Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How Black Turnout Suppressed Civil Rights

It continues to baffle me how the most prominent group who champions civil rights on their behalf fervently fails to see the hypocrisy of not supporting the same rights for other groups.

The fact that 70% of Blacks voted to ‘eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry’ in California is a very sad and ironic consequence of the excitement generated in the Black community to help elect Barack Obama.

News outlets worldwide are crying foul that American Blacks, the group of persons who should most understand the significance of the denial of basic civil rights, can in one moment cheer and celebrate their ability to vote for a Black president, calling it a ‘civil rights victory,’ and yet vote to deny civil rights to others.

And, they’re right.

Experts abound who state that had it not been for the large number of Black voters, Proposition 8 would have passed.

Black should be ashamed. One of two things happened: 1) Blacks are ignorant of the definition of civil rights, or 2) Blacks selfishly think civil rights is only synonymous with the 1960s, Dr. King, and the American South. Either reality is simply pitiful.

Civil rights are rights to personal liberty (full legal, social and economic equality) as established by the 13th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution and a variety of Congressional Acts and Executive Orders.

If you don’t believe me, ask any lawyer on the street or ask the NAACP.

Here’s another definition: marriage is a legal, formal agreement between two individuals for mutual benefit. Why is this definition most accurate? Because you can perform the ceremonial act of marriage in a church with a minister and never be legally married. In the United States, the marriage of two individuals is valid insofar as it is recognized by the state. Hence, marriage is a contractually recognized agreement between two parties.

The stigma of our individual views of morality that we often associate with marriage is derived from social and religious mores.

The problem with Blacks holding this view in respect to the rights of same-sex couples to marry is that Christian White racists (i.e. the KKK) made same argument for centuries concerning their view that Blacks should not have the same rights as Whites and that African Americans should not be allowed to marry non-African Americans.

How can that argument be valid for Blacks, but invalid for those of a certain sexual orientation?

Furthermore, Proposition 8 in California was not only a vote to amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and woman; it was also a vote to eliminate the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry already given.

Why Blacks, of all people, would vote in such high percentages to eliminate a right already conferred upon a protected class of individuals is unconscionable.

Every Black person who holds the view that same-sex individuals should not be offered the civil right to marry should fully understand they their decision oppresses the oppressed.

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