Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pic of the Day: Scapegoating Then & Now


The response to yesterday's Fuck Dan Savage post (just below this one) on Barack Obama's victory and the white gay racist backlash to the passage of Prop 8 has been overwhelming. I thank those readers who've checked in either on the comments section or via email. I was gonna chill on the issue for a minute 'cause it makes me heated and exhausted all at the same time, but then I came across this image from actor/artist Quincy LeNear and had to put it up. I'm crazed today as I prep for a trip to Chicago to speak at DePaul University, but I'll try to post up something non-election related before I leave. Try...

UPDATE:
I have received a TON of comments on this image, most of which I am not posting up. Y'all can take the "nigger" comments over to any number of sites where they will be posted up and have good company. A lot of the comments I've received also say that the comparison in the cartoons is false because the KKK never actually had rights taken away from them. That is true. But that didn't stop them from rallying the troops by claiming that if black folk got the right to vote, to live in certain neighborhoods, to work in certain areas, white folk's very lives and livelihoods were in danger; it didn't stop them from putting forth the notion that the mere presence of black folk took something from white folk. It didn't stop the assignment of blame to black folk when things didn't go the way white folk wanted. That is the echo heard in much of the anger being aimed at blacks right now. I do realize that when black artists create anything, it is almost always taken "literally," with no regard for the fact that there can be play on words (and images) and play with words (and images) in order to make a point, and I think that's one of the issues at play here. I also think there is a real reluctance / refusal on the part of a lot of folk to own up to the racism at play in their feelings and words over the last few days.

Here is my reply to one of the comments in the comments section for this post:

The cartoon does not equate the LGBT movement with the KKK. It takes a symbol of white supremacy and uses a mirroring gesture (the admittedly / unfortunately stereotypical limp wrist) to underscore that the same reflexive racial bigotry and unfounded fury that drove (and drives) the KKK, and is a HUGE component of the queer "community", is at work in the backlash unfolding against black folk. LeNear is not guilty of intellectual dishonesty or false equivalence in this panel. What's at work in the differing perceptions on the image are the varying cultural meanings that can inhabit a single artifact or image. It's the different experiences and references brought to the image by the viewer. You look at the two juxtaposed images and see an argument being made that LGBT organizations = KKK. I, and a lot of other "of color" gays and lesbians (I don't presume to speak for all), don't see that at all. We see a potent symbol of racism being used to critique the real life actions and mind-set at work against our community.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

This cartoon is a step backwards.

When I heard the media blaming black homophobia for the passage of 8, I knew something was up. In my own experience as a white gay guy, communities of color aren't more homophobic. The black vote just seemed like an easy scapegoat.

Why was attention being diverted from the homophobia of the religious right? Why were black voters an easy scapegoat?

If your answer's just "gay racism," that's a weak answer. It's not thoughtful, specific, or helpful. It can turn into an accusation mixed with bigotry, and it's the same trap the opponents of Prop 8 who blamed "black homophobia" fell into.

A cartoon that equates the LGBT rights movement with the KKK is a low blow that pits marginalized groups against one another. The emfeminite hand-on-hip gesture in the front, and the gumdrop smile and demeanor of the guy in the background are especially offensive characatures in this context.

So let me get specific: why were black voters an easy scapegoat for white gay men? Well, when I first heard the "black homophobia" explanation, part of me believed it. It struck an emotional nerve. But the argument didn't sit well, so I began examining my own racism.

Why was I tempted to blame "black homophobia"? I realized that while I don't think that communities of color are more homophobic, I do believe homophobia looks and feels different in different communities. The same applies for how boys and girls are suppose to behave, or, for that matter, any cultural codes. So when I feel unease in straight communities of color, it has as much to do with my white cultural codes just as it does with my gay ones. The two can amplify each other; my gayness makes me more aware of my whiteness, and my whiteness, more aware of my gayness. I'll admit I usually am more comfortable seeing things through the perspective of the victim than I am through that of the perpetrator. So even though I'm especially conscious of both my whiteness and my gayness, I'm more likely to notice homophobia than I am racism.

If this experience is shared by other white gay people, it might help explain why it was easy to believe that black homophobia was to blame. But that's obviously not the whole story.

