My Civil Rights are better than yours… Blacks, Gays and Prop 8

activism, lgbt, politics Add comments (6)

Jasmyne Cannick, a sometimes controversial lesbian writer from LA has spoken out on Prop 8, and you might not like what she has to say, particularly about us “white gays.”

“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.”


“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?”

This isn’t the first time Jasmine Cannick has run across our radar. She successfully ran a campaign against Shirley Q. Liquor — a white man doing drag as a southern, black, not-so-well-educated woman — getting him banned at several night clubs/events throughout the country. Liquor has a large fan base, both black and white.

I get the sense that Cannick would like us “white gays” to get to the back of the line and wait our turn. Perhaps a better analogy is for us to get to the back of the civil rights bus. While she makes a “few” valid points, I couldn’t disagree more. What do you think?

Full article here.

Post by ILO on 11/12/08 at 12:08 pm