Nonexistent Problems - and other myths...

John Doty

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski's State of the State address included a proposal for new anti-discrimination legislation that includes workplace, housing, and public accommodation protections for homosexuals. Meanwhile Measure 36 proponent Tim Nashif claims there is no proof discrimination exists against gays and lesbians in Oregon. Bulls--t, I say to Mr Nashif.

"That is so gay!"

Cartman says it. It's funny, right?

I hear it in my classroom and the commons of my school every single day. I teach in a private facility, so my job is in no danger if I say out loud, "That is unacceptable!" My public school brethren are on shakier ground, and would have been in worse trouble had some earlier Oregon Citizen Alliance initiatives passed.

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski's State of the State address included a proposal for new anti-discrimination legislation that includes workplace, housing, and public accommodation protections for homosexuals. As straight, white males, he and I are not "supposed" to be overly troubled if those poor gays are being oppressed. A downtrodden dyke here, a homeless homo there, a couple of queers with a complaint should be of no concern to us, because, recent Multnomah County GOP chair Tim Nashif asserts THERE IS NO PROOF DISCRIMINATION EXISTS against gays and lesbians in Oregon. Nashif makes these claims as part of an article sent out Saturday afternoon on the AP wire.

Bulls--t, Mr. Nashif.

Let's set aside for a moment the idea that you can make a law to guard against something you want to prevent, not just to reshape or discourage that which is already occurring. If that was the sole aim and spirit of this legislation, it would still be a good idea.

Apparently not for some. In addition to his erstwhile duties with the Republican party, Nashif heads the Oregon Family Council and Defense of Marriage Coalition, both of which, out of concern for the pressing issues of the day, made sure that marriage would be protected from desecration by gays (leaving adultery, battery, and assorted other heterosexual vices causing divorce to do their worst). In talking to the Portland Mercury, Nashif offered, "Why are we addressing an issue that's not a problem? [Discrimination is] just not happening."

When asked what his response would be if, during the course of the legislative session, gays and lesbians testified they had in fact been discriminated against in housing, employment, education, or public accommodation, Nashif responded these people would have had to "manufacture the abuse."
- Portland Mecury (emphasis mine)

According to the OFC and their comrades on the national scene, the number one challenge facing us (subscription required) in America today: Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council said, "I believe there is no more important issue for the president's second term than the preservation of marriage."  (emphasis mine again) ...apparently not this or this or, (dare we call conservatives on it?) this...

They brought us Measure 36, and in so doing, decided a nice little piece of Leviticus was alive and well, enshrined in Oregon law (I bet they aren't in a rush to get the ban on shaving enacted though, eh?).

The AP piece (in its intact, original form) cites specifics countering Nashif's "no proof" assertion: 144 complaints in five years to the Bureau of Labor and Industries, 35 of which are being meaningfully pursued either by the state or in civil court (the others suffer from lack of corroboration, which is not proof they didn't happen and is very common with allegations of discriminatory conduct); and a first-hand incident of housing discrimination in Portland. But truncated versions making the rounds in various papers across Oregon or being read on the evening news leave those parts of the story OUT, giving us instead  a "he said, she said" with Kulongoski proposing legislation to prevent something that Nashif says there's no proof is even happening.

I've worked in high schools for the past decade. The language of homophobia is alive and well amongst the people who are just on the verge of joining the labor force. At some level, they've learned that telling nigger jokes isn't OK. They may still laugh at them, and they may still use the term in private with friends, but you don't hear it in the halls. Same goes with jokes about beaners; and because of the shifting trends of time, they aren't even aware of wops and micks. But Jews, fags, and sand monkeys are still fair game, apparently.

"They're different, you can tell."

At least with people of African, Mesoamerican, or Arabic descent, that argument of the bigot carries some superficial connection to visual reality, and often slurs are held in check when someone of the target group is present. There are visual cues and the social "racist jokes are wrong" pressure kicks in because everyone in the room knows the target minority is standing right there. But as Brendan Fraser asks in School Ties, "How would you know?" when the person next to you is a Jew. Or gay? Or the raghead is actually a Sikh? There aren't many Arabs (or Muslims of any ethnic extraction) in southern Oregon schools, and the gays and Jews aren't wearing labels (like a certain mid-20th century government required), so those slurs are still commonplace. Can Mr. Nashif detect my sarcasm when I say it is so much easier to learn / be taught in school when your stomach is churning and you're shaking with fear and/or rage about having been called a faggot at break? EVEN IF YOU AREN'T?

The language of bigotry seems to have two uses in today's culture - hate or humor. Oftentimes the humor is also hateful; sometimes it serves as ironic social commentary. We need a third use: frank discussion of the problem (or as Mr. Nashif would have it, the nonexistent problem). Having the discussion about bigotry and discrimination becomes an exercise in politically correct pontification if we skirt the actual details. Mr. Nashif apparently doesn't appreciate the extent of the issue. We are diplomatic, offering incident reports in sanitized, "They were discriminatory and used slurs about my (sexual preference, race, religion, national origin)," form that rarely communicates the raw hate, insidious fear, and lurking threat of brutality or shame that are pervasive in one-time exchanges and recurring encounters...

Mr. Nashif claims this is fabrication. Well, he needs to know WHAT IS SAID and WHAT IS DONE. He needs to see the gay teens pushed against lockers, or shouldered aside in the halls, or threatened in parking lots after school; he needs to hear in coarse detail of the suspected lesbians raucously denigrated, gossiped about, and referred to as "bull-dykes" in employee lunchrooms, while the feminine, professionally dressed lesbian sits at the end of the table. He needs to not have the luxury of glossing over this issue as nonexistent because we bring him sanitized discourse on the matter. Therefore, I don't address this with sterile euphemisms - consider my use of repugnant words and phrases to be the proverbial 2x4 between the eyes of this stubborn, righteous mule.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)

    You know, I wasn't even able to use a locker back when I was in highschool. It was vandalized each and every day. I was called every name in the book. I remember narrowly avoiding getting my face bashed in, repeatedly. All because of a perception regarding my sexual orientation.

    However, it is very pleasing to me to see Mr. Nashif showing his true colors. Finally. This allows us to call a duck a duck. We shall see how well he can marshall his resources to pull this one off. FWIW, I am fairly sure he will be able to, mostly because the institutionalized opposition (BRO) is about as effective as pepper spray at 100 yards, upwind.

    The best thing we can do is hammer at the 14th Amendment. Over and Over. And hope that our selective support for the Constitution doesn't sound too hollow.

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    However, it is very pleasing to me to see Mr. Nashif showing his true colors. Finally. This allows us to call a duck a duck.

    I've been doing that since he and his cronies first reared their ugly heads last year. And people kept yelling at me for doing so.

