Ever since African-Americans were (wrongly) blamed for the success of California’s Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage that was this year overturned, African-Americans of all colors have lamented the divide between America’s Black community and its gay community.
To be sure, nobody is saying that there aren’t serious issues of homophobia that need to be handled within some of the Black neighborhoods and churches in the United States. But it turns out at least some of the homophobia is being stoked by insidious bigots.
According to secret internal memos from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), one of America’s leading conservative groups working against same-sex marriage, NOM has made a concerted effort to drive a wedge between African-Americans and gays. The memos were released due to a legal challenge of Maine’s financial disclosure laws. NOM was forced to provide some transparency to court officials, who promptly released the damning documents.
This from the New York Daily News:
"The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and Blacks — two key Democratic constituencies," says one of the memos. It also suggests "interrupting" the process of cultural assimilation for Hispanics in hopes of curtailing support for same-sex marriage.
Despite the fact that his organization has now been shown to be a group of bigots whose methods include manipulating minorities into disliking each other, NOM’s president, Brian Brown, says he stands by his tactics. “Gay marriage is not a civil right, and we will continue to point this out in written materials such as those released in Maine," he said in a statement. "We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors to fight for our most fundamental institution: marriage.”
The ugly divisiveness distributed by hateful people like Brown is a bit shocking, of course, especially in its brazenness. But it’s nothing new. It’s a centuries-old strategy to hurt what could otherwise be powerful forces — divide and conquer. We’d be wise to not let NOM divide us.
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(Photo: ROBERT F. BUKATY/AP)