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Prejudice is Wrong, No Matter Who it Targets September 1, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in communities of color, lgbt Issues.
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Bishop Harry Jackson, Chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, wrote a USA Today op-ed criticizing an earlier column that argued same-sex marriage is a civil right. Here is what Bishop Jackson had to say:

Sheryl McCarthy’s recent commentary grossly misrepresented what many African-Americans think about gay marriage. In fact, it presented people like me as anti-gay bigots. Nothing could be further from the truth…

In addition, her projection that the black struggle and the gay struggle are similar is laughable. The persecution of gays in the USA has never been as violent or as long-standing as the black struggle. Prejudice against gays and lesbians is real, but most of them struggle because of personal choices and preferences. In contrast, blacks historically coped with an entire national economy that attempted to justify its immoral gain by dehumanizing the black community.

McCarthy’s mischaracterizations are not only an insult to African-Americans and Christians, they are also an insult to what our civil rights leaders have fought to achieve.

Bishop Jackson is correct on one point: African Americans have faced much more prejudice, oppression and violence than any other minority group in America, including gays and lesbians. However, his acknowledgement of prejudice against gays and lesbians and his ignorant “blame it on the victim” response is the classic scapegoat for prejudice.

Jackson claims gays and lesbians face harassment and violence because of “personal choices and preferences”. The vast majority of honest research shows sexual orientation is not a choice and that gays and lesbians cannot change their attractions. But Bishop Jackson, who likely does not know gay people and has relied on his religious beliefs instead of science, somehow believes he is qualified to say otherwise. The reality, however, is that gays and lesbians face prejudice because of who they are, not because of “personal choices”.

For the sake of argument… even if sexual orientation was a choice, would people really deserve to face harassment and violence for it? Religion is a choice… should we allow discrimination and harassment based on religious beliefs because it is someone’s “personal choice”? I would say no, and I am guessing Bishop Jackson would agree.

Bishop Jackson’s bigotted beliefs are the ones insulting to civil rights leaders of the past. That is why African American civil rights heroes like Coretta Scott King supported marriage equality… she knew everyone deserves equal rights and equal opportunity to live a happy life.


‘Survivor’ Brings Diversity to Its Cast & Segregates Them August 24, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in communities of color, entertainment.
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CBS has an insulting and backward plan for its next season of Survivor. The reality show will answer critics who claim the show had no diversity by making this year’s diverse cast particularly noticeable: it will divide up its participants into four tribes based on race. There will be a Black tribe, Asian-American tribe, Latino/a tribe and white tribe. The groups will battle it out in competitions that will essentially place race against race.

CBS has decided to make up for its nearly all-white casts of the past by imposing segregation this season. What the hell is CBS thinking?

What Others Are Saying:

Alas, a blog – Survivor Creates Race Based Tribes–Now Why Did They Have to Go and Do That?

Direland – Race War: Why Sumner Redstone Should Fire Leslie Moonves as Head of CBS

Media Matters – Limbaugh Handicapped Races in New Survivor Series, Suggested “African-American Tribe” Worst Swimmers, Hispanics “Will Do Things Other People Won’t Do”

PopWatch – ‘Survivor’: Stereotypical Fun

Evan Roberts Free Cage – CBS’s Survivor Goes to Racism

Don’t Ask and Don’t Tell… We Have Neo-Nazis in our Military July 20, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in communities of color, lgbt Issues, military.
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From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Ten years after Pentagon leaders toughened policies on extremist activities by active duty personnel — a move that came in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing by decorated Gulf War combat veteran Timothy McVeigh and the murder of a black couple by members of a skinhead gang in the elite 82nd Airborne Division — large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists continue to infiltrate the ranks of the world’s best-trained, best-equipped fighting force. Military recruiters and base commanders, under intense pressure from the war in Iraq to fill the ranks, often look the other way.

Neo-Nazis “stretch across all branches of service, they are linking up across the branches once they’re inside, and they are hard-core,” Department of Defense gang detective Scott Barfield told the Intelligence Report. “We’ve got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad,” he added. “That’s a problem.”

Over 25 percent of American soldiers killed in Iraq have been people of color. Black, Native American, Asian-American, Latino and other American soldiers are fighting overseas for the United States government and its people. But with recruitment numbers low, the military has eased its policies on allowing another group of people to serve: Neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Department of Defense investigator Scott Barfield:

Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don’t remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members…

Last year, for the first time, they didn’t make their recruiting goals. They don’t want to start making a big deal again about neo-Nazis in the military, because then parents who are already worried about their kids signing up and dying in Iraq are going to be even more reluctant about their kids enlisting if they feel they’ll be exposed to gangs and white supremacists.

Barfield has presented evidence against 320 soldiers involved in white supremacist organizations and other extremist activities. It has resulted in two discharges. The government has given a behind-the-scenes nod to ignore racists in the ranks, effectively forcing soldiers of color into a situation where the enemy is both in Baghdad hideouts and U.S. military sleeping quarters.

Supporters of the anti-gay policy Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell claim that openly gay people in the military would adversely affect:

  • unit cohesiveness
  • mutual trust and confidence among servicemembers
  • respect from the American public

Despite one’s opinion on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, it goes without saying that Neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the military must adversely affect unit cohesiveness, trust among fellow soldiers and respect from the American public. So where is the strict and enforceable policy banning bat-shit crazy racists from joining the military… an institution that happens to be about 27 percent Black? Would soldiers prefer a Neo-Nazi or a gay man with a gun by their side?

The Southern Poverty Law Center report helps make two tragedies painfully visible. First, a complete lack of respect for soldiers of color by government officials who are willing to help ease recruitment troubles by admitting racists who could threaten the lives of fellow soldiers. Second, the blatant discrimination against gay and lesbian people in the military… people who must hide their identity while risking their lives for this country. The influx of racists in our military shows that officials have banned gay and lesbian people because of homophobia, because they are clearly not too concerned about unit cohesion and trust among soldiers.

Want to do something? Visit the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.