I said that the explanation struck an emotional nerve. Oppression is a single tree rooted in fear and hate, but it's branches experience things very differently. It can be easy to loose sight of what one shares with other marginalized groups. I've had numerous experiences with straight activist people of color who don't seem to understand the unique ways that homophobia operates. If it's recognized as a branch of oppression, it's dealt with a lesser one. These experiences have been really painful and dismissive, and this is the emotional nerve that the "blame-the-black-vote" argument struck.

But I recognize that the table is often turned in ways that I don't even see. There were several local proposition in San Francisco and California that had a huge impact on the rights of communities of color; several of them I wasn't particularly aware of until after the election. It's the work of introspection and open dialog that I think it important. Not some thoughtless accusations.

Diego said...

You are the RACIST. Questioning why black voters in California voted to eliminate gay people's CIVIL RIGHT to marry is NOT racism. Stop excusing anti-gay bigotry and threatening people.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcZVAlSqNbA

nuff said.

EH said...

Anon,

First, I appreciate the measure of thoughtfulness in your reply, and especially respect the process by which you applied your real life experiences with people of color so that you could intuit the bullshit inherent in the CNN exit poll figures. I think the fact that a lot of white gays and lesbians have little substantial or meaningful contact with folks of color, and certainly not enough contact to be aware of the history and current reality of progressive minds and hearts, is at work in the backlash.

I do appreciate your acknowledgment that you as a white gay man are more likely to notice homophobia than racism, which is a luxury not afforded a lot us; the reality and effects of two-tiered oppression is not something a lot of folks who are not both LGBT and "of color" even consider. And I too wish that Mr. LeNear had found a way to signify gayness without falling back on the limp-wristed gesture.

All that said: The cartoon does not equate the LGBT movement with the KKK. It takes a symbol of white supremacy and uses a mirroring gesture (the admittedly stereotypical limp wrist) to underscore that the same reflexive racial bigotry and unfounded fury that drove (and drives) the KKK, and is a HUGE component of the queer "community", is at work in the backlash unfolding against black folk. LeNear is not guilty of intellectual dishonesty or false equivalence in this panel. What's at work in the differing perceptions on the image are the varying cultural meanings that can inhabit a single artifact or image. It's the different experiences and references brought to the image by the viewer. You look at the two juxtaposed images and see an argument being made that LGBT organizations = KKK. I, and a lot of other "of color" gays and lesbians (I don't presume to speak for all), don't see that at all. We see a potent symbol of racism being used to critique the real life actions and mind-set at work against our community.

I would also, with genuine respect, ask you to examine how your use of language around "race" and "sexuality" ignores the existence and experiences of folks who are of color... but who are also LGBT. If you read my post "Fuck Dan Savage," I think you will find (despite the post's title) the more detailed and layered discussion you feel is missing in the image.

Much respect

EH said...

Diego, what on earth are you talking about? What threat?

A conversation around why ALL the folks who voted Yes On 8 did so is productive. The ill-informed hysteria and racist vitriol that have been directed at black folk from far too may white blogs, media folk and so-called queer leaders is counter-productive.

EH said...

Anon # 2,

The main problem with the Rachel Maddow clip you provide is that it kicks off with her quoting the same discredited data that started the shit-storm, and she is, unfortunately not corrected on THAT information. To my mind, that particular convo (while valuable in some ways) is deeply tainted from the git'go because it's founded on an erroneous set of figures, which leads automatically to erroneous analysis and flawed commentary.

Anonymous said...

That cartoon is incredibly homophobic . You're seriously equating gay people, who were just denied equal rights by a minority, to the KKK who brutally and violently tried to keep black people in their unequal status?

While I agree that it is racist to blame blacks for the passage of Prop 8 (many many individuals and groups were responsible), it is not racist to draw light to the fact that the exit polls revealed overwhelming homophobia in the black community, far more so than in any other ethnic community. Your posting of this cartoon only goes to underscore that point.

EH said...

Anon 3, see my response to Anon 1. The cartoon does not equate LGBT folk with the KKK. This may just have to be another instance where white gays and some black lesbians and gays (myself included) see the same image very differently. As I said above, I do wish Quincy had found another signifier of "gayness"... but I will also add that the same "queeny" gesture that is clearly drawing the outrage and charges of homophobia can be found in many of the queer comic strips (drawn by white gay men) that run in the freebie gay publications distributed around the country.

And while it's great that you see how blaming the passing of Prop 8 on black folk is racist, you end your post by citing the very exit poll (flawed and demonstrably wrong) that has resulted in that blame being assigned.

Anonymous said...

"The cartoon does not equate LGBT folk with the KKK."

