11.07.2008

Wayne Bessen on Prop. 8

The following is an email that I received from a gay rights activist named Wayne Bessen who is a figurehead of TruthWinsOut.org.

Nov 7, 2008 - I can understand why white gay people are angry. I certainly am. But, let's take a step back and look at this dispassionately.

I believe our failure with the African American vote (70% voted in favor of Prop. 8) has more to do with education levels than race.

In general, people with lower levels of education - of any race - do not vote for gay rights.

White people are twice as likely to graduate college as black people. This accounts for the difference by race on Prop. 8.

Think of it this way. 57 percent of white people with a college education voted No on Prop. 8. Yet, 58 percent of white people with no college voted yes on 8. In other words, uneducated urban black people vote very much like uneducated rural white people.

Uneducated people - black, white and Hispanic - often derive their power from physical strength. They perceive being gay as weak and antithetical to real manhood. By voicing support for gay rights, they lose status and often fear rivals may perceive them as gay.

The easiest way to gain status is dissing faggots. I see this attitude all the time in Brooklyn - in the gym and on the basketball court, where I often play. (Not the best sample, I realize this)

Meanwhile, educated people of all races gain power by outsmarting opponents - not beating them up. This creates a safe space to support gay rights and not lose social status. (Unfortunately, the fact that the conservative black church is a central organizing point for politics makes even educated blacks less likely to vote for gay rights. But, this is secondary to education levels.)

It is understandable that black support for anti-gay efforts drives white gay people nuts. It is difficult to understand how people affected by bigotry can promote bigotry - as if they are selfish people who learned all the wrong lessons from the civil rights movement.

But, remember, uneducated people - of all races - are not students of history. They react to the environment around them, which often rewards homophobia.

(Compounding this perception problem is that the vast majority of overt homophobia experienced by urban gays comes from black people. In places like New York City, you almost never hear a white person say "faggot". But, we hear this from uneducated blacks too often. This makes the problem seem worse than it is. We often forget that we moved to places like New York to escape uneducated whites in rural areas that were just as openly homophobic. In other words - it is about education - not race.)

A few of possible solutions to ponder:

1) We must air public service announcements with people like former basketball star Charles Barkley - who is a tough guy and supporter of same-sex marriage. We must show masculine African American figures who are supportive, every chance we get.

Obama is also a huge help, because he is inclusive and is the ultimate example of power though academic success. His leadership will improve our fate.

2) We must work to raise the education levels of all Americans - which will lead to less homophobia of all races.

The fact that we have so many African Americans in prison - and not graduating is a legacy of racism and a national disgrace. This must change.

3) We must also have substantive discussion with the African American community - as many GLBT leaders have suggested. But, until we raise education levels, there is only so much we can do to win support of urban blacks - or rural whites.

In other words, scholarships for urban blacks and rural whites are as effective as spending money on education specifically about gay rights. Keep this in mind.

4) While I recognize that there are many supportive pro-gay black churches, as long as this is the central organizing place for black politics, this is not helpful for gay rights. Alternative organizing places for aspiring black leaders must be strengthened.

11 comments:

ztkraptor said...

Homophobia -
irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals

Listen, I am in no way afraid of homosexuality.

I agree there are many uneducated people out there voting.

I question you this.
Can you explain to me why gay marriage should be legal?
Can you explain to me how this is against the constitution?



"Think of it this way. 57 percent of white people with a college education voted No on Prop. 8. Yet, 58 percent of white people with no college voted yes on 8. In other words, uneducated urban black people vote very much like uneducated rural white people."

Tell me how many, as in a quantified number of people voted. It is California, one of the if not the most liberal of all the states.

Obviously the people knew what they were voting on.
They overwhelmingly supported a Liberal candidate, but did not support gay marriage.
You are saying 1 of 2 things here.

The people who voted for Barrak Obama are stupid and their vote shouldn't count because they did not know what they were voting for.
Or, they knew what they were voting for, and are just homophobes.

If you are going to proclaim everyone who doesn't want something that was created to define the Union between Man and a Woman, as a homophobe I think you are going to loose more than you wish to gain.

Question 2:
What do you have to say for the educated 43% of people?
Are they all homophobes and homosexual haters?
What do you have to say to them?
They are just plain old stupid?!?

