One of the strangest, most common threads in Outer Wingnuttia is that, aside from holding beliefs about minorities that are simply untrue and hateful, they also have an extremely skewed view of reality and history in other areas that don’t even seemingly relate to their bigotry. It’s like they truly live on another planet. A great example of that is Michael Brown, talking to disgraced former chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, suggesting that there is no comparison between the movement for LGBT equality and the Civil Rights Movement, because we have Ellen DeGeneres. He states that before desegregation, there were no famous black people.
So, while you watch this video (it’s not long), see how many people you can think of who were both 1.) black and 2.) famous, before desegregation.
How many did you think of? I thought of quite a few, and this page has a great list of those who were famous just in the two decades before the Civil Rights Act. For instance:
Jackie Robinson. Althea Gibson. Sidney Poitier. Dorothy Dandridge. Harry Belafonte. Bo Diddley. Fats Domino. Chuck Berry. Langston Hughes.
And what about Billie Holiday? Ella Fitzgerald?
There is a point here, and it’s important. For decades, many Americans were more than content to enjoy black singers, actors, athletes, etc., while still being perfectly fine with segregated lunch counters and anti-miscegenation laws. Hell, there wouldn’t be any such thing as rock ‘n’ roll without the co-opting of black culture. The only difference is that when Loving v. Virginia came down in 1967, an enormous 73% of Americans still were against interracial marriage, and now we have great majorities who support marriage equality, before the deal has even been done in all fifty states. But just fifteen years ago, we were in a similar situation, with millions of Americans giggling themselves to sleep watching Will & Grace while simultaneously voting against LGBT rights at the ballot box and in Congress. Moreover, there are still states that don’t have majority support for marriage equality, but definitely have majority support for Ellen being one of the biggest stars in America. There still are millions people in this country who are willing to enjoy the brilliance of LGBT people without actually supporting our dignity. Among that group, those numbers are moving in our direction, but the struggle isn’t over yet.
The fact that we’ve been able to change that many hearts and minds since then doesn’t mean that our fight isn’t valid. It just means that this, too, is a fight for fairness and equality that decent-hearted Americans will win, and win big.
Two things though:
1) How on earth does it even matter whether people love Ellen DeGeneres? That doesn’t erase anti-gay bullying, or the attempted/completed suicides that come from it, and it doesn’t erase the harm that people like Michael Brown are still able to get away with in the United States. If anyone on Michael’s side of the fence sees his argument as valid, it makes me worry about the state of the American educational system.
2) Is Michael Brown really so culturally unaware that he doesn’t realize that all those people were both 1) famous and 2) black, long before the Civil Rights Act and Loving? Really? Really. Seriously? My goodness, bless his heart.
[h/t Right Wing Watch]