Please! The cartoon directly juxtaposes two Klansmen with two gays. It is saying that white supremacy and their active brutalization of gays is the same as the anger that many gays (a very unpopular minority) felt when they learned that black people overwhelmingly voted to strip them of their rights and dignity.

And where do you get that the exit polls are wrong? I'm just going be CNN: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#CAI01p1

Where's your source?

Anonymous said...

*mean to say "...their active brutalization of blacks..." not gays.

EH said...

Anon 4,

You second sentence is a little hard to track when you say "It is saying that white supremacy and their active brutalization of gays..."

Whose active brutalization of gays? The Klan's? Black folks'?

I think it's possible to at least see that LeNear is using symbolism to critique the racist backlash against black folk in the wake of Prop 8 passing, even if you don't agree with the critique. But, as I said, a lot of folks are simply not going to see that.

The CNN poll has been discredited by a few sources. You can check my post "Fuck Dan Savage" to see who and why.

Anonymous said...

The cartoon should be a black man in the Klan outfit since civil rights leaders have been blaming everyone BUT their own community for more than 50 years.
To quote civil rights leader Andrew Young "First it was the Jews, then the Asians, now Arabs..." then he went on a long tirade of scapegoating. Guess what? The NYT did a followup and found very few AA"s were offended, and most agreed. So if a civil rights icon can scapegoat with the blessing of his community, you can look the other way when a sex advise columist says it like it is.

Sorry for the hate speech directed towards blacks at the rally, it sounds like it was almost, but not quite, as bad as being a Jew having to walk through a Nation of Islam meeting. Since Rev Wright can forgive FaraKKKhan, there is no need to hold a grudge against these people.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say black people instead of gays above.

Ok so I skimmed over your post regurgitating the DailyKos post, and correct me if I'm wrong, it only works to dispute the idea that blacks were responsible for Prop 8 passing, not that an overwhelming percentage of blacks, far more so than any other ethnic group, supported it.

It is no more racist to call out black homophobia than it is to call out the racism among gays. I wish gay people would do more to reach out to black people. At the same time, I also wish more black people would stop trying to hide the homophobia that is so pervasive in their communities and just confront it.

EH said...

Ah, see...

1) Maybe if you'd done more than just "skim" the post where I "simply regurgitate" the Daily Kos refutation of the CNN poll, you'd have seen that I actually do call out the homophobia in the Africam American community, and single out the black church for its roll in perpetuating it.

2) Your dismissiveness of the Daily Kos rebuttal allows you to ignore how fucked up it is that such a flawed set of data becomes the talking-point foundation for the unfounded anger directed toward black folk. Most folks who have accepted the CNN data still believe that black folk had (and voted in) the numbers to pass Prop 8. That's a bit of a problem.

3) 1 + 2 speaks volumes.

Lisa C. Moore said...

Wow--great cartoon, great post. too bad your responders aren't thinking of the nuance and layers that accompany everything you've posted on the issue so far. too much skimming, not enough reading and deliberate thoughtfulness in the replies. except for Anon #1--he did amazingly well. where are the rest of the Anon #1s? surely among all this diversity in the LGBT communities, there are more. speak up for truth! (and remember the truth that there aren't enough registered black voters in the state of California to turn the vote on Prop 8 around. look somewhere else for your scapegoating, please.)

Quincy said...

Wow. Ernest. I read the responses. I think their needed. I knew the image of the KKK was a strong one and would illicit some controversy. It's called irony and regardless of how sensitive the issue, that's what editorial comics do, make bold social commentary.

Nevertheless, if said commenters would read the extremely hateful and racist comments written about Black people and President Barack Obama by so called GAY people, they would understand why that image is appropriate. And many in the Media and Gay media are guilty of encouraging it.

The KKK was a group founded to "protect" the so-called "rights" of white people, and regardless of those who wore the costume or not, a large number of whites supported that message - even if they weren't violently involved. Many white families happily attended the lynchings of Black people while others stood by and said nothing.

This comic mirrors that same sentiment, that Blacks are a danger to their rights, that is spreading like wild fire in the white LGBT community. I feel it is a comparable comparison. This cartoon was also a response to one that featured a white protester marching against interracial marriage on the left, and a black protester against Gay marriage on the right.

This was an inflammatory comic and has been found posted on many white gays web pages, blogs, etc.