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    Learning to accommodate each other is the central challenge of a civil society. What's weird is that we seem predisposed toward hate and exclusion. Remove one group and another becomes reviled. It's hard to recall that once Americans spent a lot of energy demonizing Irish and Italian immigrants. You'd think we'd learn eventually, but it never seems to happen.

  • iggi (unverified)

    what i want to know is: when are we going to quit discriminating against nerds?

  • jj ark (unverified)


    I apologize if I was one of the nattering nabobs of negativity.

    Now, what are their ties to 1. the OCA, 2. any known white supremecist groups 3. any known troublemakers?

    Who is funding them? We need to follow their money, or at least the money in their PACs. anyone know of anyone doing so? This sort of detective work has had a significant impact in the past on the OCA (for every infraction there is a monetary fine--and I am sure there are infractions), and I can only imagine that the PACs are in place and going.

  • Mac Diva (unverified)

    I read the article in the Oregonian a few days ago about the plans for new anti-gay discrimination and may blog it. The data confirmed what I had suspected. There appears to be more presumption of discrimination against homosexuals than actual discrimination. (The issue of gay marriage is, of course, the exception.) I don't understand why a lack of discrimination is considered grounds for complaint.

    Yes, teenagers have adopted 'gay' as a synonym for 'uncool.' But, trying to compare that to the unrelenting bigotry people of color and women face in America is evidence that a person either hasn't a clue about real discrimination, or, simply doesn't care. I think it is the latter. Gay men are largely white and have better educations and incomes than most of the population. A surprisingly high proportion of them voted for George W. Bush in both the last election and 2000. In addition, racism and misogyny are rampant among the gay population. Basically, many gay men try to have it both ways. They participate in the benefits of bigotry, while claiming at the same time to be opposed to bigotry. The only discrimination many of them are really opposed to is that against themselves -- and, not too strongly, or we would not be seeing that high vote for Bush. When I read an entry like this one, lamenting discrimination against gays while dismissing racial discrimination, I suspect it is because most gays are white. It can't because they suffer more discrimination than other minorities because they suffer less.

    Part of the backlash against gays during the election may have been because of the hypocrisy people observe. I was curious, so I spent some time at African-American sites where the anti-gay marriage legislation in various states was being discussed before the election. The overall impression I gained was that people are angered by nonsense such as the kind of remark that started this thread. When homosexuals can point to more than 5,000 persons lynched between post-Reconstruction and the 1950s, when they can cite segregation de jure as defining their circumstances until the 1960s, when a homosexual with a college degree earns less than a heterosexual who barely finished high school, then they will have grounds to make claims about discrimination that will not get them laughed out of Black Voices. As it currently stands, they embarrass themselves when claiming teens using 'gay' as slang is grounds for legislation. Another of John Doty's complaints is even more telling. He is disgruntled because high school students tell gay jokes without realizing gays are present. Any person of color, myself included, sees the assumption of white privilege embodied in such an inane complaint. It would be better to be visually identifiable, which makes it easier to be discriminated against -- which resulted in genocide, slavery and Jim Grow? Please. Only a fool, or someone blinded by whiteness, (which may be synonymous), would say such a thing.

    There appears to be some discrimination against gays in Oregon in housing and employment. But, the incidence is quite low. Reasons? Gays have the advantage (yes, advantage) of not being identifiable, and, most of them are protected by white privilege. The efforts to pass new, largely unneeded legislation, is meant as a sop to homosexual activitists because of the rejection of gay marriage in Oregon. However, it cannot fill that void. Either domestic partnership legislation, or, a new effort to get gay marriage approved is where the emphasis should really be. Tim Nashif may be speaking out of prejudice, but the data gathered makes it clear that there is little discimination against gays in Oregon in ways the law can address.

    JJArk, the only time I have ever had my home vandalized -- furniture overturned or broken, garbage tossed all over the apartment, urine and feces sprayed and smeared on the walls -- it was done by a white, male homosexual apartment manager and his friends. I was the only person of color in the building. They were overjoyed to find someone they considered themselves better than.

    John Doty, fortunately, I don't have a child in your class. But, if I did, I would ask that she moved to another. Based on the attitude you have expressed toward racial discrimination in this entry, I would not want you anywhere near any kid of mine.

  • jj ark (unverified)

    JJArk, the only time I have ever had my home vandalized -- furniture overturned or broken, garbage tossed all over the apartment, urine and feces sprayed and smeared on the walls -- it was done by a white, male homosexual apartment manager and his friends. I was the only person of color in the building. They were overjoyed to find someone they considered themselves better than.

    You know, Diva, I resent that implication. I didn't do anything to your apartment. I haven't vandalized anything. I haven't discriminated against anyone based upon their gender, race, or ethnicity. I don't consider whole classes of people "less than" me. But it seems just fine for you to lump me into that offending race/sexual identity split. You don't even know your facts, and haven't taken the time to get to know me.

    Heck, I don't even know who or what you are, your race or your ethnicity, thanks to your desire to snipe from behind a veil of anonymity. So just do us all a favor and stop your race-baiting and stereotyping. While you are at it, get a spine. Come on out from your veil of secrecy. What do you have to hide?

  • jj ark (unverified)

    You know...on second thought. Don't bother, Diva. snipe away. I think it will be more productive to ignore you than work with you.

    So...anyone have any info on who is doing work on the PACs these guys use?

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    Wow, MacD, did you miss on this one. Where, anywhere in my piece is racism given a pass?

    The point is that not succeeded in getting students to be unbiased and colorblind and tolerant - rather we have got them to understand people won't approve of overt bigotry aimed in certain directions - color and most ethnicity issues have hit this level of "awareness". Homophobia and slurs aimed at "Arabs" (blanket reference to Muslims, inaccurate though it may be) are still seen by this population as OK.

    You use the concept of "blinded by whiteness" and/or foolishness to describe my attitude. I suppose we all see the world through lenses and some are lenses of our color, but quite frankly a world where people to kill for hate is flawed and in need of repair, whether the dead be Matthew Sheppard or James Byrd.

    I don't want to compare oppressions. That is not even close to the point. Yes, we had slavery and Jim Crow. Yes, we gave small pox contaminated blankets to the indiginous peoples. Yes, 20th century genocides in Turkey, Germany, and Rwanda were all overlooked until it was too late.

    Hatred strikes in many forms. Stopping it is appropriate regardless of whether it strikes OFTEN or OCCASIONALLY; past, present, or both. I frankly don't care which group can claim the higher body count - which group has more scars. The need to count needs to end completely.

    This week, the Oregon Governor took steps to stop it for gays and a bigot said there was nothing happening. I called him on it. That is today's news.

    Tomorrow, if someone has the balls to make equally ludicrous statements about there being no discrimination against blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Francophones - whatever, I'll call that, too.

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    Not to beat the dead horse too much, but to follow up on my actual initial piece, and the whole NO PROOF thing.


