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."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.
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.
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.