If anything, my cartoon is intended as a warning for how misinformation and scapegoating can grow out of hand - and violently so. By the way, there were physical threats made to Blacks at the Prop 8 rally at the Mormon Temple. They were threatened to stay away from West Hollywood or else, and people were also called niggers.

In no way am I a separatist or a racist (half of my family is white) and I am not critiquing every white LGBT individual. However, I am drawing attention to the prevalent racism that runs underneath the Rainbow Flag. We as Black people understand that our community clings to religion and is often rigid in their thinking. Yes, this should be addressed. However, it is not to blame for the success of Prop 8.

The Black vote, regardless of the 70% proportion of Yes votes within the group, is simply the smallest contribution of the overall votes that pushed this Prop over. The Black vote only make up approx 6% to 10% of the electorate vote in California. 30% of that number voted against Prop 8!

As far as me being homophobic, that's laughable. I am openly gay (internationally so) and of a 12 year relationship that is quite public, a GLAAD award winner, and a notable supporter of Gay and Civil Rights. If you don't know who I am, maybe it's because even Gay celebrities of color still seem to go unnoticed by the greater LGBT community - even after appearing in almost every major LGBT periodical in the world.

Go figure.

If you're angry about the comic, do something to CHANGE the ideas that inspired it, the environment that creates it. Face your prejudices and CHANGE - and that goes for us all.

Isn't that what we should be doing right now anyways? CHANGING.

- Quincy LeNear

David said...

70% of black Californians voted to take away their gay and lesbian neighbors' right to marry. Whether Proposition 8 passed because of or despite that fact, it is nonetheless a fact. Pointing that fact out isn't racism. Acknowledging that fact shows the LGBT community something we have to work on, namely combatting heterosexism and a tendency towards theocracy among African Americans.

EH said...

David,

Pointing out the that there is in the African American community, and that it is a serious problem that needs to be grappled with, is not inherently racist anymore than pointing out that there is extraordinary racism and bigotry in the queer community makes someone anti-white. And I would suggest that anyone interested in a true conversation on said homophobia pick up either "Brother to Brother" or "In the Life," where among the many topics discussed is black homophobia, its manifestations and its exorbitant spiritual and psychological costs. Some of the work in these two literary collections doesn't explicitly address the issue but is still clearly shaped by its reality.

The 70% figure is just one that thoughtful people seriously interested in political and social change cannot take seriously. It's lifted from the CNN exit poll whose methodology was incredibly flawed and unreliable. (Damn, there I go just regurgitating that damn Daily Kos article again.) Those holding on to that easily and already discredited figure (be they Black, White, Asian, Latino, or whatever), might want to ask themselves why. And I especially am curious why SO much attention is given to the black vote on this issue when the fact of the matter is there are not enough registered black voters in California to move the proposition into the win or lose column. Again, check Shanikka's Daily Kos analysis of CNN's fucked up data and conclusions.

EH said...

Sorry, my first sentence in the post just above should read:

"Pointing out the that there is HOMOPHOBIA in the African American community..."

David said...

Asking why people are so focused on the black segment of the vote is a valid point. Why it was of interest to me is because I don't live in California but rather in Dayton, Ohio, where we've had a non-discrimination ordinance on the books for exactly one year this month, an ordinance overwhelmingly opposed by African American ministers in our city, ministers who spoke at city commission hearings last year to predict all sorts of dire consequences that banning discrimination against LGBT people would bring to Dayton. Whether the majority of people in their congregations also favor discrimination against gay people I can't say for certain. So whether or not the Prop 8 stats are correct, the black vote matters in my city, and black/gay relations are something we need to work on.

And sure, I won't deny that there's racism in the white LGBT community -- is it to the same degree as that of heterosexism in the black community? I don't know. We need to work on both issues; they're intertwined, at least for me.

Diego said...

We just got done a campaign that lasted two years wondering if non-blacks especially whites would vote for a black candidate for President. Very few questioned all the wondering. Now people are wondering why 70% of black voters took away rights and instead of discussing it people are being accused of racism for it. *shaking head*

I actually think the discussion should focus on heterosexuals. Because they are the ones that eliminated gay people's rights across the board and lied to pollsters FIVE times in the last two weeks of the campaign including twice in exit polls.