    That is the number of Oregonians who voted on November 2nd to deny a equal treatment to a segment of the state's population, in contradiction to the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

    Now to be absolutely technical, the treatment denied was not the right to marry (though that was the raw text of the initiative). By denying marriage, we deny inheritance, tax filing, hospital visitation, child guardianship and several dozen other rights.

    To gays.

    over one million of us.


  • Mac Diva (unverified)

    It matters a great deal which groups suffer the most discrimination because that is where remedies are most needed. For someone not to realize that is a failure of even basic analytical thinking. What's next? Ignore the continuing drastic nature of race and sex discrimination while lamenting the fate of the left-handed? (Who, incidentally, outnumber gays.)

    Equally important is crafting legislation to meet a real need rather than as a sop. When one does not make the distinction between a significant problem the law can remedy and feel goodism, one ends up with proposals for unneeded legisation such as some gay activists are encouraging in the Oregon legislature. As I said above, the proposed laws do nothing to address the real problem gays face -- inability to marry. The proposed legislation is largely crying wolf needlessly. The next time a cry of wolf with a legitimate basis arises, it may be go unheeded.

    I have said nothing personal about JJArk. However, I will not allow him to bully me into not telling it like it is. The incident I described of having my apartment trashed by gay white men in a frenzy of racism is completely true. And, it is the kind of bigoted behavior, much too common in the gay community, that makes members of other minority groups unsympathetic toward gay people.

  • Jim (unverified)

    MacDiva says "... the proposed laws do nothing to address the real problem gays face -- inability to marry."

    You have no right to define another culture's concerns. It's arrogant, ignorant, ageist, and you're wrong.

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    OK... Yes, protections are needed where problems are bad - BUT, in case you'd not noticed, the protections ARE in place for race, gender, national origin, religion, and a few sundry others, starting with the XIVth Amendment and moving forward into the Civil Rights act of 1964, with several stray Supreme Court cases in between.

    Protections for gays are NOT in place. And if it takes the courts a century to get them properly interpreted once they ARE in place (Plessy v Ferguson to Brown v Board), I think we might want to get them in place NOW, so that maybe the legal system will have a decent grasp on them before we hit calendar dates more closely associated with Star Trek episodes.

  • auggie (unverified)

    While no two forms of discrimination will look the precisely the same they are discrimination nonetheless … After all, while women are actually the majority of the population do you doubt that discrimination against women exists?

    MacDiva: I could go into detail and pick the points of your argument apart, but I won’t. I would instead refer you to an amicus brief submitted in Li v. Oregon – recommended reading starting at page 12 of 45 in the PFD file. I have taken the liberty of pulling out some of the finer points relating to discrimination against gays & lesbians.

    • In 2001 8,063 bias motivated crimes targeting gays & lesbians
    • Until 1965 gays & lesbians were excluded from immigrating to the United States, as “psychopaths”
    • Criminalization of gay & lesbian relationships legal until last year
    • 12 ballot measures in this state alone targeting gays & lesbians since 1988.
    • 3 out of 4 gay & lesbians reporting experiencing prejudice because of their sexual orientation
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    It always saddens me to see how often people who have suffered from serious discrimination can't find any empathy for other people who are discriminated against. Whether it's gay white men who don't see what the fuss is over racism or sexism or people of color who don't see what the fuss is over homophobia it's all the same.

    Maybe it's an indication of just how much damage being seriously oppressed can do to the human psyche or maybe there's just a large asshole quotient inherent in human nature.

    But let's get one thing straight (so to speak) here. Despite what racists will tell you, it isn't bad behavior by people of color that causes racism and no matter how Mac Diva rationalizes it, it is not bad behavior by gay people that causes her homophobia.

    There are plenty of scumbags in the world. It's the very definition of predjudice to extrapolate your feelings about a scumbag to everyone who shares that person's race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.

  • Georgia (unverified)

    Wow. I don't want to pile on to MacDiva too much, but I just wanted to address a few points I haven't seen mentioned. You seem to associate being gay/homosexual with white males. I don't find that to be very accurate, just from my own viewpoint. Most of the gay people I know are woman and many are not white. Oregon has a large lesbian community, which I believe your arguments are overlooking. It's not all "queer eye" out there . . gay comes in so many different forms, not all of it visible (which I think was part of John's point).

    I also get the sense from your posts that you view the homosexual community as this large, white, male, urban, raging, rich, racist entity and what I've experienced is far from that. In fact, I just looked at a survey from the national gay and lesbian task force, comparing gay and lesbian voters with the general population. On about the third page, they compare incomes for 2003 and actually the LGB population actually appears at a first glance to have made less on average . . . they also aren't very supportive of Bush (although still not as "angry" as I would have wished). Furthermore, on page 5, it asks about race . . . and at least in this survey are just as diverse as the general population

    The site to check it out is

    Now, I can't verify all of this information. I can say that it comes from a credible source, which is the national Gay and Lesbian Task Force. But I think MacDiva, after reading your posts that you might want to explore your own biases. It just seems like you have a lot of misconceptions about the gay population.

    And I'm sorry that your asshole landlord did that to you. That's truly unforgivable and maybe if I were in your shoes I would have developed a bias against the person who did that to me . . . . .

    But, I believe that your ideas regarding discrimination are flawed. Just because you don't see homophobia doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I work with teen-agers and have talked to many about what it is like to be gay in high school. They're scared, fearful, bullied, taunted. The discrimination is so much more than just hearing the word "gay," which by the way is definitely starting to decline, I've noticed.

    Here are some facts, also from the task force:

    Twenty-six percent of gay and lesbian youth leave home early because of conflicts with their families over their sexual identities, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

    Twenty-eight percent of gay and lesbian youth drop out of school because of harassment resulting from their sexual orientation, the Task Force reports.

    Twenty percent of street youth in a Portland survey, and 40 percent of street youth in a Seattle survey, identified themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, the Task Force on Sexual Minority Youth reports.

    The 1989 Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide found that gay and lesbian youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth.

    The report estimated that up to 30 percent of completed youth suicides are committed by lesbian and gay youth annually.

    A study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice reported that "homosexuals are probably the most frequent victims" of hate crimes.

    I don't know. I just believe that we should offer protection for all people. No question about it. Besides, all this publicity about how we don't have the law now might encourage the bigoted landlord to toss out the gay couple living on his property.

  • Mac Diva (unverified)

    Ugh! I was just trying to review Li at Findlaw when Safari crashed. There's something about that site and that browser. I will have to get back to Li, using another browswer, later.

    However, I can make a summary comment about the claims that discrimination against gays being as serious as racial discrimination, now. It isn't and never has been. All those white Americans discriminating against people of color for centuries included white homosexuals. The blood is on their hands just as it is on white heterosexuals' hands. Maybe moreso, since, during the last century at least, they were complaining about discrimination against themselves while being racists and misogynists. Nor have disciminatory laws impacted gays nearly as much as they inmpact nonwhites. For example, Auggie points out that for a time there was a law forbidding immigration by homosexuals. For a much longer time, there were laws forbidding immigration of people of color. Furthermore, homosexuals could easily get around anti-discrimination laws. People of color couldn't. Gay activists really need to give up their claims of suffering discimination equivalent to that of racial minorities. All they do is embarrass themselves when they make them.

    The Constitution does not protect gays qua gays because the 14th Amendment grew out of slavery and its implications. Gays have never been enslaved, or even subjected to segregation. There have been no movements to declare them genetically inferior. The courts have recognized that discrimination based on sexual preference is a far cry from discrimination based on immutable physical characteristics. For persons as dismissive of the history of people of color as John Doty is, the distinction makes no difference. However, I don't believe most people believe a teen saying something is 'gay' (uncool) is equivalent to real discrimination, such as being stopped for driving while black. And, that is a good thing. It means most people have common sense.

  • auggie (unverified)

    Mac – I have never met a “gay activist” who had made claims that gay discrimination is the same (the equivalent) of racial discrimination. And, trust me I have met quite a few well-known gay activists.

    As I said no two forms of discrimination will be exactly the same – but no one group gets the corner on discrimination. Do you really want to get into contest over who is discriminated the worst … the Holocaust vs. slavery, Asian vs. Hispanic, Women vs. etc.

    As you noted the 14th came about because of the implications of slavery – should it not protect women then?

    You also seem to believe gays can “hide” – some can, and some cannot (should they have to!) – but, does it really make a difference whether they are discriminated against or not?

    There are factors which make discrimination against gays & lesbians much different that of race … I have known too many gay & lesbian individuals, as Georgia addressed factually, who have been turned away by their own family.

    And, the link is sent to the amicus brief in Li – which is the case about same-sex marriage currently before the OR Supreme Court – you should try to cut & paste the link (I am horrible at creating links) – I don’t think you’ll find it in FindLaw.

  • auggie (unverified)

    Mac - And in reference to you comment: "There have been no movements to declare them genetically inferior."

    Until 1973 the American Psychiatic Association classified homosexuality as a mental disorder (aka genetically inferior). Not to mention Hitler's classification as homosexuality as genetically inferior...

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    There is a difference between dismissing history and geting PAST it. Again comes the "white gays discriminated against blacks just like straight gays did," argument.

    Newsflash: black homophobes have beaten black gays and white gays, and honestly, if you WANT to bring history in, we can make a case for absolutely EVERY group having some moment of oppression targetted against them by someone else and also of targetting someone themselves. The point is moving FORWARD. You know this word, yes? Progress? It's a concept of working to change things for the better?

    Get past the past. It is illustrative of mistakes not to be repeated, it is pointless to use it as a balance sheet that must be completely reconciled before looking ahead.

    Mac, I can appreciate the personal anecdotal references you've made, but you've made some assumptions that are amazingly off-base.

    The folks out there who like keeping the black man down, and uppity women, and the queers, are THRILLED to let each of those groups beat on each other, literally and rhetorically.

    Get out of the box. It has you trapped. Blame of the past is plenty to go around. Who first offered African slaves to the Portuguese and Spanish ships plying the West African shores? Do you find answering that at all difficult? You have no trouble lumping white gays in with white straights so why not not lump black slavers in with white slavers? Anti-Semites for centuries used the 'they killed Christ' argument to justify their actions - I didn't see anyone going after the Romans for their complicity. Once anti-Italian bias was thriving, it was in no way tied to their ancestoral connection to Pilate's kin. Sins of the fathers visited on the sons is a recipe for ENDLESS RETRIBUTION.

    Georgia made a very interesting note above, that seems implicit in much that you are arguing. I am curious when did all homosexuals become gay, white men? My gay acquaintances are mostly female (females, btw, I would argue HAVE suffered as much historical abuse as people of color) and refelect a range of racial diversity that includes origins on every contintent on earth. It's good to know we can wait on protecting the Latino, Native American, Black, Persian, and Sino-Korean, and Maori gays and lesbians because a: they aren't getting as much discrimination as black have historically and b: the white gays have the blood of racism on their hands. Give me an effing break.

    Sorry my appreciation of history spans far more of the globe and of time than the narrow slice you choose to dwell upon repeatedly in your debate. My point STILL (and you may need to re-read the original post) isn't that other discrimintation DOESN'T occur, it's that anti-gay discrimination DOES and a man who runs a group that ran a successful statewide anti gay campaign says it doesn't even a little bit.

    You have fallen into a logical trap, arguing that I am somehow incorrect. My thesis was not a comparison of relative bigotry, it was an assertion than anti-gay bigotry exists. You have not actually challenged that statement of existance, you just repeat that there isn't as much of it. Well, Mac, Tim Nashif says there ISN'T ANY - that gays and lesbians are making it up. Get that clear. MAKING IT UP.

    Kids are beaten in school for MAYBE being gay. You don't get beaten for MAYBE being black. There isn't any ambiguity in a racist beating. Nashif says NONE. NONE. That is not a statement of degree, it is an absolute. This isn't about comparing oppressions, this is about DENYING oppressions, like the Turks with Armenia.

    I am SO on your side. I appreciate history - I was born in a year when ONE THING went, arguably, well - we flew to (didn't land on) the moon. King died, Bobby died. Viet Nam sucked, Prague sucked, lots of YOUNG whites were beaten by lots of OLDER whites in Chicago while the Dems tried to select a President to run against Nixon. But it is the Past.The last things we want are parallels or resurrections of it.

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    Always good to prrofread - the above: "There is a difference between dismissing history and geting PAST it. Again comes the "white gays discriminated against blacks just like straight gays did," argument."

    should read

    "There is a difference between dismissing history and geting PAST it. Again comes the "white gays discriminated against blacks just like straight whites did," argument."

  • jim (unverified)

    “All forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere.”

    "Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood."

    "Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions."

    "Like Martin, I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others."

    “I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible.”

    All quotes from Coretta Scott King, except last one which is from Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Mac Diva (unverified)

    I have said nowhere on this thread that I oppose equal protection under the law for homosexuals, Doretta & Co. Nor have I said that no discrimination against gays occurs. Furthermore, I probably blogged in favor of gay marriage more than most liberal bloggers. What I did say is:

    1) The historical record makes it clear that discrimination against gays in America has not been nearly as deep-seated and brutal as discrimination against racial minorities. (Correct me by pointing to slave sales featuring lesbians, or lynching of gay men for being gay or Jim Crow accommodations for either, and I will cheerfully retract that statement.)

    2) The data John Doty refers to do not support his claim. Just the opposite. It reveals very few allegations of discrimination by gays and lesbians in Oregon. As I said above, the proposed legislation is a remedy for a problem that barely exists. It is meant to be a sop for failing to allow gays to marry -- sort of like treating a person for influenza when what he actually has is appendicitus.

