The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

BAD-ly Belated: A Round-Up

After stumbling upon it a year ago—months after the flames died down, only to end up stirring up the embers (and to eventually have someone more authoritative than me say basically what I’d been saying all along)—I some how missed the anniversary of Blogroll Amnesty Day (B.A.D.), which Jon and Skippy called on others to remember by linking to blogs at various points down the long tail. (I think a few links even came my way as a result, which I appreciate.)

It’s funny what changes. A year ago, when I wrote that post, I was working parent of one child and a moderately successful mid-level blogger trying desperately to climb the steep slope between me and the next tier. A year later, I’m moderately successful mid-level blogger who’s now a working parent of two, who’s not so much trying to climb to the top as clinging to my particular ledge and trying not to slide further down the slope. These days, just holding my own and not losing any ground counts as success.

I think I stopped trying so hard. After the Clinton blogger lunch debacle and the Blogroll Amnesty Day experience, I made a conscious decision to stop trying to be “one of those people,” whoever they are. I’m not sure if I’ve slowed down, or what’s changed, but it marked a change for me. So, today seemed like a good time for a round-up, in honor of Blog Amnesty Day.


Also, my carpal tunnel has gotten so bad lately that my shoulder has been hurting for the last several days. I’ve been using ointments, braces, various pain medications, and now a heating pad. I think the only solution is to slow down for a bit. So, I wrote this post last night and scheduled it to post today, and except for work related use I’m abstaining from the computer for at least the next 24 hours.

In the meantime, I’ve been reading to great stuff I’ve wanted to blog about or share:

I’m still in the middle of the “Identity Pluralism” series, which has taken longer to write between making bottles and changing diapers, and I’ve got another installment coming up this week. In the meantime, the Democratic presidential race seems to be coming down to a choice between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and that means people are confronting issues that many of us would rather avoid addressing head on.

Some of us, anyway. Some of us take a deep breath and wade into the thick of it. You’ve probably read Pam’s post on the fantasy of a “post-racial” election, but if you haven’t here’s a taste.

The short version: “post-racial” means 1) the rejection/diminution of traditional civil rights leadership; 2) the younger generation drawn to Obama is if not color-blind, color-blurred; 3) this election cycle will see less of a focus on race.

Dream on. After all, who doesn’t want to believe it’s possible? It would negate to have any in-depth conversation about race. In any case, I can hang with #1; after all, too many of those the mainline civil rights leadership is tired, ineffective, and so tied into the political establishment for their own sake that they have little connection to today’s minority youth. It’s refreshing, from that perspective, that Barack Obama is not of that generation.

Afro-Netizen links to a Los Angeles Times column that recalls some of my own experiences.

The desire that the subject of race be set aside in the current “post-racial” political conversation shows that society is unwilling to openly face its worst fear: Not only could a black man ably lead this nation, but the mere fact of a black president would force both the majority and minority populations to reset our parameters for normality.

Some (perhaps many) white Americans don’t think it’s normal for a black person to be successful; their stereotypes can’t accommodate the fact of a black person having gone to Harvard and achieved some prominence. As an African American writer, I am reminded of this each time I finish a reading, when without fail a white person overzealously praises my speaking ability. The most recent version of this was a 15-year-old high school student who was amazed that I had actually attended college.

Years ago, and several jobs ago, I was working on organizing a small training that amounted to a mini-conference, and part of that meant spending a lot of time talking to people on the phone. There was one white woman I remember who was very surprised upon meeting me in person to find out that I was African American. She’d spoken with me via phone, and the combination of my name, my speaking voice, and I guess my vocabulary, evidently led her to assume I was white.

She was so surprised that she completely forgot herself and actually said she was surprised that I was African American, because “You’re so articulate.” I actually had the presence of mind to respond by asking “Is there some reason I should not be?” It was rhetorical, and she never answered, but was embarrassed by her assumption and my pointing it out to her.

dnA, at Jack and Jill Politics, notes Barack seems to be having a similar problem.

I mean really, you can’t be a black man in this country and talk like an intelligent person without some idiot emasculating you for it.

While we’re on the subject, Jill has a great post up about the response to Alec Baldwin’s post about a racist “satire” column directed at Barack Obama.

I also find it interesting that Baldwin had to explain (though probably not to his minority readers) why he posted it after the paper’s weak apology.

I don’t see how anyone can ask, “Why reprint this? They pulled it from their website.” So, essentially, leave it alone? Well, why bother doing anything worthwhile? Why vote? Why go to church or school? Why learn the violin or read a book? We expose racism, real racism, because it is a worthwhile thing to do.

To those who believe hatred should be ignored, I give you the sad facts of what bigotry unconfronted tends to become over time. Violence, discrimination, ethnic cleansing, genocide. Whether it’s religious intolerance or racism, we turn away or wink at society’s grave peril. Thank you, Alec for publishing this.

Of course, to expose racism you have to be willing to talk about racism, and to talk about racism in something besides the past tense, you have to at least be willing to consider the possibility that race is still an issue in this country, and that we’re light years away from being “post-racial.” (If that’s even possible.)

As long as we’re talking about a Huffington Post column, I liked this one by Rosanne Barr. She’s probably more than a little “out there,” but I can go along with much of it.

Triple teachers’ and policemen’s’ pay and raise the bar accordingly.

Establish a union of the working poor with the Attorney General as their lawyer.

Replace Organized Religion with strict observance and enforcement of the Golden Rule during my first administration.

Foreign policy statement: “Hey, how’s it going? We’re your global neighbors. Here’s our number if you need something.”

Back our currency with yummy baked goods

Lest we get off the topic of race to soon, A. McEwen takes on some drama at a black church here in D.C., which I plan to address in another post. There’s a line in it I wish I’d written.

I should talk more about the Greater Mount Calvary situation. But I won’t.

There are soooooo many things I could say, but I choose not to for now.

In reading all I could about the issue, the only thing I could come up is this adage dealing with the gay men who still attended that church after being psychologically bashed:

People will stop getting slapped when they no longer want to be slapped.

And as long as we’re talking about anti-gay black folks, let’s add presidential politics to the mix, and address the candidates who have to try and win the anti-gay black vote. Bootstrapping Andrew Sullivan’s Amicus take on Sullivan’s praise of Obama’s “public, proud and often risky defenses of gay and lesbian equality.”

In the world bigger than … viewpoint, Obama has been making concerted strides, which is a consistency worth mention, even if the remarks are cursory. Hillary’s have been fine too, albeit somewhat more episodic (see below), more framed. In 1992, when Bill took up the rhetoric, … well, it was a lot more risky back then, n’est pas, both in terms of the times and what we now see as the pushback.

“Victimology” is a notion that AS has probably carried way too far, academically too far, professional too far. Although tidy in theory, why do so many people choose NOT to live their life on the canvas that AS paints? Some people do not want to be invisibly black or invisibly gay or dismissive of oppression as always aberrant and always ‘in the past’. They are not all toxic or simply deluded. Nor is their attitude particularly leftist, although that is where many make a home (rather than enter into a “self-defeating” association with the GOP’s principles).

(Hillary, by the way, has posted her own message to the LGBT community on Our Chart, but manages to not to mention DOMA while laundry-listing what all she says she’s done and what she will do as president, much of which isn’t anything a president can do anything about.)

Let’s take that right on back to presidential politics with Skeptical Brotha on Alveda King.

As adherents of the drum major for justice who preached non-violence, it would be unseemly for the members of the King family to take Alveda aside and beat her ass until she remembers what the hell the dream is really about. Nevertheless, let me be the first one to say to the King family that all of black America would happily forgive y’all if you laid down the principles of non-violence temporarily to “lay hands” on Alveda with “the love of the Lord.”

Alveda (and at least one of Dr. King’s children) might do well to consider these words from Dan at Fitness for the Occasion, on gay hating and practicality.

Dan starts out linking to this post at atheocracy.