Quincy don't insult our intelligence. First, gay people know firsthand that family and friends can still believe homosexuals are inferior to heterosexuals and less deserving of rights. Having a half-white family or anyone close that is different does not immunize anyone from prejudice. Second, you capitalize the b in black but keep all letters for white in lower case. There is a reason for that I know it and you know it. Third, few gay people read LGBT periodicals and the vast majority are ignorant of the history of gay people. BTW, I know who you are, I wrote it down a few months ago after seeing the DL Chronicles.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson talks more about this subject at
http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=f2f4512329c04075236984f5d3f45344

EH said...

Okay, you know what? Fuck it. I'mma just be a dick. Because much like Latifah, I've had it up to here. I'm not even posting another comment that cites the 70 % figure. It's bogus; it's been discredited. The Easter Bunny and the Great Pumpkin cooked that shit up while sharing a rock with Kermit. If folks disagree with my point of view on something, that is fine. But don't keep stepping to the plate with bullshit that only proves that you're on some "other" shit.

Second, thanks for bringing Obama up, homie Diego, 'cause that allows me to include a point I left out of my original "Fuck Dan Savage" post. Obama won so handily because he WENT INTO HOSTILE TERRITORY AND CAMPAIGNED FOR THE VOTE. The man won Oh-fucking-hio. He won Florida. Two states that had everybody on pins and needles because of their legendary shadiness. Obama won them because he didn't accept conventional wisdom that he couldn't. He won them because he was smart enough to figure out what their concerns were and to shape his language in such a way that he could convince him that THEIR concerns were HIS, that there was common ground. HE already knew there was common ground but he didn't take it for granted that voters in those states would know it, so he went to make his case.

Did No on 8 do the same? I mean, if you wanna pull up comparisons.

EH said...

Sorry, in the post just above, the penultimate sentence in the second paragraph should read:

"... he could convince THEM that their concerns concerns were HIS..."

Topher said...

This is Anon #1 again. aka Topher.

It's a long post, so I've cut and pasted my main point:
Here's what I see happening: I see gay white people being quick to believe most black people are secretly wildly homophobic and I see some black people (including black gay people) being quick to believe most gay white people are secretly wildly racist. It's not a criticism; it's an observation meant to help figure out how oppression (and internalized oppression) works.
- - - - -
here's the context of that statement:

I just read the Fuck Dan Savage post, and I think you, EH, did an amazing job critiquing the exit poll and the racism that spewed forth after CNN posted its results.

Clearly a lot of gay white people, including myself, accepted the 70% statistic as fact. On one hand, why shouldn't we have? It seems rational enough to believe something that's stated in so many main stream media sources.

On the other hand, the degree to which people flocked to it as truth, even clung to it, raised some questions. When I first heard the 70%, I not only believed it, but I felt a surge of frustration toward black homophobia. If I jumped to the conclusion that the black vote was to blame, it was an emotional judgment, not a rational one. I realized I needed to examine my own racial biases. I tried to do that in my last post. Some of my thoughts got a little muddled, so I've restated them more clearly (I hope) towards the bottom of this post. (see **)

I agree that a lot of white people were quick to take the CNN poll as fact and conclude it illustrated how black Californians secretly harbored lots of homophobia. But it also feels like a lot of people (this blog included?) have been quick to conclude that the majority of gay white men are secretly racist. The racism coming from the white gay folks at No on 8 rallies is revolting and depressing; any white queers "bashing all black folk as monolithic homophobic Neanderthals," is "too many;" but if the implication is that it's the majority, it seems like an overstatement. I've seen little of the racism first hand. The stubborn, racist ignorance on this website doesn't do much to support my argument, but it's a super tiny and self-selected sample of people. There aren't any polls quantifying the beliefs of white gay people about black homophobia, at least not that I know of.

Here's what I see happening: I see gay white people being quick to believe most black people are secretly wildly homophobic and I see black people (including black gay people) being quick to believe most gay white people are secretly wildly racist. It's not a criticism; it's an observation meant to help figure out how oppression (and internalized oppression) works. These beliefs, and the subsequent accusations, foster further distrust and resentment and move us away from having an honest dialog.

Maybe I'm wrong. But I'm gonna make a request of people, everyone: pause before blaming or demonizing other groups for injustice; then look at the bigger picture and examine your own beliefs for faulty biases.

- - -
** When I'm in a heterosexual space, I'm more aware of my gayness and how I perform my masculinity. When I enter a community of color, I'm more aware of my whiteness. When I enter a community that's both hetero and of color, my awareness of each identity gets amplified; I'm even more aware of my gayness in a straight black space than a straight white place. In a similar way, my whiteness becomes more salient. Why? Because I'm more conscious of my otherness in a general sense. Imagine a black man who's more conscious of his gender around white women than when around black women. I'm sure the analogy has its flaws, but I hope that it also adds clarity.