    Of course someone would trot out the old 'racial discrimination is in the past' claim. And, of course, the person trotting it out is white. People of color know better. We are still dealing with discrimination on a daily basis. The passage of laws means little if they aren't enforced.

    This is not the first time I have had to address an educator trying to equate teens saying 'that's so gay' with racism. In 2003, Brian Emanuels, a white Seattle school teacher, decided to 'fix' a student in his class who used the phrase. He 'corrected' the situation by calling the child a n-----. It later turned out the incident was not the first time Emanuels had used racial slurs to or about the students at his predominantly African-American school. Emanuels, another of those white liberals who think they are here to tell people of color what they can think and say, claimed to be surprised when black parents objected to his behavior. John Doty is about a half-step from the same sort of misstep. I do not at all regret sounding the alarm before he took that half step. You can read about the Emanuels saga here.

    I just checked for updates on the Brian Emanuels episode. It turns out that two more white male teachers have been suspended for similar behavior. There's a problem there alright -- white teachers using the pretext of being concerned about gays as a mechanism to engage in racist behavior. Can't say I'm surprised.

  • (Show?)

    It is easy to document that on an ongoing basis people are being beaten, murdered, denied custody of their children, fired and denied housing for being gay.

    There is a whole frigging right wing industry amounting to millions of dollars a year whose major purpose is to ensure that discrimination against gay people continues.

    Just go down to any hearing that happens in Salem over any proposed anti-discrimination legislation that includes gay people. You will be treated to a steady stream of people who will assert that their rights will be abridged if they aren't allowed to ensure their children don't have gay teachers, keep gay people out of their rental housing and off the list of employees of their buisnesses.

  • (Show?)

    I am going to join JJ Ark on the sidelines for the rest of this. Janeane Garofalo, when co-hosting Crossfire opposite Tucker Carlson used to assert, "You are willfully misunderstanding me," every time Tucker took her words and argued a completely different point -- a point that was usually a: wrong, and b: failed to actually contradict hers, though he seemed to think if did.

    The root of all of this seems to bethe unwavering thesis that as a white man, I am unqualified to make observations of any kind concerning bias. One day, perhaps, when you are fading into whatever comes next, the delicious irony of your position will become clear to you.

    A couple of thousand words exchanged, and there has been no motion on your part, Mac. Not an inch.

    Rail away.

    A good day to you.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)

    Doretta wrote - "It always saddens me to see how often people who have suffered from serious discrimination can't find any empathy for other people who are discriminated against."

    There's only so much room on the SS Victimhood.

    If you allow too many people to board that ship, it's bound to sink.

  • jj ark (unverified)

    Bingo, PanchoPdx and John D.

    Now that that is out of the way, lets move on.

    Again: who is out there actually doing to work to attack the infrastructure these folks are using? I wish to help them do this and have a few ideas of my own.

  • (Show?)

    JJ - you ask a very important question, and I am looking for a comprehensive answer. Basic Rights Oregon is the vangaurd organiztion for LGBT rights in the state and is probably the best source for that information. I am not hooked into an immediate source who could give you a good answer, but am checking.

  • auggie (unverified)

    jj ark:

    Check into Defense of Marriage Coalition - the sponsor of Measure 36. Which raised approximately $2.2 Million in 2004. Over $100K coming from Focus on the Family (contrary to their statements to the "O" that they would not be giving $ to the campaign).

    Also, look into Oregon Family Council PAC, the producers of a "Christian" voting guide.

    You can look up their finances on the Secretary of State website.

    Notice payments to Gateway Communications - which the Mercury & Statesman Journal report are owned by Nashif. There are some pretty sizeable payments from the OFC & DOMC to Gateway. OFC (if my math is correct) paid Gateway over $53,000 in about a month. Also, the Mercury reported $96,571 of the $120,996 in the last election cycle went directly to Gateway.

  • jj ark (unverified)

    To be honest, I don't have a lot of faith in BRO. They seem to have made some serious mis-steps...first for dealing with Diane Linn at all, second for trying to do something like this in an election year, and third for running the campaing again 36 the way they did. I really question their ability to fight another grassroots organization based upon their institutionalized status. It takes motivated people, and I am more than a bit worried that paid staffers get complacent and lazy. At least that is what seemed to be evident in the last election.

    My wife is currently doing some research on the national level to see how to tie in contributions. Thanks for the heads up on Gateway! Gotta read the mercury more often.

  • (Show?)

    Auggie... you're on the right track. If such large payments were actually made to Gateway, either the campaign was putting money personally in his pocket (salary? well, ok, but more?) or he was using his company to make other payments. I'm not an election lawyer, but I'm pretty sure you can't do anything to hide the true destination of expenditures.

  • Jim Clay (unverified)

    One can rightfully debate the strategies of BRO's campaign to fight measure 36. It's easy to look back and say that "if I had been in charge, things would have been different." But being in charge means that one is privy to all sorts of things not known by those of us on the outside. So I reserve my judgment.

    That having been said, I think it is just simply wrong to assume that BRO staff are anything but incredible, dedicated, hardworking, caring, and driven people. I know them all personally and don't think it could be possible to come up with a more honorable and admirable group of activists. Disagree with their decisions if you must, but beyond that you are on thin ice.

    Regarding considering it a mistake to have dealt with Diane, I was right there when they tried every possible way to avoid rushing into this. But the weight of national events forced BRO's hands, and the County Board's (except for Lonnie, but even then his response to his constituency was similarly forced upon him, although opposite in ideology).

    Again, unless you were there, you really can't have an appreciation for what happened, and how big and how fast it came.

  • jj ark (unverified)

    /rambling thoughts/


    You have known me for 18 years. You may not remember who I am, but I worked with you against the OCA down south. I worked for you at the WAC. I am not some rube that fell off the turnip truck, with no experience battling the Uber Christian nutjobs. I was doing this before I could legally drive a car, smoke cigs, or buy a beer. Over half my life.

    I suppose I am frustrated, and taking it out on BRO. I am not sure how it happened, but the got us good this time around. I am kinda thinking that we were expecting Lon and Co's typically mismanaged state and perhaps were stunned by the OFC? Did we bring a stick to a knifefight? It sure looks like that from outside looking in.

    I just keep finding myself wondering how a bunch of neobarbs that think like the Taliban on this issue managed to outflank our (admittedly) dedicated, hardworking staff. Why did we hold back, and not call it like it was: UnAmerican. How is that they got sooooo many folks motivated, and we got so few (and I was at the bars and adult places--there wasn't any fire on this issue). Where were the attack dogs, the 3rd party players that fill the roles of harrass and harangue? Where were the SEC complaints? Why the deafening silence when spurious claims were made?

    I apologize if I hurt feelings over there, Jim, but the truth is, we lost. Heck, we got trounced. The last plan didn't work. If this is the extent of the playbook, its time to toss out the coaching staff, and move on to something that will work.

