Good point: Now that marriage equity has been repealed in Maine, will we see the same vitriol against segments of the Maine population as we saw against Black Californians (actually, all Black folks) following Proposition 8? Will Dan Savage write about feeling betrayed by small town and rural voters in Maine, who apparently voted overwhelmingly in support of Question 1? Will he write,
I do know this, though: I’m done pretending that the handful of racist cranberry- and lobster-hating gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans Maine residents, gay and straight [and cranberry- or lobster-loving], than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans cranberry and lobster lovers are for gay Americans, whatever their color [or juice/seafood preferences]… [Original quote here]
At the time of Prop 8 I read lobster-crates full of incredibly racist, stunningly naive, or just plain ignorant commentary about Blacks and marriage equity and responded around blogland until I was cranberry-red in the face and utterly depressed. Eventually I quit reading and quit commenting, concluding that folks just needed to vent and that they were just (unfortunately) using Black folks as a temporary whipping group.
But I am not so sure. It is my belief that that racism never goes away and never will go away. That may be an unpopular and pessimistic view, but it is one that I hold. I do not think there will ever be a “cure” for racism, resulting in its eradication forever. There may be vaccines for uninfected young people. There may be treatments that put the scourge in remission. But it will always be there—virulent as ever in those who refuse treatment, ready to newly infect others with mutated strains, and powerfully rebounding in those who thought they were over it for good.
The fight, then, to manage racism generally and anti-Black racism specifically is an on-going struggle. As is and will be the fight against homophobia. The building and maintenance of ally relationships will have ups and downs. And probably more of the latter than the former. There will be steps forward* as well as steps—like Question 1—back.
But the way forward when we find our chins deep in the cranberry bog is to pick ourselves up, dry ourselves off, and start all over again. (Without pointing fingers at others absent the benefit of facts and context.)
*And there’s at least this look on the bright side from the world of the Chicago Cubs.