The relevance of all this to the Prop 8 discussion: if I'm more conscious about my gayness around people of color than when I am around straight white people, then I'm also more likely to see racism in communities of color than in white communities. Maybe that can help explain why I was prone to believe that blacks voted 70% for prop 8 and why I was quick to conclude they were responsible for its passage. Even so, this would only be a partial explanation. I still have some racial biases to unpack. But it's a start.

- -
I also wanted to point out another way our government disenfranchises black voters. In addition to the points made in ES's blog, there's also the issue of incarceration. The latest statistic I heard is that 40% of black men in their 20's in California are under the control of the correctional system, one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation. Though non-felons in prison are suppose to have the right to vote, I've heard from people who have spent years organizing on the issue that it's all but it impossible. Prison officials overwhelmingly (and illegally) deny inmates absentee ballots. Furthermore, the Democratic party has refused to address the issue out of fear they would look "soft on crime." There were also propositions "5, 6, and 9, all of which potentially impacted things like funding for prisons, alterations to sentencing for drug crimes, or the trying of minors as adults in this state." Unfortunately I didn't hear these props receiving much focus in LGBT communities before the election. And who knows what the statistical breakdown of how they voted would turn out.
----
THE CARTOON:
I maintain that it's a step backwards. I don't take issue with drawing a faggy cartoon, but I do have a problem with using that fagginess to demonize your characters. Second, yes, draw attention to white gay racism, but don't dismiss or discount gay white activism.

There's a prejudice out there that white gay men are self-involved, materialistic, assimilationist bitches only concerned with advancing their own position in the world. And this stereotype is used to dismiss white gay activism. First, it ignores the countless white gay guys that deviate from it. And second, it ignores the ways in which seemingly "materialistic bitches," have been radical through their very materialism and bitchiness. Many gay men, for example, use fashion to boldly out themselves in a world that otherwise assumes straightness. Even a dumb A&F imitation shirt that says "Catcher" is double edged in this way.

I think what bothered me most about the cartoon was it's allusion to this stereotype to discount white gay activism.

EH said...

Topher,

I am packing like a mad man to get out of LA and to Chicago, so I don't have the time to really dive into your post. I did want to take a few seconds to say that it is a thoughtful / smart / insightful contribution to the conversation. I appreciate the fact that you obviously took some time to consider your words / beliefs / reactions before posting again. I think that kind of measuredness (not really a word but I make them up) is something that is going to be absolutely necessary from all of us who are serious about moving forward on issues of culture clash.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: racism, homophobia, misogyny, classism... it is all fundamentally connected, and we all receive the same lessons about the various "others" with whom we share this planet. It's a process to unlearn the hate/hype with which we are indoctrinated -- even (sometimes especially) about ourselves. It is the easy way out to simply go with the flow.

And while I still don't agree with your take on the Quincy LeNear cartoon, you made some strong points that warrant consideration. (Radical materialism, though... I don't know; sounds too much like a Paris Hilton remix of Ayn Rand and that just makes me shudder.)

Much respect

Quincy LeNear said...

Hi Ernest,
Please repost my comment with these corrections...

Sent originally November 11, 2008 5:46 PM

Wow. Ernest. I read the responses. I think their needed. I knew the image of the KKK was a strong one and would illicit some controversy. It's called irony and regardless of how sensitive the issue, that's what editorial comics do, make bold social commentary.

Nevertheless, if said commenters would read the extremely hateful and racist comments written about Black people and President Barack Obama by so called GAY people, they would understand why that image is appropriate. And many in the Media and Gay media are guilty of encouraging it.

The KKK was a group founded to "protect" the so-called "rights" of White people, and regardless of those who wore the costume or not, a large number of Whites supported that message - even if they weren't violently involved. Many White families happily attended the lynchings of Black people while others stood by and said nothing.

This comic mirrors that same sentiment, that Blacks are a danger to their rights, that is spreading like wild fire in the white LGBT community. I feel it is a comparable comparison. This cartoon was also a response to one that featured a White protester marching against interracial marriage on the left, and a black protester against Gay marriage on the right.

This was an inflammatory comic and has been found posted on many white gays web pages, blogs, etc.

