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"I was at the fights last night and a hockey game broke out."

It's an old joke, but maybe it says a lot about something that's begun to happen over the past 24 hours here at Daily Kos: some real conversations.  Maybe, just maybe, we're starting to get past screaming at each other over Barack Obama's invitation of Rick Warren.  Maybe, just maybe, while we've been at the fights, a hockey game is breaking out.

If so, it's perhaps the best holiday gift we could give each other.

More below the fold....

As ems97007 tries to explain, white LGBTs don't understand racism simply because we're discriminated against for being LGBTs.  Claiming what we experience is "just like" the experience of Blacks and Latinos is a lie.  It's not.

But as BoiseBlue tries to explain, straight Blacks and Latinos don't understand homophobia just because you've suffered racism.  Claiming your experience is "just like" ours, except worse because we get the option of the closet, is equally a lie.  It's not.

That we both suffer discrimination, however, is not a lie.  And arguing amongst ourselves over whose is worse serves only The Powers That Be, because it keeps us fighting against each other and not them.  There are differences.  But we dare not let them divide us.

First, the obvious: we LGBTs can choose to closet - a form of bandwagoning - while Blacks and Latinos don't have that choice.

Note: Bandwagoning is a term from international relations, coming from the phrase "jump on the bandwagon."  It means to ally with a dominant power, in the hope that dominant power will protect rather than destroy.  The converse of bandwagoning is balancing, allying with other opponents to the dominant power to balance against and thus neutralize its dominance.

As a lesbian, I bandwagoned until I was 33 years old.  While I knew I was lesbian at age 4, I grew up in a strict, fundamentalist home where I was taught that LGBTs were an abomination before God.  I handled that the way most LGBTs of my day did: I stayed in the closet.  I did whatever I could to blend into straight society, including marriage.  And like most LGBTs, I was successful with it.  It isn't difficult to fool people into thinking you're straight; straight people want to believe everyone they know is straight, so you simply don't disabuse them of that belief.  It hurts to be living a lie, but as Shane Henninger heartbreakingly notes, the alternative can be even worse.

Blacks and Latinos don't have the choice to stay in the closet.  In most communities, even the few who are light-skinned enough that they might "pass" as white will have been outed by their relatives, who are known to be non-whites.  Blacks and Latinos who bandwagon must do so by rejecting their communities and families, and even then they are never fully accepted as part of white society.  Racist whites may find non-white bandwagoners useful, but they never overlook the skin color and are always alert for the first sign of "going native."

So while sexual orientation is not a choice, whether to make your sexual orientation public is very much a choice.  It's a choice non-white people do not have, and many blacks and Latinos rightly feel that's a critical distinction in the stories of our respective civil rights movements.

But there is another, arguably more important difference.  We LGBTs were not marginalized from birth because of our sexual orientation.  Because human sexuality is usually latent for most of childhood, most LGBTs don't know they are LGBT until early adolescence.  I've known older lesbians who didn't realize they were lesbian until were well into adulthood.  They weren't happy in their relationships with men, but had not dared imagine a relationship with a woman.  I've not talked to any gay men who relate similar stories, but I suspect they exist.

Blacks and Latinos are aware of race - and of being marginalized for it - from early childhood.  They don't get to blend into white society until their early teens, or even later, when they finally begin to wonder if they might be "different."  That is important because research shows much of our core personality is built in early childhood, before we LGBTs experience discrimination for being LGBTs.  Our experience of anti-LGBT discrimination is one of having taken away what we once took for granted, rather than never having had it at all.

So yes, there are differences.

But it seems to me that while understanding those differences may be important, we ought not to use the differences as a way to divide ourselves.  And as ChristieKieth writes so poignantly, we've been doing way too much of that here lately.  We can recognize that our experience of discrimination is different, yet also recognize that we do share a common struggle.  We can learn from each other, and admire each others' heroes, and we must.

For if we focus solely on our differences, we validate the very narrative against which we both struggle.  If we highlight every real or imagined distinction, sanctifying our side and demonizing the other, we are no different from the dominant culture that will be ever so happy to see us fight among ourselves while they continue to dominate.

