Posted in Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, God, Hate, KKK, Politics, Racism, Religion

Gay Rights, Equality and Black People

Obama supports gay rights- specifically gay marriage- and lots of African Americans are not happy about it.

When people imagine those most staunchly against gay rights, they tend to think first of Catholics and Evangelical Christians; white people on the far right. Yet for years, black people have played a huge role in the suppression of gay rights, defending the belief that gay people do not deserve the same rights that blacks have fought to enjoy.

The justification used to support these views is the same as that used by the KKK and other racists throughout the history of this nation, and lies squarely in scripture. When it comes to hatred and the denial of rights, the Old Testament has always provided direction, in the name of the Almighty God, to go forth and hate, murder, torture and enslave. In any other conversation about Christianity, we will point to the New Testament, to Jesus Christ as our leader, we will claim to love all people, and we will state unequivocally that we don’t judge others, lest we be judged.

Oh, but when it comes to gay people, the gloves come off. We look to the same book that also encourages us to sell our daughters into slavery, that says the consumption of shell fish is an abomination, and tells us not to approach the alter of the Lord if our eyesight is not perfect- and we use that book of Leviticus as justification to advocate the denial of equal rights for others.

When radical Muslims bastardize the Koran, twisting its words into a commandment to conduct honor killings and suicide bombings, we call them extremists. When Hitler quoted the Bible in his effort to exterminate the jews, we said he was nuts. When the KKK twisted the same book to hang black people from trees and drag them behind trucks, we were sick with fear.

Those passages were used to justify our ancestors’ mass enslavement, rape, torture and murder. Yet just a few short generations later, we- the direct descendants of slaves- use the same words from the same book to deny rights to others- rights that were fought and died for on our behalf.

Just who do we think we are?

Do we monopolize and define struggle and strife in America?

Who decided that black people get to determine who does and does not qualify to live under the umbrella of equality? Certainly not those who came before us.

Some people point to that which our ancestors went through, believing that because homosexuals have not been murdered by the millions as we once were, they do not have the right to draw comparisons between our struggle and theirs.

There is no similarity.

Right?

Wrong.

The similarity lies in the motivations behind those that actively support the discrimination of others. The similarity has a name, and it is Bigotry.

Bigotry motivated the KKK.

Bigotry motivated Hitler.

Bigotry motivates the anti-gay movement.

As a supporter of gay marriage, I fully expect that those who disagree will continue to disagree; however, one’s personal opinion of another should not have the power to eliminate the rights of an entire group of people. As black Americans, we have the responsibility- put on us by the blood of our ancestors, given so that we may have a brighter future- to fight to ensure all citizens of this country enjoy equality.

The Constitution makes no distinction, it does not grant rights to those we agree with, and deny rights to those we don’t. As black people and as Americans, we have the responsibility to fight to ensure that no one else is ever again discriminated against, as we have been.

My views are not popular, but I know this:

I refuse to applaud one group’s struggles at the expense of another’s.

If there is a God who resembles the entity described by traditional Christianity, I will stand tall when the time comes for us to meet, knowing I loved all people equally.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Extremists, Homosexuality, KKK, Ku Klux Klan, News, Politics, Race, Racism, Tea Party

Tea Party and Racism- It Walks Like a Duck

I’ll just go ahead and acknowledge the elephant in the room right upfront.

The Tea Party is a “party” built on racism and hate.

Period.

If you simply oppose Obama’s policies, you are a Republican or an Independent… perhaps you belong to the Green Party…

… But if you are a member of the Tea Party, you have joined a party full of people who are simply fighting for the right to be openly racist and homophobic.

One Saturday in late March, a group of teabaggers Tea Party members gathered on Capitol Hill to protest Obama’s Healthcare Reform package.

Nothing wrong with that, right?

Ha.

Georgia congressman and old school civil rights veteran John Lewis found himself taunted with chants of “Nigger! Nigger!” as he came to work that day. He said the entire scene was reminiscent of some of the darkest days of the 1960s.

 Massachusetts Senator Barny Frank, who is openly gay, was blessed with screams of “Faggot!” as he walked past.

Remember, folks…

… This was a protest of Healthcare Reform legislation.

It wasn’t meant to be a gay-and-black-hating lynch mob…

Or was it?

The scene certainly looked as if it was becoming a mob, as opposed to a peaceful protest, with one person being injured and another arrested.

If I am wrong, and the Tea Party movement is not simply a group of racist pricks, where then is the outrage? Why hasn’t a party member emerged, shaking his/her fist in anger over the gross misrepresentation of this organization?

There isn’t any outrage, at least among the teabaggers there isn’t.

Our black President is making good on the promises that got him elected to the highest office of the land… promises to minorities and homosexuals… promises that some people will go to desperate lengths to make sure he never has the opportunity to keep.

I agree with the premise that being against healthcare reform does not automatically make one a racist…

… But more and more, it appears that’s exactly what belonging to the Tea Party means.

Clearly the Tea Partiers cannot stand on the merits of their anti-healthcare arguments. They have to resort to hate-filled rhetoric and scare tactics in order to make their voices heard.

It’s simply another branch of the KKK.

Wear it proud, Teabaggers.

We’re watching you.

Posted in ACLU, C-Haze, Current Events, Discrimination, Heather Ellis, KKK, Ku Klux Klan, Missouri, News, Police Officers, Race, Racial Profiling, Racism, Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart, the Heart of America and Racism’s Ugly Head

Ah yes…

The issue of race has again reared its ugly head… this time, at Wal-Mart.

