prop 8, race, Obama, and the need to have tough conversations

The Obama campaign, due in no small part to grassroots volunteer power, did an incredible job of hitting the streets and talking to people about what Barack Obama was all about, even in areas that have been traditionally seen as hostile to Democrats (and in places, people of color).  Were opponents of prop. 8 as successful?  I’ve been reading Men Speak Out, a book about gender violence an masculinities and a few essays talk about the schism between many queer people of color and the mainstream LGBTQI political community.  I think the dynamic reported in the article below shows the need for all our civil rights and social justice movements to hit the streets and start talking about our experience with politics, even with folks with whom we expect to be at odds with.  Whether it’s queer folks or food stamp recipients, people who are often stereotyped and stigmatized, and their experiences, remain faceless and abstract, and totally unreal to neighbors and decision-makers alike.  This has got to change.

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 11/07/2008 | Black turnout for Obama doomed gay marriage in Calif.:

African Americans, energized by Barack Obama’s presidential bid, boosted their numbers at the polls this year to 10 percent of the state’s electorate, up from 6 percent in 2004.

“The Obama people were thrilled to turn out high percentages of African Americans, but (Proposition 8) literally wouldn’t have passed without those voters,” said Gary Dietrich, president of Citizen Voice, a nonpartisan voter awareness organization.