The third choice, for those who neither bandwagon nor balance, is defeat in detail, to be crushed individually by the dominant power.

We've been at the fights, and a hockey game has broken out.  And whether we realize it or not, we're on the same team.

Originally posted to NCrissieB on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 05:28 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Always like your diaries. (21+ / 0-)

      Let me speak from my perspective, which is nothing more than the straight white male perspective.

      I think the thing that causes the most problem is the equation that even being slightly uncomfortable with the idea of gay marriage means you get the term "bigot" hurled at you.

      I always favored full civil rights for the LGBT community, but it took me a long, long time to be in favor of gay marriage.  I know a lot of people who feel the same way.  Understanding that religious, social, and environmental engineering influences straight people to feel this way would go a long way to having that dialouge.  In many ways, I think it is a matter of education on the issue, particularly for liberal thinkers who stop short of endorsing gay marriage.

      But throwing bigotry around so loosely really means that discussion gets shut off.  So, for instance, I really liked ChristieKeith's diary, right up until this point:

      You keep saying things like, "Just because someone is against gay marriage doesn't mean they're a homophobe or a bigot," even though there are no non-bigoted, non-homophobic reasons to oppose marriage equality.

      which essentially says that if people are uncomfortable with the idea of gay marriage, you are a bigot and a homophobe.

      Which, in turn, says people like Obama, Clinton, John Edwards, and practically every other non-bigoted, non-homophobic Democratic politican who stop short of endorsing gay marriage are bigots and homophobes.  

      Something doesn't sit right with me on that. At all.

      And it stops conversation, rather than elevates it.

      Obamaponies made of rainbows would make ME happy.

      by wmtriallawyer on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 05:42:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm going to tread carefully here.... (15+ / 0-)

        ChristieKieth is right: there is no non-bigoted reason to oppose gay marriage.  I wrote about how the roots of homophobia lie in the doctrine of propitiation, but it's no less bigotry for having those roots.  Yes, people who oppose gay marriage can claim "religious, social, and environmental engineering" as sources for their beliefs, but so could the KKK as the source of their racism.  It's still bigotry.

        But that's the start of the conversation, not the end of it.  If we just hurl the epithet "bigot" and stop there, we've done nothing except pass judgment and make ourselves feel morally superior.  Kinda like Rick Warren and his ilk do on a regular basis.  We have to get beyond the name-calling to have a real conversation.

        We're getting there, now, finally.  And it's about damn time.

        •  New category: "unwitting bigotry." (4+ / 0-)
        •  I disagree, slightly, (11+ / 0-)

          only because was the term "bigot" actually means.

          I see the term "bigot" as it is actually defined...totally and utterly intolerant of another viewpoint.

          Those who fully favor civil rights for the LBGT community, but are not quite there yet on gay marriage, simply don't fit this definition.  They certainly aren't totally and utterly intolerant of the gay community. Far from it.  They simply have not come around one issue.

          I think it is more accurate to say that those individuals are "prejudiced" against gay marriage...a slightly less inflammatory term, to be sure, but probably more accurate.

          The problem is that when those who are potential allies in the gay marriage fight get lumped in with the Rick Warrens of the world (who, clearly, could give a damn about any civil rights for the LBGT community), and both get labelled as bigots, when in fact that is not true...that, again, is when you lose people like me.

          I stated this viewpoint a few days ago, and was asked, "Well, what about interracial marriage? If you are opposed to that, aren't you a bigot?"

          Again, the use of the term "bigot" is central here.  I answered, "not necessairly."  All anyone needs to do is watch "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" to know that.  Plenty of white liberals out there who favor civil rights that might feel uncomfortable about their daughter marrying a black man, just like in the movie.  

          Doesn't make them bigots.  Their minds ARE open...the sale just hasn't been made in full yet.

          Obamaponies made of rainbows would make ME happy.

          by wmtriallawyer on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 06:10:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Equivocation fallacy? (8+ / 0-)

            There are several definitions for bigotry, and not all require "total and utter" intolerance.  Choosing the most extreme possible definition - one that conveniently excludes those one doesn't wish to think of as "bigoted" - then disputing an argument on grounds that the person did not apply the definition you would have chosen, is a logical fallacy known as equivocation.

