bill.  If only I'd actually had his ear instead of being one of a half million supporters, but I digress.  Obviously, an excellent orator like Jesse Jackson can be as phony as he wants to be and still stir the masses with his gift of gab, but for most candidates (with any degree of personality, unlike Kerry, Tsongas, or Dukakis [man, I see a trend there]) authenticity is what will appeal to people, especially people of color.

              •  Oops. (none)
                I just realized I meant Al Sharpton, not Jesse Jackson.  

                But you're right, of course.  I just saw an article somewhere today talking about how Al Gore has become so animated since that fateful election so many long years ago, and it made me think, "Why do Democrats always seem like cardboard cutouts of themselves until AFTER the election is over?"

                No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

                by tryptamine on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:29:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  conversation... (none)
          many seculars responded to both Martin Luther King and Obama's spiritual visions. there is a way for us to work together. i believe all of us hunger for spiritual vision, we just may call it different things. and yes, i think Dems need to integrate such a vision in their policies.

          Wellstone is an example of a politician who was beloved by rural whites and African Americans in spite of being a college professor jew. black folks loved him because he sounded so much like an old testament hebrew prophet when he spoke, and that very much resonated ACROSS religious, race divides.

  •  at least we agree on (none)
    Lieberman. :)
  •  black folks are more socially conservative (4.00)
    By just a touch.

    I heard this really unfortunate track by Nick Cannon recently called Can I live?

    Yeah Just think Just Think
    What if you could Just
    Just blink your self away..
    Just Just wait just pause for a second
    Let me plead my case
    It's the late 70's Huh
    You Seventeen huh
    And having me that will ruin everything huh
    It's alot of angels waiting for their wings
    You see me in your sleep so you cant kill your dreams
    300 Dollars thats the price of living what?
    Mommy I dont like this clinic
    Hopefully you'll make the right decision
    And dont go through with the Knife Decision

    But it's hard to make the right move
    When you in high school
    How you have to work all day and take night school
    Hopping off da bus when the rain is pouring
    What you want morning sickness or the sickness of mourning

    There's always hope though. Still, in these tough times when we should be questioning everything, it seems like everyone's becoming more conservative. I still remember ten years ago.

    You know it makes me unhappy (what's that)
    When brothas make babies, and leave a young mother to be a pappy
    And since we all came from a woman
    Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
    I wonder why we take from our women
    Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
    I think it's time to kill for our women
    Time to heal our women, be real to our women
    And if we don't we'll have a race of babies
    That will hate the ladies, that make the babies
    And since a man can't make one
    He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one

    So will the real men get up
    I know you're fed up ladies, but keep your head up

    Tupac Shakur probably owes some of his views to the fact that his mother was a Panther. But I also think people were more prone to dissent ten years ago.

    If there's something that someone like Howard Dean can do, it's giving leaders from all communities a stage to speak on. That always works against the Republicans.

    •  my other favorite hip hop track... (4.00)
      addressing abortion is Common and Lauryn's "Retrospect for Life" cause it's so raw. it's a more ambiguous moral take on abortion that you certainly didn't see much of in the "autonomy" diaries.

      the hip hop generation is starting to wake up, and they are fiercely anti-Bush. problem is, they are disengaged from politics so don't bother to vote a lot of the time. i think any Democratic politican needs to start engaging this community NOW, and not simply rely on the old strategies of the NAACP or black church.

      "Retrospect for Life"

      Yo we gotta start respectin life more y'all
      You look at your brother man you gotta see yourself
      Gotta see the God within him
      Brothers gettin changed real quick over nothin
      We losin too many of ours
      Gotta recreate y'all
      Yo check it

      Knowin you the best part of life do I have the right to take yours
      Cause I created you irresponsibly
      Subconciously knowin the act I was a part of
      The start of somethin, I'm not ready to bring into the world
      Had myself believin I was sterile
      I look into mother's stomach, wonder if you are a boy or a girl
      Turnin this woman's womb into a tomb
      But she and I agree, a seed we don't need
      You would've been much more than a mouth to feed
      But someone, I woulda fed this information I read
      to someone, my life for you I woulda had to leave
      Instead I lead you to death
      I'm sorry for takin your first breath, first step, and first cry
      But I wasn't prepared mentally nor financially
      Havin a child shouldn't have to bring out the man in me
      Plus I wanted you to be raised within a family
      I don't wanna, go through the drama of havin a baby's momma
      Weekend visits and buyin J's ain't gon' make me a father
      For a while bearing a child is somethin I never wanted to do
      For me to live forever I can only do that through you
      Nerve I got to talk about them niggaz with a gun
      Must have really thought I was God to take the life of my son
      I could have sacrificed goin out
      To think my homies who did it I used to joke about, from now on
      I'ma use self control instead of birth control
      Cause $315 ain't worth your soul
      $315 ain't worth your soul
      $315 ain't worth it

      •  that's heavy (none)
        I like Common a lot. I never bought "One Day It'll All Make Sense" though.

        I think a lot of minorities in general understand that social issues aren't seperate from economic issues. You can't have social justice when you're excluded from parts of the work force, when you're denied the same education opportunities as others, when there's a cycle of wealth and poverty that divides this country.

        And this connection is why I'm pretty supportive of Hillary Clinton's "let's reduce abortions by improving the economy" call. I know I can be pretty academic, and I'm a strong supporter of choice, let alone someone who has zero problem with terminating a pregnancy. But I know this country too well to side with those who think Democrats can win on the abortion issue with "framing" and "fighting".

        •  Common (none)
          equated the fetus as having a soul. that's probably an obnoxious admission to a lot of feminists.
          •  yeah it's something i adamantly disagree with (none)
            But something I have to acknowledge as a very common viewpoint, no matter how much I think it's a misconception.

            I don't think it's possible to convince people that it's just a wad of cells. I don't think it's necessary either.

            I think we can have our cake and eat it too. I think abortion can be safe and legal, and we can still appeal to anti-abortion-but-pro-choice folks like Harry Reid and John Kerry. In fact, we can be even bigger winners by tying this whole issue to economic justice and sex education -- things we want and need anyway.

      •  I also agree about the NAACP (none)
        I feel that way about a lot of leftward institutions from the Civil Rights era or even sooner, like Unions. I hope they're always around, but we need a new generation of groups and institutions that help us tap the next generation of progressive thinkers.

        Especially among Latinos, Blacks, Gays, and Asians.

    •  I saw the Nick Cannon (none)
      video yesterday at the gym and almost blew my top.

      For those who haven't seen it, Nick Cannon is there in the waiting room in ghost or spirit form, singing to a girl waiting to get an abortion.  

      This, from the one of the richest teenagers possible, who could more than afford to support a child if he created one by accident.  Then, if he cares so much about this baby, why isn't he in the waiting room with her?  Why isn't anyone?  Maybe if she had some support, she wouldn't by in a waiting room.  

      And then she makes the "right" decision and runs out of the treatment room in her cap and gown (she's awake through all of it - I thought they gave women anesthesia, or is that only rich girls who can pay, the rest of the sinners can suffer?  Maybe that's why my friend was so sick).  And she has the baby and her whole family is standing around her in the hospital with the baby in her arms and I thought, "What a crock of shit!"  

      Visit www.theseguys.com - a blended double-tequila margarita of pop culture & LA nightlife.

      by KB on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:10:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do / did agree with you (4.00)
        But reading the lyrics (to post them here), appearantly it's about how his mom almost aborted him. This is a pretty sensitive issue and can often be much more personal than people think.

        I remember one time I was having a conversation with my girlfriend. Rather than going with the personhood argument, or the autonomy argument, I went with the economic argument and talked about how it's better to have no kid at all than to watch TWO lives be ruined by an unwanted baby. My girlfriend replied that most people in her family wanted her (single) mom to abort her (my girlfrind), and things turned out fine. I, of course, then had to admit I was glad they didn't abort her. "Woops" doesn't even begin to describe that one.

        Still, I'm with you. I'm really not fond of personifying a wad of cells. Like you said -- "what a crock of shit". But in my more open political discussions with non-likeminded people, I have to use much more nuanced and careful arguments.

        •  I have to confess (none)
          I was in the gym, so I didn't catch all of the words.  Since I was already pissed, I didn't read all of the lyrics, even though they're posted above.

          I find it interesting how people can take one personal experience, and then assume that all people in the same situation will face the same circumstances.  

          I'm very glad everything turned out fine for your girlfriend and her mother.  Things turn out fine sometimes in bad situations, but you have to give thought to all the people things don't turn out fine for.

          Visit www.theseguys.com - a blended double-tequila margarita of pop culture & LA nightlife.

          by KB on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:29:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, when I first saw it (4.00)
            I had to change the channel. I was like "get this bullshit off my TV screen". Only now did I have to learn from that experience.

            At any rate, I'm still a strong proponent of the economic argument, even though my girlfriend is the exception.

            I guess my real point, along with the point of this diary, is that some beliefs just can't be changed with a few conversations, let alone a few years of "smart framing". What you need to do is talk to people by appealing to the values that they already have. That's really what good framing is about -- appealing to the liberal that already exists in a lot of people, rather than trying to persuade people in heroic proportions, let alone insulting their beliefs.