  • jj ark (unverified)

    oh, and you are right about Dianne. I am not sure BRO could have avoided that. I just don't like her politically. She has the uncanny propensity to burn every stew she makes politically. I am sorry to have lumped BRO into it, but they have been tarred by association, fair or not.

  • (Show?)

    jj, have you considered that there are some issues at some times that you are going to lose no matter what you do?

    How many states voted on this issue? Did they all lose because all the campaigns picked bad strategies?

    Sometimes it's obvious an issue was winnable and that a different strategy might have made the difference. It isn't at all clear to me that this was one of those times. (None of the people who worked on the M36 campaign are my personal friends so I'm not making excuses for personal reasons.) I think it's entirely possible that this particular hill was just too high to climb at this particular time.

  • jim (unverified)

    jj -- I have great personal respect for you and I recognize your distress, because at other times -- dare I say "when I was younger" -- I felt much the same. But I've come to see winning and losing as something different from election outcomes. I'm seeing a bigger picture, and in this picture we are winning. We haven't won yet, but it's getting closer. I've been deeply involved in gay & lesbian equality in Oregon for 33 years, and overall we have seen steady progress, with the occasional bump in the road. But we always bounce back, each time stronger than before.

    To have over 51% of Oregonians 60 or younger vote NO on M36 ( is a HUGE triumph, regardless of the election outcome. It predicts a very short (from my perspective) while until the major opposition is gone and we can find equality.

    Part of our dilemma and shortcoming has been a collective misunderstanding that opposition is all from "uber Christian nutjobs." I probably believed some version of this myself until recently, and sure, they are the ones who initiated this. But re-read some of the stuff Mac Diva has written in this thread. There is a whole lot more to our opposition than the Christian right. Clueless lefties who don't begin to grasp the gay and lesbian experience voted yes on this too. And others voted no yet still oppose true equality because somehow our concerns don't have sufficient standing with them.

    Enough. John, keep up the good work. Your heart is in the right place and I'm glad you've been there working for equality.

  • Mac Diva (unverified)

    Jim, actually, I think you and JJArk are very representative of why much of the electorate is turned off by what they refer to as "the homosexual agenda." They see people with next to know knowledge of American history, a holier than thou attitude, contempt for every minority group but their pet (and not so accidently, mainly white) minority, and disdain for the heterosexual majority as well, being the spokesmen for it. A matter being pushed by mean-spirited airheads is not going to go anywhere.

    Even if the unneeded legislation passes it will make no difference because the problems it is directed toward largely don't exist. What would be achieved is a non-effective substitute for the real issue -- gay marriage. Legislators will be able to point to a statute that bars practically non-existent housing discrimination against gays and say, 'we gave you all that, now stop bothering us' when the need for gay marriage arises again. Those of us who have studied the women's and civil rights movements know that offering disgruntled groups sops is not uncommon. However, it appears that the stupid have rushed to the forefront of the gay rights movement in Oregon. So, far they have been monumentally ineffective. It will serve them right if that continues. They should be replaced by people with good sense and good ideas.

  • jj ark (unverified)

    I'm seeing a bigger picture, and in this picture we are winning.

    I have to differ. I would say that we are not "winning" at the moment. I come to this conclusion not on the basis of gay marriage, but on the number of people who have gone BACK into the closet. The number of idiots I see in the triangle in Portland hollering "faggot" out their car windows, and the general feeling I get when I am in queer space.

    The problem is that the religious right picks on the GLTB community cuz they can. The find ready accomplices in the African American Community, some Asian communities and among white middle class liberals of all faiths. This is not surprising, and has been going on for years. That isn't the real danger.

    We haven't won yet, but it's getting closer.

    Ok...I am willing to buy that...we are indeed getting closer. But what happens once we actually arrive? What will we arrive to? By whittling away at our cause, we cannot preserve what we have NOW, much less secure what should rightfully be ours. And after succeeding in legislating away the Gay Agenda, who will they turn to next? Who gets to be their next target in the name of "decency" and "morality"? They nature of scapegoating is that once established as a national policy, it must be built up. Fed. Given fuel in order to sustain itself because out of its nature, there is little (if any)indigeonous fuel.

    To be honest, I never thought that I would ever see what we already have seen. Not in my lifetime, anyway. The lines around the Multnomah County building made my cry. But then to have that yanked away. It was cruel, wrong, and just plain dumb on so many levels.

    I've been deeply involved in gay & lesbian equality in Oregon for 33 years, and overall we have seen steady progress, with the occasional bump in the road. But we always bounce back, each time stronger than before.

    Wow...well, I am not sure where you live, but I recall the sheer exhaustion in late 70's Eugene, and the exhaustion after Son of 9. No other single group has under attack the way we have been, time after time with the initiative process. And now we are caught between a rock and a hard place: Save our ammo for another battle (which we are all sure is coming), or expend that ammo on this battle--and this isn't that big battle. We can't back off, cuz if we do, they win, increasing their political capital.

    After this last election, I am debating how much I want to get involved. In anything. How much money can we give, and how much time can we donate? How much should I care about other groups that insist that we are not only "not discriminated against" but are actually the oppressors (nice trick, holding the boot at our own throats)?

    Why should we support communities that seems to not support us?

    Or should we just give up and start joining the jackbooted thugs? Become the Oregon version of the SA? Our own homosexual shock troops, holding down the kike, the nigger, the other uppity groups that are the truly discriminated against? After all, we are supposed to be this militant group with an agenda to be afraid of. Perhaps fulfilling that reason is a function to get us out of the hole we are in? Maybe we can all salute Thomas Lauderdale as our revered leader?

    But re-read some of the stuff Mac Diva has written in this thread. Sorry, but I refuse to read Mac Diva's posts. I have to watch out for heart attacks, and she manages to post a never ending flow of racist tripe from one site to another. She posts racist garbage and does so anonymously, never owning her own words. That fits my definition of troll. She has been banned from other sites, and will be banned here eventually.

  • (Show?)

    Mac, one question: why do you see this in an either/or dichotomy? Gays and lesbians who have their rights recognized under the law and those who work to secure those rights don't really have a thing to do with the rights of other citizens. It's not as if this is a dinner table with too little food and we all have to fight over the scraps. Full rights for all citizens should be the default position.

    It really seems as if you're trying to pit groups against each other for reasons I can't understand.

  • Mac Diva (unverified)

    Jeff, as I said in my first posts to this thread, I object to John Doty's misrepresentation of the issues for several reasons:

    1) He is dissembling about the data. It revealed a lack of discrimination against homosexuals in Oregon.

    2) The 'that's so gay' comment being used to try to justify unneeded legislation. It is teenagers' slang, not some draconian government policy, like Jim Crow. The fact that he and others have to grab at something that lightweight is a giveaway about the lack of weight of their argument.