            I especially like the first Miriam-Webster definition among those cited above - "The state of mind of a bigot; obstinate and unreasoning attachment of one's own belief and opinions, with narrow-minded intolerance of beliefs opposed to them" - because of the term unreasoning.  None of the many arguments I've read against gay marriage stand up to the test of reason.  They all devolve to a subjective preference, either "God doesn't like it" or "I don't like it."

            As I wrote below, calling the Kick Your Local Queer ballot initiatives what they are - legislative bigotry - is important.  We LGBTs are at most 10% of the population, perhaps nearer to 5%, depending on whose statistics and definitions one believes.  We can't "get there" unless non-LGBTs recognize that denying our full and equal place in society violates something more important to them than their own subjective preferences.  However much someone may recoil at a gut level at the thought of LGBT marriage, that person may recoil even more at the thought of him/herself practicing bigotry.  Indeed your objection to that term proves its worth in this discussion!

            But, as I've said, that's not the end of the conversation.  It's the start.  And we can't get past that if we just yell "BIGOT!" and expect the listener to hang his/her head in shame.  Depending on how receptive the person is, yelling "BIGOT!" may be a tactical mistake, even if the term is factually true.  But choosing a better tactic is not denying or excusing the bigotry; it's merely finding a more palatable way to expose it for that listener.

            It's still bigotry.

            •  I would say it is always a tactial mistake. (7+ / 0-)

              Perhaps I'm wrong about this, but yelling "BIGOT!" at someone is a tactical mistake, period.

              It may be equviocation, to be sure.  But my central point is that bigot is a loaded word, and certainly, given the definitions, there is no way of knowing how one will react to being called a bigot, unless YOU know how THEY define the word.  

              Regardless, bigot always carries a negative connotation.  And it isn't the way to the hearts and minds of most people to call them names, no matter how accurate you might feel the term applies. So, no, I don't agree that labelling people as bigots will have the positive effect you seek, namely, bringing the straight population to favor gay marriage.

              BTW, I don't object to the term gay marriage.  I thought I made that clear.  I fully favor it.  At one time, I was leery of it, preferring "civil unions" and the like, only because I knew the term "marriage" was just as loaded as "bigot."

              Again, though, that's the point.  It wasn't a "bigoted" was an uneducated one.  Had I been called a bigot a few years ago when I held that viewpoint, I probably would have simply been turned off to the point of not caring.  

              Obamaponies made of rainbows would make ME happy.

              by wmtriallawyer on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 06:54:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I respectfully disagree. Your statement that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wmtriallawyer, NCrissieB

             Plenty of white liberals out there who favor civil rights that might feel uncomfortable about their daughter marrying a black man, just like in the movie.  Doesn't make them bigots.  Their minds ARE open...the sale just hasn't been made in full yet.

            Their 'discomfort' and their 'prejudice' does make them bigots, but they have not yet realised it.  There is nothing to be 'sold' to them.  If they say on one level that they are for equal rights (their minds are open) but on another level discriminate, that IS bigotry.

            However, and I think this is where the crux of the conversation lie, while NChrissieB and me and others KNOW they are bigots, they (and you) dont realise their bigotry.  Warren does not think he is a bigot when he says things like "Homosexuals are like pedophiles", although it is clear to us.  It seems not to be clear to Obama.

            So, the conversation, and point of convergence, is this:  How to make 'liberals' realise their bigotry and prejudices?

            I commentedthe following in a diarya week or so ago, that asked if it is OK to use the word bigot with a Prop8 supporter:

            Well, there is something called 'diplomacy'. If you are really serious when you say this:


            I believe that only through dialogue can people appreciate that homosexuals deserve rights too.  

            Then it may be better to start such a dialogue without calling the person with whom you want to start the dialog a name...

            That does not mean that you cant think it in your head, or tell your friends about this bigot that you are having a discussion with... It simply means that you are engaging in a dialogue, where you, through you powers of persuasion, can show how how much of a bigot he was, without you having to call him that.

            It that way, perhaps, you can achieve your goal, of making him appreciate that us gays have rights too...

            But right now, he wont listen to anything you have to say, since you called him out to his face.

            Just my thoughts...