            •  Yes. Exactly. (none)
              What's more, you can't reach or enlighten people by yelling at them, ridiculing them, or dismissing them if their views don't already agree with yours.

              You have to accept the fact that some people are already racist, sexist, homophobic, antiabortion or what have you before you can hope to reach them with a different message.  Not accept it in the sense of, "Oh, that's okay" but in the sense that it's the reality you have to deal with.  

              And some people will have to be dismissed - they are so hardore hateful that nothing will change them.  Like Dobson, they are so extreme and entrenched they are useful, for providing a target to blow off steam.

              The rest of people, the ones who may be open to a different viewpoint, need to have their views acknowledged, even if you're plotting to change them.  Obviously, this doesn't apply to random people who shout at you on the freeway, but with family and friends, it takes more than one conversation.  No yelling or ridicule (okay, maybe mild ridicule).  It may have to be an ongoing project.  Something you drop when it gets too hot and pick up later.  

              I have conservative (not wingnut variety) relatives and friends and it's frustrating.  But if I say, "No conservatives for me", then I lose the opportunity to bring them a different voice.

              Visit www.theseguys.com - a blended double-tequila margarita of pop culture & LA nightlife.

              by KB on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:59:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My mom is a religious liberal (none)
                Which is kind of an interesting animal these days. You don't really hear about religious liberals, but there she is.

                She's against all war -- even more extreme than me. She's against the death penalty in all cases -- even more extreme than me. We agreed on Terri Schiavo, but for her she really felt as though Terri's soul was trapped inside Terri's body and hooking her up to life support was denying her soul's ability to be free for more than a decade.

                One thing I've been trying to work on her with is gay marriage. Her argument chances. Sometimes she merely argues that you need both genders as parental figures to provide a balanced upbringing for the kids. Other times, she outright argues that marriage is about having kids, and if you can't have kids you can't do marriage.

                I think you and I both know the obvious retorts to those arguments. I went a step further and tied it back to people we know. My friend, who my mom loves, who has 6 "moms", including her biological mother, and who celebrates mother's day as the biggest occasion of the year. Our family friends who could not have children due to reproductive dysfunction.

                Someone like Dobson, you have nothing in common, and they will never be persuaded. But when you look at my mother, or even black voters in general like this diary discussed, you have to look at why they sometimes or often support liberal policies, and proceed from this common ground. It's much more productive than attacking the things you disagree on.

  •  I see no reason (none)
    for this diary to slight the "Abortion is about Autonomy" diary. What's that about? How is a passionate defense of abortion rights an example of obliviousness regarding minority outreach? Please connect the dots for me on that one, because otherwise it just feels like a drive by commentary with no substance.

    There are many commendable reasons to read this diary, but baselessly criticizing someone else's work for no reason other than the fact that you disagree with it detracts seriously from the overall thrust of your argument. I'd seriously consider editing that paragraph, since it adds nothing to the diary. It's misspelled anyway ("ABortion" as opposed to "Abortion").

    •  you mean besides attacking gays (none)
      this is a wonderful diary>?
      •  Far from wonderful (none)
        but I'm willing to accept that broad swaths of the African-American culture are homophobic. I won't hold this diarist accountable for that travesty.
        •  that's not the issue (4.00)
          the issue is what is this homophobia's relevancy to actual voting patterns. The reason why he is full of it is that blacks don't vote based on these issues, but he keeps doing diaries every few months claiming that they are. where he is suspect is that he claims these are issues that we need to cave on in order to obtain greater AA support when in fact if we caved on these issues, either by saying they don't matter or supporting conservative positions, we would not appreciably increase the black vote. which by the way, is the only choice that one can really see from the discussion because how else are we to handle the singling out these groups. Afterall, he can't be saying that merely changing the subject will work because most AAs dont even focus on these subject in the first place when it comes to their voting patterns.
    •  because (none)
      many african americans and latinos are pro-life and even pro-choice folks like me recoil in horror at "autonomy" "it's my body" arguments.
      •  It's interesting how you critisize (none)
        the frames of "white liberals" when one of the biggest walls you tend to run into is your own tendency to misframe.

        NYC DKos Meetup June 13th--tonight at 6:30 at GrassRoots Tavern at 20 St. Marks!

        by JaneKnowles on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:27:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Care to back that up? (4.00)
        Are you proposing that it's not their body? Even if you were right what about the argument makes you recoil in horror?

        Fetuses die every day from miscarriage, or as the medical community calls them, "spontaneous abortion." If the idea of dead, non-viable fetuses makes you recoil in horror, then I presume you actively seek to provide funeral services for every miscarried fetus, aborted spontaneously or otherwise. Right?

        Ever caused an unwanted pregnancy? I have. Ever lost a wanted pregnancy? I have. You need a little sensitivity training, because this issue seems to be effecting you purely in the abstract. Carrying to term or not ain't the man's call, cause it ain't his body. That doesn't mean he can't have an opinion or input, but like it or not, human reproduction requires the woman's body to carry to term, and if she decides not to, it's her call. Or would you prefer to leave it in the hands of the State?

        •  oh man... (none)
          if you can't see the difference between consciously choosing to end a fetus's life and a spontaneous miscarriage, what can i say. that is just a fundamental difference in worldview where i am likely to be on the Christian right's side more than the secular leftists. like the folks who think abortion = getting your appendix removed.
          •  Christian right's side (none)
            Secular leftists? Careful your buzzwords are showing. Don't endanger the teetering house of cards that might expose your little masquerade as a wingnut in lib's clothing.

            I stand by my comment. If you're so committed that each life is precious, regardless of stage of development, than why aren't you mourning the passing of all fetuses and blastocysts? And where's your section on how African American's feel about fertility clinics? After all, sacred lives are lost for each pregnancy that comes to term. Commence with the fertility clinic/abortion provider facility bombings and the funeral arrangements for the millions of fetuses lost to miscarriage every year.

            Thanks for showing your true "color" by the way. It didn't take much probing.

      •  what people recoil against and what they turn (none)
        around and do themselves (obtain abortions) are as you know on this subject two different matters.
  •  It's also worth remembering... (none)
    ...that blacks have an experience of this country of their churches and religious leaders being on the forefront of the movements for their rights, for their empowerment. Both Malcolm X and Dr. King were religious leaders, after all. And that tradition continues to this day, with prominent black political/religious figures like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
  •  bolting the Dems (none)
    like many folks here disgruntled by the Dems, black folks are talking about a new strategy...

    see, i said we had more in common than not...

    Activists Plan Return Trip to Gary, Ind. to Develop a Strategy
    by Hazel Trice Edney
    NNPA Washington Correspondent
    Originally posted 6/14/2005

    WASHINGTON (NNPA) - Black Democratic activists, angered by what they
    describe as increasing disrespect from the Democratic Party, say they
    will reconvene a Black political convention next spring that started
    in Gary, Ind. in 1972.

    "I'm not advocating bolting the Democratic Party. I think what we're
    saying is that we want to establish an agenda that the party will have
    to react to," says labor leader Bill Lucy, who was the first national
    figure to publicly call a return to Gary. "I think without question,
    the overwhelming majority of the Black voters still favor the
    Democratic Party and its Democratic policy platform. But I think that
    the fact of the matter is that we've got to have an agenda of our own
    that we will impress on the party as if to formulate its platform. We
    can't keep having knee-jerk reactions."

    But Ron Daniels, a co-convener of the original Gary meeting, says
    bolting the Democratic Party should always remain an option.

    "I've always been willing," says Ron Daniels, who at the time was
    executive director of the Rainbow Coalition. "My whole life has been
    as an independent political activist, so that's no question."

    Daniels, who says he has not been asked to help with the Gary reunion,
    says he intends to participate and hopes that it establishes something
    new if not a third party.

    "My expectation would be the creation of some kind of third force in
    American politics," he says. "It is simply done by having the capacity
    to support Democrats or support Republicans and also run independents
    and do independent direct action."

    The National Black Political Assembly in 1972 co-chaired by poet Amiri
    Baraka and Daniels, now executive director of the Center for
    Constitutional Rights, drew 10,000 African-Americans to Gary, Ind.
    with a goal to strategize for the election of Black elected officials
    and to establish a Black agenda.

    Lucy called for the return to Gary in a speech during last month at
    the international convention of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
    (CBTU). He is president and co-founder of CBTU.

    "It's time to go back to Gary," he told the crowd. "CBTU and others
    have spent a lifetime trying to prove our value in the political
    process. I pledge to you that we are out of the game of begging for
    resources to mobilize our communities. Whether we are accepted by the
    powerful players in labor or the Democratic Party or not, we will
    continue to come to the aid of unorganized workers and we will
    continue to mobilize our communities."

    In an interview, Lucy says it's time to reestablish a firm Black
    agenda from the grassroots state and local on up because events have
    caused Blacks to wonder whether they are really respected by the
    Democratic Party, which receives more than 80 percent in national
    elections.

    Black Democratic activists were disappointed after several Senate
    Democrats cut a deal with Republicans that allowed three anti-civil
    rights federal judicial nominees that Democratic activists had
    vehemently protested to be voted on rather than filibustered, a
    political strategy to prevent a vote.

    All three of the candidates, Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla
    Owen, California Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown and Alabama
    Attorney General William Pryor, have been confirmed.

