I returned to my blog this week mainly in response to a training session I participated in regarding the impact of whiteness and the ideology of white supremacy on our mental health work. I am also reading a book that I checked out of the Milwaukee Public Library. My blog entries have reached a few people in different settings: on WordPress, twitter and Facebook. I welcome responses and would be interested in knowing what people think of these ideas. Today, the news was focused on the vote in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. A driving force behind the vote was said to be a sense of unease among white people that England is becoming too brown due to immigration. The chants of We want our country back were similar to those who began opposing President Obama not after he was elected the first black President of the United States.
Some people believe that the slogan of one of the presumptive major party presidential candidates is a disguised call to make America white again. Dr. Moore pointed out that the growing number of black and brown people we see is no accident. There are more of us here every day. It’s our country, too. We are competing for jobs, housing, education and other resources with everyone else who came here. One of the barriers we face is the sense of entitlement that people of European American ancestry feel.
People are coming to America. And the people who were already here have different attitudes about topics such as race. Which means more interracial relationships. I see young couples in the stores, parks and everywhere else. I am also involved in an interracial relationship with a woman who caught my attention several years ago. Although it took some time, we found we were ready to make a life together. We match one another’s quirks most of the time. We have learned to talk that talk.
So, if any of this discussion about race, whiteness and pluralism sounds like something you could participate in, drop me a message.
Yesterday I saw the delightful news that federal judge Barbara Crabb had overturned a state ban on same-sex marriage. State officials who were on the right side of history moved swiftly to issue marriage licenses and conduct weddings. Even the police in Madison, our state capitol, delivered wedding cakes to celebrate the marriages. My Facebook friends were excited. One couple who have been together more than ten years had a tacky wedding proposal widely enjoyed by all of us.
All, of course, except for those who believe discrimination should be enshrined in our constitution. For them, the judge had a sharp rebuke, reminding them that traditional marriage was actually polygamy. The passage of the anti-gay amendment was an attempt to rally the troops for intolerance. It immediately created two classes of citizens: those of us who enjoyed equal treatment under the law and those who did not. And it created the basis for the law suit that the ACLU if Wisconsin filed against it. As a result, love has won.
Nothing in the decision affected my relationship with my companion. We are as straight today as we were before the amendment was passed. The only difference is that today we could find some same-sex partner and get married. I am delighted that many of my straight friends were cheering on the decision for love. We can celebrate for our friends gaining their equal rights and protections and having the right to say “I do” or “I don’t” with everyone else. Hurray!
I just watched a very touching episode of The Daily Show devoted to same-sex marriage. Or as you could say, love. In the long wait for the decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and the repeal of Prop 8, a California law banning same-sex marriage, I kept hearing this phrase about “beating treated as strangers.” Even people in committed same-sex relationships are treated as strangers in states with anti-gay legislation.
America is coming slowly into the reality that there are different types of love. One interesting person to person project is called Out to Dinner in which gay and straight couples go break bread together. I believe such an approach can help with those who want to be reached. They may attend liberal churches, have gay or lesbian co-workers or goodness knows with the variety of gay and lesbian characters in the media they think, hmm I wonder what getting to know someone who has different beliefs could be like.
There are stereotypes about how terrible is must be to have been raised in a same-sex household. But books like My Two Moms can help to overcome them. In the 1990s, a group of hate-filled Congressmen crafted a law to treat millions of people who wanted to be together as strangers. And a man with moral failings signed this hastily considered bill into law into law. Now the tide is turning and we are strangers no more. Have a dinner, talk at the PTA meeting, have a water cooler meeting. Let us cease to be strangers. Let us become as one. One nation with love and justice for all.