            Hence, calling a bigot a bigot to his or her face wont make them realise their bigotry, it will only anger the bigot, causing him or her to be more of a bigot than before.  But the fact remains, a bigot is a bigot.  So the challenge lies in finding the right words for the dialogue to make bigots realise and reverse their bigotry...

            'UBUNTU = umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu ("a person is a person through (other) persons")

            by watershed on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 07:07:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, we agree more than you realize. (5+ / 0-)

              See my comment above about tactical mistakes.

              Indeed, the challenge is to demonstrate the bigotry without calling those who are close to the right side a bigot.

              Like I said above, if two years ago when I still believed that "civil unions" were more of the answer than gay marriage, had I been called a bigot, I probably would have gotten offended and just turned off the equality movement.

              Obamaponies made of rainbows would make ME happy.

              by wmtriallawyer on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 07:16:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  I tried to say the same thing (7+ / 0-)

        in ChristieKeith's diary, but you said it wicked way better!

        And Crissie you are, as always, a refreshing voice of reason and generosity.

        'I can't understand why people are afraid of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.' - John Cage

        by jedley on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 06:08:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  agree with wmtl: "bigot" must be used carefully (8+ / 0-)

      because it can do much more harm than good.

      In the current climate, any straight with intent to mediate and heal runs into immediate opposition when s/he tries to moderate the intensity of the negative emotional response.  Maybe we shouldn't try, and just let it run its course.  It does go against my nature, tho, to let people use this word counterproductively, to shove away those who've hurt them.

      Ben Folds has a great line: "God help me if I'm right.  I'm lonely and I'm right."  

      Did Warren and his ilk hurt the LGBT community?  Yes.  Did Obama reopen that wound by inviting him to give the invocation?  Yes.  Is bigot accurate?  Sometimes; ignorance is much more applicable because most people simply don't know better.  People can be unaware of their prejudice, and "bigot" is too harsh for those people.  They need an eye-opening education, not a heart-closing insult.  Using the word bigot on everyone else, because one is hurt, will just make one lonely in his/er rightness.

      The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

      by Leftcandid on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 06:20:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  See my reply to William above. (6+ / 0-)

        The title of the comment is "Equivocation fallacy."  There are times when the better tactic is not to use the word "bigot," but rather lead the listener to realize that he/she is practicing bigotry.  That doesn't mean it's not bigotry; it simply means yelling "BIGOT!" might not be the best tactic for exposing it as such.

        •  totally agree (4+ / 0-)

          Leading the listener to his/er own coinclusion is exactly the way to go.  People need to hear it from their inner voice: "OMG, I've been a bigot.  I've been ignorant.  I've been contributing to this oppression."

          Thanks NCrissieB for clarifying.  It's so important to dig deeper than the surface emotional responses.

          The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

          by Leftcandid on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 07:26:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  question.... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nova Land, Leftcandid, NCrissieB

            is honest ignorance bigotry?

            roughly 4 years ago, in a debate, i argued strongly that there was nothing wrong with "civil unions".
            at the time, i truly considered a civil union to be its most classic definition- a non religious binding ceremony preformed by the state, with all rights and responsibilities inherent therein.
            when, in the process of that debate, it was pointed out to me that GLBTG civil unions did not fit that definition, being non-inclusive of those rights, i asked why the fight was not then about THAT in-equality....why one civil ceremony was different from another, rather then about the terminology.
            i was called several names, bigot the least of them.

            before i go ANY further with this anecdote, i would like to that situation, would you consider that a fair usage of the term bigot?

            teh burns!!!!

            by mme6546 on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 07:53:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'd say no/no, and that is a major motivation (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              for trying to make peace here.  You should not be called names for doing your best and thinking sincerely honestly.  The worst thing I see here is these BIGOT accusations flung with emotional righteousness at any/all who attempt to ameliorate or parse.  I'm sorry, but we all have a responsibility to move past pain instead of spreading it further.

              The problem is that the burden of explanation and education lies with the oppressed, who are already burdened by the effects of oppression and strong bigotry.  Thus they often have less patience with those they feel should be on their side.