    Many activists were so angry that they said it was time for a Black
    political movement to begin. But many are not angry enough to break
    from the Democratic Party.

    "I think that's something that would be too extreme of a position to
    take right now," says University of Maryland Political Scientist Ron
    Walters, who was an organizer of the 1972 Gary convention and is
    helping to strategize for the March gathering.
    Walters, who said the deal on the judges was clear reason for Black
    Democrats to start a new movement, says he learned a lesson during the
    organization of a National Black Independent Political Party in 1980.

    "It was probably a mistake to try to challenge Blacks with leaving the
    Democratic Party and dropping their basic political identification.
    That's a losing proposition because Blacks have too much invested in
    that."

    The debate over a third party, in part, caused the movement to fall
    apart in 1980. Many participants then joined the Rainbow Coalition,
    the base of the 1984 presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson Sr.

    Jackson backs Lucy's call for a new Gary convention.

    "The women's struggle for the right to vote was independent. The labor
    struggles of the 1930s were independent. The 1955 bus boycott against
    segregation was independent. We must build an independent political
    struggle that will define priorities and behavior of both parties,"
    Jackson said in a statement.

    Walters said the upcoming convention will focus on developing an
    effective strategy.

    "This one is not expected to be totally a political convention in the
    nature of the Gary convention," Walters says. "I would not think it
    requires Blacks dropping the Democratic Party identification. We don't
    have a political institution. We need it for strategy making. We need
    it for mobilization. We need it for fund-raising. What happens is that
    it becomes a vehicle that can be used for bargaining and these things
    are done in the interest of the Black community."

    Lucy says it hasn't been decided whether someone from either major
    party will be invited to address the event. He says, "This is not
    being billed as a partisan activity."

    Although no exact date has not bee set, it is expected that the
    convention will take place next March.

    Former Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton, who, at 18, was
    among the youngest to attend the 1972 convention, says the convention
    is crucial.

    "If there ever was a time that we need to come back together and come
    up with a collective political strategy, now is the time," he says.
    "The problem is that we keep analyzing how bad we're doing, but, we're
    not saying what we're going to do about it. So, it's like getting a
    diagnosis from the doctor but the doctor is not telling you how you're
    going to treat the ailment. What must come out of this is 'Whereas we
    have these problems, therefore, we're going to do this at this time
    and this will be responsible for it."

  •  Another thing... (none)
    Black voters are also much less likely to support abortion rights - something that many white liberal activists actually refuse to acknowledge and turn beet red with twitching when you bring it up.  

    I've also read that the majority of televangelist donors are black.

    And yet, they vote Democratic because Democrats speak to their material realities. The social issues are simply filtered out apparently.

    •  And the question is why... (none)
      It's because our leadership doesn't attack black voters for having different ideas because we need their votes.  So we "let" them "think different" (sic, Apple) while paying enough lip service to their material realities to convince them not to bolt.  

      I'm going to start sounding like a broken record soon (peanut gallery: too late!), but white evangelicals offer an interesting comparative case study for what happens when we demonize or, at best, ignore a group.  We don't speak truth to no-power, so the Republicans get to brainwash them with horror stories of penises, breasts, and Jesus lynchings.

      Let me ask a question of kos: How many of you would sit down and make a strong argument to a poor African-American about why they should vote for Democrats?  Now, how many of you would sit down and make the same argument to a poor white person who, on balance, has most of the same social beliefs?  If the number is smaller for the second question, why is this so?

  •  The sample (4.00)
    Any clue how they decided which African Americans to talk to? Outside churches on Sunday morning? Landlines? Did they include the huge % of young African American males in jails and prisons? I smell poll bias.

    No-one who voted against the USAPATRIOT Act has lost an election. I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or Yours.

    by ben masel on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:20:55 AM PDT

    •  What's that percentage, again? (none)
      What does the disproportionate confinement of African-Americans in prison have to do with religion and the community?  A couple of things.  First, that comment has a tinge of racism.  (I think some 50,000 African-American men are in prison and 48,000 are in colleges/universities.)  Why not ask about that second group and their inclusion levels?  Second, young people vote at lower levels across all race/ethnic groups, so /WTF? does that have to do with anything?

      ""Look Daddy, I--" "Don't say anything. Sit down." "Look here, let's try to forget this. If you promise--" -- Song of Solomon, CW

      by chloe wofford is my fav on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:23:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The racism... (none)
        ....is in the prison system, not the remark the poster made.

        Your figure for blacks imprisoned is no more than 15% of the real number. Figures are a bit hard to come by, since they are usually expressed indirectly, but to give one example, at the end of 2003 there were over 400,000 sentenced black inmates in federal and state prisons.

        It's a legitimate line of inquiry and does not necessarily reflect racist assumptions. Indeed, I'm sure racists would like to shut it down. They don't have any problem with the prison population being 40 to 50 per cent black, when the general population is 13 per cent.

        "Salvation is by way of the truth, not by way of the fatherland" -- Chaadaev

        by sagesource on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:47:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  sorry i'm late... (none)
        I don't know the pollsters procedure, but I suspect they made assumption, and were subject to practical limitations. Drawing meaningful conclusions from the results is thus dangerous. I don't really think they literally took their numbers outside churches, but typoical procedures would nonetheless skew results toward religious believers. Granted these are the most frequent voters in most black communities, but they're not for the most part the potential voters, ie swings, who you have to motivate to produce the turnout to win.

        No-one who voted against the USAPATRIOT Act has lost an election. I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or Yours.

        by ben masel on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:12:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree in part... (4.00)
    Check out Pew's Typology study, it sheds a lot of light on this particular divide. The only two typology groups where whites are under-represented are the conservative democrats and the disadvantaged democrats. These groups have three times more African-Americans in them than is the norm. The conservative democrats are just as religious as the social conservatives on the other side, and slightly more religious than the pro-government conservatives--which is the typology group with the most Republican-leaning African Americans. They are all much more religious than liberals--the fact of the matter is, liberals (and by this I mean the Pew Typology group of 'liberals', which is a pretty accurate description IMO) tend to be comparatively whiter, richer, and quite a bit more secular.

    So, what does this mean for the issues. It does mean that the conservative democrats lean a bit towards the more evangelical positions on a few issues like gay marriage and abortion--but only slightly to the right of the general population. Remember, only the more secular liberal typology group actually supports gay marriage, and a majority of all democratic-leaning typology groups support abortion rights, whereas a majority of all republican-leaning typology groups oppose abortion rights.

    On other issues, like whether the war in Iraq was the wrong decision, the divide between right and left is even greater. On some issues, like whether or not we should bring the troops home, the conservative and disadvantaged democrats are more outspoken than the liberals! Meanwhile, there are many issues like raising the minimum wage, or supporting affirmative action, that only a hardcore Bush supporter (enterpriser) could oppose.

    So you're right that there is a real divide between the more religious African-American voters and the more secular liberal voters. It divides us on social issues, and we should discuss it. Liberals can do what they should do best here--be tolerant. Try to support everyone's rights in a fair and even-handed fashion--in a Christian (Showing a loving concern for others; humane) fashion.

    However. I am not that worried about losing that many minority voters over this. If religiously-charged social issues were the only issues (and I know that some Republicans would love it if they were...) then I might worry more. However, there are always other very important issues--whether or not you or your children will be sent to war, whether or not you or your children will get a decent education, whether or not you will be able to make a living wage. These are the issues we need to focus on and discuss--pressing issues of social justice. Because at the end of the day, you might be able to display The Ten Commandments in a courtroom, but you can't eat it.

  •  speaking as a Christian (4.00)
    Just as Christian and involved in my faith as you are.  My question is, why are you excusing the tendency of African American Pastors to buy into the politics of division?  Why would a group of people who know intimately how it is to be discriminated against and controlled by heavy handed government turn around and discriminate against women and Gays? Why would a group of people who should remember that the bible was used to keep them from equal rights, then turn around and use the bible to impose their moral values on others?

    When I was an employee at a woman's health clinic easily half the women who came for abortions were black or hispanic.  Most were either catholic or belonged to exactly the evangelical churches you talk about.  (I know because we kept those kind of records in the interest of understanding our patient base).  What you are saying confirms what I have always known;  there are some women who have been so influenced by their church that they would deny to other women the very rights they have taken advantage of.

    Maybe instead of trying to change the party you should be speaking up in church.

    Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:04:45 AM PDT

  •  wqerwr (none)
    As a political person who has to deal with explaining to white liberals i work with over and over why the beliefs of people of color are more closely aligned on many issues with...

    Man do i feel your pain.  Sometimes I have arguments that are as heated with my liberal friends than I do with conservatives that I interact with.  At least with conservatives, you know why they think like they do.  But when you see how middle of the road/well to do liberal whites sometimes really fail to "get it" when it comes to a minority frame of reference, it breaks my spirit.  It's like they can't comprehend why we see the world like we do.  They fail to realize that minorities must be understood in the context of their culture which still maintains a strong influence in their lives (generally speaking of course).  If you don't speak to our culture you don't speak to us and speaking to us a much more than busting out some badly pronounced Spanish phrases(why in the fuck do these presidential candidates do that?  Do they know they look like pinche tontos when they do that?)

