Monday, November 29, 2010

Failing To Use Our Best Players

If you want to win at any sport, one ironclad rule is to have your best athletes on the playing field especially when the outcome of the game is in doubt.

That's true of the political and civil rights game as well.  

One of the failures of the trans community (and the GLB one as well) is that we haven't been using our best players to advance our policy and civil rights agenda.   Sometimes the peeps who are in charge aren't necessarily the people who have the skills for the herculean job that is required.

For example, for years the consensus has been that Vanessa Edwards Foster is probably one of the trans community's best lobbyists.  So why is she not in the Capitol Hill trenches working hard to get us closer to making our civil rights goals happen?

Kat Rose is one of our historians and better legal scholars on trans law issues    Why hasn't she been snapped up by some GLBT law firm and put to work tackling some of these cases that could eventually lead to a precedent setting win for us all?     

Why are some of our better players sitting on the sidelines while the mediocre ones and not ready for prime time players continue to stay on the playing field, executing the same failed strategies, running the same lousy plays and keep repeatedly messing up?

In the meantime their obvious lack of success keeps getting us further and further behind in the civil rights game.    

And why in the face of this decades long lack of proven success by predominately white run GLBT orgs are the more talented POC activists not even getting a shot to be in the game and show what they can do?

Well?    Tick..tick..tick...

There are times when the situation may require a creative new strategy that the peeps in charge don't have the temperament, the personnel, flexibility, cognitive ability, political savvy, skills or guts to execute.

We have leadership teams in the LGBT community orgs that are all white at the senior levels.   That's not conducive to an evolving situation in which this country is getting more multiethnic by the day.  It also means that an all white leadership culled from middle and upper middle class ranks for the most part has no clue what it's like for low income LGBT whites whose  issues are different from the policy priorities the middle-upper middle class folks set in their corporate style board meetings.

That's before I even start discussing how they result in policies that are out of whack to people of color of all economic classes.  LGBT peeps of color bring another set of realities and policy challenges that they need addressed for their segments of the BTLG community that may not neatly align with vanillacentric generated  policy.  But because TBLG persons of color aren't represented in the leadership ranks of the organizations setting the policy, they aren't being heard or having those issues addressed.

Another factor in why this community fails to use its best players is because the leadership ranks of these orgs are overwhelmingly white,.they reinforce that in their hiring practices by replacing their leadership cadres with more people from their ethnic group.  By repeatedly doing so they miss out on some talented persons of color in the process, and then are mystified when that lack of diversity manifests itself into lack of progress on the civil rights front.

A glaring example of it was the failed 2008 No on Prop 8 referendum battle in California.    After the loss, when African-American activist Jasmyne Cannick pointed out the failure of the No on Prop 8 peeps to engage POC communities in an LA Times op-ed, they huffily pushed back, then their own post mortem   validated what Jasmyne originally expressed in her November 8 op-ed column.

This kind of crap is a reason why non-white LGBT peeps get frustrated with large white dominated GLBT orgs and out of frustration with the vanilla status quo form rival POC only organizations to start compiling and working on an agenda that takes their needs into consideration.

Professional sports and the collegiate ranks recognized a long time ago that all white teams can't work forever, and there are benefits to deploying a talented multicultural team.

Our enemies in the Forces of Intolerance are the same monoracial conservative forces that have opposed civil rights progress for generations, but even they have started to deploy POC sellouts to pimp their message.

I know that in liberal progressive circles many peeps hate so-called identity politics, but if you want to win your rights, you better recognize that ALL politics in the United States is identity politics, and the right wingers have been kicking our behinds at it.

It's time for us to play smarter, plan accordingly and start using our first round draft picks culled from our entire rainbow of diversity to help us win the civil rights game.

No comments: