The Republic of T.

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

Digest for December 3rd

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for December 3rd from 11:37 to 12:30:

  • Ari Bendersky: Where is Harvey Milk Today? – How far have we come in 30 years? What would Harvey Milk think if he were alive today? To that, would we even be seeing this sort of discrimination against the LGBT community had Milk not been killed? It's amazing to me that in the short time he was in office, Milk was able to pass an anti-discrimination bill based on sexual orientation, but today we have more than 30 states that don't allow same-sex couples to be married.

    Where is Harvey Milk today? We have gay leaders and activists who are fighting for the movement that Milk started out of his camera shop on Castro Street; there are more openly gay elected officials in government offices than ever before. But we still have a long way to go. Since Prop 8 passed, and Barack Obama was elected to the White House, many people have said that gay is the new black. It wasn't long ago that black people were discriminated against in employment and housing, yet it's been shown that many minorities supported Prop 8. And how long ago was it illegal for white people to marry black people — or Asians? But, despite that, loving gay couples still can't legally say, "I do."

  • Truthdig – Reports – Confronting the Terrorist Within – The invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq were our response to feelings of vulnerability and collective humiliation after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. They were a way to exorcise through reciprocal violence what had been done to us.

    Collective humiliation is also the driving force behind al-Qaida and most terrorist groups. Osama bin Laden cites the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which led to the carving up of the Ottoman Empire, as the beginning of Arab humiliation. He attacks the agreement for dividing the Muslim world into “fragments.” He rails against the presence of American troops on the soil of his native Saudi Arabia. The dark motivations of Islamic extremists mirror our own.

  • Jodi R. R. Smith: Civility in Times of Economic Turmoil – The economic news lately has not been good. And if you are like most Americans, the effects of the economy have been hitting closer and closer to home. Within the past week, a handful of people I know well have been laid off from their jobs. We have heard about layoffs in the news for weeks now, and everyone, including such giants as Circuit City and Citi Group, are affected. As the economic crisis widens, you too will know more people directly affected by pink slips. As difficult as it is to lose one's job, it can be made worse by callous, ill-considered words from friends and family. Here are some etiquette tips for those laid off and for those who know them.
  • My Gay Problem, Your Black Problem – NAM – Chalking up the fear and loathing that many African Americans feel toward gays to ignorance, religious bigotry, or homophobia is much too simple. From cradle to grave, many blacks hear — and accept — the gender propaganda that the only real men in American society are white men. In a vain attempt to recapture their denied masculinity, many black men, mirror America's traditional fear and hatred of homosexuality. They swallow whole the phony and perverse John Wayne version of manhood — real men talk and act tough, shed no tears, and never show their emotions.

    Countless blacks have heard black ministers condemn to fire and brimstone any man who dared think about, yearn for, or actually engage in the "godless" and "unnatural act" of having a sexual relationship with another man. From the gospel singing Winans sisters to Donnie McClurkin, black religious singers have drawn much fire for anti-gay lyrics in some of their recordings. Yet, there have been no major protests from the black community, and their record sales have jumped.

  • Lara M. Gardner: Have We Overcome? – Isn't it ironic that as we're congratulating ourselves on our ability to elect a black president while we are simultaneously lamenting the passage of Proposition 8? We Americans have been quite pleased with ourselves because we were able to elect a black man to the highest office in the land. I would argue that we may have overcome something, but it is not bigotry. The day we will really know we have overcome bigotry is the day we elect a black, Atheist, lesbian — that would be a feat.
  • Open Left:: Milk, The Biopic and The Lesson – We know what's going to happen almost from the very beginning, because the film tells us: Dianne Feinstein, long before she becomes a Senator, back when she was President of the Board of Supervisors for San Francisco, will speak at a press conference on November 27th, 1978, and announce that City Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man in the United States elected to a major public office, has been shot and killed by former City Supervisor Dan White, along with the Mayor, George Moscone. The crowd moans in shock, disbelief, anger. Cameras flash. This use of archival footage occurs maybe 90 seconds into Gus Van Sant's "Milk," and it's followed by a shot of Milk himself (Sean Penn), maybe a week before the shootings, sitting at his kitchen table alone, recording a tape to be played in the event of his assassination. Cue title card.
  • RIGHTS-COLOMBIA: Where Homophobia Totes a Gun – Homosexuals can remain in the closet and not be noticed, but that is not an acceptable alternative for transgender people who suffer violence to a greater extent in Colombia, where armed combatants in the conflicts too often turn prejudice into murder.

    "We are not interested in hiding our sexual preference," and in this country "killing is easier" than in others, said Diana Navarro, the head of Corporación Opción, an organisation that works for the rights of prostitutes and transgender people, a term used in Colombia to refer to transvestites, transsexuals and cross-dressers.

  • Q&A: Masculinity Doesn’t Mean Macho – The rules for "being a man" that predominate in Latin America include "never saying no" to temptations out on the street, being "macho" — hanging tough — no matter what the risks, and above all, avoiding any characteristics or feelings that might be seen as feminine or cast doubts on one's masculinity.

    According to this logic, it might appear that machismo is the only way to "be a man," says Cuban historian Julio César González Pagés, a University of Havana professor and the coordinator of the Ibero-American Masculinity Network, in this interview with IPS.

    But in his view, new models of masculinity are not only possible, but essential, in order to end domestic violence, among other social ills.

One Comment

  1. While I agree with Ari Bendersky’s overall message, I think it is a bit premature to suppose that blacks experience equal treatment in seeking jobs, housing, etc. There are still plenty of studies indicating the opposite, if nobody wants to believe empirical or anecdotal evidence. It seems that he is happy to dismiss racial discrimination based solely on a biracial man winning the nomination for President. I think this is a mistake.

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