  •  Not the same values (none)
    While the Christian Coalition might share similar values with people of color, I think that they are still different.

    Now if you're talking about the guy in the pew next to you at Church, I think that values do cross racial lines.

    The trick is that Bush and the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family are only PANDERING to religious people.  They don't really share anyone's values. Putting up wedge issues is what they're all about.

    I'm pretty sure that the Reverend Jesse Jackson (A public religious figure of color) has more in common with John Kerry than he does with Bill Frist ("Dobson" correction is understood).  

    Moreover, the white liberal vision of the Promised Land is more like that of persons of color, than Dobson's. (I want what MLK wanted, even though I don't share his faith.)

    1984: Orwell wrote a cautionary tale. George Bush mistook it for a manifesto.

    by mungley on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:14:42 AM PDT

  •  Dare one make... (none)
    the obviously racist, classist, and otherwise deplolrably "accurate?" remark that the uneducated amongst us will always latch onto religion as a safety chute and that they will also in large part be corrupted by the powerful in control of the churches towards hate (gays) and further ignorance (abortion) as a way to motivate them to give money.

    I loved the moment in "Ladykillers" where the old mammy donates money to Bob Jones in her ignorance... that pretty much sums up my feelins on the subject.

    Black people sadly don't understand why it's important for women (particularly black women) to have access to an abortion or why gays deserve to get married just as much as they do. This hypocritical kind of hate makes me sick to my bones... makes me sad for how little blacks have been allowed to progress. Common (the rapper above) is guilty of ignorance. Many will argue he's merely expressing his moderate "pro-life" views. I disagree. I think this position is grounded in the ignorance of what Civil Rights really mean. It's incredible that black men like Common still just don't get it.

    Just because a black rapper is smarter than the average Joe, it doesn't mean that rap is a good place to look for wisdom (as evidenced by the above quote). Common is apparently one off the best and most intelligent rappers, at least in my mind. But I don't know of any rappers other than Del the Funky Homosapien (maybe Chuck D) who really understand what the liberal/conservative divide is about.

    Sorry, I'm part African American, so I feel a little justified in being critical of my brethren... maybe I'm out of line but I believe it comes down to education, literacy, and the intellectual level at which you're playing the game when it comes down to complicated policy issues like Civil Rights (abortion and gay marriage).

    And it's no one's fault they grew up in hell or didn't have a real school in their neighborhood. It's no black man's fault that half of his friends will end up in jail. It's the white man's fault and it continues to be to this day. But the ignorance in the black community remains regardless. And with ignorance, comes hate and fear... and the dominance of Religious dogma as a substitute for real thoughtfully considered morality.

    "...an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

    King Lear

    by Norwell on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:19:44 AM PDT

    •  Um... respectfully.... (4.00)
      Baloney. I'm sorry but there are just so many broad swathes of insulting generalizing in this post that it almost reads like some sort of parody.

      Just to address a couple of points:

      the obviously racist, classist, and otherwise deplolrably "accurate?" remark that the uneducated amongst us will always latch onto religion as a safety chute and that they will also in large part be corrupted by the powerful in control of the churches towards hate (gays) and further ignorance (abortion) as a way to motivate them to give money.

      It seems to me that the vast majority of those in the 'super churches' and other evangelical congregations don't meet your description at all, race, class or education wise. Some in any venue will, but not all who are un or undereducated fall for hucksters and hate baiters.

      Black people sadly don't understand why it's important for women (particularly black women) to have access to an abortion or why gays deserve to get married just as much as they do.

      "Black people" covers a lot of ground. Some black people ARE women, some of either gender are firmly supportive of abortion rights, as well as of reducing the economic and educational disparities and other things to help those who do have children. Also, some are fighting right alongside gays for equal rights, including equal marriage rights.

      Common (the rapper above) is guilty of ignorance. Many will argue he's merely expressing his moderate "pro-life" views. I disagree. I think this position is grounded in the ignorance of what Civil Rights really mean. It's incredible that black men like Common still just don't get it.

      I have no idea who Common is, but there are black men who I guess are not like Common (but nor are they especially uncommon ;) who get abortion rights. There are men of any color who do, and also men who do not.

      One thing I rarely hear addressed when it comes to non-white people and abortion is the sort of genocidal aspect. The one objection I've most heard is that of "They've been trying to kill us off for years and now we're going to help them?", with may or may not have resonance among some.

      Sorry, I'm part African American, so I feel a little justified in being critical of my brethren... maybe I'm out of line but I believe it comes down to education, literacy, and the intellectual level at which you're playing the game when it comes down to complicated policy issues like Civil Rights (abortion and gay marriage).

      Sorry. You, of course, have the right to be critical of whatever you wish and to give your opinion, but this is just silly. The "complicated policy issues like Civil Rights" were fought for and died for in part by people who were illiterate, ill or uneducatated, and poor as dirt. Some of their descendents are doing the same thing today, fighting for equal rights for all and against oppression, be they gay, Muslim or whatever.

      I'm sure you meant no harm but this is really insulting to those who may not be very educated, work two or three jobs just to stay afloat, have to send their children to a broken down school with few text books or amnenities, have to count the pennies to put food on the table, go to a church or mosque to find some sort of spirituality if they wish to, and still fight for the rights   of all, and for justice, and for jobs and hope that someone will come and stand in their corner as well.

      A new world is not only possible, she is on her way. -A. Roy
      Human Beams Magazine

      by Nanette K on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:02:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Granted.... (none)
        it's always dangerous to deal in large swaths of people. I do think however that to make generalizatoins can give us some insight into why things become problems at a societal level... how social norms (like homophobia and ignorance as to the women's lib movement and the tie between Civil Rights and abortion) can become acceptable at a social level.

        To say that all blacks or all southern/middle american christians are ignorant and uneducated is of course wrong.

        But to say that a much larger percentage are much less informed and educated than coastal liberals is certainly true and I maintain it is the reason so many people in the interior (and in poor urban communities) just don't understand the issues at the level they need to.

        See what I mean?

        I think it won't help us solve the real problems in our communities if we are afraid to admit that most southern christians and most blacks don't receive an adequate education to be making global and national level decisions about policy.

        "...an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

        King Lear

        by Norwell on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:44:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry (none)
        "The "complicated policy issues like Civil Rights" were fought for and died for in part by people who were illiterate."

        I think you've got your steam up and aren't going to be able to think through these points. You've missed the point entirely.

        I had a similar problem with someone yesterday. It's hard to face the realities that cause the problems in our society. If you disagree that poor education in the South and in Black communities is the reason for their biggoted attitudes, then I frankly don't know what can be said to you. What other reason than education do you propose?

        But it seems to me you are certainly wrong on the point of Civil Rights and abortion, which is what the point was concerning. It's very frustrating when smart people like yourself seem to over and over again not be able to read and remember the points made. As to your comment in quotes above:

        Most of the women's lib movement was organized and played out by educated elites, yes? I think it's safe to say that abortion as a Civil Right was the product of an educated minority calling for it. The Black Civil Rights movement is certainly in keeping with your statement. Unfortunately, my points were speaking to abortion as a Civil Right. Therefore you seem to be talking about something else entirely.

        Blacks it seems to me aren't thinking through the issues in a substative way: ie looking at all the angles. This seems to me to be a problem of education: of never learning how to learn, or how to reason properly. It has nothing to do with race or sex.

        I fear that the underlying problem is that smart people like yourselves (smart enough to be at KOS) will tune out to the bare fact that the IQ in the South and Middle America is so much lower than on the coasts simply because people don't receive proper educations as very young children (they don't ever learn to learn) and they go on to lead lives that don't involve much reading or intellectual exploration. This seems to me to be without question the problem facing our country today. Just ask any European who's had the misfortune of trying to carry on an intelligent conversation with an average American.

        And I think most of our other problems with rightist Christian voters are insurmountable until  we address this problem of education in the South and in Middle America. It doesn't have so much to do with money... lots of rich people are dumber than dirt quite frankly. But it does have to do with the wealth of the community because quite simply, this community wealth affects the quality of education and care for the young. This is not fair and education funded by property taxes for example needs to stop.... now.

        "...an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

        King Lear

        by Norwell on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:31:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh... (none)
        and essentially, this is a point of view that I've come to in part through discussions with my Mother who is a deeply Christian (Babtist) woman (who is defiantly pro-women's lib... ie if I try to open the car door for her, she looks at me weird) from Texas who's been a Montessori teacher of young children for 30 years. The above statements essentially mirror her own opinions.

        So this is not entirely generalization... there is probably a good deal more experience built into this stance than most that we see and read about here at Kos.

        "...an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

        King Lear

        by Norwell on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:41:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The fact is we started using the churches to (none)
    build political support long before the Republicans did.  The black churches and churches and religious institutions for other ethnic groups have been fertile ground for Democracts for decades.  We just need candidates who talk the language of faith.  Our values are clear.  Kerry and Dean were not particularly religious people, and certainly didn't have the skills to talk the language of faith.  Clinton did, and that's why black people loved him and saved his presidency.  Gore was also a religious man, and did much better among black americans and white rural americans than did Kerry.  

