more on post-election race and sexuality thoughts

Thanks to Feminist Philosophers (I love this blog), some links: Pam Spaulding writes here and here. Alex Blaze writes here. Blaze’s post is particularly interesting because it covers all those who overwhelming voted against same-sex marriage who are not African American:

Speaking of Arkansas, they also had an anti-gay ballot initiative (theirs will ban adoption by unmarried couples). Here’s CNN’s exit polling based on race: 58% of white people voted for the measure, 54% of black people did, and there wasn’t enough of any other racial group to get accurate numbers. And yet, for some reason, no one is decrying the white homophobia that simply can’t be addressed with outreach because white folks are just so obsessed with their homophobic religion and white gays are too misogyny and closeted to question homophobia in their community.

[…]

But I’m wondering why these folks are so caught up in the black voters, who obviously can’t ever be persuaded on this issue because… well, because. There are so many other groups in the exit polling that voted for Prop 8 overwhelmingly (as in, more than 60%):

* The elderly (65+)
* Republicans
* Conservatives
* People who decided for whom to vote in October (but not within the week before the election)
* People who were contacted by the McCain campaign
* Protestants
* Catholics
* White Protestants
* Those who attend church weekly
* Married people
* People with children under 18
* Gun owners
* Bush voters
* Offshore drilling supporters
* People who are afraid of a terrorist attack
* People who thought their family finances were better now than 4 years ago
* Supporters of the war against Iraq
* People who didn’t care about the age of the candidates
* Anti-choicers
* People who are from the “Inland/Valley” region of California
* McCain voters

Some of these groups supported Prop 8 far more than African Americans did, which makes me wonder why we’re focused so much on race instead of any of these factors. In terms of predictive value, religion, political ideology, and being married with children tell us much more about how someone voted on Prop 8 than race does.

EDIT: this Daily Kos diary uses some pretty good logic to show how even the voting statistics are messed up. A good read as well.

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5 Responses to more on post-election race and sexuality thoughts

  1. Julie says:

    This point about all of the other groups is interesting, but doesn’t really make sense… I mean, am I surprised that a Bush voter or a conservative voted for Prop 8, no. Am I surprised that people voting for Obama voted for it, yes. I think shock is a major factor in the reactions.

  2. Jender says:

    Thanks for the praise! I’m glad it led me to your blog, and I’m enjoying exploring it!

  3. Laura says:

    Hey, Julie and Michael.

    Actually, I don’t think it has much to do with shock. I think we need Michael’s reminder that the scapegoating mechanism is common to everyone, include us pro-gay rights folk.

    Obviously, the most vocal opponent of gays rights is the religious right. And usually THEY are the ones blamed or scapegoated for anti-gay votes. So, maybe the focus on the African-American voters does have a little to do with a shock factor — or a newness factor, as in “oooh, a new group to blame for anti-gay votes — the blacks!”

    I’m probably oversimplifying too when I keep wanting to say that it’s a just not a civil rights issue to millions of people. It’s a “choice” issue to them, and therefore a moral and/or religious issue. Though — as long as that view doesn’t mean we start — or continue? — scapegoating religious folk or folk with certain views on sexual morality. Dialogue not scapegoating is needed, obviously.

    And, then of course, it’s not SIMPLY a moral or religious issue, in the sense that, of course, non-rational reactions and fears play a big role in this issue. But those who are repulsed by non-heterosexuals… they feel/think that they are repulsed because there is something morally wrong with non-heterosexual relationships/acts. Which just brings us back to the issue being for them not a “civil rights” issue, but a rightness and wrongness issue.

    Anyway, I hope I made sense in this comment. šŸ™‚ I’m thinkin’ through this stuff as I go.

    P.S. Oh yeah — I read some stuff on the uncertainty of the exit-polling statistics, too. But even before this election I’d read in other contexts about African-Americans tending to vote more against gay rights than for them. So I don’t see enough reason yet to doubt the general conclusions of the exit polls.

  4. Laura says:

    But then again, yeah — this interest in the African-American anti-gay vote… it may just go back to the easy conflation of “gay rights” and “civil rights,” and the assumption that those once denied the latter will support those seeking the former. But the bottom line is the only generalization one can make is that “social conservatives” tend to be against gay rights. But heheh, then that’s basically a tautology — social conservatives are against “new” rights for a recently defined group (recently, as in the last century). So no help in that conclusion, now is there! šŸ˜‰ It just begs the questions all over again………….. Anyway, I’m going to bed, finally. Good morning, Michael (since I know it’s much closer to morning there in Penn. than it is here in Or). šŸ™‚

  5. Michael says:

    Good morning, Laura!

    I think that couching this in terms of a moral issue rather than a civil rights issue is probably a good move: it’s immoral to treat others as shit. I’d go more into this, but I have to get to grading papers.

    On the black vote in California, I’m incredibly suspect of the statistic because we don’t know where this exit polling took place. Rural or Urban? And we don’t know how much religion played into it. And a whole host of other things. Polling only 260-some folks hardly leads to a generalization about how hundreds of thousands voted in the state.

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