Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Fatal Flaw Of The GL Movement Rears Its Head Again In Maryland

Did I not foreshadow what was going to happen in Maryland before this marriage equality drama got started?  

There is however a 30% chunk of it made up of African-Americans spread across the state and the last time we checked, the relationship between the African-American and gay community has been rather testy since 2008.

The African American community hasn't exactly been happy about, nor have we forgotten the anti Black  bigotry that broke out in the gay community in the wake of the 2008 Prop 8 loss.    There's also the perception in the African American community that the gay community has repeatedly disrespected a very popular in the Black community President Obama. 

So should it come down to a referendum the EQ Maryland folks are facing trying to get a plurality of African Americans to vote with them on this issue when they've done little outreach with a community that has issues with them and will be trying to do so with predominately white spokespeople.

And the anti marriage people will try to exploit that weakness. 

While the Maryland marriage equality bill never got out of the legislature to even get the governor's signature, much less have that referendum that probably would have killed it,  the post mortem has already begun in the Gayosphere on why the marriage equality legislation failed with a Democratic legislature in place and a Democratic governor willing to sign it.

Cue the 'Blame the Black legislators' rants in the Gayosphere in 5...4...3...2...1 ...

Before you start blaming anyone, better take a long hard look in the mirror at yourselves GL community and your (In) Equality Maryland representatives.   

I and other African American TBLG people, and numerous LGBT persons of color have repeatedly made this point until we are hoarse that you keep ignoring.

Until you have real diversity, and not token representation in these predominately white-run GLBT organizations at the senior leadership level and throughout the organization, you will continue to fail on this and other issues of importance to the BTLG community with communities of color.

The National Black Justice Coalition was sitting in Washington DC.  Did anyone in EQ MD even think about the fact that Maryland is a state with a 30% African-American population, and maybe it would have been a  wise move at the start to have the NBJC on board in this coalition and give their ED Sharon Lettman-Hicks a call?

Obviously they didn't.   And they paid for their lack of vision. 

If you take a look at Equality Maryland, what ethnic group dominates their leadership ranks?  . Damned sure ain't mine or Latino/a's

Your opponents are mopping the floor with you on this issue using identity politics.   The sad part is they beat you in Maryland with the 'B' team.  Robert 'Android Marriage' Broadus led the charge in taking down gay marriage legislation while Bigot Harry Jackson was sitting at his megachurch in Beltsville, MD on standby.

And because of your distaste for whatever reason of 'identity politics', your professional organizations and campaigns continue to labor under a severe handicap.  You not only don't (or won't) hire, invite or let qualified POC's run your orgs, you won't let POC's, who are better equipped by their lived experiences to counter those tactics run these civil rights campaigns.  

As long as the perception continues that the GL movement is a predominately wealthy white we're 'Just Like You' one, continues to present a white face to the media for it, and refuse to share the responsibility of the leadership of it with persons of color, you will continue to lose on marriage or any other issues of importance to this community.

In communities of color, whites and especially gay and lesbian white people are already perceived as having disproportionate amounts of societal privilege because that's the face you have continually presented to the world at large.   If a civil rights issue is being decided in a legislative committee or comes to a vote in a referendum and the only spokespeople advocating for it or lobbying for it have been white, the thought percolating through the POC's head is 'why should we give wealthy whites any more civil rights than we have and are still struggling to get?'

They are not going to see the civil rights issue at hand because you have failed to make the case in my community that marriage equality is a civil rights issue.  All you talk about in terms of marriage is the tax breaks you don't get, and that's a losing argument.

And the next thing that happens is once again you're scratching your collective heads and wondering why another GL rights slam dunk on the civil rights basketball court clanged off the rim and out of bounds into the stands, but you still use the same players, playbook and game plan that led to your loss in the first place..

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