              4 years ago, I thought, like you seem to have thought, that civil unions were a good step.  Of course, I must acknowledge that to the LGBT community, step schmep: "we are just like you, please treat us that way." of course they are right.  I had to acknowlege my support of civil unions as solely political strategy, because I feared that outright support of full marriage rights would cost us power and wreck us.

              It's a terrible admission to make to LGBT, and YET I feel like they ought to see pas their emotions to understand and accept political realities even if said realities constitute oppression.

              So none of us should be cavalier in use of the bigot label, even if it's in some way accurate (as NCrissieB indicated herself in above comments).  At the very least, the LGBT community MUST retain the patience to bring along those who are processing.  That is the primary ingredient to future success.

              The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

              by Leftcandid on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 07:03:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  damn skippy. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      rec'd, too.

      teh burns!!!!

      by mme6546 on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 07:43:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  are people still screaming at each other? (16+ / 0-)

    that's sad. Oh, and that's why progressives never win.

    and pretty much confirms what I've always suspected about the wider LGBT community. Also sad. And I'm not the only gay black person to say this either.

    But thank YOU for trying to spark a real conversation. diary comes highly recommended.

    Bah HUMBUG! I pop in when I feel like it(0.12, -3.33)

    by terrypinder on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 05:36:44 AM PST

  •  I liked to think of it as a big parade (6+ / 0-)

    lotsa floats....76 trombones and all that.

    But then, in the last week, it reminded me of Bluto and the Animal House Homecoming!!!

    Tues. a.m. on Motorized Bikes Diaries What does "one one, one two, one three" stand for?

    by bamabikeguy on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 05:38:22 AM PST

  •  Nice diary. I like the AND perspective. (11+ / 0-)

    I think the back and forth has been fruitful, though, at least for me.  As a straight, white female, it has been helpful for me to read and LISTEN to the real pain that exists.  

    For what it's worth, to all groups of people who are not yet experiencing the fullness of the promises ... "All people are created equal"... AND we are all God's children -- you have one more, more fully committed ally, here.

    "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him. Mark 12:17

    by bkamr on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 05:39:15 AM PST

  •  "Dad, those guys are trying to hurt each other" (8+ / 0-)

    Joe Louis came to our town for an exhibition boxing match and my teen age brother wanted terribly to attend.  It being a Saturday night, our dad was working late at the drug store, and my brother came running into the store after watching some of the fight, and said "Dad, those guys are trying to hurt each other."  He couldn't watch anymore.

    Offered as a small parable that watching people hurting each other is not a pretty sight.

    "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

    by JFinNe on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 05:44:12 AM PST

  •  Good diary. There are other strategies too. (5+ / 0-)

    Or variations -- depending on how you conceptualize it.

    Over the long run, the best of these involve converting the opposition into "one of us" without giving up who we want to be.

    •  Peaceful coexistence? (4+ / 0-)

      Peaceful coexistence is, ideally, the goal of the balancing strategy.  Ironically, the math of it is that you don't need to amass equal numbers to achieve balancing.  You just need to unite enough opposition that a would-be hegemon lacks the force disparity necessary for dominance by conquest.

      That ratio varies with the context, and if the Kick Your Local Queer state ballot initiatives are called what they are - legislative bigotry - then the ratio gets much smaller.  There are many who, however much they recoil at a gut level about LGBT marriage, don't want to think of themselves as "bigots."  Part of our strategy must be to force Americans to recognize the inescapable bigotry of opposing LGBT marriage.

      They then practice what international relations folks call "soft balancing," choosing not to exert raw power because doing so offends other principles they hold more dear.

      •  Re: peaceful coexistence. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I don't know but ...

        The idea of balancing seems to imply that there are two (or more) discrete "sides" and that change happens by rearranging coalitions or altering the amount of power the sides have relative to each other.

        I'm thinking more along the lines of eliminating the other side not by destroying it but by changing it so that it's members no longer have a political identity that distinguishes "us" from "people who support GLBT rights."

        Kind of like when you create/alter national identity and all the things that come with it.  

        •  The divisions are not mere invention. (5+ / 0-)

          It's not "two discrete 'sides,'" but only because there are more than two.  There are divisions among homo sapiens sapiens, and the argument that those divisions are mere inventions is naive.  We do have divergent interests, and we always will.

