Operation Infiltrate the Black Community, Phase Two

infiltrateI guess I came back from my little vacation just in time…

I knew it wouldn’t be long before the next chapter in audacity on the part white gays organizing for gay marriage here in California were back at it and up to their old tricks.

Their latest offense towards black people comes in the form of an announcement that Equality California, one of those predominately white gay marriage groups that screwed up royally on Proposition 8, is opening up an office in Inglewood and beginning canvassing and mobilizing efforts in the area, including Baldwin Hills. Although, I seriously doubt they’ll be canvassing in the Jungles, they’re more interested in the voters at the top of the hill, if you know what I am saying.

And so over the next few months what will happen is that the white gay community will hire black faces, temporarily, to walk through the hood and convince those that they look like to support the white gay agenda of gay marriage. Why? Because although they need to show that they are reaching out to blacks, they are not actually going to do the reaching out. They’ll set up a storefront office in Inglewood, hold the occasional town hall meeting in what they consider to be a “safe” black neighborhood like Leimert Park or Ladera Heights, all the while using black faces as their pass into our neighborhoods — still not understanding that it’s not enough to simply knock on doors quoting statistics, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his wife Coretta.

Their announcement reads…

Join Equality California, Vote for Equality, Jordan-Rustin Coalition, RENWL, Stonewall Young Democrats and Equal Roots on Saturday, July 11th for a voter canvass to win marriage back. Equality California has been working with Vote for Equality to develop a ground-breaking canvass operation. We have recently partnered with the Jordan-Rustin Coalition in an effort to spark more dialogue about same-sex marriage in communities of color. We will train you on how to talk to voters one-on-one and do the hard work of changing hearts and minds. Please come out and join us.

Just like you don’t walk up into someone else’s church preaching your own religion, or hold an event in another elected’s district without a courtesy call, you cannot just set up shop in the black part of town and push your agenda forward just because you want to and have the means.

If and when gay marriage becomes an issue that black same-gender loving people want to take up, we will and we won’t have to move in to the hood to do it, because we are already here, or be trained on how to talk to blacks because we already know. To us, black people aren’t allies and communities of color, they are our people and we have always known how to talk and when to talk to our people. The issue of gay marriage is no different. I am of the mindset that blacks—gay or straight—do not push the agenda of others. To the extent that our agenda includes gay marriage—it will be because we decided to include it. Not because of some COINTELPRO like operation out of West Hollywood developed to infiltrate the black community.

Case in point: the Jordan Rustin Coalition, Operation Infiltrate the Black Community Phase One, a group that was started by the same gays in West Hollywood moving into Inglewood because they felt that black gays weren’t doing enough to fight for gay marriage. Hmmm–maybe we are doing other things that are just as important. Maybe we’re not.  Either way, it’s awfully white of them to start a black gay group to do their bidding, don’t you think?

The group bills itself has a black civil rights group for lesbians and gays but does nothing more than push the white gay agenda for marriage onto the black community by holding the occasional town hall meeting in Leimert Park — the one part of the black community they know and feel safe in, thanks to gentrification. At these meetings, they use their black surrogates to tell black people why gay marriage is a priority.

This group doesn’t do anything non-gay-marriage related in the black community—and what I mean by that is that you won’t catch the Jordan Rustin Coalition at the community meetings dealing with black issues or out on the streets in the hood registering black people to vote. In fact, last year, instead of helping to register black voters, they wanted black gays to go to Pasadena for a Sing Out for Coming Out Day. While I agree that encouraging black gays to “come out” is generally a good thing—if and when we decide to hold a coming-out event, why the hell would we do it in Pasadena?

I use this example to prove to you the continued misunderstanding of priorities of blacks by gays and the ego and superiority complex that dictates the lengths to which gays will go to micromanage and push their agenda on blacks.

And in their hurriedness to promote marriage for all — above all else to black people — they failed to understand that it probably isn’t a good idea to start a black gay group and then hire someone who is not black to run it. But that’s just what they did anyway.

It’s a slap in the face to the black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community who are once again being stepped on and over in the pursuit of gay marriage by their white counterparts — first with the shameful “No on Proposition 8″ campaign, then with the blaming of blacks for the proposition’s passage, and now with this.

And some of you may be reading this and saying, but isn’t she a lesbian? Yes, I am, but I am also a sista and an active member of this community who, regardless of the cause, is not about to sit by and allow black people to be exploited so that yet another organization can come in and exploit us for their cause while raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it.

It is absolutely mind-baffling how white gays claim to want to work with the black community but all of their actions indicate the exact opposite. And they wonder why there’s little support for gay marriage on our end, even from their own counterparts. For many, it has less to do with homophobia and more to do with outrage and disgust at the attitudes and actions taken on the part of a Movement that seems to think that when it comes to blacks, they can buy their way in — first with our elected officials and now by coming into our communities and offering jobs to us to exploit us.

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Think about that this Saturday as they head out onto the streets of Inglewood in their first canvassing and mobilization efforts. And if by chance one of them should come knocking on your door, don’t be fooled by the black face at the door.  Behind the black face lies an organization of white folks who are waiting to take your answers back to their main offices and West Hollywood so that they can sit around a conference table and analyze your responses to figure out why black people feel the way they do about gay marriage. Don’t help them, and this is coming from a lesbian—a black lesbian.

Jasmyne Cannick

Reprinted with permission from JasmyneCannick.com

Published by the LA Progressive on July 9, 2009
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About Jasmyne Cannick

Jasmyne is a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who writes about the intersection of pop culture, race, class, and politics as played out in the African-American community. An award-winning journalist who previously worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as a press secretary, Jasmyne was selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and is a regular contributor to National Public Radio’s “News and Notes.” She is currently working as a political consultant in California on local and state campaigns.