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This was written in response to a comment I received for "Hearts and Minds"

In the States, there's an ongoing debate right now about gay marriage, and within that debate, there's a mixed message coming from the Gay and Lesbian community. Some say that they simply want equal protection - which can acomplished through lobbying and legislation. However, many others want immediate full acceptance by society. Sadly, you can't force hearts and minds to change. There are a miriad of differences between the African-American's struggle in America and the gay rights issue in America. Despite the obvious differences, the gay and lesbian community in America makes every effort to show parity between their cause and the civil rights struggle of the 60's and 70's. They want to define the issue as a civil rights/equality issue with biases and prejudices akin to what blacks experienced before the civil rights movement. While I don't entirely agree with the premise, I can understand why they'd try this approach; and my thoughts in "Hearts and Minds" essay was written within this context.

Most Americans are shamed by the way that we treated blacks before the civil rights struggle. Most Americans are ashamed of slavery; it wounded my country to it's soul, and the wound has yet to heal. If gays and lesbians can show real parity between their struggle and the struggle of blacks in America, then it'll be easier (they hope) to change hearts and minds in America, because many people will agree that on it's face, the discrimination that they speak of is real, and is wrong.

As for religion, religion has been used for years to justify first slavery, and then discrimination in America. Slaves were forced to convert to Christianity, and then they were indoctrinated with a perverted form of the faith, that justified slavery. for instance, There are Old Testament scriptures that speak to one of Noah's son's being cursed. This son was said to be the "father" of the black race, and so all blacks were said to be cursed. There are other scriptures in both the Old and New testaments that talk about the relationship between slaves/servants and their masters. These scriptures were used to discourage slaves from escaping or rebelling. There are many other examples. In more recent times, Biblical scripture has been used to deny inter-racial marriage, and even to deny intergrated neighborhoods. Some would argue that even now, religion is used as a way of appeasing blacks in America, by focusing more on the promise of life after death, than the chance to have a life fully lived here on Earth. Someone more wise than me once said, "...religion is an opiate of the people", and I agree.

As to your point concerning socialization and legalization, I think we're actually in agreement (although you presented your position as a rebuttal of my position). The first step is the change the law, so that the biased/prejudiced behavior has no legal legitimacy. This will give disenfranchised people the freedom to move, live and get along with their lives, just as anybody else would. There's nothing politically correct about it. People will change their minds because living with, working with, interacting with gays and lesbians will personalize the issues that are being debated. It's sometimes easier to hate an idea than it is to hate a person.


------
Robert

(Whatever you think about the writing, whatever you do, PLEASE take the time to comment. I'm looking for constructive critism; blocks upon which I can build. THANKS!!! rajengineer)


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The following comments are for "Hearts and Minds II"
by rajengineer

Hearts and Minds...
I totally agree with you, immediate full aceptance is never going to happen, although I must admit the cultural differences between the US and UK are immense when it comes to attitudes towards sexuality and race. I am somewhat confused that gay and lesbian people in the US are asking for that!?! I have never been under the illusion that 100% of people are accepting. But then I find that a typically American way of looking at things, feelings of patriotism soaking into a social issue such as this.

I must admit, in terms of racism the US has a poor reputation abroad, whether it is based in fact or not. But I think that has more to do with the vast amount written on it, it probably is one of the most well known parts of American history abroad. But do not forget that the slave trade was well under way long before the US even came into existence. It was slaves brought over by the British that built many of the foundations that New York now stands on, and they have almost been forgotten despite their graves being found, so Europe has a history as well that is not glowing.

Religion I spoke of in a modern context, it has managed to unify many sections of society despite my criticisms of it I cannot deny that.

I do not think our struggle in this day and age has anything to do with the Civil Rights movement of the 60's and 70's, I was born with equal rights to anyone else in this country, however, in terms of my relationship I cannot obtain equal status as everyone else. I find that a bit stupid really, I don't cry about it, I'm not particularly annoyed about it.

I would just like to say that I find it hypocrytical that on one hand we would ask the law and society move on, while we are after something so old fashioned and increasingly outdated!!!! Just my personal opinion.

Thank you for responding to my comment, I really appreciate it when someone can write so well about something that does not necessarily affect them.

Bets Wishes

Alex :-)

( Posted by: londongrey [Member] On: August 27, 2004 )





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