Nov. 8th, 2008

holzman_tweed: (Default)
There's been a lot of stupidity flying around recently about who is to blame for Proposition 8 pasing. We're going to deal on that, because the stupid has gone beyond burning.

Some people, such as the once relevant Dan Savage, are singling out black Californians as the reason Prop 8 passed; and going on to use this as evidence of The Extreme Homophobia Of The Black Community[1] Apparently, someone doesn't remember 7th grade math, and it's time for a refresher.

According to The California Secretary of State, there were 17,304,876 registered voters in California. Shanikka @ DKos calculates that there were a maximum of 1,156,560 black registered voters, and probably fewer than that. If 70%[2] of them voted for Prop 8, that's 809,592 black Californians who voted for Prop 8.

OK, now that we've done some seventh grade math, we're going to drop down to third grade math:

There were 5,661,583 votes in favor of Prop 8. 5,661,581 – 809,592 = 4,851,991 votes for Prop 8 that weren't cast by black Californians.

Now that we're done with the grade-school math, let's get on with the political analysis.

It is perfectly legitimate to hold every single one of the 5,661,581 voters for Prop 8 accountable for their homophobia. Singling out ~800,000 black people for something that over 4 million white people[3] also did is racist bullshit. Proposition 8 failed because Americans are still homophobic, not because Black people are particularly homophobic.

There is also some blame to be laid at the No on 8 campaign's doorstep. Only some because it is the responsibility of every voter to educate themselves about the issues and vote for justice. However, it's hard to educate oneself if the information isn't readily available, and there was a well orchestrated and well funded campaign to specifically lie to people of color about Prop 8. To the extent that No on 8 did too little too late to counter the misinformation campaign, they must share the blame with those who were fooled, and they must take the lion's share of the blame.

I am not the least bit sympathetic to the idea that white LBGTs are to blame for people of color voting for the proposition because of white LBGT racism. That dynamic describes a deliberate choice to use heterosexual privilege to tactically oppress me, and that is an inexcusable thing to do. I find it very difficult to consider alliance with someone who considers such an act thinkable or excusable. However, I've yet to come across a single person who said that they voted for Prop 8 for that reason.

[1] Because white communities are all carebears and honey about LBGTs, right?
[2] Shanikka also points out that that the polling that lead to the 70% figure is highly suspect, but let's neglect that for now.
[3]I'm making an approximation here of how many people who are neither black nor white voted for Prop 8.

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