David Allen Acker said...

You're putting words in my mouth and jumping to some silly conclusions.

as for the constitutional reasons, I posted them online:

http://progressiveu.org/202031-constitutionality-same-sex-marriage-bans

ztkraptor said...

you haven't answered my question.
What do you say to the educated 43% of people?

Now on to the point.
This is the problem with liberalism.
The Constitution is garbage until they want to use it to push agenda.

You are right the 14th amendment states:
"nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"

However you forget to define one thing.
Due Process which is defined as this:
"Due process is the principle that the government must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person according to the law of the land"

Now, what is the "law of the land" is that not what the PEOPLE decide what it is?
The people vote, and decide what is to be law. Not the courts.

If one doesn't like the law of this land established by the people who reside in it, they are more than welcome to leave this land and find a land with which they find is more comfortable.

I believe that Due Process happened when the PEOPLE of the residing states voted to ban what they felt was something that needed to be banned. The Courts, nor anyone has a right to change the Democratic process.

Or should we shred the constitution?
and go against anything that built this country?

Why do we not let Mormons practice polygamy(even tho we don't really enforce this)? Why do we not let nudists be in public, such as baseball games or football games?

Are we not infringing upon the rights of these people?

What is the point of having a country, if you have no say in the democratic process, that the courts will decide what is right and wrong.
And again,
what do you have to say to the 43% of educated people?

David Allen Acker said...

You clearly didn't read my whole article, you are missing out on at least 3/4ths of the constitutionality issue.

Read it all the way through, then respond.

"Why do we not let Mormons practice polygamy(even tho we don't really enforce this)? Why do we not let nudists be in public, such as baseball games or football games?"

Please do not compare homosexuality to crazy religious nonsense.

As for MY article that I posted (not the Wayne Bessen one)

I clearly stated that it was those who were less educated, more RELIGIOUS, and living away from the cities where they would be more likely to meet openly homosexual people.

It's a combination of these things. Not just education.

ztkraptor said...

And I'm asking you.
What do you have to say to the people who were "educated" and voted?!?!
I mean, are they morons or homophobes too?

Nudism is a religion?!?!
Way to dodge the question there :(
Also, When did courts get to create law?

ztkraptor said...

Also,
I'm a bit confused about how adding something to the constitution aka an amendment is unconstitutional. When an amendment being added allows the constitution to do something it wasn't able to do before.

David Allen Acker said...

"And I'm asking you.
What do you have to say to the people who were "educated" and voted?!?!
I mean, are they morons or homophobes too?"

The educated who voted are, most likely, voting to ban equality because of their religion or because they are living in a rural area. A.K.A. gay people, for the most part, are out of sight and mind for people living away from cities.

"Why do we not let nudists be in public, such as baseball games or football games?"

Honestly, how can you compare the choice of wanting to be naked, to being gay. Don't tell me that you are one of those people who think it's a choice?!? If you are, then this debate pretty much over, because that's an unreasonable and uneducated stance.

http://www.apahelpcenter.org/articles/article.php?id=31


"Also, When did courts get to create law?"

They aren't creating the law, they are reading the U.S. Constitution: specifically the 1st and 14th amendments. Also, the courts are familiar with previous rulings such as Loving v. Virginia, Brown v. Board of Education.

Read the rulings on those and you will see the Constitutional law that support these historic and relevant decisions.

This is a Civil Rights issue, not a religious opinion survey:

You should familiarize yourself with the Supreme Court religious endorsement test of Lynch v. Donnelly, and the Lemon test of Lemon v. Kurtzman.

Read up on the law rather than making broad-sweeping generalizations of what you think a democracy means without knowing what our constitution says or how the supreme court has historically interpreted it in order to allow for interracial marriages, the end of separate but equal, and the safeguard against the passage of religious laws.

David Allen Acker said...

Seriously, just read that paper and you wouldn't have so many questions.

David Allen Acker said...

http://
youreadygrandma.
blogspot.com/
2008/10/
california-is-voting-soon.html

ztkraptor said...

