Sunday, November 9, 2008


SCARED STRAIGHT INTO VOTING FOR 8: Are African Americans the most homophobic people in America?

African American voters in California voted overwhelmingly for Prop 8, writing anti-gay discrimination into California’s constitution and banning same-sex marriage.

Seventy percent (70%) of African American voters approved Prop 8, according to exit polls, compared to 53% of Latino voters, 49% of white voters, 49% of Asian voters.

How is it that one of California's smallest minorities (6%) and arguably the most discriminated group in America, "African Americans", could vote to legally discriminate against anyone knowing what we as a people have been through in this country?

It is amazing how the oppressed become the oppressors. So many black church ministers in America have gone rogue (which is nothing new) and launched all out attacks on groups and individuals that don't fit in with their religious views. From Reverend Wright to Pastor Manning, these are just two examples of how everything that is preached in the pulpit isn't about loving your fellow man or uniting and helping the community.

Am I stating that all black churches or black people are bad people? Am I saying that black people are weak and not a strong people? Of course not! What I am stating is that many (if not most) black preachers perpetuate hateful rhetoric against gay people in America and prey on the fears of their church members. (see my blog entry GOD Hates Fags)

Why do people believe that the rights of the minority should be up for popular vote anyway?
Imagine if slavery would have been left up to the vote of the people, black people would still be slaves!

I think that Black people are afraid. As a matter of fact, I believe that black people are the most fearful group in American history. Our ancestors were conditioned by the slave master to be afraid. Christianity was twisted and distorted and used to enslave our ancestors by creating a culture of fear that has been handed down through the generations.

Black churches have (in the name of Jesus) convinced us that if we don't walk right, talk right, dress right, have sex right or vote right, we will go to straight to hell.

Black churches have adopted the same practices handed down from our slave handlers using the bible as a way to keep black people in check and to whip us into submission.
Another manifestation of our fear is self loathing. We see it in statistics about our health, black on black crime, prison incarceration rates and substance abuse, etc.

As a people, many of us are simply embarrassed. So many of us (African Americans) will do whatever it takes to prevent any additional social "strikes" against us. Many of us will even deny others their rights if we believe our chances of getting into heaven will increase.

Many heterosexual black women (who tend to be well represented within black churches) are also afraid that their chances of finding a husband is essentially in jeopardy and that by voting for Prop 8 they will somehow stop the perceived exodus of black men to the gay side and secure a man for themselves.
I believe that if civil rights for certain groups (other than heterosexual black people) were left up to the black majority, there would be a new form of legalized slavery in America, especially in regards to the LGBT community. Denying gay people their rights is a direct insult to everyone that ever fought for civil rights and democracy in America and around the world.

And although the Mormon Church (white folks) played a huge role in raising the money to ensure the success of Prop 8, many black churches in California jumped right on the band wagon by encouraging their members to Vote Yes on the measure.

Barack Obama's experience with Reverend Wright proves my point that Black Churches cancel out the good that they do by preaching hateful and divisive messages from the pulpit and encouraging their congregations to follow suit.

When Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech in Grant Park, he made it clear that America is a multi-fabric cloth that includes gay people. And that their is no room in a progressive America for discrimination of any kind.

Obama is clear that anyone who is against this vision of equality for all is indeed against the very ideals that will heal America and move our nation forward.

I urge black people regardless of your sexual orientation to go out and support your brothers and sisters who are "gay" and stop the oppressive behaviors that have been programmed into the black collective psyche. Can't you see that you are killing your people?

The concepts espoused by Barack Obama, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are not just for black people, they are words for all oppressed people seeking equality.

Gay and lesbian people in America will have equal rights and it will happen in my lifetime.



Anonymous said...

I notice Joe you don't get a lot of comments on your postings unless it concerns a photo of a cutie you uploaded :-0

Hey I'm guilty too of not taking a few moments to acknowledge your efforts to always bring social awareness to us, along with sexual freedom and pleasure.

Keep speaking your truth and you are heard and appreciated, even if your editorials seem to get no feed back.

I wasn't going to let this incident on the Prop 8 go without my 2 cents. I was so mad seeing so many black youth in the streets of Oakland, holding signs and handing out posters supporting the passage of this evil bill. Why haven't they come out for more pressing social issues in our community.

Aren't they aware the same hatred and fear directed to gays, however sleakly it is disguished as religious freedom, is the same arguments used on black people for 400 years, using the same Bible to support the suppression of our people. The continuing abuse and dehumanizing actions thrown upon us was justified as the natural way God intended.

