Friday, November 7, 2008

When Chickens Come Home To Roost

Once upon a time I wrote an essay for Girls Read Comics. Once upon a time, my views on the difficulty of finding, seeing and believing in characters of colour in the visual medium of comics was seen as bashing on gays and gay characters of colour. I was called homophobic and a whole host of other things.

Once upon a time my anger at being silenced as a black woman and as a gay black woman with negativity and ad hominem attacks was overwhelming and I kicked GirlWonder.Org to the curb and didn't look back. To this day I can't bring myself to support them and mostly try not to actively bash them - and that alone comes from friendship with individuals.

When you see the crap flying all over the Internet and other media about how the reason Prop 8 passed in California was because of the black vote - just remember that story. Remember the discomfort that spawned some of the hateful words against me and my thoughts and opinions. Just remember how it wasn't expected that I correlate between three sets of oppressions.

Just like I was ignored, the black vote in California was ignored by the No on 8 Agenda. It was expected that the black vote would be for them and while that expectation lay, the Yes on 8 folks took time to enter communities and listen and talk and include. They didn't assume that of course church going minorities would already be on their side. It was too important to them to assume.

They believed that 6.75% of all Californians was a vote worth courting. They believed spending some of that 60 million on funding on 6.75% of all Californians was worth it from the start and not to be scrambled last minute in the last weeks of campaigning.

The black vote is not responsible for Prop 8 passing. White gay pride is. White gay hubris and the force of power of rich, white gay men & women, who only remember the importance of civil liberties for the three seconds it takes to quote Martin Luther King Jr, (and one of his tamer speeches at that) and then immediately forget about him, and the struggle that continues today for blacks and other minorities.

Y'know what this whole thing makes me think of? The fact that I have never, ever read or heard of the non-white population within Marvel Universe being courted to help refute the various Registration Acts. Meta discussion abounds about who is the mutant Malcom X and who is the Mutant Martin Luthor King Jr - both of whom are white skinned men (for all that Eric's jewish). But mutants going out into the public and saying that 'If they can restrict us for our DNA and for who we essentially are, than they can strip you of basic citizen's rights just as easily. It will set a precedent' - I've never seen that.

If you know of a story where that happened, drop me a line. If a writer ever compared the anti-mutant stance of 'They have no control over themselves' with how much fear there was back in the day at free black men and women - let me know.

Still, allies are relationships you cultivate. Mercenaries are people who you hire to support you, mutely and without expectation of input. If the organizations behind No on 8 wanted unpaid & silent support that would just show up at the right time and quietly disappear afterwards, they started their campaign living in a dream world.

Social Justice, it's not just a watchword or a t-shirt slogan, it's a way of life.

[Now, I am tired and pissed off and I'm going to return to resting now and working on my NaNo.]

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