Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bil of Bilerico on Chris Smitherman

The outcome of the latest round of blogging has been a growing interaction with national bloggers -- my new favorite is, these days, is Bil Browning over at He and I originally just had a Twitter relationship, but now he's slowly becoming one of my blogging BFF's.

As a result, I occasionally send out information or good blog posts that I think would resound well on a national scale, and the Chris Smitherman/Finney issue was one of those. He wrote me back and said, "Just to warn you, I kind of agree with Smitherman."

I'll say, he makes a great point, as always:

As Smitherman says in the audio, "It's not enough to just talk about Martin Luther King."

So I guess this leads me to the logical questions to be asked of of Cincinnati queers: Have you been involved in African-American issues?" What has Equality Cincinnati or other local groups done to work on racial issues? How about any statewide organizations? Any of the national orgs? Maybe some local non-black LGBT activists? Are you there for them?

If you haven't been, are you going to be there in force on April 8 standing with the NAACP as Smitherman asks? I'd bet even money that Chris Finney will be, so if you don't want his voice to be the last one in Smitherman's ear, you'd better learn how to whisper too.

"Shouting" our outrage isn't doing any the community any good.

Working our asses off for "civil rights and social justice" for all people and not just LGBT people is what will turn the tide in our favor. It's not a quick solution, but it is the correct one.
Regarding the question of working with communities of color... I think it's a broader question that could be applied to the national LGBT organizations, as well. It is not exclusive to Cincinnati, or Ohio, or even the Midwest. The whole intersection of race and class bit ... though expounded upon greatly in the literature and academic settings ... has not really trickled down to a great deal of action and unification.

How do we begin that, then? And how do we feel about this issue become so... well, national in a little place like Cincinnati as opposed to some place where we clearly failed because of our own failures to outreach -- like, say, California? Or do we take the opportunity to create that difference and that change which will bring us greater success in one of the last great frontiers of LGBT equality ... the Deep South.

And, in all this, why am I still only talking about LGBT folks?

Far from becoming apologist, I am, as always, pondering my own response and my own take on the situation. I'm sure I'll be posting it in a few days.

CityBeat's blog is investigating Chris Finney again -- hrm. Something to think about. Oh, and an additional piece from CityBeat about who evoked the name of MLKJr in reference to LGBT rights first: Mr. Smitherman himself.

1 comment:

Wolfie said...

Barry you know I love you......I mean you are like the little sister i never wanted. LOL


The whole thing about:

"What has Equality Cincinnati or other local groups done to work on racial issues? How about any statewide organizations?"

Need I remind you that they can hardly handel OUR issues sweetums.

I mean really. Lets come down to brass tacks here and I have said it before and I will say it again. The Cincinnati Groups along with the state group can hardly handel OUR oppression. Let alone stand up for others at this time. Perhaps when they are more organized, more stable they will ahve to. Also The Aafrican American communty organizations are at least over 10 times larger, more financially solvent and better organized and better connected to more powerful organizations on a National level.

Does anyone know what the April 8 really is about? Its about mayor caveing into Smithermans demands. Its all pretty murky as everything Smitherman does I seem to be finding out but includes: (1) giving Pauline Van der Haer and Dorian Development Company $3.5-$4 million for a gentrification project in Mt. Auburn and (2) pouring additional money into what the NAACP calls "The Lincoln Project". And then the SBE. I would have perfered maybe affordable housing and economic aid. myself.

But another question needs to be asked. Other than the 1994 stand Smitherman made with hsi quid pro quo support me and I'll support you. What else has the African American Community done to support the smaller and more opressed LGBT Community.

Well i didn;y mean to make this a Post. I have my own in the works tonight. It will be a Dooooooozey