i apologize for making another post... but blogger wouldn't let me post
this in the comments section for some reason...to see the full
conversation, click on the comments from the last post...
A lot of different issues going on here... I think what I'll focus on
is the relationship between the LGBT rights movement and the black
civil rights movement.
Some people seem to think
it's perfectly okay to co-opt the words and history of another group
and us them to their advantage. Some people think using the words of
past leaders is dangerous, hypocritical, and antithetical to the goals
we are trying to accomplish.
These are more or less
the two extremes of the argument (and, as you can probably guess
already, you can see which side I lean towards).
does not mean that we cannot quote people like class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_0">MLK
under any circumstances. If white queers only draw on a white queer
past, we participate in the erasure of a history that would illuminate
the past of (queer) people color. This history is already invisible,
and as peoples looking for a usable past, we must not collude in this
With this said, I don't think it's okay to be doing what MEQ
and other marriage activists are doing, as described by Mark above. I
think it is possible to draw on the history of other social movements
in our contemporary struggles for justice (which I don't think marriage
should be epicenter of) in a way that is not simple coclass="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_2">optation
and exploitation. The problem, as Mark points out, is that many of
these people who draw on African-American history to advance the
position of gays and lesbians (note: they are not working for anybody
else, so the linguistic exclusion here is intentional) are detestable
hypocrite is that they are working against racial justice. By
simultaneously invoking the spirit of the (arguably) the most famous
African-American activist in U.S. history while participating in and
benefiting from id="SPELLING_ERROR_3">institutionalized racism is
if white people (and I include myself in that category, for the record)
are going to be drawing on the historical narratives of people of
color, we must do so in a way that does not simply allow "oppression"
to collapse the differences that exist among us. Yes, there are some
similarities between the struggle to desegregate and the struggle for
marriage equality. There will always be some similarities when you're
talking about justice movements. The important thing to remember is
that there are significant differences that exist between the movements
as well, and to think otherwise is to create a false equation of
experiences that is simply harmful to all parties (except for those who
want to keep us all down).
Lastly, I want to comment on a comment Sandouri made above.
should also be noted that a great many of Boston’s African-American
clergy—a group with tremendous influence—do not want Queer activists
making the connection between our struggle and the struggle against
True. This is true. However, there are also
a hell of a lot of white id="SPELLING_ERROR_5">clergyfolk who don't want that
connection made either, which is (in part) why they insist that our
sexual orientations are a chosen, as opposed to "immutable
characteristics" like "race." Black communities should not be held
fully responsible for the id="SPELLING_ERROR_6">religious, or secular,
heterosexism that queer people face. While homophobia in all
communities should be confronted, we must remember that it is white
clergy in the U.S. (and in the Vatican, Jerusalem, etc.) who hold the
lion's share of religious power that is being used for class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_7">heterosexist purposes.
in the spirit of the dialogue, I'll end with a quotation from Audre
Lorde. Here, Lorde
is speaking to white women, and while not the same, I believe we must
ask white queers this question as well. class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_10">Lorde
is inviting (imploring? demanding?) those of us with privilege to not
only see our own oppression, but also see the ways in which were
complicit in the oppression of others, and so I feel that this is an
appropriate way to draw on the words of people of color in a queer,
anti-racist way. Hopefully this doesn't fuck up my entire argument...
woman here is so enamored of her own oppression that she cannot see her
upon another woman's face? What woman's terms of oppression have become
precious and necessary to her as a ticket into the fold of the
righteous, away from the cold winds of self-scrutiny?" -Audre class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_12">Lorde