The Moroms? Wasn't this the religious group that until the 1970's (that's right--I remember seeing Maria Ossmond on TV sheepishly saying she couldn't question her churches position on black people, but she hopes their leader will one day get a message from God to change. Blacks were not allowed as members!

Moroms until most recently have expressed the belief blacks were not human and saved by Jesus? Do my people have any sense of history, justice, of what we suffered? How dare we condome any discriminations against any group for how nature made them! And I'm even more angry that is done in many black churches, yes even gay-lead and heavily gay congregations here in Oakland and many other cities.

What an offense to God, Jesus, the Bringer of peace and love, and to all our ancestors who were killed, hung, drowned, enslaved, whip, torture, denied the most basic of human considerations, mules in the field were given more care and humanity. This prejudice coming from the descendants of great leaders said "let freedom ring..we shall overcome...this little light of mine...all men are created any means necessary. I don't get it

I am a proud black person, I am also gay. I see our contributions everywhere in the arts, social movements, politics, military, medicine, even supporting the churches. We are deserving of respect, freedom, and equality too.

Peace Joe, see u around town, always walking on B'way LOL

mad-in-oakland (capital of black gays and men in denial) LOL

richard said...

hey Joe, wassup its richard, i got your email asking me to peep your blog.

i hear you, and hear your dissapointment in black folks right now. i must say though, that its hard for me to read this..! I understand that you must be so angry, that you must have such a profound sense of betrayal... but to call our people, the survivors of centuries of slavery, the "most fearful group in American history"... wow man. Harriet Tubman went back and forth into slave territory 19 times to liberate more enslaved Africans from unimaginable misery.... and the courage she demonstrated is not an aberration.

I understand the analysis, we are indeed traumatized by slavery and colonialism. a lot has been done to our bodies. We are in need of healing. The oppressed AND the oppressed are in need of healing. And people in need of healing need understanding and love.

Again, i understand that you must be so profoundly rageful. And you shouldn't keep that locked in. But you also run the risk of perpetuating more of the self-loathing, the self-hatred in yourself, if you turn your rage at your own. I am a hetero black man, and i am moved to step the work in my communities because this comes to me as an emergency signal. If you check my blog, its clear its an emergency signal i have been aware of for sometime... it just got louder recently.

I am trying to find the language that i can use to meet with church going black folks... words that come to mind are internalized oppression, colonialism, and words that you have used too... but i know that there will be no dialogue if i come to the table pointing fingers with pathologizing words, words that say i am ok but you are in need of de-colonzation therapy. I am still trying to figure out what i can say to people who are already feeling scapegoated for the passing of Prop 8. what to say to people who strongly believe that their God is basically heteronormative and homophobic.

So far, i am working on the idea that church is important and close to these people in a personal way. I would want to ask what it would be like if another powerful religion that thought that Christianity was wrong, was not content to let Christians just do their thing, but had to make sure all churches were closed. To ask how they would feel. How they would feel knowing that there were other black people in this other powerful religion. People from the workplace. Friends. Even family. How would that feel?

I wish for you, cooling rivers to wash over you... that you can be gentle and loving with yourself, gentle and loving with all of us in this communal struggle.

i hope you are feelin me, and that you do feel me approaching with love and understanding as well. i leave you with some laughs and insight from the amazing Wanda Sykes On Gay Marriage. :)

And thanks for the holla!

bless up,

Quimani the Great! said...

Hey Joe,

This is Qui (TriQui)... I do read your blog and visit your web sites whenever time permits. I wanted to respond to your latest email blog because I am outraged at the California Prop 8 outcome and disgusted by some of the things I'm hearing people of color say (Black Gays especially) about same sex marriage. One such thing is, “Prop 8 is for White Gays! So, I'm not supporting nor voting No on 8...".
Reading the Prop 8, I did NOT see any clauses, sentences or lines stating Prop 8 was "only for white same sex couples". Even if you Gay person never want to see yourself married to your lover, partner or extended one night stand piece … why deny others the opportunity? I think I smell that self hatred again.

Equality for all, right?

This is a Civil Rights issue. When two consenting adults have decided that they want to spend their lives together – they should have the right to do so legally, no matter what their race (Loving vs. State of Virginia) nor what their sexual orientation (On May 15, 2008, the Supreme Court of California overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage in In re Marriage Cases.[3] The four-to-three decision took effect on June 16, 2008). The 14th amendment in our US constitution was not just for slaves –it’s equality for ALL citizens in our jurisdiction of the USA… that means its Due Process clause includes Same gender loving people, if it included Roe vs. Wade and a woman’s right to choose.