If anything, my cartoon is intended as a warning for how misinformation and scapegoating can grow out of hand - and violently so. By the way, there were physical threats made to Blacks at the Prop 8 rally at the Mormon Temple. They were threatened to stay away from West Hollywood or else, and people were also called niggers.

In no way am I a separatist or a racist (half of my family is White) and I am not critiquing every White LGBT individual. However, I am drawing attention to the prevalent racism that runs underneath the Rainbow Flag. We as Black people understand that our community clings to religion and is often rigid in their thinking. Yes, this should be addressed. However, it is not to blame for the success of Prop 8.

The Black vote, regardless of the 70% proportion of Yes votes within the group, is simply the smallest contribution of the overall votes that pushed this Prop over. The Black vote only make up approx 6% to 10% of the electorate vote in California. 30% of that number voted against Prop 8!

As far as me being homophobic, that's laughable. I am openly gay (internationally so) and of a 12 year relationship that is quite public, a GLAAD award winner, and a notable supporter of Gay and Civil Rights. If you don't know who I am, maybe it's because even Gay celebrities of color still seem to go unnoticed by the greater LGBT community - even after appearing in almost every major LGBT periodical in the world.

Go figure.

If you're angry about the comic, do something to CHANGE the ideas that inspired it, the environment that creates it. Face your prejudices and CHANGE - and that goes for us all.

Isn't that what we should be doing right now anyways? CHANGING.

- Quincy LeNear

Quincy said...

Dear Diego,
I do not intend to insult anyones intelligence. I would assume and hope that everyone could be so intelligent as you. Nevertheless, that's not always the case, is it? Which is why we have the issues of racial scapegoating, racism, and homophobia that we are all discussing.

"First, gay people know firsthand that family and friends can still believe homosexuals are inferior to heterosexuals and less deserving of rights."

- What does this have to do with anything I wrote? Or the message in my comic? Did I say this? Somebody read that somewhere? Trust me when I say, I know that. Not the point I was making.

"Having a half-white family or anyone close that is different does not immunize anyone from prejudice."

- I never said it did. I spoke from first person. The "I" in the sentence refers to MY feelings towards White people. I never said I haven't misunderstood or prejudged, but "I" have never been racist and never will be racist. I don't pick the people I love or befriend based on ethnicity. That's not how "I" was raised by MY family.

Nevertheless, do I have a few bigoted family members and friends (of all spectrums)? You better believe it. Did my parents and grandparents instill that in ME? Hell no. Did they teach me to recognize a duck when it walks and quacks like a duck? Hell yes.

I'm pointing out the ducks in our community. Just as much as I speak out on issues of homophobia in the African American community. A duck is a duck is a duck.

"Second, you capitalize the b in black but keep all letters for white in lower case. There is a reason for that I know it and you know it."

Point taken. I often have typos and bad punctuation too and even forget the rules of grammar. You may know why I didn't capitalize the W in White but I simply paid no attention to it. For that, I apologize and would ask Ernest to delete my original post after I capitalize all the "Whites" in it and repost it.

Thank goodness this is typed because who knows what you'd discover analyzing my handwriting. Thanks for pointing that out anyways which is why I said, "Face your prejudices and CHANGE - and that goes for us all."

By the way, I just wrote another letter that I posted on Facebook and I realized that I hadn't capitalized the Ws in White and I corrected that. It's really a matter of writing quickly and overlooking it. Could be something subconscious too. I used to write lower case i.

I'll check myself and my demons. Thanks.

"Third, few gay people read LGBT periodicals and the vast majority are ignorant of the history of gay people."

The combined readership of magazines like the Advocate, Out, IN, local rags, and the hundreds of Gay blogs, numbers in the millions. Gay people do read LGBT periodicals - else they'd cease to be profitable and advertisers wouldn't spend the millions of dollars in advertising in popular LGBT periodicals.

Are you underestimating our intelligence, Diego?
Is the Gay community in general, ignorant of Gay History? You tell me. I can't answer that question.

"BTW, I know who you are, I wrote it down a few months ago after seeing the DL Chronicles."

Thanks for knowing who I am and having seen The DL Chronicles. Here's one guy who takes notice! I hope you liked it.

My point being... that even as a person who is of a "gaylebrity" status, particularly one of color, we still face invisibility within the broader Gay community. We are more recognized by the African American Gay population, although, we are more so promoted among the White Gay community.