In 2007 a black woman named Heather- then a college student from New Orleans- was in Kennet, MO to visit family. She took a trip to the local Wal-Mart with her teenaged cousin to pick up a few things, and after shopping, the two opted to stand in seperate check-out lanes. Heather realized at some point that her cousin’s line was moving faster than her own. She left the line she was standing in and joined him, butting in front of several patrons to do so.

The customers that Heather moved in front of were not happy that she wasn’t willing to wait her turn, and told her so. At one point, the customer directly behind Heather put her things onto the conveyor belt while the two exchanging heated words. Heather, in response, angrily moved the woman’s things off the belt, replacing them with her own merchandise.

Heather claims that while this was occuring, other customers began hurling racial slurs at her. Witnesses dispute this, saying Heather was the one hurling insults, and that she was so loud, patrons at the rear of the store could actually hear her. She went “ballistic”, they say.

Upon paying for her items, Heather became further enraged when the cashier refused to give her back her change, opting instead to call the police.

The officers, upon arrival, stated that they tried to escort Heather to the parking lot, asking that she leave the facility because she was causing a scene. They said she became extremely beligerent, and was cursing, yelling that she wasn’t going anywhere without her change. Heather states that while attempting to escort her to the parking lot, one of the officers told her she should “go back to the ghetto”.

The incident ultimately escalated to the point that the officers chose to arrest Heather. When attempting to place the handcuffs on her, it is alleged that Heather kicked one officer in the shin, and busted the other officer’s lip. She was booked on charges of resisting arrest, assaulting police officers and disturbing the peace. While being placed in the police car, Heather’s cousin claims he saw her getting her head, repeatedly, slammed against the vehicle. When asked why they were being so rough with her, the officers responded that “she cursed”.

If  convicted, she was looking at a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Heather has always claimed the charges were blown up, and disputes all of the allegations against her but two- she admits she did switch check-out lanes at the Wal-Mart to join her cousin in line, and she does admit to touching another customers merchandise after it was placed on  the conveyor belt.

She has always believed that she was the target of racism.

The incident has opened old wounds in Kennet, MO, a small town with a history of racial intolerance.

Minorities- mostly black and hispanic- have for years accused the all-white Kennet police department of racial profiling. The ACLU staged a peaceful protest in Kennet after Heather’s arrest. The KKK joined the crowd of onlookers during the protest, carrying signs with swastikas and Klan slogans. At the end of the march, officers reported finding business cards allegedly printed by The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan stating that the Klan had been there, and that the “next visit will not be social”.

Heather, this past week, finally stood trial for the charges against her. Her lawyer, the well-known Missouri criminal defense attorney Scott Rosenblum, did not use the issue of race in Heather’s defense. It is important to note, she has no criminal history, has graduated from college since the incident, married, and is a school teacher.

Just as the case was given to the jury for deliberations, Heather reached a deal with prosecutors. In exchange for their dropping the more serious felony charges against her, Heather has agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. She will do no jail time, instead receiving a suspended sentence, one year of unsupervised probation, and will attend court-ordered anger management classes. If she completes the class and breaks no laws over the course of the next 12 months, the conviction will be sealed, and will not be part of her permanent record.

So what really happened that day in 2007 at the Wal-Mart in Kennet, MO? Was a woman unfairly targeted because of her race? Or was the woman, who just happens to be black, at fault here?

Unfortunately, we will likely never know.

Racism is all too real, and sadly, small town America is not exempt from this ugly fact. In actuality, many would claim small town America is where racism is at its worst.

The problem with this particular case is that we wouldn’t even be having a racial discussion at all, had Heather behaved herself. Had she stood in line, not butted in front of anyone, simply paid for her things and gone home, none of  this- not her arrest or her subsequent racial allegations- ever would have come to pass. By her own recollection, no one had given her any trouble whatsoever until she jumped in line and was confronted for doing so. It’s not as if she had been harassed from the moment she came into the store… it wasn’t until after she began displaying inappropriate behavior that people began reacting and saying inappropriate things.

It is not in dispute that Kennet, MO has had racial problems in the past. It is important to note, however, that the ACLU has never gotten itself involved in that particular town until Heather graced the scene. 

Seems to me that the ACLU would have had more success in bringing this town’s racial issues to light had they chosen to protest on behalf of some of the many minorities that have been targeted in that town while they were actually obeying the law. People who were simply driving through the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time, and were stopped by racially profiling police officers. Not some half-crazed black woman who was being treated just fine- as just another customer- until she decided to raise a ruckus, cause a scene, and show her ass. 

As minorities, we must stop using racism as a defense to our own bad behavior. We cannot expect to be taken seriously when, by our own admission, we are treated badly after behaving badly.

We have to do better.

The ACLU and the NAACP both have picked some terrible examples of late in an attempt to showcase racism in America. Be it this particular case or the one in Cambridge, MA when a black Harvard Law Professor acted a damn fool and was consequently arrested by a white police officer.

In both cases, racism was never a factor until after the minority in question behaved completely inappropriately.

Heather committed a crime in Kennet, MO, and unfortunately, because of her bad behavior, that town’s legitimate history of racism will not be discussed. We have missed yet another opportunity to hold a responsible conversation about the ills of racial disparity in America today. Heather has given the people of Kennet, MO, an excuse not to have to analyse their own behaviors and prejudices. They can simply look to her outlandish behavior, shrug their shoulders and say, “Just another black person behaving badly”.

The sad truth is that in this case, and in too many others, they’re right.