    As long as the gay issue is prominent in politics, we are going to lose those voters who consider themselves very religious.  That's just a fact.  The most religious people are often those who use religion to mask their own difficulty with societal change. It isn't about them being more moral than us, it is about them desiring a less complicated and more familiar world. The terms 'values' and 'morals' are nothing more than rationalizations that allow them to sleep better at night and to openly advocate for that which necessarily involves  denying to others the compassion that God surely intended for all of us.

    However, like Clinton, if we prove in our rhetoric that we get it on faith and do some measures to show it (e.g., Clinton's symbolic overtures on school prayer on the one hand, and his strong advocacy of welfare reform on the other)  we'll do better than Kerry and Gore and that's all we can expect.  It will take a generation at least for a critical mass of voters to stop hating gay people. We Dems will never be the anti-gay party.  Only the Republicans will claim that ground.  So let's do our best on the morals and values issues, but don't be surprised if the gains are minimal at best--it's not a reflection on us, it's a reflection on the moral character of the nation at this point in time.  

  •  An interesting question (4.00)
    I agree with much of your analysis, I agree that many African Americans are socially conservative (although religion and social conservatism don't always go hand in hand), and like you, I sometimes lose patience with the many white liberals on this site who categorically dismiss religion.  However, your posting reminded me of an interesting phenomenon I (and some other commentators) have noticed.  African-Americans in Congress are, almost without exception, both economically AND socially liberal (God Bless them).  They are just as likely to vote for abortion rights as they are to vote for a minimum wage increase, and just as likely to cosponsor an anti-gay discrimination law as they are to support an equal housing law.  When environmental activist Jeremy Rifkin wrote his book analyzing green votes in Congress, he found that black Democrats in Congress were MORE likely to vote pro-environment than white Democrats.  

    On the state level, I can attest that the situation is the same in Maryland; only one Maryland state legislator (Emmett Burns, a state Senator from Baltimore) is consistently socially conservative, and he stands out because he's so unique.

    Here's my question:  If black voters are so socially conservative, why don't these politicians pay a price for social liberalism?  Most black members of Congress win re-election as easily as all of their fellow incumbents.  It is not (as some members of the media have suggested) because black people vote unthinkingly for incumbents.  After all, at least three prominent black Democrats in Congress--Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Sheila Jackson Lee, and (going back a ways) Charlie Rangel--all beat incumbents in primaries.  But all three of those primary elections revolved around competence, not social liberalism, and all three of them are just as socially liberal (if not more) than the people they defeated.  

    •  many of the members of COngress (none)
      who are Dems and people of color tend to be more socially liberal than their constituents, but we don't care about that because they speak for us on all the other crucial issues that are important. that's my point. address those fundamental issues of poverty, equality, opportunity, and we won't give a rat's ass what you think about gays.

      the social conservative streak does come up. during the Schiavo debate, some of the CBC members broke ranks with the Dems to keep her alive. also, newer CBC members (post CIvil rights generation) like Harold Ford and Jefferson and Al Davis are more corporate-lite and socially moderate. they voted for the estate tax and bankrtupcy bill. that should be of serious concern as the old school liberals (Conyers, Rangel) get old, retire or die.

  •  Many white Christians... (4.00)
    ...on the left agree with the Religious Right on a number of socially conservative issues.

    The bright line between the two sides is drawn up thus: white Christians on the left presuppose that compassion trumps condemnation, that the freedom to make moral choices is the only way to actually be moral in the first place, and that tolerance is a virtue not a vice.

    My guess and my hope is that a large number of black Christians feel that way too.

  •  This has concerned me for a while (none)
    Ever since I noticed that nearly every black person I knew was extremely Christian, more so than any other group of people.  I understand why so many lower-middle class and below whites have left the Democratic Party: They were basically betrayed by the DLC types and the neoliberals, so why not vote Republican on "values" issues?  What I don't understand is why blacks have so far been immune to this, so I'm not at all confident that this state of affairs will continue.  I doubt many white activists are even aware of this cultural gap, so they'll be slow to address it.

    FWIW, I'm one of those white liberals, but I understand that we have no chance of winning elections without coalitions that include other kinds of people.  

    The Bush administration is always worse than you imagine, even though you've taken into account that it is always worse than you imagine.

    by rsheridan6 on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:25:33 AM PDT

  •  The Dems record speaks for itself (none)
    I have found ihlin to be truly a conflicted person on such matters.  Whenever there is an abortion or gay rights diary, he can usually be found and continually states the notion of how we are losing ground to the Republicans.

    The arguments he presents do not necessarily square with the results: in particular, Kerry got 89% of the black vote, whereas Gore got 90%.

    They KEY however, is to what degree did the black vote 'stay home'?  That is the whole crux of the debate.

    There is a point of diminishing returns, folks.  Trying to get that last 10% of the black vote by selling out on gay-rights and abortion is certainly NOT worth it.

    In terms of the 'warm and fuzzy' feel about Civil Rights, let's UPDATE that with some concrete, current facts:

    1.  Unemployment was at an all-time low during the Clinton administration.  Time and time again shows that the black unemployment rate lags that of the white unemployment rate.  DEMOCRATS CLOSE THAT GAP and have done so, over and over and over again.

    Over half of my students here in Memphis are black (we say black down here, African American is 'too Yankee' for many).  The young ones and the old ones care about jobs, jobs and jobs.  And, we're talking about the Bible Belt no less.

    When Kerry said 'it's time for the party of family values to actually care about family values' it REALLY resonated with my students.  And rightfully so.

    1.  Affirmative Action.  Overwhelmingly supported by the black community and it has made some very good strides.  Republicans are very vocal in deriding this program - and the black community is very aware of this.

    2.  Tax breaks.  Bush's tax breaks benefited the upper 5% of the income distribution.  THAT did not sit well with the black community because they know that of that upper 5% population, it's well over 98% white.

    3.  'Tort reform'.  Right here in Memphis, there have been numerous asbestos-related health problems.  Guess what?  Tort reform absolutely CRUSHES lower-income members of the black community since there is little incentive for lawyers to take on their cases.

    In other words, for all of ihlin's rants, the black community is smart enough to know where it's bread is being buttered.

    Oh yeah, here's one other thing that ihlin really, really forgets:

    Black women.  50% of the black community.  Well over 50% of the black voters.  

    Black women actually have a higher percentage of abortion rates than white women (per the Guttemacher Institute) and, if you know someone who's had one, you're more likely to support abortion rights.

    In terms of gay rights, very interesting.  The black community's homophobia is extremely well documented.  No doubt about it.  However, demonizing gays - as Republicans are wont to do - is a double edged sword: it placates religiously inclined blacks, but it scares the bejeezus out of many since demonizing gays reminds many of the pre-Civil Rights days.

    If you're a Yankee African American and are offended by my use of 'black', I apologize.  I have been told numerous times to 'just say black'.

     

    •  A Couple Points (none)
      1. "He" is actually "she"
      2. She is pointing you toward where things are heading so that White Liberals can get ahead of a coming problem.  Feel free to ignore her if you like - it's only the possible erosion of the Democratic base that we're talking about, nothing major.  Bush says that there's no such thing as global warming too...
    •  Yes (none)
      <Black women actually have a higher percentage of abortion rates than white women (per the Guttemacher Institute) and, if you know someone who's had one, you're more likely to support abortion rights.</i>

      Yes, but IME the support is not unconditional and I admit never hearing it phrased as a "choice" or "autonomy" issue in the way it appears that most politicians want to frame it.  Viewpoints in the same African-American woman can be all over the map, depending on a bunch of variables.  For example, (a) rape/incest:  not her fault she's pregnant therefore abortion = sure thing; (b) very young teenager:  she's too young to have a baby since she's just a baby herself but where was her mama to raise her right, therefore abortion = easy; (c) young unmarried adult woman or older teenager:  why did she put herself in the position of getting pregnant she should know better, therefore abortion = could go either way; (d) married woman with good job and husband, therefore abortion = why does she need one?; and (e) baby might be born mentally disabled or have a birth defect:  who does she think she is trying to throw her baby in the garbage? God doesn't give you more than you can handle, therefore abortion = bad.

      These are of course oversimplifications of the highest order.  But I've seen them all in the same woman.  So as I said previously, you cannot correlate the disproportionate number of African-American women who get abortions with how they necessarily feel about abortion.  It's an it depends.

      My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

      by shanikka on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:53:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Naive? (none)
    While it may be obvious there are cultural differences between (many) black voters and (many) white voters -- perhaps mostly centered on religious or moral concerns (or lack of) -- is it naive of me to think that a concerted and vocal effort on the part of the Dems to actually address minority issues and concerns would go a long way?

    I think cultural issues play a part, but I think a sense of apathy or negligence (or being taken for granted) by the Democratic Party toward black voters is palpable.  Black and other minority voters are right to feel disregarded and unsupported.  Where is the party's outrage about the voter intimidation and hours-long voting lines?  Where is the outrage about the dismal state of health care? Of public schooling? About tax cuts for the rich? About immigration laws? About many of their children being sent to war?

    If the Dems do not get it together and address their unconscionable lack of interest in the well-being of minorities in this country, they don't deserve - and will not get - their votes.  Period.  Look at what the Republicans have done to reach out to the ultra-conservative.  Imagine if Dems reached out to - and promoted legislation that supported - minority voters. Not just played lip service to an ideology that they seem no longer to feel the need to back up with action. Cultural differences can probably be discussed and a middle-ground reached - but only when all the voters you're trying to court really believe that you are working doggedly to support them and their families, economically and socially.

    Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it. -- Thomas Paine

    by The New Politeness on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:42:48 AM PDT

  •  you're a bit dismissive of (2.50)
    civil rights and economic justice.

    quote:

    "African AMericans are still overwhelmingly Democrats because some folks are still warm and fuzzy from the 60s civil rights and on the questions of economic justice, health care, and the war"

    actually, more than a bit dismissive. i'd suggest your own model of black voters is not perfect. black voters are not looking for special treatment, but true equality, and equality is not necessarily self-enforcing if a large number of people are racists.

  •  I don't care what color you are... (none)
    If you think there should be more religion in government, get the hell out of my party.

    It does NOT belong in our government and I would rather lose voters who think so than pander to them. My politics are about CORE VALUES as Kos has been saying. One of the big ones for me is religion and government stay separate like they belong.

    If the Republican party is the party of Lincoln, why do they keep trying to divide the nation?

    by Arken on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:55:27 AM PDT

    •  PRAISE THA LORD.......HE SPEAKS TRUTH.... (none)
      VERY GOOD POINT.
    •  Not that I Personally Feel (none)
      That government should have a formal role for religion in it (I don't, being a big constitutional person myself) but that having been said.....

      Be careful what you ask for.  Because you may get it.  

      Wow.

      My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

      by shanikka on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:29:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would rather be the minority (none)
        Than cave in to their wishes. I am an atheist and always have been. The idea that anyone feels religion belongs in government is utterly repulsive to me. I have absolutely no problem with people practicing their religion until it becomes something official.

        When Bush declared his 'national day of prayer' for the 9/11 victims, a lot of American atheists felt directly snubbed. Remember, every time the government encourages a religious practice, it is telling people that don't do it that it is what citizens are expected to do.

        If the Republican party is the party of Lincoln, why do they keep trying to divide the nation?

        by Arken on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 06:59:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Let's quit (4.00)
    1. patronizing Blacks.  They are sharp enough to realize who their friends/enemies are.  The Demo tent is big enough for all people of good will.

    2.  whoring after the "religious" vote.  There have been at least five waves of religious revival in our history.  Waves like this one will recede as quickly as it built up.  Let's work on making the world down here a better place.  Heaven will take care of itself--if it exists--which it does not.

    What rough beast, its hour come round at last/Slouches toward Bethlehem waiting to be born?

    by cova1 on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:58:40 AM PDT

  •  DON'T FALL INTO THIS TRAP. (none)
    BLACK PEOPLE WILL NOT VOTE FOR REPUBLICANS EN MASSE BECAUSE WE SEE THEM AS RACISTS WHO SHARE NOTHING WITH US.  MOST REPUBLICANS ARE IN THE UPPER MIDDLE TO THE SUPER RICH CLASSES - MOST BLACK PEOPLE AREN'T .  WE DON'T VOTE BASED ON RELIGION WE VOTE BASED ON ECONOMICS AND CIVIL RIGHTS STANCES.  GOD IS IMPORTANT BUT NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO MAKE US ALIGN OURSELVES WITH THE LIKES OF A DEVIL LIKE TRENT LOTT.
  •  Words From Black Ministers (4.00)
    Reading through this thread made me think of the notes I took from the State of the Black Union summit that was held in February.  Below, I include excerpts from those participants of the cloth.  They touch upon some issues that ihlin has raised, some of which I agree and some of which I disagree.  

    In whole, I agree that religion is much more important in black Americans' communities than with white liberals.  I agree that far too many white liberals on this site are often outright hostile towards religion without realizing that religion and politics are intertwined in the black community.  There is no absolute separation of church and state in the black community and quite a few black ministers enter elective politics while remaining pastors of their churches.  Moreover, white liberal politicians have no ethical problems showing up in black churches to sit in front pews looking for endorsements from the pulpit in the weeks before a close election...and without a word of outrage from their secular supporters, btw.

    The difference between black Americans and the Christian Coalition is that black people can make the distinction between issues that call for political action and issues which call for moral uplifting and spirtual intervention as a precursor to political change.

    Here are the promised excerpts from the State of the Black Union which go to my point:

    Reverend Jesse Jackson

        * It is a strange alliance that would partner black ministers with white evangelicals rather than black educators and elected officials
        * Spiritual message must stay the same no matter how large the congregation
        * Gay marriage is a distraction from other larger issues
        * Black people vote their interests, like other Americans and gave history of shifting allegiances to Dems and GOP
        * OK for black conservatives to meet with Bush, but they MUST discuss black issues with Bush (e.g., Voting Rights Act extension)

    AME Bishop Bishop Vashti McKenzie.  

        * We need to ask "Who benefits ?" from Bush policies and follow the money
        * Democrats need to stop just asking for ground troops from black churches and include in forming public policy
        * Spiritual weapons (i.e., prayer) must also be used for justice

    Joseph Lowery, head of Southern Christian Leadership Conference

    * Love based ministries needed more than faith based charities

    Minister Louis Farrakhan

        * Put the Bible on the table but religious leaders should stop "entertaining" with religion
        * Hell with both parties, black people need unity beyond politics
        * Plan education for black children beyond contrived (i.e., Eurocentric) white education taught in public schools
        * Black people need 10 year plan for raising of spirit, morals, economic development and education

    •  If I were black... (4.00)
      I think I would be drawn to what Minister Louis Farrakhan says.  His call for black self-respect and self-reliance are, I think, messages that would be very productive for all of us.

      "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

      by stumpy on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:44:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder if (none)
    blacks in this country support religious involvement in politics and government because the system has failed them so many times?  It strikes me, and I'm a white middle-class atheist so it's grains of salt for everyone, that the local church is about the only institution that has always served their community.  The state has hung them out to dry time and time again.  My interaction with black people has shown me that the church and its leaders are much, much higher on the trust hierarchy than politicians or government institutions.

    "Give the likes of Baldric the vote and we'll be back to cavorting Druids and dung for dinner."

    by Magnus Greel on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:07:49 PM PDT

  •  How much of the overlap is due to worry (none)
    about kids?

    Making a culture where kids can expect to grow up physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy--with solid skills and a sturdy knowledge-base?

  •  You could not NOT do it, could you? (none)
    You really had to take a shot at the people "who love to write "Abortion is about autonomy" diaries." As one of those who wrote a comment to the above mentioned diary and who thinks that abortion is my God-given right over my own body, I find your comment in tune with the general obliviousness that characterizes most men and some women turned male apologists vis-a-vis women's equal rights to men.

    As far as African Americans are concerned, why are you, like most white people of the left or the right, concerned with how we can attract these people to vote one way or another?  What I mean is WHY DO WHITE PEOPLE THINK OF BLACKS AS A HOMOGENOUS BLOCK in a way that is dehumanizing the individual?

    As a European who moved to the US, I was shocked to realize how vastly race issues divide this country, not just culturally and politically, but at the very human level.  As a "white" person, I was taken into the general confidence of whites who expressed anything from slight discomfort to deep felt hatred towards non whites (mostly blacks).  I was stunned to realize how illogical yet visceral some reactions were, how a simple genetic differentiation in the amount of melanin one produces has such a big impact on that person's life.  I believe that such gut reaction is the catalyst of most interactions between whites and blacks at the political/cultural level, with distrust being the general background.
    There is a major difference between "Let's do something for these people" and "Let's do something because they are people, they are us."

    Maybe "folks of color usually don't have the luxury to obsess over gays or abortions" but I know plenty of gays who are discriminated against because they are black and gay; let's not forget lesbians who face triple discrimination.  I also remember the days of clinic escorting when women of all colours would enter the clinic to get services, including abortions.  I found it incredibly ironic the "silence" that fell over protesters (99% white) when a black women would enter the clinic (a bit of noise though if she was Hispanic) - bottom line, the "whiter" the woman, the louder the anti-abortion protesters would scream.  

    In every day life, taken statistically at the level of the larger population, unemployment, poverty, discrimination, violence are issues that stand at the forefront of our concerns, true that. However, those are human issues, not just one race's problems.  Maybe the Democrats need to start hammering these issues concerning ALL voters (poverty can happen to anyone) in a way that addresses the human connections between us.  What concerns me is that while Republicans favor blacks like Clarence Thomas, Janice Brown, Condi Rice, Democrats have their share of "tokenizing" African Americans.  And while you vote for "understanding theological nuances" as the key to "maintaining our coalition," I would prefer to think that human sincerity and respect, understanding, and political promises that translate in positive economic results for large portions of the population (not just for the 1% of the country's richest) would be more likely to attract African American votes and keep Democratic alliances strong.

  •  The Black Social Gospel movement (none)
    is quite diffrent than evengelical white thought. It has to do with expressing Christianity through good works and was quite tied to socialism at one time.

    Socialism and social activitism remains an anathma to the white evengelicals.

    So while the Black community may be in agreement with some conservative thought, it remains quite seperate on significant ways. Problem with surveys that tie Black and white together in religious thought is that areas covered are quite selective.