Over the weekend, some preachers in Sacramento were on TV saying, “Civil Rights! This is no civil rights issue... Gays have never been beaten, hosed down; spit on or denied entry into some place because they are Homosexuals!!..."


Perhaps they never heard about Stonewall, Sekia Gunn, Matthew Sheppard or recognized the hundreds of thousands of parishioners that have been battered and abused verbally daily from pulpits all over the world? I am a proud law abiding, L.G.B.T.Q. supporting, Black Christian, church going, Jesus loving, citizen who supports Same Sex marriage. As a member of a United Church of Christ church, so does our newly elected Black President Barack Obama.

The most money raised to stop Gay Marriage was done so by religious groups, the one thing I know about Jesus … THERE IS NO HATRED IN CHRIST!!

Black people, Gay people, BlackGay people… USE YOUR BRAINS, YOUR HEARTS and LOVE ALL WAYS!

I will re posted your commentary on both of my MySpace pages ( ) in hopes we will be able to reach those people within the LGBT community and beyond, who have made this a race issue. Your words were real and true!

Love, Peace & Soul,
~Quimani the Great! ~

atlncegy said...

More of the same blah blah blah. Too many of you are silent at church, to your family and friends. When a gay joke is overheard at work you laugh right along with it. You ask yourself why did prop 8 fly with your mothers, fathers, sisters and only need to look at yourself

clinton killian said...

The gay-black divide
Jasmyne A. Cannick

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

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I am a perfect example of why the fight against Proposition 8, which amends California's Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, failed to win black support.


Open Forum
The court will overturn Prop. 8 11.11.08
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More Open Forum »

I am black. I am a political activist who cares deeply about social justice issues. I am a lesbian. This year, I canvassed the streets of South Los Angeles and Compton, knocking on doors, talking politics to passers-by and working as I never had before to ensure a large voter turnout among African Americans. But even I wasn't inspired to encourage black people to vote against the proposition.

Why? Because I don't see why the right to marry should be a priority for me or other black people. Gay marriage? Please. At a time when blacks are still more likely than whites to be pulled over for no reason, more likely to be unemployed than whites, more likely to live at or below the poverty line, I was too busy trying to get black people registered to vote, period; I wasn't about to focus my attention on what couldn't help but feel like a secondary issue.

The first problem with Prop. 8 was the issue of marriage itself. The white gay community never successfully communicated to blacks why it should matter to us above everything else - not just to me as a lesbian but to blacks generally. The way I see it, the white gay community is banging its head against the glass ceiling of a room called equality, believing that a breakthrough on marriage will bestow on it parity with heterosexuals. But the right to marry does nothing to address the problems faced by both black gays and black straights. Does someone who is homeless or suffering from HIV but has no health care, or newly out of prison and unemployed, really benefit from the right to marry someone of the same sex?

Maybe white gays could afford to be singularly focused, raising millions of dollars to fight for the luxury of same-sex marriage. But blacks were walking the streets of the projects and reaching out to small businesses, gang members, convicted felons and the spectrum of an entire community to ensure that we all were able to vote.

Second is the issue of civil rights. White gays often wonder aloud why blacks, of all people, won't support their civil rights. There is a real misunderstanding by the white gay community about the term. Proponents of gay marriage fling it around as if it is a one-size-fits-all catchphrase for issues of fairness.

But the black civil rights movement was essentially born out of and driven by the black church; social justice and religion are inextricably intertwined in the black community. To many blacks, civil rights are grounded in Christianity - not something separate and apart from religion but synonymous with it. To the extent that the issue of gay marriage seemed to be pitted against the church, it was going to be a losing battle in my community.

Then there was the poorly conceived campaign strategy. Opponents of Prop. 8 relied on an outdated civil-rights model, engaging the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to help win black support on the issue of gay marriage. This happened despite the warnings of black lesbians and gays that it wouldn't work. While the NAACP definitely should have been included in the strategy, it shouldn't have been the only group. Putting nearly a quarter of a million dollars into an outdated civil-rights group that has very little influence on the black vote - at least when it comes to gay issues - will never work.

Likewise, holding the occasional town-hall meeting in Leimert Park - the one part of the black community where they now feel safe, thanks to gentrification - to tell black people how to vote on something gay isn't effective outreach either.