So,
you haven't answered my question.
I wasn't comparing nudism to homosexuality. So can you please answer it.
However I am asking you if we are infringing upon their rights?
Its a simple yes or no answer.
I also see that you say that the people who voted for pop 8. MUST have some underlying reason whether it be religion, area of where they live.
I mean, lets get real here. Anything that doesn't push your agenda has something wrong with it. Regardless of what it is, if it is against what you believe its wrong because of some underlying reason.
Tell me, what is an "amendment to a constitution"

Are you honestly comparing interracial marriages to homosexuality?
Can you tell me what marriage is. And what it was defined for? Just curious. Please answer these few questions.
oh by the way, studies say that it it may not be a choice, but its also not biologically instilled into someone.
Even pro-homosexuality sites agree there are underlying causes.
http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/comingoutadvice/a/Causes.htm

Now, just answer the few questions I have. And please expand on what you think marriage is for.

David Allen Acker said...

"I wasn't comparing nudism to homosexuality. So can you please answer it."

- What does this have to do with your argument against same-sex marriages, the two aren't comprable, as you clearly stated.


"I also see that you say that the people who voted for pop 8. MUST have some underlying reason whether it be religion, area of where they live. I mean, lets get real here. Anything that doesn't push your agenda has something wrong with it. Regardless of what it is, if it is against what you believe its wrong because of some underlying reason."

- Yes, everyone who voted against prop 8 must have a reason for doing so. Key reasons would be religious views (The Mormon Church was the biggest donator to ban same-sex marriage). Their location that they live in affecting the amount of interaction they have had with homosexuals in being able to see they we are human beings and not scary, dirty, sinful creatures. Finally, their educational level, which would factor into their understanding of homosexuality also comes into play.

What other reasons can you think of that people would have to vote against same-sex marriages that are logical and valid?


Tell me, what is an "amendment to a constitution"

An amendment to the constitution in the case of same-sex marriages, would have to also modify the First Amendment and the 14th Amendment in order to become constitutional. Honestly...DID YOU READ MY PAPER AT ALL? I don't think you understand the U.S. Constitution or Supreme Court rulings that are key to where America is today. Once again... read that paper and you wouldn't be asking me half of these questions. ... Then again, if you have read the paper and you are still asking these questions, then you either understand the law and don't see me as an equal person. Or you don't understand the law.

"Are you honestly comparing interracial marriages to homosexuality?"

- No. I am honestly comparing same-sex marriage to interracial marriages. So that would be like comparing being black to being homosexual. It's not a choice. Why would anyone choose to be shunned in society like homosexuals are every day?

"Can you tell me what marriage is. And what it was defined for? Just curious."

Marriage is the decision of two people to legally join together for the rest of their lives. As a result, the married persons recieve approximately 1,200 legal rights from both the state and federal levels ( # varying slightly depending on what state they were married in).

You can get married by having the loving couple sign papers in City Hall with an official and a witness present. (No priest, no Bible, no church, no religion necessary to get married). It is a loving commitment between two human beings who wish to spend the rest of their lives together.

Marriage, besides the many thinks I've already said above, also helps to solidify a promise between two individuals, saying that they wish to remain together for life. (Although straight couples do have about a 50% divorce rate, so that's not doing much for the "sanctity of marriage" now is it?)

ALSO: Marriage is clearly not for making children, otherwise infertile individuals and the elderly could not get married. Also, those who wanted the 1,200 marriage benefits but did not want to have kids could also not get married.

"oh by the way, studies say that it it may not be a choice, but its also not biologically instilled into someone.
Even pro-homosexuality sites agree there are underlying causes.
http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/comingoutadvice/a/Causes.htm"

The only choice when it comes to homosexuality is the choice to come out and be honest. I could see someone who feels that they are bisexual making a choice to try to date only one sex. Other than that, try not to rely on sites like... About.com.

They start of pretty well with the APA citing. Maybe try sticking to that as The American Psychological Association (APA), located in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. Its membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students. APA works to advance psychology as a science and profession and as a means of promoting health, education, and human welfare.


Here's what they say: Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?

No, human beings cannot choose to be either gay or straight. For most people, sexual orientation emerges in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Although we can choose whether to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.

Here's their website: http://www.apahelpcenter.org/articles/article.php?id=31

If you have any more questions or disagreements on homosexuality: contact APA Help Center, please email helping@apa.org