This is how Christians attempt to insulate themselves from attacks on this issue. They say, “We don’t hate the people who are gay; we just, ya know, hate their gayness.” Of course, whether or not I even used the word “hate” in my post is irrelevant (I didn’t, for the record) because that’s the only way they know how to justify their bigotry: “We don’t hate them. We love everybody! We’re just like Jesus! Of course, we don’t want to treat gays equally in the law books, but we still don’t hate them.”

It’s the same thing Americans often used to say about blacks: “We don’t hate blacks. But everyone knows they’re just an inferior race, and we can’t allow them to have the same rights as white people.” The bigotry is much the same today as it was 60, 80, 100 years ago; it has just shifted.

And offers this.

This is a sticky point, but one that deserves going over carefully. There is a compelling argument for the logic behind both sides of the question here. Namely, can Christians oppose homosexuality while avoiding hatred? Its clear avoiding bigotry is impossible. Believing homosexuals are somehow less than equal under the law is indefensible. No, sorry, your religion is wrong about that point.

But is hatred involved? And is the question itself even a practical one?

…My suspicion is that if it is not hate, then it is something psychologically similar to hate. Viewing people as inferior, sinful, and responsible for God’s acts of retribution can’t help but lead to a strong dislike. Hating the sin and not the sinner is a worthy goal, but one that is so very difficult to attain in practice. I think when most people hate the sin, they hate the sinner. And I think that we are dealing with a group of people who hate homosexuals, but do their best not to identify that strong emotion as a negative one.

Denying the reality of one’s negative emotions, rather than taking constructive steps to overcome it, can bring a deadly violence on the world.

At Cranial Hyperossification, GDad has a great post about living at the other of that “non-hateful gay-hating.”

GPop, Son, and I are a family. In the state where we live, GPop and I can’t get married. There are still efforts to make it difficult or impossible for people like us to grow our family. We have to use feeble and expensive legal acrobatics to create a semblance of protection that opposite-sex married couples get simply by virtue of getting married. Sure, we can get medical power of attorney or some kind of co-parenting agreement, but does that require us to carry those papers with us at all times in case we’re confronted by an unsympathetic doctor or official? Even if we have those papers, an unsympathetic official could put up road blocks until our day in court. Even with a full suite of legal paperwork, we have additional financial burdens in the areas of inheritance and parenting that most people never see.

When the government tells me that it’s going to start spending more time sifting through information to find possible threats, and I know that some in the government see me as a threat, can I sit quietly and let this happen? I suppose some could write this off as a “gay victim” rant. Maybe some could comfortably say that it could never get that bad, or that our government has never done anything to tread on our rights that wasn’t justified.

Yeah, I suppose they’re right. I should just keep my mouth shut, right?

And the stuff GDad talks about applies to other things too. The current talk about an “stimulus” package is all over the news lately, but what you don’t hear much about is how it will (or won’t) impact gay families. At Peter’s Cross Station, LilySea, after stating her disappointment that the House dropped unemployment benefits and food stamps from the stimulus package right out of the gate, addressed how it will apply to her family.

If our marriage was recognized by the U.S. federal government, we’d be eligible for the couple rebate plus two kid bonuses.

As it is, Cole isn’t eligible and the kids are her tax dependents.

I’m not making enough to get it, so I’m not eligible.

$0 money for us.

Now, if our “share” were going to extend someone’s unemployment benefits or to get someone food stamps, I’d be 150% on board with that. But our share is presumably going, rather, to underwrite some straight family’s share.

(No need to send a hand-written note, you can just email your thanks.)

“But that’s crazy!” I said, when Cole told me about it. “We’re a stay-at-home-mom family! We’re the exact kind of family they want to help!”

“No we’re not” said Cole.

Touche.

But, as LilySea points out, as non-family families we’ll subsidize everyone else’s families whether we like it or not, and at the same time not enjoy the same rights and protections.

Finally, Culture War Foot Soldier has posted part two of a series on the myths and lies about gay rights. Check it out, but go back and read part one, too.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for the link, Terrance. I always enjoy your posts. Good luck with the shoulder. It’s amazing how hard a day can be when your arms hurt.

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