          Politics ought not to be about how to erase the divergences - I wouldn't want to! - but how best to negotiate disputes and distribute resources equitably despite the many and manifest divergences.

          •  Right. In this case, i'd hope to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            make the dividing lines different so that they didn't treat sexual orientation or race or gender as a basis for distributing more goods (material goods, authority, legal privilege, status) to one group and less to others.

            Kind of like how I don't listen to techno, opera, or enya but it doesn't occur to me that i should dislike or discriminate against others who do.

  •  If we can learn how to talk to each other (7+ / 0-)

    respectfully, maybe we can learn how to talk to people who disagree with us on more fundamental issues.

    I'm convinced one reason many red-staters voted against their own best interests all these years is that progressives, in expressing disagreement with them, basically insult everything about their entire existence.

    Ever heard these phrases on this site?: trailer trash, rednecks, low-information voters, whiners, etc., etc.

    •  I agree, however.... (7+ / 0-)

      I agree that we progressives need to learn better rhetorical tactics.  Few good conversations begin with "You're an asshole!"  That said, however, the name-calling goes both ways and that's a big part of what Barack Obama campaigned against.  Indeed, I'd argue that's why Barack Obama invited Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inaugural: to lead by example a movement past mere name-calling to real dialogue.  I still think Warren was a mistake, but I do understand Obama's reasons for it.

      •  I agree totally (7+ / 0-)

        that it goes both ways (just listen to Rush Limbaugh--no, don't).  I also agree that Obama is trying to take the first step.  It is hard to be the one to put your hand out first.

        If our wonderful country stops being polarized into two nations, what a gift that will be for all of us.

        I think we will find that 95% of us can agree on 95% of stuff, and agree to disagree on the rest.  When that becomes apparent, the TRUE hate extremists will become visible to everyone, and shunned. That's my dream.

  •  Great diary Chrissie! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land, winterbanyan, NCrissieB

    These social issues are all complex and we all have to fight against the sterotypes and prejudices we were raised with.  Dialogue, not name calling like bigot, is the best way to go.  My views have changed over the years.  I was always in favor of full civil rights, but it took talking to others, listening, and unfortunately, believing society would actually begin to accept it, for me to be fully in support of gay marriage.

    Don't believe everything you think.

    by EJP in Maine on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 06:42:51 AM PST

    •  More Bhigotry! (6+ / 0-)

      There's no "h" in "Crissie!" ::giggles and gives you a big, sloppy, Rick-Warren-would-NOT-approve hug and kiss::

      I've discussed the word "bigot" above with wmtriallawyer.  The word fits, but that doesn't mean hurling the word as an epithet is the most effective rhetorical tactic.

      •  I can't even blame my bad spelling on it being (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        too, early, although I am just getting to my second cup of coffee. But, I really am a bad speller--I read whole words, not parts of words, and then make stoopid mistakes!

        Hugs and kisses to you, too!

        Don't believe everything you think.

        by EJP in Maine on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 07:10:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good ol' perceptual closure.... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nova Land, EJP in Maine, winterbanyan

          As in:

          The quick brown fox jumped over the
          the lazy dog's back.

          Perceptual closure makes most of us not notice that the word "the" is repeated, at the end of the first line and at the start of the second.  We see what we expect to see, not what's really there.

          It's commonly described as a weakness, but in fact it's one of our species' great strengths.  It's also why we can recognize objects long before the details are distinct enough that we 'should' be certain, and that skill helped us move from Tree Ape to Plains Ape without becoming Pootie Poop.

  •  Variations on a theme. (0+ / 0-)

    I know it won't change any minds but ...
    Lets play a game:

    What if Obama had chosen a vocal anti union preacher to speak?
    What if Obama had chosen a vocal "Stay in Iraq, Invade Iran" preacher to speak?
    What if Obama had chosen a vocal "Wallmart - Free Trader" preacher to speak?
    Then maybe the cause that YOU care about, would have been dismissed and marginalized.

    Can you see how the gay friendly population might be upset?

      •  Then, I'm not getting your point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Then, I'm not getting your point.  I specifically choose examples that where not about race to show my point.