    3) Most of the legislation suggested is a bad idea. There is no basis for it. What rational gay rights leaders want is gay marriage. They should keep their eyes on the prize instead of settling for sops. Unfortunately, knowing the difference between good legislation and a sop takes intelligence, something that seems to be lacking among advocates for gay righs in Oregon.

    People who read my blogs know I have been a strong supporter of gay marriage. (Why not? Allowing gays to marry will not cause any harm that I can think of.) But, I am a tireless critic of stupidity. Much of what gay advocates are putting forth to try to justify themselves is just plain stupid, like the 'that's so gay' red herring. Even with the legislation, people would be free to consider being gay uncool. How can anyone be so foolish as not to realize that?

    I again reiterate that misrepresenting history insults the people whose ancestors were subjected to slavery, segregation and genocide. It is a major reason that gay marriage has not become an important issue to other minorities. By pretending to be more oppressed than they are, members of the largely white and middle-class gay population have alienated other minority groups.

    The gay rights movement in Oregon also needs better 'faces.' JJArk is an example of what is wrong with it. I have never seen him express an opinion that was not self-centered and smallminded about anything. Guns? He likes them so they should be more accessible, despite the epidemic of gun violence. Fluoride? It is fine for children's teeth to rot because the cost might raise his taxes a little. Everyone has read his dimwitted blathering on this thread, so I will not bother summarizing. JJArk is the kind of person that savvy organizers have stuff envelopes. They know that if allowed to run his mouth, such a person will increase opposition to whatever the cause is. I'm sure he more than earned the arse kickings he keeps whining about.

  • jim (unverified)

    Mac says: "I'm sure he more than earned the arse kickings he keeps whining about."

    This is surely the most vile comment made on tbis blog since it opened.

  • Mac Diva (unverified)

    Vile? Obviously you haven't been reading your fellow traveler's comments which include threats to assualt people.

    Two would-be gay bullies who are giving their cause a bad name. It is hard to believe anyone could look on the likes of Jim and JJArk favorably. Either you agree with them totally or they're gonna hit you with their purses. Hmmmm. Come to think of it, they and their cause were fully and completely rejected. If they had the intelligence to do so, they would've learned something from that.

  • (Show?)

    Mac, you'd scream bloody murder if the white people here pontificated on "the issue" people of color should be focusing on. Yet you are quite comfortable makig arrogant pronouncements about what other people should care most about. Why is that?

    "They see people with next to know knowledge of American history, a holier than thou attitude, contempt for every minority group but their pet (and not so accidently, mainly white) minority, and disdain for the heterosexual majority as well, being the spokesmen for it. A matter being pushed by mean-spirited airheads is not going to go anywhere."

    Physician, heal thyself.

  • (Show?)

    Mac - wake the hell up.

    you state: "1) He is dissembling about the data. It revealed a lack of discrimination against homosexuals in Oregon."

    To which I will respond AGAIN - I haven't dissembled "about the data" - I didn't provide DATA in the initial post You may notice it is observation and anecdote, along with some opinion. In fact, the only data I submitted in the entire discourse was the raw vote YES on M 36 in a followup comment.

    But that aside, you stubbornly cling to the idea that I am arguing a case of a plethora of discrimination. Sorry. I didn't make that argument. I made the argument for ANY, since the jackass from the OCF made the argument for NONE. If he asserts an absolute, I have one of the easiest logical constructs in the world to build - I have to merely show an (technically even ONE will do) exception...

    It was very nice of a few others to contribute numbers (you may not have noticed that posts have come from more than just yourself, JJ, Jim, and me - though we are the only ones you've attacked) that were VERY solid in supporting an argument for the PRESENCE (not plethora, though some of them support that, too) of discrimination vs gays. Remember, I am not putting forth an initial assertion of LOTS, I am COUNTERING an initial assertion of NONE.

    you state: "2) The 'that's so gay' comment being used to try to justify unneeded legislation. It is teenagers' slang, not some draconian government policy, like Jim Crow."

    That was an opening volley to get attention for the thesis. It is not the sole foundation of the claim. If you read the entire thing, you might see the at school and at workplace examples? Furthermore, Anti-discrimination legislation DOESN'T AIM at draconian GOVERNMENT policies. It aims at discriminatory misconduct on the part of private entities that serve the public - housing, jobs, and accomodations. "That is so gay," is the tip of the iceberg.

    And yes, kids have given it synonymous status with "uncool". I suppose that same "uncoolness" is what they mean when they say, "Hey, faggot, get the fuck outta my way," and "What a goddamned dyke that ugly bitch is," and "Packed much fudge this week, queer?" right? That's just their way of saying, "You're not cool and we aren't going to talk to you today."

    I. Don't. Think. So.

    I can take you to the documentation on quotes very like, if not exactly those, uttered at schools I have taught in. All have resulted in disciplinary action. Action that would, btw, have been illegal had Measure 9 or its offspring passed. Illegal to the point that myself, four other teachers, and three administrators would all have lost our jobs and licenses.

    BUT YOU AREN'T HEARING THIS (thus I shout at thee in all caps) because I am white and gays trashed your apartment once.

    And then you dare defend a statement about earned beatings? You know where that language comes from? You know where I, sheltered, uninformed, dismissive white man hear it? I hear it when thugs justify rape ("She wanted it; she had it coming; look at how she was dressed..."). I hear it when racists justify lynching ("...nigger shouldn't have looked at my woman; that boy needs to learn respect; what does he think he's doing talking to her?"). I hear it justify a lot of things for which the term VILE barely begins to scratch the surface. You actually just justified the beating of a human being? I think I can get you confirmed as an Ass't US Attorney General. Bonus that the GOP can tell us we can't fight your confirmation or we're racists.

    I've read your posts on matters separate from race, and it is seems you are capable of rational thought. But on this matter, you are far, far, far gone and your conduct in civil debate leaves so much to be desired.

    You have stereotyped me based upon my skin color, gender, and profession. All based on past misdeeds by other individuals who meet those characteristics. You have passed my words and intents through the filters of those previous events and your worldview and arrived at a conclusion so very far from the truth, that for those following this discourse who know me, the disbelief is unquantifiable.

    Is it possible that such great experience in BEING stereotyped has led you to be capable OF stereotyping? If so, is it possible that my birth status as a white male oppressor (thanks to the womyn of Wesleyan University's GLBA (the acronym keeps changing - that was 1987ish) for that phrase, back in my formative years) make me qualified to recognize, and thus speak out against, oppression? It's the same logical leap.

    Wading back into this is perhaps foolish, but as I am by your measure both that and ignorant as well, why the hell not?

    Enjoy your anonymity. It's a nice, fair fight when you get to use my full name in every single venting of your spleen and I just get to snarl back at you with the name of a product I actually wish I was using. I'd suggest you try just "John", but that conveys a familiarity I don't think I will ever want. And "Mr. Doty" is something I don't even require my students to use. Besides, it implies a degree of respect I find quite lacking in your missives and I expect you do, too.

