That post is totally awesome. And I got pissed off the other day because a friend told me this story about how she asked very politely and supportively if the mailing list at her small church could be used only for spiritual/religious topics as previously agreed and create another opt-in list for political topics, and one of the political posters (a white woman who recently came out as a lesbian, who had been posting daily about prop 8) angrily emailed back saying she felt hurt and oppressed by this, and actually invoked the "separate is not equal" argument. And as I heard this story, I thought, "wow. SERIOUSLY??" It just seemed blown out of proportion, appropriative, and completely trivialized what Brown vs. Board of Education was all about.
I will say carefully, though, that this feels like part of a brewing backlash to backlash (to backlash?), which never gets anyone anywhere. It's one of the things that worries me about the increasingly vicious attack on the LDS... there are plenty of progressive LDS people who are now feeling lumped in with and spit on for something they didn't support, and in many cases actively protested.
I guess I just want nobody's experience to be lost or minimalized in all of this. People have been tortured and/or murdered just for being gay, or just for being rumored to be gay, so I can see how a parallel of shared experience would be drawn, though it requires nuance that perhaps gets lost in mass communication. I do believe that the history of slavery and resulting discrimination is fundamentally
different from the history of homophobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation. It seems to me there is a kind of generational inheritance of internalized oppression (which is the reason for moments like this
) that is probably pretty hard to understand if you're not an African American (unless, maybe, you're Jewish and you lost most of your family in the Holocaust... watching my husband completely break down inside the Great Synagogue in Budapest, as well as at the grave of the man who risked his life to save many, many Jewish lives, helped me to really see that long, long biological legacy). I forget where i heard it, but recently somebody said they were African American and queer and felt like they won the lottery. All of these things are different, it's true. And they are all horrible. And they are connected.
I guess all I'm saying is that I see a direction forming in which it is too easy to use this argument to sweep under the rug or minimize/invisiblize in all of this the sense of discrimination that LGBT people do face every day in places that aren't, say, San Francisco. The thing is, even though it's different, there is a connection there, a kind of shared experience, in being discriminated against because of who you are. Of losing your kids, losing your livelihood, losing your home, losing your life because of who you are. And yes, absolutely, the LGBT community has a huge debt of gratitude to pay to the civil rights movement, and the legacy of brave African American activists who endangered and lost their lives to fight for basic freedoms. And yes, they do absolutely have to be mindful to not appropriate the struggles of African American people and to build bridges rather than taking over the story. And yes, white liberals can often shit on the people and places that can help them because they are too quick to shut out people who don't share the same ideology (although, this kind of behavior is certainly not limited to whites or liberals).
YES, absolutely, white activists of all kinds need to really take a deep look at what they are and are not doing when it comes to communities of color. AND I just want to advocate for getting out ideas and feelings and stuff and doing a productive post-mortem that opens dialogue while also acknowledging that the goal in the end is for working together to help everyone overcome oppression.
Thanks for continuing to bring this up; it's certainly given me (a queer white liberal) a lot of thinking to do.