There's nothing a white gay person can tell me when it comes to how I, as a black lesbian, should talk to my community about this issue. If and when I choose to, I know how to say what needs to be said. Many black gays just haven't been convinced that this movement for marriage is about anything more than the white gays who fund it (and who, we often find, are just as racist and clueless when it comes to blacks as they claim blacks are homophobic).

Some people seem to think that homophobia trumps racism, and that winning the battle for gay marriage will symbolically bring about equality for everyone. That may seem true to white gays, but as a black lesbian, let me tell you: There are still too many inequalities that exist as it relates to my race for that to ever be the case. Ever heard of "driving while black"? Ever looked at the difference between the dropout rates for blacks and for whites? Or test scores? Or wages? Or rates of incarceration?

And in the end, black voters in California voted against gay marriage by more than 2 to 1.

Maybe next time around - because we all know this isn't over - the gay community can demonstrate the capacity and willingness to change that America demonstrated when it went to the polls on Nov. 4. Black gays are depending on their white counterparts to finally "get it."

Until then, don't expect to make any inroads any time soon in the black community on this issue - including with this black lesbian.

Jasmyne A. Cannick is a writer in Los Angeles. Her Web site is This commentary first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

This article appeared on page B - 7 of the San Francisco Chronicle

clinton killian said...

Dear Mr. Hawkins:
I received your email blast Sunday of Blacks voting for Proposition 8. It seems that your blame is misplaced. A majority of both males and females voted for it, including every age group above 30 and middle income voters. In addition, over 80% of Catholics, Mormons, Republicans and Conservatives voted for it. That appears to be the real problem than the small number of African American voters. Maybe the campaign run by the No on 8 Committee falied to run an effective campaign. Some of the failures are as follows:
1. No competing initiative on the ballot. It is textbook California politics to run a competing ballot initiative to defeat one. This way, you get to define the issue and rally your supporters around a positive measure, instead of attempting to gather no votes.
2. Allowing the opposition to define the debate. The Yes on 8 groups defined this initiative as a religious and social issue, not a legal issue. The No on 8 group never clearly defined their message. They made the mistake of assuming everyone understood the issue as well as they did. There was clear message as to why this was important. As a result, they failed to educate people on the implications and left most voters to decide whether they believed in traditional marriage.
3. Failure to do outreach and educate. The No on 8 Committee turned down numerous highly visible supporters who wanted to support the campaign, like Rep. Barbara Lee, Assem. Sandre Swanson, Magic Johnson and numerous others. They did not do any type of voter education in the Black community and they certainly did not reach out to Black churches, even the pastors who were against Proposition 8. They made
4. Coalition building. It is basic politics that in order to receive support, you have to give support. The gay community tried to present this as a civil rights issue without showing support of other current civil rights issues. For example, Palo Alto police chief threatens to stop every Black male in Palo Alto. Numerous groups were outraged. It would have been helpful for gay organizations to condemn this blatant violation of civil rights, and not try to tie it to historical civil rights actions.
As you must know, there is a high correlation between Black voters and Black church goers. As a result, in order to secure the Black vote, a campaign should have been run in the Black church and community.
Your analysis of Black history is skewed and quite frankly, false. Many Black people throughout history of the 500 years in this country who have shown their bravery, I doubt that fear is a way to describe them. Furthermore, the pathology that you describe isn’t in all Black people, nor does slavery explain why Whites use meth, Latinos and Asians belong to gangs, or any other social ills.
Now is the time to build coalitions to ensure that basic civil rights are protected for all Americans, including gays. This will require gays to do outreach and find common ground between the many diverse groups of American society. Between now and the next election, I urge gays to educate the majority population so that their issues are not defined by stereotypes and non-exposure to the reality.
Here’s an idea, and I would be willing to work with you on this, get a group of 10 gay couples together and every Sunday attend a different church so that those members can see and hear why gay marriage is so important. So, are you willing to do something positive or do you simply want to misdirect anger? Your decision. Let me know. Thanks

mark not from cali said...

i just reviewed the numbers and it appears to me that prop 8 was decided by 529,000 votes. so if blacks make up 6% of the total votes, that would equate to 688,000 votes. had blacks voted as whites or asians (49%) voted, then the vote would have still been over 400,000 votes shy. i think it is unfair to criticize african americans more than any other race. i think if someone believes in prop 8, then that is their choice. this is definitely an issue that people throughout the u.s. see differently....