It's happening here on DKos. The Kossacks are battling out the blame-game in the comments of a numerous amount of diaries based on the CNN exit poll data which reflects that a large portion of black voters in CA supported Prop. 8.
Shanikka's diary does a pretty good job of going over the numbers hereFacts Belie the Scapegoating of Black People on Prop 8
She makes a good argument that blacks are not the reason that Prop 8 didn't pass, but I don't think that's the point of the anger that some gay Kossacks have expressed about this. We're all intelligent enough to understand that blacks are not the reason that Prop 8 passed. Gays are upset because so many blacks supported the ban when they have fought beside us for our civil rights for so many years.
I, for one, am glad that gays are getting angry. I am, however, deeply troubled that an accepted response seems to be a new them vs. us attitude.
Still, someone does deserve blame here. Let me tell you my story.
I was 4 years old and holding hands with my 7-year-old brother, Jamal. He didn't want to play basketball with my other brother and his rough and tumble friends. He wanted to play jump rope with me and every male in a five foot radius was pissed about it. I squeezed out a few tears and held tight to Jamal's hand and announced, "I asked him to play with me." So, it began.
My brother didn't want to play with the GI Joes and the Hot Wheels. He liked my Ken dolls. My father would hit the roof if he caught him with those dolls. So, I mixed his toys in with mine and no one ever knew who played with what.
Jamal was two years ahead of me in high school. He was done with the Ken dolls and jump rope by then. He was into bodybuilding and played football. He was tough and strong and induced a healthy dose of fear in anyone who crossed his path. This was his defense mechanism.
We both had a crush on a rapper whose poster covered our bedroom wall. We would stare at him for hours. Walking down the hall one day, I watched Jamal flirting with a girl. My insides clenched. On the ride home, I told him off. He couldn't flirt with a girl, he was gay. He insisted that he wasn't. No way. I told him that if he was going to date women, then I couldn't look up to him anymore. I remember my exact words. "If you're gay, you're gay. There ain't nothing you can do about it." He never dated another woman. I vowed then and there that I would support my brother 100%.
There was a city-wide gay student association in the 1990's. I went with my brother. We were the only black people there.
In 1996, my senior year, Jamal came out to my father. My dad's response? He went and got his gun. I threw my car keys at Jamal and told him to go for a ride. He came home three days later.
I talked to my dad. He insisted that his son was not gay (I won't use the words that he used). I told him that Jamal was gay when I was 4 years old. He insisted that Jamal had to move out.
Jamal was the only black man in our entire community who was out and proud from 1996-2002. He actively worked in community organizations and openly dated white, Hispanic, and Asian men. All of the black men he tried to date were "down-low brothers". Jamal never stopped being himself, never stopped living his biology out in the open for everyone to see.
We agreed that if gay black people would just come out and live openly, we could change the rigid stance on homosexuality in our community. If blacks had hidden from white view, ensconced themselves outside of white society, Barack Obama wouldn't be president today. Yet so many black gays do just that. They hide who they are when their numbers are so strong.
Our sweetest victory came on a visit to my dad's place. Over the years, there had been lots of discussion, lots of tears, and a grudging truce between us on the subject of Jamal's sexuality. On this day, we were taking my dad out to lunch. He slid his old, worn out denim jacket over his shoulder and on the lapel was a rainbow pin. Jamal kept quiet about it, but when we dropped my dad off, he bawled like a baby. I did, too.
I just know that moment is coming for the rest of black America. But it won't come when Prop 8 is defeated. It won't come because gays boycotted the black community. It won't come when the rest of America wakes up to the realization that being gay is as natural as breathing.
It will only come when gay African-Americans come out and live their lives openly in the black community despite their fears.
Prop 8 was passed because of ignorance, nothing more.
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." - MLK