Sunday, October 5, 2008

Politics As Usual

So i was doing my usual morning routine, looking at Rod Online 2.0, NY TIMES, Huffington Post, etc. and Rod had highlighted a NY TIMES article on Queer Black and Latino Families in the Bronx for the direct link to the NY TIMES article, click HERE

I thought it was a beautiful article, the mainstream news organizations surprise us sometimes with some beautiful, positive features on queer people of color. Like Washington Post's story on the 15 year old, out and proud young Black man Saro Harvey

Per usual, i got excited and sent it to my family and friends. Evidently, I have mixed up my sisters email with someone else, some man. So after a few months of him receiving these randoms emails that i decide to share with my family, he decides to respond:

"Please remove me from your email list. I think you are sending these by mistake. I don't know who you are and I don't agree with your politics.
Thank you"

Being a loud, out, and sometimes flamboyant young gay man from Oakland I have learned over the years that my view on the world is not often that popular. Being pro choice, pro reparations, socialist leaning, and all of the other "highly charged political stances" are, for a lack of a better word, too political. To truly celebrate diversity and the recognition of positive queer families, especially queer families of color is, in fact, very political. For him to say "I don't like your politics" is ignorant, however, valid using the rather tenuous yet popular vernacular of America. Issues like equal rights, anti discrimination, and universal health care, are political issues. They are not seen human rights, that are innately unalienable.

Malcolm X called for expanding our notion of civil rights to be considered Human Rights. These rights are not to be given to us by state and federal governments, but demanded by the people, and are inherent in OUR humanity. They have always been political issues, but we will not have justice if they continue to. 40 years later, discourse is still suggesting that these issues are solely political rights, something the state grants us, and ultimately "voters" should decide. Its not unpatriotic or undemocratic to acknowledge human rights for all of America's citizens. It is not right for anyone to make the decision one these issues. But What dialogue is required for people to start talking about these issues as human rights?


1 comment:

goc said...


Thank you! I spent 6 months working on a report being published by a south asian organization that highlights the need for social justice movements to take up human rights as a framework for anti-establishment work. Civil rights misleadingly suggests that a state should be able to grant and hence take away rights (in particular cases, esp sexuality and immigration). This is particularly relevant to immigration and the patriot-act esque mentality floating around in the US. People's that are considered outside of the scope of "civil society" like un-documented immigrants or perceived terrorists, unpatriotic folks of color etc etc are then denied these "civil rights."

It's a huge paradigm shift though, its hard to imagine how we can constructively and widely talk about this in an increasingly "sound bite" atmosphere.