NAACP endorses gay marriage

And the tide has turned:

The NAACP’s board of directors voted Saturday to endorse same-sex marriage rights – adding the influential voice of the country’s leading black civil rights organization to a debate that has divided the African-American community…

“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law,” NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a statement released Saturday. “The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people. The well-funded right wing organizations who are attempting to split our communities are no friend to civil rights, and they will not succeed.”

I have said in the past in one place or another (if it was on FTSOS, I can’t find it) that the black community should have been ashamed of itself given its high proportion of bigots during the Prop 8 days in California. (If memory serves, other minorities also suffered from a high rate of bigotry over the issue.) Of all the groups in the US, blacks may be the most well positioned to understand what discrimination is like and why it’s wrong. It isn’t merely an intellectual exercise for them; it have been reality for so many decades and centuries. Yet here we are, still trying to get over this hurdle. I think this announcement by the NAACP is going to give progress a big boost, but it’s slightly surprising that more blacks and other minorities aren’t ahead of the curve on this one. Chalk it up to Christian influence, I suppose.

The NAACP now presents itself as a counterbalance to the influence of the traditionally socially conservative black church. It can also help establish closer ties between blacks and gays, two of Obama’s most loyal constituencies.

I’ve always wondered what the black church looks like. Where is it located? Who runs it? Who are its members? How does it file with the IRS? Is it a made-up concept that unnecessarily simplifies all black people?

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Kid Rock and the Confederate flag

Some NAACP supporters (not the organization itself) is boycotting a fundraiser honoring Kid Rock. The reason is his continued use of the Confederate flag:

But Adolph Mongo, a longtime political consultant and head of Detroiters for Progress, said he and others will sit out over Kid Rock’s use of the controversial Confederate flag during performances.

“It’s a slap in the face for anyone who fought for civil rights in this country,” Mongo said Thursday. “It’s a symbol of hatred and bigotry.”

Of course, Kid Rock stands by his use of the flag, calling it a symbol of southern rock.

I don’t see what’s so hard to get about this. Whether the flag means one thing or another to a specific person, it has the larger representation of the slave-holding South. It means, at its very core, the preservation of slavery. Honestly. I recall convincing a Confederate flag-supporting friend that it had very little to do with anything remotely positive or representative of modern Western values. All it took was a website explaining its basic history in a matter of a few lines. And that was when we were maybe 14 years old. What excuse do adults have?

But all this aside, I feel that a far more valid reason for boycotting anything honoring Kid Rock is that he makes shitty music.

Remember when LePage was against special interests?

Yeah, that was Friday. But come Saturday he must have had a change of heart.

The activists rallied Saturday at Augusta’s St. Michael School and later marched to the State House to trumpet the anti-abortion cause. Gov. Paul LePage, an abortion opponent, joined them for part of the rally, which was organized by the Maine Right to Life Committee.

St Michael’s School is where the last Maine governor, Baldacci, sent his children. As it happens, back when it was known as St. Mary’s School, I also received a big hunk of my education there. I never saw Baldacci. But then, he wasn’t the sort of governor to say he believed one thing one day and another thing another day. At least not this blatantly.

And LePage’s handlers in all this? Not very good so far.

Asked Saturday whether the Maine Right to Life Committee represented a special interest, [Dan] Demeritt said special interests inevitably would end up on LePage’s schedule.

“This isn’t about politics,” he said of Saturday’s rally. “This is about supporting a group that’s worked very hard to make sure that life is a choice that everybody can make.”

What about supporting groups that have worked very hard to make sure a chance at equality is possible for people who are actually alive? Or maybe giving black people as a group the time of day in Maine isn’t something political advantageous enough for LePage.

Black people are a special interest group

At least Maine Gov. LePage said as much.

While attending a meeting for business leaders in Sanford, Governor Paul LePage spoke out about why he would not attend Martin Luther King ceremonies on the upcoming holiday.

LePage has declined invitations from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The organization has already expressed its displeasure with the governor’s plans to not attend the events.

“They are a special interest. End of story…and I’m not going to be held hostage by special interests.

He also points out that he has an adopted black son, so I don’t think anyone is about to accuse LePage of being racist. But if he’s right that the NAACP is a special interest group, then doesn’t his logic dictate that EVERY INSTITUTION OF GOVERNMENT is just special interest? Ya know. For whites.

LePage really doesn’t get it. I mean, he gets his core constituency, but he doesn’t get why he needs to attend this Martin Luther King Jr. day ceremony. This isn’t about special interest. It’s about honoring a man who fought dearly for civil rights – not special rights, but fucking civil rights – so that we might remind ourselves of our very (proclaimed) values.

Update: From other articles I’ve been reading, it seems one of the big sticking points for people is that LePage said the NAACP can “kiss my butt”. Who cares? I’m glad he’s using direct and overt language. The real issue is that he is dismissing an equality group as being merely “special interest”.