        I'm a white gay man. I get to experience gay bigotry first hand.  My partner is a black gay man.  I get to experience racial bigotry 2nd hand.  And honestly, his racial discrimination as a black man is much more common and obvious than what I have to put up as a gay man.

        What is wrong with calling Obama about his choice of preachers?  Are gay people just supposed to roll over and put with it?  Why are we bad, for vocalizing it was a poor choice?

        •  My point was.... (6+ / 0-)

          My point was about how we talk to each other, here at DKos and in society at large.  I disagree with Obama on the Rick Warren invitation, and I've said so.  But dividing our progressive community into those who suffer racism vs. those who suffer homophobia vs. those who suffer neither but still believe in full equality vs. etc. - screeching at the top of our pain-filled lungs over who has suffered worse than whom - does anything but serve the interests of The Powers That Be.  If we're fighting each other, we're doing their work for them.

          Sooner or later we need to stop screeching at each other and start listening to each other, or we'll never be more than allies of convenience, cast each other aside at the first inconvenience.

          •  When will the listening start? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Sooner or later we need to stop screeching at each other and start listening to each other, or we'll never be more than allies of convenience, cast each other aside at the first inconvenience.

            True, this is a great idea.  But until our collective anger subsides, many gay people will be irritated by Warren.  And when gay people vocalize this, how come they are told to be quiet?
            It feels like so many of the non gay or Machiavellian among us are simply not listening to the gay people who are vocally upset. They are not doing what you advocate. That's more maddening than what Obama did.

  •  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land, Dar Nirron, Adept2u, NCrissieB

    And thank you again for this reasoned, thoughtful and truthful diary. Saying that being black or Latino and being gay are exactly the same does more harm than good, IMO, because all it does in the end is leave both sides resentful. All forms of discrimination are equally terrible in their destructive potential, but the experiences are unique and should be approached from their own vantage point. And fights where everyone is screaming "You don't understand my PAAAIIIIN!!1" are... somewhat less than helpful.

    Everyone who sees me knows I'm black, but people only know I like girls-as-well-as-guys if I tell them... which is actually kind of frustrating if I meet a really cute girl. ;p (It's also frustrating when men think it means "Ooh, I'll get to have sex with two good-looking chicks!" or lesbians think it means I'm just a slutty toy for straight men, but that's a different issue.)

    •  The problem with identity politics.... (5+ / 0-)

      The problem with identity politics, rather than principled interest politics, is that no two identities are precisely the same.  Once you add in enough descriptors - race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, profession, etc. - you end up with ...

      ... 300 million unique identities vying for attention.

      But we share a lot of principled interests: equality under the law, economic justice, preserving our constitutional liberties, and peace - not merely as an end to the particular wars in which we are now embroiled - but as a basic tenet of national policy.

      If we focus on our principled interests more than our individual identities, we see that we agree far more often than we disagree.  I'm not black, but I am 3/8ths Cherokee so I do have some understanding of racism.  "My" people were always either the bad guys or (to borrow Spike Lee's phrase) the "Magical Niggers" in the movies when I was a kid.  To say I was Cherokee was to be asked if someone's scalp was safe, or if I could do a rain dance.  So it was yet another thing I didn't say about myself.

      Indeed I'd convinced myself that was invisible too, until I met a lovely Mayan girl online.  When we exchanged photos, I sent mine with my customary, self-deprecating disclaimer: "Don't vomit, or at least not on me."

      She promptly shot back: "Well, we could be sisters, so should I be wearing a bag over my head???"

      She then proceeded to give me chapter and verse on how we had almost identical skin tone, cheek bones, and facial structures.  As I looked at her photo and mine side-by-side, I realized she was right.  But for our hair and eye colors, we were indeed very similar.  And if she was oh-my-wow-drool-gasp gorgeous, maybe I wasn't so ugly after all.

      The Powers That Be give each of us dozens of ways to hate ourselves, tell ourselves we ought to just give up and take whatever crumbs happen to fall our ways.  We shouldn't be reinforcing those messages for them.