    SOCIAL SECURITY: Invented by Democrats yesterday, Protected by Democrats today

    by mollyd on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:34:33 PM PDT

  •  Original report (none)
    I don't have time to scroll through all the comments, but the Pew report is here.

    Someone upthread questioned the sample and possible bias.  With the Pew report, it doesn't state specifically how they draw the sample.  If it's like other reports, however, they drew a large (my guess would be 2000+) random sample and administered a telephone survey.  Given a sample this size, it's likely to be accurate within +/- 5% of the actual population.  It does miss out on the prison and homeless populations, given that they don't have telephones.  I'm not sure how much this affects the accuracy of the poll, given the low voter turnout of both of these populations.

    You're more likely to find biases in how the question are phrased than in the actual sampling techniques.

    "Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral." -Paulo Freire

    by wobblie on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:37:25 PM PDT

  •  Investing in progressivism itself. (4.00)
    The "problem" isn't with Democrats being too liberal and thus risking losing African-American Christian votes, the problem is with progressive Americans in general failing for decades to invest properly in progressivism itself, including on the campuses of seminaries and divinity schools educating the next generation of African-American ministers.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. denied the divinity of Christ and was profoundly liberal in his theology. (Also, note Mrs. King's public support for issues like civil rights for Americans who happen to be gay. Her opinions are clearly grounded in her understanding of her late husband's convictions.)

    Today, when I hear preachers echoing King's convictions at the theological level or even applying issues of social justice broadly, they tend to be white preachers, like Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, former Congressmember and now head of the National Council of Churches. So be it. "Ihlin" seems to presume that trends towards increasing conservativism within many African-American Christian congregations either oughtn't or can't be countered! These trends are to be treated as the immoveable reality around which Democrats must dance? No way. I reject that as a viable long-term strategy, even if it might need to be an element of various short-term strategies...maybe. (MAYbe!)

    Sorry, folks, but even as a pragmatic, coalition-oriented Democrat with a Masters in religion and an upbringing within Fundamentalist Christian subculture in Iowa (in the 1980's no less, we the Iowa GOP began to fall to the Christian Right), I'm increasingly of the opinion that religion itself is the problem, and relative to longterm Democratic strategy am willing only to go so far in catering to religious conservatives white, black, pink, green, young, old, or Democrat.

  •  Blacks are individuals! (4.00)
    I am so sick of seeing people here lump ALL African Americans into some sort of "group" like they all think the same, vote the same, live the same.

    WHAT A FREAKING INSULT to everyone. Every voter living in this country has to make up their own mind about what matters most to them and their family.

    Let's stop all the stereotyping and grouping of millions of people like they're some sort of mindless cattle.

    No such thing.  What's next? Talking about the "male vote" or the "english-speaking vote" or the "employed vote" ?

    The same thing is done here when people start talking about the "Hispanic vote"

    I am latino living in California and I'll be damned if I am going to vote for something JUST BECAUSE some Cuban in Miami felt it was a good idea and we're all supposed to think the same.

    Oh but wait... I used to be a latino that lived in New York City.  Someone please tell me how I should vote.  Should I vote like a latino in the southwest or a latino in the northeast or should I care MORE than anyone else about illegal immigration eventhough I am Puerto Rican and a naturally born U.S. citizen whose family never had to worry about "immigrating"?  Should I vote Republican because of Cuba and Fidel Castro?  But isn't that what the "Miami Cubans" do?"  Nevermind that even they are split and are trending ever so slightly Democrat lately.

    What's the point?  That we need to stop lumping everyone into groups like they have no mind of their own.  Treat people with respect.  Would you want people to assume YOU should vote a certain way just because of your supposed background?

    Give it a break

    I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

    by diplomatic on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:44:29 PM PDT

    •  There is a strong sense of community (none)
      Within black America there is a strong sense of community.  A lot of people point to the deterioration of it as a reason for a host of social and psychological problems within the community.

      DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

      by DWCG on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:33:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See my other post (none)
        I lived in the Bronx, NY in the early 1990s and my school was 80% black and some of my relatives are black (afro-caribbean) So I have at least lived in that particular black community and, despite that, do not go around trying to act like I know what it's like to be black.

        That was my point.

        I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

        by diplomatic on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:40:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Economic Populism (4.00)
    As David Sirota points out day after day on his blog, economic populism will trump social conservatism every day of the week and twice on Sunday.  There is no need to give up our support for a woman's right to choose or gay rights. When social conservatives--black or white--start thinking about their health care, education, and the money in their wallet, all of a sudden their gay neighbor doesn't seem so important.  Don't believe me? Just ask white politicians Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders, and Brian Schweitzer or ask black politicians Jesse Jackson, Jr. John Conyers, or Cynthia McKinney. Economic populism wins.
  •  Arriving On CP Time (none)
    Am I late to the discussion? Well, let me just add that us people are starting to work much more closely together to see our priorities taken more seriously by the Democratic Party, and when necessary, by the Republican Party.  Things are changing, blind loyalty to the Party is becoming a thing of the past, and folks will need to get up to speed on the true nature of coalition politics.  "What have you done for me lately?" That's the mantra of today's coalition politics, and if the answer is "nothing" then that will eventually be the level of support that the Party receives.  Times are changing.
    •  Well I don't subscribe to that belief (none)
      I think what have you done for me lately is a bad standard to apply, depending on what you consider "lately."  That's like only considering a persons last job when interviewing them for a job.  Their total employment history gives a more accurate picture of their effectiveness as a worker.  And I'm not suggesting that we should go back 100, 50 or even 25 years.  But the past decade seems completely reasonable.

      Finally, any voter who doesn't evaluate the powers behind a particular party or candidate is just plain stupid.  The white sheets and titans of capitalism aren't going to just disappear because one guy votes like Lincoln Chafee and has a nice smile.  (And that's why I don't think in my life I will ever vote Republican.)

      DON'T BLAME ME; I VOTED FOR CLARK

      by DWCG on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:36:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't Take Offense At This (none)
        But it's not about you.  Also, you're analogy is off by a bit.  It's not considering someone's resume who is applying for a job, it's looking over their record as an employee.  If they haven't produced anything recently then you'd re-evaluate why you have them as an employee.  If you have a salesman who hasn't made a sale all year then why do you keep him on staff as a salesman?

        Think about it this way - if the issues that mattered most to you were being neglected by a political party, would you not get frustrated with that party?  If the some of the issues that matter to you were actually opposed by a political party, would you not at least consider other options?  This is the current state of the Black Community.  The Exodus has not begun - yet - but there are rumblings.  

        People are certainly free to ignore the rumblings if they like.

  •  Blacks and the Christian Coalition (3.75)
    As an African-American with a 87 year old dad, I can tell you Black christian are not headed to the GOP any time soon.  

    My dad has an understanding and a long memory of the lynchings, discrimmination at the hands of the hand maidens of the GOP.

    My dad made the comment to me that the GOP is the KKK dressed up in business suits.  Do not underestimate the long memory of senior African-Americans. Also Bush's demantling of the Social Security System will erode any gain in Black support in 2004.

  •  Stop patronizing African Americans (4.00)
    a frequent Daily Kos occurence that keeps on giving...

    I could only imagine this diary "conversation" going on n real life... it would be quite funny!

    A bunch of white liberals holed up in a conference room wearing their "Free Africa" necklaces talking amongst themselves about what "the blacks" need.  And how we need to listen to "the blacks" And "hey man, I understand THEM, I am liberal!"  "They need our help!"  "Let me tell you what they think"

    Meanwhile outside the walls out in the real world, there are actual black people living their lives as individuals...

    White people here, NO OFFENSE, but -- Stop trying to act like you speak for African Americans or can shed some enlightening fairy dust on the rest of us.

    I don't care if you grew up in the "ghetto" or "have black friends" or work "with them" OK...

    I am latino and grew up in Puerto Rico with some friends you might consider black (afro-caribbean/mulatto, etc) but me myself I am blonde haired and Spanish ancestry.  Back then I was considered "white" but I would never dream of coming on here and lecturing about what any of them think.  Why? because we are all individuals... there is no such thing as what a GROUP thinks.  Every human being is complex and has a mind of his/her own.

    Oooh, then I moved to the Bronx, NY.  The south Bronx.  Went to a school that was 80% black.  All my best friends were black ok.  Again, so what? I would never dream of coming on here and pretending I could speak on their behalf.

    For starters... that environment would be very different from the one African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama would be used to or in the Central district of Seattle, WA or Compton, CA.  and so on and so on.

    Please, I guess what I am saying is: stop making fools of yourselves trying to preach to us in your generalities and speculations about what millions of people feel like when you really have no clue.

    Sure some of you white people will resent being told that it is not your place to speak about these issues.  But that is not what I am saying.  Just don't pretend to KNOW no matter how much exposure you may think you have had.

    It is the cool thing lately to be like "hey I don't need to be black to know what it's like.  Stop the racism!"

    Well folks, reality check.  To all those who say race is no longer a big factor in America... would you believe that a poll just today showed people split on their opinion about the Michael Jackson verdict along racial lines?  Just like the OJ simpson trial.  Completely opposite poll results too.  Nothing has changed on that front in over 10 years apparently.

    We have all just gotten better at acting and talking like we've evolved.

    Seriously, we have all made SOME progress as a nation but these issues are still here.  Don't confuse what you WISH our society was like with what it is.

