Conventionally wrong: Narratives that pit LGBT people against people of color aren’t backed by facts

May 15, 2012 By Josh Steichmann

people of color against prop 8
One of the major political justifications for Obama hedging a decision he says he made months ago is the feared reaction in the African-American community, a key part of Obama’s base.

But that narrative is one that plays into the hands of the so-called National Organization For Marriage, who used race-baiting as a strategy on Prop 8.

Our own research debunked those outsized claims over 2008, and the American Prospect debunks them now for North Carolina: Amendment 1′s fault line was between urban and rural voters, not African Americans and whites.

In fact, Obama’s statements may help him with African-American voters, and it doesn’t look like it will hurt. A coalition of African Americans and civil rights leaders back Obama’s move. As does Jay-Z.

Again and again, polling shows that African Americans and Latinos are largely in step with the national consensus favoring same-sex marriage. There’s even significant support from the pulpit.

With Latinos, this has been augmented by some of the coalition work that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists have done in connecting LGBT struggles to immigrant concerns.

There’s even a fair amount of evidence that Obama’s bully pulpit will help bring people of color over to supporting the freedom to marry. And where that doesn’t work, a majority still support Obama despite disagreements.

The repeated, and simplistic narrative that people of color are both opposed and barriers to the freedom to marry simply isn’t borne out by evidence — it’s another example of the lazy thinking that implies outsized significance to the most obvious difference. From our opponents, its intentional. From the media, it’s reductive and misleading. For our communities, we must realize that these narratives serve none of our interests, and only succeed in dividing our ability to achieve full equality for every — every — American.

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