Thursday, November 6, 2008

As I was trying to say earlier...
Stop blaming people of color for passing Prop 8!!!

I'm seeing a disturbing trend online in blog posts, news commentary, etc, one in which an awful lot of uneducated people are claiming that the reason Prop 8 passed in California is because of black and Latino voters. And my response to this is "Huh? What kind of Fox News dope are y'all smoking?"

Seriously, folks, stop it. Stop it right now.

Stop blaming black and brown voters for what was overwhelmingly a WHITE CHRISTIAN voting bloc.
Fact: Blacks in California make up about 6% of the population.*
Fact: Latinos in California make up about 35% of the population.
Fact: Native American & Asians in California combined make up about 14% of the population.
Fact: Pasty-skinned white folks like myself make up the rest of the population of California.

and lastly:

Fact: The largest percentage of voters who voted in favor of Prop 8 were from predominately white inland counties.** For example:
  • Orange County: 483,132 for Prop 8; 360,740 against
  • San Bernardino County: 318,338 for Prop 8; 156,140 against
  • Riverside County: 266,159 for Prop 8; 147,918 against
Fact: Of the 58 counties in California, only 14 voted against Prop 8. Of those 14 counties, all but two of them were along the more liberal coastal communities. The two inland counties that voted it down were Alpine and Mono, counties that - combined - accounted for less than 6,000 actual votes.
So you're going to sit there and tell me with a straight face (no pun intended) that the very wee and tiny 6% black population and the so-so sized Latino population of California somehow miraculously spread itself over FORTY FOUR counties and managed to magically provide all of the 52% of the voters who voted in favor of Prop 8? Really???

No, I don't think so.

For the love of God, people! Get your facts straight before you start pointing fingers at one another!

* Source: U.S. Census Bureau
** Source: The Los Angeles Times


Cheryl said...

Thank you!

stephanie said...

Thank you for being the voice of common sense. Of course, it could just be that I'm a numbers whore, but in either case, this is too important an issue to apportion blame inappropriately.

Jeanie W said...

I blame the homophobic people.

nymeria87 said...

Thanks, Colleen.

It's really ridiculous how ignorant some people are. I was told from people who voted for prop.8 that they did so because if it hadn't been passed, all children's books would be re-written to used "Mommy and Mommy" or "Daddy and Daddy" instead of "Mommy and Daddy" etc.

I mean, seriously. Seriously! *facepalm*

Ryan Field said...

I had a dozen e-mails today about this and didn't know how to reply. I'm saving this post for any that come along in the future.

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

I didn't even get the idea until someone showed me a Dan Savage ("Savage Love" guy) column today and he said it was partly because of homophobic black voters, but you proved me wrong.

I hope you don't think I'm racist because I'm NOT.

Joya said...

THANK YOU for this entry--it's perfect. I'm using Share This to link it on my Facebook.

Dwight's Writing Manifesto said...

You aren't counting the almost 2% of the CA that is mixed race. That brings 6.5 to 8.3.

Your logic breaks down with any analysis.

It isn't "Whitey all voted for" and "Minorities all voted against."

It's a matter of increased minority voters with an evangelical bent making the slim percentage difference between yay and nay.

An "overwhelming white (jesus crispy crazy) Christian voting bloc"??? In California?



Step back, put the bong down, and think about what you just said for a second and a half.

An overwhelmingly white Christian voting bloc in California.


It's the 42% of Whiteys in California, every single one of which was so hard core that they managed to score 52% of the vote.


Enjoy your world. Pet the unicorn for me, wouldja?

clindsay said...

Dwight -

I never said that all the whites voted for Prop 8, and all the non-whites voted against it. I said that the majority of the voters were white, which is true.

It's pretty clear that voters of every color voted for Prop 8; but what is getting played out in the press is an insidious finger-pointing at people of color, as though they were entirely to blame.

Black, brown or white, the real blame should land squarely where it belongs: on the shoulders of the homophobic religious zealots.

And as for your assertion that there is no large bloc of white Christians in California..

I lived in California for twenty years; trust me when I tell you that there is a huge - HUGE - evangelical Christian population there, as well as a huge Catholic population.

And I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. I can only imagine what the less liberal parts of California are like in their religious views, but since the entire crux of the Pro Prop 8 argument was based on theology and religious intolerance, it must run pretty damned high.

annerallen said...

Dwight, I have three words for you: San Joaquin Valley. Look up the demographics. The California you see on TV is on the coast, but inland, it's all Dust Bowl descendants: Evangelical Okies. Check out "The Bakersfield Sound."

I'm sad to see the discussion get into the blame game. Get back to the great wedding pictures.

In the end, I think the wedding industry is going to weigh in on this.

Commerce speaks.

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

Dwight, there is no need for you to be so nasty toward Colleen. the "bong" and "pet your unicorn" comments were totally rude and uncalled for


Sex Mahoney for President said...

Why is people of color an acceptable term? Did a change in syntax and a preposition suddenly make the phrase colored people okay again?

Be that as it may, I've never been to California, so I'm not sure who voted for Proposition 8; however, I have been to the land of the blind, where the one eyed man is king, and he voted for Prop 8 because he lacks depth perception.

