November 09, 2008

It's About Education

To me, one of the most interesting and troubling issues during this recent election cycle was the issue of education. How can one be against education, you ask? Beats me, but there was a substantial faction of the electorate that held Barack Obama's education against him as proof of his "eletism" while celebrating the fact that Sarah Palin was a "hockey mom' without a great amount of depth on major issues.

It is also interesting to me that the mainstream media is often criticized for leaning to the left, but what does that say when people closest to the news and issues who should therefore be the most educated on the facts and implications of them largely skew progressive instead of conservative?

Knowledge is good. There, I said it.

Here are two excerpts from the Bible that point to the value of knowledge.

Isiah 53:11 (prophesy about the coming of Jesus): After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

One of the powers that Jesus received from God was knowledge. If he did not have understanding, how would he lead, how would he teach?

In Isiah 56:10, we see the other side: Israel's watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep. They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, each seeks his own gain.

Isn't that interesting, a lack of knowledge and undestanding are responsible for people turning to their own way, seeking their own gain.

I believe this was the single most important factor in the adoption of more discrimination in Californina, Florida, and Arizona on election day. So does Wayne Besen in a column titled "Prop
8 and Race."

Uneducated people - black, white and Hispanic - often derive their power from physical strength. They perceive being gay as weak and antithetical to real manhood. By voicing support for gay rights, they lose status and often fear rivals may perceive them as gay. The easiest way to gain status is dissing faggots. I see this attitude all the time in Brooklyn - in the gym and on the basketball court, where I often play. (Not the best sample, I realize this)

Meanwhile, educated people of all races gain power by outsmarting opponents - not beating them up. This creates a safe space to support gay rights and not lose social status. (Unfortunately, the fact that the conservative black church is a central organizing point for politics makes even educated blacks less likely to vote for gay rights. But, this is secondary to education levels.)

It is understandable that black support for anti-gay efforts drives white gay people nuts. It is difficult to understand how people affected by bigotry can promote bigotry - as if they are selfish people who learned all the wrong lessons from the civil rights movement. But, remember, uneducated people - of all races - are not students of history. They react to the environment around them, which often rewards homophobia.

(Compounding this perception problem is that the vast majority of overt homophobia experienced by urban gays comes from black people. In places like New York City, you almost never hear a white person say “faggot”. But, we hear this from uneducated blacks too often. This makes the problem seem worse than it is. We often forget that we moved to places like New York to escape uneducated whites in rural areas that were just as openly homophobic. In other words - it is about education - not race.)

We can't allow ignorance to rule the day. Wayne has suggestions to help this along in his column. Click here to read the rest of it.

1 comment:

  1. "But, remember, uneducated people - of all races - are not students of history. They react to the environment around them, which often rewards homophobia."

    True, and consider what they may have to work with in their environment. How many Black or Hispanic people, straight or gay, does the average white person know outside of work. Fear of the unknown is the basis of most hatred. When Whites isolate themselves in various subtle ways ( job selection, housing discrimination, racial profiling ), it only feeds the fear and hate. Remember, right now homosexuality is looked at as a "White issue" by people of color.