    Let's hear from some actual African American contributors to Daily Kos.  Better idea... how about an African American front pager?  What a concept!

    The end. thank you for listening.

    I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

    by diplomatic on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:33:02 PM PDT

    •  Listening - always a good idea (none)
      Better idea... how about an African American front pager?  What a concept!

      But who?

    •  I hear what you're saying but... (4.00)
      ...it is the kind of identity politics that causes the very kind of problems it points out. If only black people can speak for black people, then why isn't that true for white people? Why do white people have to care then about what black people say about them?

      This is an incoherent Tower of Babel -- no one can speak to anyone about anything they themselves haven't lived? Nope, because we are all in this together; what harms one harms all. To understand that means we have to try and step into each others shoes, and in doing so imagine a life and circumstance that is not our own.

      So though I know I don't know what being black in America is exactly, I also know I have to try. Especially because my newborn daughter is bi-racial. I have to try so I at least can understand the things she may have to deal with, the challenges she may face because of it. If I have to give up because I'm not black, I will have failed her. And in a larger sense, if we do the same on all sides of this divide, we will never bridge it and we will fail as well.

      So guess what? I have to participate in the dialogue, even if I don't understand everything about what other people engaged in it have gone through. That is how I expect to get better at it.

      •  You still don't see the point (3.50)
        When you say "I know I don't know what being black in America is exactly" that is correct...

        NOT because you are not black though.  It's because there IS NO SUCH THING as a singular experience of "being black in America"

        Even if you WERE black, you'd have no right to speculate and generalize and say what black people think or "what black people are like"

        That would be stereotyping just the same.  They can only speak to their OWN particular experience in their life and their environment/friends/family etc.

        If you resent hearing African Americans make comments about white people as you mentioned - then take offense! Because you should.  Because every point I made also applies there as well.

        No we should not insist that only white people should keep their mouth shut about what they don't know about.  It's equally ridiculous (in my opinion!) for a black person to start talking about "what white people are like" or somehow grouping them all into some predetermined pattern of behavior.

        This whole thing is very simple.  As long as we all keep in mind that every person is an individual and can make up their own mind about a wide variety of issues - we should be fine.

        Yes, we should all try to understand each other.  But whenever someone starts that dialog by pretending to KNOW already it's a dead end.  Through asking questions and sharing our experiences with one another we can eventually get to the point where we can say "I have heard that for SOME" or "there seems to be a prevalent feeling among the white people I know..." or "from my experience as a latino, I find that whenever I go into a store..."

        Statements like that are all respectful of the fact each of us has a different perspective of what it's like to live in America.

        Obviously there are black Republicans and black democrats, white christians and white atheists, spanish speaking hispanic immigrant and hispanic english-speaking yuppies, asian doctors and asian gang members, jews that support Israel and jews that hate Israel, blacks that love rap and blacks that love rock...

        Ok you all get the point.  The human experience is endless in its complexity!

        I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

        by diplomatic on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:32:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A Slightly Different Perspective (none)
          What you say is true, but I would challenge you to go live in China for a few years.  I believe you would find, after a short while, that there is a shared American experience in China (or pick a country).  We are all individuals, that is true, and we cannot all be painted with one broad brush.  However, there are shared experiences and shared culture that bind people together, and there are trends within groups.

          I despise stereotypes, to the point that I don't eat watermellon (I was very defiant as a child when it came to stereotypes, and much of that has carried over to adulthood - but get me around some fried chicken...  Shared cultural experiences.  You see anyone from the South would have the same reaction to the fried chicken - as would Baptists of every stripe - as it's a part of our shared cultures.  Stereotype? Absolutely, but there's some there there on the chicken thing.  The same is true with many other stereotypes in many other situations.  There some commonalities within communities, but we cannot use those commonalities - stereotypes - to limit people within those communities.

          "You don't like watermellon?"  Fist to the jaw...not really, but you know what I mean.

          •  In China (none)
            Would an American businessman working on the 40th floor of a commercial hi-rise in a financial district have the same experience as an American foreign exchange high school student?

            I accept that there are shared characteristics and TRENDS in each community... and we are forced to speculate to some extent as a society to function on a macro level.  But I am a strong believer in individualism and the right for everyone to determine their fate to the extent that it is possible.

            If certain people enjoy and don't mind being identified by some of those shared cultural norms, all the power to them.  I just don't feel it is right for anyone to feel FORCED to conform to those stereotypes.

            If someone has "southern pride" or they a woman calls herself a "typical California girl" or a Chicago resident shouts "That's how we do it in Chicago" Obviously I can probably understand what they mean... given the proper context.

            However here we are on a political blog talking about very important issues that need to be based on the reality of situations.  If we were advertising executives I would not take issue with generalizing as much... for it would be vital to reach the MAJORITY of the targest audience.

            Most stereotypes seem to have SOME element of truth to them.  I will admit that from my own observations...

            But why not discuss the truth in it's entirety as it really is.  That's all I'm saying =)

            By the way I like watermelon.

            I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

            by diplomatic on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:58:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I do see the point (none)
          And I break it down thus:

          1. We are all of us individuals
          2. As individuals we also share collective experiences and to some degree identities

          To say that we don't leads back to the Towr of Babel problem.

          But I don't think you see my point. For instance, I don't resent black people for what they may say about white people. Not my words; not sure why you would claim I used it. In fact, I think anyone can say anything they wants about any one and any group they want to. That's my point.

          Our collective sense of what's the right approach should be all the corrective needed. And that sort of collective sense is what makes up a society. The balance between tolerance and unity is what makes it a civil one.

          •  Sure they can say it (none)
            Freedom of speech guarantees that people will continue to say whatever they want to, of course!  If you want to see an example of that take to the extreme, check out the Yahoo message boards in response to any news story.

            It is quite a disgraceful thing to witness.  I mean, it's really very crazy over there...

            Back to your points... right now our "collective sense of what's the right approach" is very much in dispute in America.  If there was such a thing we would not be so split on Iraq, would we?

            The country is split down the middle as far as political party voting is concerned on that particular issue.

            Is there a collective sense of what's the right approach when it comes to immigration?  There is difficulty coming to a concensus on that front also.  Yes, even among Hispanics.

            We will probably not be able to agree no matter how much we discuss this because I am suspecting we have a different worldview.

            Personally I cannot any kind of herd mentality and conformity.  I strongly believe in individual freedoms and choices.

            What you're saying may be the more practical and correct way to function in our society though.

            I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

            by diplomatic on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:06:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  By the way (none)
        I appreciate your sentiments and the points you made in your response.

        Your heart seems to be in the right place

        I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

        by diplomatic on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:44:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Just for the record, Daily Kos ... (4.00)
      ...had a brilliant African-American front pager early on. His name is Steve Gilliard.

      **

      Writing dialog George Lucas so terrible at is. --Yoda

      Visit The Next Hurrah

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:21:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans can make inroads (none)
    I apologize in advance if this has already been discussed to death here. I've been a lurker since last fall, but it's often days between visits, so I miss a lot of diaries.

    There's a bill (currently awaiting action in the House Ways & Means Committee) that could help Republicans make inroads with some of these voters.  H.R. 235 amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow church leaders to "discuss" moral and political matters and/or elections during regular religious services without violating campaign-finance and/or internal revenue rules.

    Here is part of the language:

     SEC. 2. HOUSES OF WORSHIP PERMITTED TO ENGAGE IN RELIGIOUS FREE EXERCISE AND FREE SPEECH ACTIVITIES, ETC.

    (a) In General- Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by redesignating subsection (q) as subsection (r) and by inserting after subsection (p) the following new subsection:

    `(q) An organization described in section 170(b)(1)(a)(1) or section 508(c)(1)(A) shall not fail to be treated as organized and operated exclusively for a religious purpose, nor shall it be deemed to have participated in, or intervened in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office, for purposes of subsection (c)(3) or section 170(c)(2), 2055, 2106, 2522, or 4955 because of the content, preparation, or presentation of any homily, sermon, teaching, dialectic, or other presentation made during religious services or gatherings.

    I can't help but think that this bill, if passed, has the potential to cause some serious damage.  

  •  This Is NOT a Question of Color (none)
    This administration will fuck over the African-American population just as fast, if not faster, than than they are fucking the rest of America.  African-American beliefs have nothing to do with it.  The fuck job will just hurt the African-American community more because they still have a ways to go to achieve parity with everyone else in society.

    Embrace diversity. Not everyone is intelligent.

    by FLDemJax on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:38:41 PM PDT

    •  in your first sentence (none)
      you should have said "than 'it' is fucking over.." instead of "they are" because it's the administration fucking over minorities, not minorities fucking over the rest of the country :)

      "Private property means you get nothing"
      -Jeff Ott

      by mediaprisoner on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:46:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good thing Dean didn't say it (4.00)
        Nice catch there, grammatically speaking...

        Let's just be glad it wasn't Dr.Dean making the same confusing statement or we'd have to endure more Dem leaders publicly slashing him on FOX.

        I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

        by diplomatic on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 04:21:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are so right (none)
        Sorry about the grammatical error.

        Embrace diversity. Not everyone is intelligent.

        by FLDemJax on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 04:32:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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