Sex Mahoney for President

Jeff said...

Maybe this misconception is being caused by California newspapers reporting that evangelical black turnout doomed the measure to passage.

IOW, normal people aren't pulling this out of their asses. They're getting plenty of help from the mainstream media.

Crimogenic said...

Colleen, thanks for your post and the numerial breakdowns. People are always looking for someone to blame, because why address the real problem of "hatred at the core", when we can blame one another.

K.S. Clay said...


I live in Northern California and let me tell you that there are plenty of conservative white Christians here who took their homophobia to the polls. In fact, in my little city I only spoke to two people who voted against prop 8 (other than myself). Travel through California sometime will you. It's not all San Francisco. Especially Northern California is full of small conservative towns and cities like mine with predominantly white populations.

My blame for the passage of prop 8? Not any specific racial group but the misleading campaign ads, genius in conception I have to say if you're okay with blatant lying. They took the issue of homophobia and religion, yanked mention of both out of the ads so they wouldn't narrow the message, and then chose to center it around an issue with wide appeal (school curriculum, making sure to focus on the youngest children who would garner the most appeal). People thought they were voting as much on parental rights, school curriculum, and appropriateness of sex education for second graders as on gay rights.

risler said...

Here's the problem. The "70%" black vote is based on an exit poll. Exit polls are often unreliable, the last pre-election Field poll which listed only 49% of blacks voting Yes on 8, and I believe Field also conducted the exit poll for CNN. Polls in general are hard to measure reliable, but as a black person highly involved in the "No on 8" effort, I do believe that, on this issue, blacks in California were not THAT much different than the largely Catholic Latino demographic, or the family-oriented, traditional Asian groups in California; all groups that have been disenfranchised by California government in the past. The Yes voters voted on religion/tradition, and the churches believe that they own the concept of marriage.

When the anti-gay-marriage amendment passed in my home state of Michigan, the black communities in and around Detroit pretty much reflected the same opinion as the rest of the state. Wayne county (which is mostly Detroit, which is 90% black) voted 54% for the measure while statewide the winning total was 58%, and let me tell you, the California black community is FAR more progressive than the Michigan black community. The black population is no more homophobic than the population as a whole.

risler said...

Also, a very thorough breakdown of the faulty CNN polling methodology and myths about the African American vote on prop 8:

Twill said...

Your post ignores the actual facts of the vote in California. According to the exit polls, white people voted 51% for the prop 8, whereas people of color voted 60% and 70% depending upon ethnicity.

Yes, you have the right to ignore the polls or discount them or stick your finger in your ears and sing "la la la".

On the other hand, you can realize that people get ticked off when courts try to redefine basic cultural institutions without the expressed permission of the people. (Imagine how you would feel if the various state courts suddenly decided that fetuses had all the rights of children, for example.)

In California five years ago, you might have successfully gained a narrowly-worded amendment to allow same-sex marriage. But that was before courts started jumping the gun and the SF mayor ignored existing law and practice and crapped all over the issue. All of which sensitized the public to the issue, polarized the debate and energized the right about the subject.

Instead of getting nasty and calling names like "homophobic", you can work to pursuade the people that gays are not what they ... how do I put this... that the gay pride parade in SF every year--where NAMBLA is allowed to proudly walk alongside other alternative groups as if there were no difference between homosexuality and sex with children-- that that annual parade is not fairly representative of who you are.

It's not a phobia, it's a rational appraisal of how you act. If you aren't capable of making the distinction between the sexual relations of consenting adults and sexual relationships with children, then people have every reason to judge you. Just like they have a reason to judge people who hang around with the KKK.

So, please consider outreach as opposed to this nastiness that seems to have crept into all left-right discussions over the last four administrations. Yes, vilifying opponents is useful for firming "the base". But it is quite corrosive to the debate, to the fabric of the country, and to your own souls.

Build a bridge instead of a chasm.

Bill Peschel said...

Here's the breakdown of the figures to explain why blacks and Hispanics are being held responsible for Prop 8:

"Relying on Exit Polls are dicey, of course. But according to the Exit Polls, the decisive difference in Proposition 8's passage was two reasons. First, 70% of black voters supported it. There were 10,357,002 votes case on Prop 8. The winning margin was 492,830 votes. And they were 10% of the electorate. So that means there were 1,035,700 votes cast by black voters. That right there provided a difference of 414,280 votes. If I'm doing my math right, that is 84% of the winning margin. There was an article in the Washington Post on this today. A majority of Hispanic voters also supported Proposition 8."

(This is from the Volokh Conspiracy, a highly regarded legal blog.)

In other words, a higher percentage of blacks were against legal unions than other racial groups, and they cover margin by which it passed.

Twill said...

Bill -

You can really only count the *difference* between the white and black percentages as "responsibility", if you were trying to assign blame for the passage, which would be about 200K.

Oh, I see. 207K voted for instead of against, so it's doubled. Gotcha.

Volokh also notes that Married People and People with Minor Children voted like 3-2 or 2-1 for prop 8, which covers over twice the vote difference. This is clearly a cultural thing where people who had young children reasoned differently about the issue than unmarrieds and people without children.