    Finally, you say, "They see people with next to know(sic) knowledge of American history, a holier than thou attitude, contempt for every minority group but their pet (and not so accidently, mainly white) minority, and disdain for the heterosexual majority as well, being the spokesmen for it. A matter being pushed by mean-spirited airheads is not going to go anywhere."

    You speak of knowing nothing. Nothing of what? Nothing of my background with history, clearly. I don't have a pet minority and the contempt I am feeling for YOU does not swell to include any other individuals (let alone groups) and is based solely upon your utter lack of grasp of any point made to you during these exchanges. My aim is human equality, but that apparently won't work for you if we are going to include all humans in it.

    There is an upside to this, in that we've generated enough Google-able buzz that I can probably convince the local Dems I am too radioactive to run again, and autumns can be soccer and canvassing on behalf of other candidates. And maybe stuffing a stray envelope here or there, if you don't mind.


  • LeAnn (unverified)

    In the past, I've enjoyed Mac's point of view and incredible knowledge of history and race in relation to current issues. She has called it like it is, in my opinion, and I've been amazed at her eloquence. However, I've been following this story and comments, often with my jaw dropping open, reading them aloud in my queer multi-racial household (yes, we exist Mac), and am disgusted, dismayed at what Mac has said here, complete with huge flames and points that are personal put-downs made on assumptions. Pitting racial groups against gays, making a case for who has it worse, dismissing "hey faggot"s use in the schools, does a disservice for everyone and is total BS. The sad thing here is that I can only believe that Mac's desire is for equality, an end to racial discrimination, and fair laws and protection for all: but her alienation and absurd comments and denial of "there's a problem" will forever keep us from that. She's precisely the gay movement's biggest issue: our own liberal friends of color that are so angry at us.

    I don't want your support Mac, at this point in time, as you pity yet scoff at the gay community's lack of proof of discrimination. You have just managed to piss people off in this thread. But I would ask you, where's our common denominator? You've clearly pointed out you've had it worse, and all the differences that exist in our communities and movements, but where is the point of connecting values? Is there, or is there no hope? Please stop posturing your support for gay rights through clenched teeth and scoffing at the poor white faggots that don't know what it's like to really hurt: it's an offense to all of us, including the community you don't seem to acknowledge that exists: queer, women, of color.

  • LynnS (unverified)

    Mac, you are a coward hiding behind your anonymity. John Doty and JJ Ark (his real name--I'm his wife, I should know) own their words. Why can't you? Oh yeah--your words are vile. That'd be why.

  • jim (unverified)

    LeAnn says: "She's precisely the gay movement's biggest issue: our own liberal friends of color that are so angry at us."

    This hits the nail on the head. (ok, so now you know that I am a carpenter.) When we stop pretending that religious right fanatics are our only opposition, we'll make more progress.

    I'm thankful that many right-thinking people of color do not hold this bias.

  • Suzii (unverified)

    Thanks, LeAnn. I was trying to figure out what to say along those lines.

    Because of my color, I was subjected to different standards of discipline in school, and to shouted insults and sexual suggestions from people in the street.

    Because of my religion, I was spat upon.

    Because of my sexual orientation, I was fired from a job (it wasn't subtle -- I was called in on Monday after my boss encountered me with my family one weekend, and just a month after I'd had a positive review).

    Because of a landlord's guess about my sexual orientation (he had no reason to know), I was denied an apartment. And yes, he said it was because he had policies about "sexual morality" on his premises.

    Which of those things do I feel better about? Oh, gosh, well, they just all warm my heart, doncha know?

    Discrimination is not a good thing. It traumatizes its victims. Many face some form of post-traumatic stress disorder, which makes them react to the mere word "discrimination" with irrational and disproportionate vitriol.

    I don't have the citations, but there are studies showing that many abuse victims lose some or all of their capacity for empathy. In the case of discrimination victims, who have the message "You are different" hammered into them, I believe that empathy, the ability to see others as similar to oneself, would have to be particularly vulnerable. (Unless there is a cultural imperative to fight that impulse, in which case you see inspiring things like the Japanese American community's standing up beside Arab Americans and American Muslims after 9/11.)

    One reason to fight discrimination, in whatever form, is that we as a society can't afford to create more wounded, traumatized people who lash out angrily and irrationally without concern as to whom they hurt.

    Another queer woman of color...

    (And I can honestly say that the only discrimination I remember personally facing because of my gender is that my male cousins wouldn't throw me the football. Am I convinced that, therefore, sexist discrimination is not a problem? No, I'm made aware that I owe much to the people who worked diligently to minimize the sexism around me. I pay that debt by working to give other people a similar environment to grow in.)

  • jj ark (unverified)

    All politics SHOULD be a personal narrative. Never lose sight of others in that narrative, they have a very important role. However, if your politics isn't about your personal narrative, then you will not be effective.

    When we stop pretending that religious right fanatics are our only opposition, we'll make more progress.

    I have to agree with this statement. I'm using an old playbook, trying to match up the silhouettes of enemies. I keep looking at the outlines in my book, and they just aren't matching up anymore.

    Given what some folks are saying, the same people who count my community as allies don't wish to return the favor. Of course, my conscience doesn't allow me to return the slap in the face, but I do question if that is what is needed.

    In some ways I am unprepared for those who should be our allies, but instead have taken on the role of collaborator. I am confused by why discrimination against one group isn't just automatically considered a transgression against us all. Why is it that it is OK for someone to call me a fag, and not ok to call an African a racial epitaph? Is there some magical point at which discrimination becomes acceptable cuz we "really can't be discriminated against?"

    Lastly, I will readily admit I am bewildered at the deckhands on the SS Victimhood. Those who say that they have it worse off than me probably do. I have a roof over my head, a wonderful family, loving friends, a strong, vibrant community. I won't let myself be bashed and take a strong defensive stance for my friends and family. I am a bit fuzzy on why I am supposed to apologize for those connections. I suppose that makes me privileged, but even so, I still want to make the world a safer place for the babydykes and babyqueens. Those who will come after me. I would like to think that my efforts would spill over onto other communities, perhaps even toss a lifering out to those very deckhands and passengers who want to get OFF the boat, but maybe I am being overly optimistic.

    I'm thankful that many right-thinking people of color do not hold this bias.

    But I wonder how much paint can be spread with a wide brush? As I have said, I am accountable to that face in the mirror, so I will not return the slap in the face, but what about someone who looks at things from a wholly self centered perspective, and gives as good as they get? The percentage of Americans of African descent stands at around 13. The percentage of Americans who identify as gay or lesbian is roughly 4%, perhaps a bit higher. I am leaving out those who are Bi or Trans or are just not picky when it comes to gender (which would probably push us into the 8-10% range). Does that 13% wish to lose the support of the 4% and in the process ruin 20 odd years of cooperative involvement in each other's causes?

    13% or 17%, we are still outnumbered.

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