Latest Events

No events
This user has reached the maximum allowable queries against Twitter's API for the hour.

Latest News

The acquittal of George Zimmerman for ...

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO is pushing a ...

President Obama Takes A Step Forward In The Fight Against HIV
Washington silent on gun control
President Obama To Visit Newtown Sunday
The 2nd Amendment and Killing Kids

Quotes

Failure is an event, never a person

William D. Brown


Video of the day

Don't compare gay rights, civil rights PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 0
PoorBest 
Articles | Living
Written by Morphus on Monday, 08 August 2011 00:57   

In many respects, they are more different than they are alike. To point that out does not diminish the importance of the battle for equal treatment for gays

 

It has become fashionable to wrap the gay rights movement in the mantle of America's earlier struggle for racial equality. As Sen. John McCain's daughter, Meghan, put it during one televised interview, "Gay marriage and everything having to do with the gay rights movement (is) my generation's civil rights issue." To make that assertion is not only to claim moral legitimacy but to invite comparison with the epic efforts that ultimately forced America to end its homegrown racial caste system.

 

Certainly, there are similarities between the movement for racial equality and the movement for gay rights. Both movements share the goals of ending discrimination and fostering decency. But in many respects, they are more different than they are alike. To point that out does not diminish the importance of the battle for equal treatment for gays. It merely acknowledges that each battle must be understood on its own terms.

 

Perhaps the most enduring lesson of the civil rights struggle is something that has little applicability to the fight for gay rights — and which also underscores its fundamental difference from it. And that has to do with the weight of history — with the legacy of subjugation that is not simply wiped away with the passage of prejudice and time. Decades after the civil rights movement proclaimed victory, blacks are still trapped in ghettos and prisons out of all proportion to their numbers. Black youngsters are much more likely than whites to be stuck in second-rate schools — or in lower tracks in decent schools — and to face a future of joblessness or marginal employment. The obstacles gays face are somewhat different.

 

Racial identity changes everything

 

In some sense, the "don't ask, don't tell" program makes the difference clear. The thoroughly discredited policy (most recently repudiated by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals) essentially ordered gay soldiers to stay closeted — to "pass," in other words, for straight. That would have been roughly equivalent, in racially segregated times, to demanding that black would-be soldiers "pass" for white. And many blacks did pass for white. But most could not. The racial markers were evident enough that, for most people, there was no hiding from the American system of classification. One's racial identity, for the most part, was as clear as the nose on one's face. That ability to instantly and easily (albeit, imprecisely) categorize was one thing that made it possible to organize an entire society around the principle of racial difference. It also allowed the practice of racism to be relentlessly oppressive, as entire communities were cordoned off and disadvantage was handed down through generations.

 

 

More USA Today


blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Time to Repeal ALEC/NRA Stand Your Ground Laws: The acquittal of George Zimmerman for killing unarmed high-schooler Trayvon Martin serves as a reminder of the continuing inequities in America's criminal justice system. ...
Deluxe News Pro - Copyright 2009,2010 Monev Software LLC