Tuesday, November 25, 2008

First Hand Account of an African American Town Hall

Recently, there was a town hall held in the Los Angeles, African American community discussing Prop 8. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but Derrick, of the blog Uncle Fat Lips, was kind enough to allow me to post his account of this very interesting meeting.

"There was a panel of black ministers early on that I caught almost at the tail end. And of course with their self-righteous stupid asses they quoted the bible and all that madness. But I'm so glad that they were among the first panels to go up. And that's because the gays and lesbians were able to follow them up and give these men a dose of reality in terms the REAL aftermath of Prop 8 and what these fools created by encouraging blacks to vote Yes.

"So a lot of revealing information for the ignorant was brought to the table in so much as the big funders for YES on 8 were the one and same big funders who backed McCain's campaign and all that. Bottom line: many blacks just simply were not aware that by supporting Prop 8 they were going to bed with the enemy. And in truth, that's the most awful part about it all---the ignorance surrounding the ramifications in supporting Prop 8--as was discussed at great length today.

More...". . . But what it all melted down to was that many blacks generally made the grave mistake of voting through the prism of religion. That was the hottest topic---2nd to the fact that it is time that black homophobia be addressed on a community level since clearly it's an issue.

"I'd say there was some breakthrough simply for the fact that the ministers who attended (all of which head black mega churches) got a chance to see and hear what's going on in the real world; to hear the resentment and pain of those black gays and lesbians in long term relationships who have been denied their civil rights. And particularly it was good for these ministers to hear from black gays and lesbians who are still involved in church.

"I think the most powerful presence and the one that made the ministers feel the most ill at ease was the presence of the Southern Christian Leadership LA Chapter president. And that's simply because the SCL came out vocally against Prop 8. How can you justify your religious stance to the organization founded by Martin Luther King?

"That's just it---you can't.

"So the SCL is one sore spot they can't get around. And think that's why the ministers showed up and for the most part---with the exception of the bible thumping---they seemed somewhat receptive and seemed to actually be engrossed in what others had to say. More than likely that's cause it's the first time any of them heard any of it from a different perspective than their own.

"Everyone against Prop 8 unanimously agreed however that the No on Prop Campaign was pathetic in comparison to the well thought out strategies of Yes on Prop 8--particularly when it come to aggressively recruiting black votes--which No on 8 didn't bother to do. And they also wholeheartedly agreed that this still didn't excuse the black voter turnout on Prop 8 or diminish the issue of homophobia in the community.

". . . The facts now reveal that overall (whether you agree or disagree with gay marriage) it was not in our [African Americans] best interest as a community to support that measure. And because we did there may be prices to be paid as a result.

"That information, I think, was probably the most sobering of the townhall meeting. And it was clear, based on the quiet demeanor of those black ministers who encouraged the support of Prop 8, that they themselves were not at all clear on the possible negative legislative impact it could have on California blacks in the future. In terms of discrimination---if you open Pandora's Box---you open Pandora's box for all and everything. They simply had no business endorsing the measure. I think they walked away from the event now in realization of this."

1 comment:

  1. Great article - thanks for posting this. It is critical that the GLBT community forge links and dialogue with other progressive communities. I am heartened by this post. I am convinced that a significant percentage of the YES vote was out of ignorance rather than conviction and it is exactly these kinds of discussions that will propel us forward. Our street protests are, of course, very important. I would say, however, that attendance at and participation in events like these are even more critical. Thanks for your great blog disseminating this important information!