      P.S.: I don't care if you're a slutty toy for straight men, so long as you hold still while I give you a big warm hug and a Rick-Warren-would-NOT-approve kiss! ;)

  •  I was the substitute teacher for a philosophy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land, winterbanyan, NCrissieB

    class at the community college were I teach.  The discussion got into suicide bombers (this was sometime between 9/11 and the start of the Iraq War).  A couple of the students were very fundamentalist Christians (common at this college).  They said that suicide bombing was always wrong and cowardly and an unforgiveable sin, because it was murder and suicide and no chance to ask for forgiveness.

    So, I talked to the class about the case of Samson in the book of Judges.  How he was captured, tortured and blinded, then got a chance to collapse a building where a bunch of people were partying--most of them non-combatants, probably.  He died in that action.  But he is considered a Judeo-Christian hero.  Therefore, is suicide bombing an unforgiveable sin, or a Biblically-approved war tactic?

    We can do the same thing with the fundamentalist Christians about homosexuality.  We can point to two stories in the Acts of the Apostles (I don't have a Bible handy, so I can't give chapter and verse).  

    (1)  Simon Peter has a vision about eating unclean animals.  Then he is sent to teach and baptize the "unclean" Gentiles who requested his help.  He states that "What God has said is clean, is clean, even if it was unclean before Jesus came." (Paraphrase)

    (2)  The disciple Philip (?not sure) is on the road, and a chariot comes by with a eunuch from a foreign court.  The eunuch is reading from the prophet Isaiah.  But a eunuch is not allowed to convert to Judaism.  Philip then tells him about the more inclusive community of Jesus, and that he can join this new religion.  He requests, and is baptized.  The prohibitions about eunuchs have the same basic origin as the prohibitions against homosexuality in the Old Testament--inability to function like a "real" man.

    Surely we can talk to evangelical/funamentalists about these sorts of passages in their (for some of us, our) own scriptures.  After all, they are now coming on board with other cultural phenomenon, such as divorce for reasons other than adultery, which they previously would not agree to.

    To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

    by Dar Nirron on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 08:17:33 AM PST

    •  Excellent approach. (4+ / 0-)

      I also like to point to Romans 2:1, where Paul chastises those in the Roman church who wanted to pass judgment on others.  That comes at the end of a litany that may arguably include homosexuality (1:26-27) but explicitly includes greed, gossip, and inciting controversy (1:29-30).  Paul concludes in 2:1 that these are all morally equivalent, "for you who judge do the exact same things."

      That may be why the Catholic Church teaches that there is really only one sin, "an intentional act of selfishness." (Cathechism of the Catholic Church)

      Playing the "your sin is worse than my sin" game is exactly what Christ told us not to do.  It's that whole "get the beam out of your own eye before you try to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye" part of "judge not, lest you be judged."

      So yes, we can definitely discuss this with evangelical fundamentalists using their own textbook.

    •  Thank you for this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dar Nirron, NCrissieB

      (2)  The disciple Philip (?not sure) is on the road, and a chariot comes by with a eunuch from a foreign court.  The eunuch is reading from the prophet Isaiah.  But a eunuch is not allowed to convert to Judaism.  Philip then tells him about the more inclusive community of Jesus, and that he can join this new religion.  He requests, and is baptized.  The prohibitions about eunuchs have the same basic origin as the prohibitions against homosexuality in the Old Testament--inability to function like a "real" man.

      This is something that so many progressive Christians seem to forget-going back to our bible, but not being stuck there. Jesus wasn't.

  •  Excellent Excellent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thank you for putting this together, and providing a civil forum to speak.

    I've been trying to say all over threads like this that the gay community is making an error framing their struggle in racial civil rights terms because it is in a way innacurate and does not do justice to the universal humanity that gay rights encompass.

    There are black gay people.  Use them to tell the story of gay rights in the black community and elsewhere.  There are asian, latino, christian, jew, muslim, the whole of humanity is included in the set of people who need gay rights, use all of them and their stories as they are yours without question.  

    The Grand Old Party is really a small cook-out with rancid meat as fare.

    by Adept2u on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 10:02:52 AM PST

  •  Thank you for cross posting- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We all rally need to think about how wee see each other- and our experiences as a people, and understand how perceptions and language can help- or severely hurt.

    You have a heart of gold.

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