This issue exists among most of us and it is indicative of the unconscious and prevalent ethnocentric White Gay worldview. Same goes for the straight community. So, my attempt at sarcasm there, was intended to point that out.

I was also pointing out that I am not a straight artist who was attempting to marginalize, stereotype, or defame Gay people with my cartoons. Instead, a proud Gay man, who happens to be African American, who is very proactive in the gay community, in hopefully a positive way, who has the right to expose, discuss, and contemplate issues that affect the community I belong to and me personally - even when they sting.

We all have the right to be vocal and discuss these issues because we are all affected by them. I appreciate everyone's responses, even those contrary to my intentions or statements made by the comic or my post. But we can't put a Band Aid over it or keep mum.

The point "I" am making is that a Sleeping Dragon was awakened and that is the inherent prejudice and racism that permeates the Gay community abroad.

It may have been awakened by the opposition who is seeking to pit us against one another. Maybe, it's a conspiracy? Nevertheless, they were smart enough to know that there existed a dragon within the gay community.

If you are a LGBT person of color, most of us have felt this unspoken prejudice for years. We have experienced the stratification of Gays of color and the general feeling of contempt and indifference in the Boyzstowns across the country.

Those who are using Prop 8 to voice their racist views are looking for an excuse to express the feelings they have long suppressed. So my intent is to sound the alarm to gather ALL of us, who know better, to take down the dragon.

I think we can if we own it and take responsibility. A major part of that is White Gays combating racist rhetoric among their peer groups, while not feeling attacked when we point out that Racism actively exists in the Rainbow.

Check out http://www.timwise.org and read about White Privilege and The Denial of Racism by Tim Wise, a White Antiracist activist.

Lets debunk the Prop 8 Black Vote myth, we still have a lot of work to do to combat the OVERALL homophobia that was the real culprit - even in the Black community (Point well taken).

Yes We Can.

Lets all talk further. Join me at The Joshua Group (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=31898024721)

Sincerely,
Quincy LeNear

Diego said...

"What does this have to do with anything I wrote?"

I was pointing out that gay people know when people say they are close to someone who is different (you mentioned you had a half-white family) that does not mean they are not prejudice.

When I subscribed to a gay magazine the first thing I looked at in the magazine was the half-naked men. Eventually I would read most of the magazine. I know I am not alone. The photos are what gay men look at. Whenever content from a gay magazine lands on a website it's almost always the photos. That's partly why I said few gay people read gay periodicals. The other thing is they don't subscribe to gay periodicals.

Gay people are ignorant of their history. It's one of the reasons we have made many of the same mistakes we did before and why we are not further along in the movement.

The DL Chronicles were sensational. It was a great look into a world many have not experienced.

Yes, people want to pit black and gay people against one another because it's destructive to both. I think it should stop. As I said before the focus should be on heterosexuals and how to sway them toward the side of equality.

Frankly, if you are muscular you can move around the gay community pretty easily. That has been my experience.

Anonymous said...

"It's called irony and regardless of how sensitive the issue, that's what editorial comics do, make bold social commentary." -Quincy LeNear

Irony: The disparity of intention and result.

Quincy, if you intended to debunk the "blacks made yes on 8 happen becuase of their homophobia" myth with your cartoon, the result certainly was ironic. As a white resident of a majority black neighborhood of NYC, I have experienced far more verbal (and sometimes physical) abuse within a few blocks of my apartment, expressly because of my sexual orientation, than in majority white neighborhoods in the city. This has led me to believe that homophobia is more of a problem in black America than is white America (although, who knows, maybe my black neighbors are just more honest). Your cartoon did nothing to challenge my belief, even if it did come from an admittedly out and proud gay man like yourself.

What it did do is continue to drive a wedge between two historically at-risk minority groups. There is a history of this in America (Irish vs. Black, Jewish vs. Black). The people who stand to gain the most from this are those in the status quo who would rather have two minority groups fight it out with each other rather than demand equal rights for all Americans. The people who stand to loose the most are those who identify with both minority groups, like yourself. They face the challenge of straddling the divide between two divergent boats.

Anonymous said...

The cartoon is spot on, too bad the same ones who are deploring it can't do the same with all the racial slurs that have been thrown out for the past week or so.

Perhaps the ones who don't get it need to meet a real black gay person and ask what it means to be black, gay and unwanted by two groups, most blacks and almost all gays who had no problem telling you it before this election and now just tell you with a slur.