Monday, November 10, 2008

Tha Artstorian Writes: Don't Blame Blacks For Prop 8

Don't


For


Everybody's journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality. ~James Baldwin


There are very few liberal Christians today who would dare say anything other than blacks are our brothers and they should be treated so, but they will make all kinds of hideous distinctions when it comes to our gay brothers. . . . There are great numbers of people who will accept all kinds of people: blacks, Hispanics, and Jews, but who won't accept fags. That is what makes the homosexual central to the whole political apparatus as to how far we can go in human rights. ~Bayard Rustin


The effort to elect Barack Obama as POTUS was a process started 400 years ago when the good ship Jesus delivered enslaved Afrikans to the Americas…It took until 1865 for the descendants of these enslaved Afrikans to be freed from America’s Original sin and it took another 100 years for their kin to be granted the rights of full U.S. Citizens…And it took a Black man 40 plus years later to win over a state,Virginia, that was the colony responsible for bringing his ancestors to America in the first place…

I write all of this to say that it is folly and a great misstep to blame African Americans for the passage of the Prop 8 ban on gay marriage and civil union bill which passed into California Law on the same day that history of another shade & meaning was made…

The corporate media is a mess… Black folks are some of the most tolerant, forgiving, and spiritual folks on this planet…Even when we were enslaved, families destroyed, lynched and denied access to the ballot and were considered 3/5ths humans, we still believed in the American creed and dream…We still tried to appeal to America’s better angels, even though it seemed that our prayers fell on deaf or rather indifferent ears…So how can you blame a people that have gone through what African Americans have for blocking anyone else’s pursuit of happiness???

I have spoken to a dear gay rights activist friend of color about the Prop 8 debacle before the Tuesday elections…I asked my dear brother of color was there any outreach done in the Black community in California about Prop 8...He said a sister of prominent academic pedigree did do some outreach to the Black Churches in the L.A. area…However, from what I can gather from my dear brother it seemed that it would be a lost cause and waste of time in trying to get the Black community on board for this important decision…I would say to all who may confuse Black folks with backwards bigots that you are wrong…

History has shown Black people to be very accepting of people that Euro-centric mainstream America may deem “undesirables”…

I would also say that there have been many inspiring lesbian and homosexual sisters and brothers who have played a proud and significant role in the African American freedom struggle…For example, it was an openly gay Black Quaker and brilliant strategist by the name of Bayard Rustin who created The March on Washington in August 1963 that catapulted a young Black southern minister with a dream into the stratosphere…It was the brilliantly insightful and passionate writings and commentary of a former street minister by the name of James Baldwin who encouraged his people to go tell it on the mountain while as a native son prophetically warning his country that the fire next time awaits if she doesn’t repent for her sins against her children of color…


The Great Tony Jackson

The world of Black entertainment has always been a welcomed environment for gays where people are overwhelmingly judged by their talents/abilities and not sexual preference...Some of our greatest entertainers were and are homosexual...


Two Peas In A Pod: Sweet Pea & The Duke

It was a brilliant Black composer who encouraged Duke Ellington To Take The A Train Up To Harlem & The World…They called him ‘Sweet Pea’ but according to Duke his mother called him Bill as in the great and unapologetically gay Billy Strayhorn…If you take a look at jazz and blues history, many of the most macho and greatest of musicians from Sidney Bechet to Jelly Roll Morton agreed that the greatest ragtime/ jazz piano player of his era was a flamer and flashy dresser from New Orleans known as Tony Jackson, who didn’t try to hide his sexuality and was known to pen a love song or two for his lover(s)…And this was at a time when Black folks were getting lynched somewhere in my country tis of thee sweet land of liberty every day…


Icons In Motion: Dr. King & Bayard Rustin

And what about the indifference of The Black Church??? Well I write in the spirit of Miles Davis, “So What!!!”…You must overstand that many of MLK’s harshest critics and enemies came out of what is known as The Black Church…Who do you think MLK’s 'The Letter From A Birmingham Jail' Is Addressed To??? His fellow clergy men of course…Why do you think the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) was formed??? Because of the noncommittal support and indifference of some of the most powerful Black clergy to the cause of civil rights…Some of these same clergy sent MLK’s father to try to silence his son and bring him and his family back to Atlanta during the Montgomery Bus Boycott…There where churches in Alabama where MLK couldn’t speak from the pulpit because of his ‘rabble rouser’ activities…When MLK called a meeting of over 100 plus ministers concerning the Poor People’s Campaign in 1967 in Virginia, nobody showed up…MLK did not have the full support of the quote Black community unquote…What MLK did have was a coalition of well meaning citizens, young & old, black, red, yellow, brown & white, rich & poor etc., who were committed in trying to overcome the legacy of slavery & Jim Crow (similar to what happened on Tuesday Nov. 4, 2008)…Ironically, one of the founding members of the SCLC was the openly gay Bayard Rustin, the architect of The March On Washington, a man who was also influential in getting MLK to adopt the civil disobedience principles of Gandhi during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts…

Also it was the sons of the Black Church, MLK & the great labor rights leader A. Phillip Randolph, who intervened on Bayard Rustin’s behalf when prominent leaders of Black America such as the NAACP’s Roy Wilkins, U.S. Rep. Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., The National Urban League Pres. Whitney Young, Jr. and others wanted Bayard Rustin to not be present or acknowledged during the historic March on Washington campaign…FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover at the time approached some of the above mentioned leadership with info about Bayard Rustin’s involvement in a California hotel bust involving him and another man thus hinting at homosexual activity…MLK and Randolph courageously defended the honor of their very valued colleague…Both of these guys were sons of ministers…

I give these examples to show that not everyone who is a part of the Black Church is close minded or bound tightly by or a slave to dogma…We have thinkers and followers as well as activists and advocates like any other institution…

So please don’t broad brush Black folks and try to make the Black community the scapegoats for this failure to communicate…Nobody can get a memo for instructions unless one is sent…
You must remember that it took us 400 years to get to the point where we can have an identifiable and undeniably African American be President of the United States...Like Bro. Fred Douglass said many years ago “without struggle, there is no progress”…

In these enlightened and inclusive times it won’t take that long for gay marriages and civil unions to be acknowledged...But we must build bridges instead of walls if this is to be a reality…

A comrade in the struggle for understanding and solidarity,
R2C2H2 Tha Artivist & Artstorian

(R2C2H2 Tha Artivist is host and editor of Tha Artivist Presents…W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio http://www.blogtalkradio.com/weallbe & http://www.weallbe.blogspot.com... He is also the author of James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant http://www.jazzlieutenant.blogspot.com…He can be reached by e-mail r2c2h2@gmail.com)

Listen To Gay Rights Activist Bro. Neil Wade Speak Out Against Prop 8 on

2 comments:

hmbnoi said...

Speaking of "scapegoating" for the past week, white folks have been in the streets blaming Black people for their problems! Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago Black people were being blamed for the economic meltdown in housing? The fickle finger of blame of white American always gets pointed our way too often for my liking. Yet when we ask to be paid for our labor, ingenuity, skill, creativity, loyalty and courage the answer is an
emphatic "NO!!" I'm with Dr. Khallid,Abdul Muhammad, ready to "LET PHARAOH GO!"

timbrewolf1 said...

I am in complete agreement that gay rights is the next front, that must we must take, in order to achieve truly inclusive America. I didn't know it myself until really understood "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

The shill press has done the unspeakable by claiming that gay rights were trounced by blacks and Hispanics in CA. They WANT that war! "Divide and conquer."

Let's take it to them. Good job on the article btw!

-~bro wolf