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  • garysfbcn commented on the blog post Tackling racism and lack of diversity in the LGBT community

    2013-06-15 20:06:43View | Delete

    When I moved to San Francisco in the late 1970s, I found gays in the Castro to be so racist that I could not live there. But during days of ACT-UP, the overt racism against blacks and Asians, and the rampant misogyny seemed to diminish. Maybe that was only in SF. Yes there still is racism, but nothing like it used to be. I guess that I should disclose that I am a white gay man and I understand that I may not be as culturally sensitive to racism directed to blacks, although I like to think that I am. I have experienced racism first hand, directed at my very dark skinned grandfather (from Turkey).

    What I found depressing in the video is that they all seemed like homophobes. They had issues about how Tracy Morgan was treated? He still has a job no? Compare that with Michael Richards. Neither should be working. And frankly, Roland Martin was not treated unfairly.

    While blacks continue to be victimized by individuals, organizations and institutional racism, being held accountable for one’s homophobia is not racist.

    If this video is the beginning of the conversation, it’s going to be a long time before we see any real progress. Claiming that all advances for gays and lesbians are ‘for the whites’ is further indication that the so-called evolved people in this video still don’t get it – black gays and lesbians exist and benefit from all LGBT rights.

    Even the conservative black Baptist Reverend Amos Brown ‘came out’ for same-sex marriage. The only thing holding the folks in the video back is that they are homophobic and most are afraid to tell them so.

  • garysfbcn commented on the diary post Oakland: A City in Pieces (An Update on Alan Blueford) by hotflashcarol.

    2012-10-03 17:23:51View | Delete

    Well, there is an election coming up and there are some good candidates for change for the City of Oakland. Get off your asses and vote. For the long term, someone needs to spend a few million dollars on an aggressive program to change the culture of OPD and once that is done, to change [...]

  • So if you want to have a conversation about race with women AND men, I’d leave the topic of hair for another occasion.

    First, who I am for context: I’m white, male and gay. My workplace of 600 people for more than 20 years is about 65% black, and a good mix of white, Asian and Latino in the remaining 35%. Most of the leadership is black and I am a member of leadership. While my childhood was such that I grew up without prejudices (really long story – I grew up in a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-generational household), I have learned a lot from my workplace. Not having prejudices doesn’t mean that I understood the differences in opportunities that are available because of race.

    In my workplace, we deal with issues of race as part of our work. What we have found is that we have to educate everyone, including blacks, about how insidious institutional racism is. It is so bad in our community that if you are born in one neighborhood, your life expectancy is 15 years less than in another neighborhood in the same city. And yes, this disparity is because of institutional racism.

    So we have classes for our staff. And in these classes, it is really difficult to explain how pervasive racism is without it becoming a very emotion-charged conversation. Whites (and non-blacks) sometime internalize the facts into ’blame’ and that is the fireworks begin. Blacks sometime weep or get angry. We have toned-down the curriculum, but we were not able to move forward as a department until we had (and continue to have) these conversations and classes.

    And this is the same for our culture in the United States. We have to talk about this but we need to be deliberate and educated as to how to do this. Popular media could really help with this.

    Just as old homophobes are dying out (we say that we are winning LGBT rights one funeral at a time) it is the same for racists and now is the right time to move forward with this conversation.

    I started engaging my co-workers early on. I’m short and ’huggable’ and even the most rabidly homophobic black man I’ve had to work with always hugs me when he sees me. I’ve always taken risks in conversations, knowing that my motives have been pure. I’ve been smacked-down a few times (some deservedly) but we sometimes have to fail to learn.

    The important thing for us is to talk and be honest.

    One of the easiest stories to understand racism is ’The Gardener’s Tale’ by Camara Jones. It needs to be developed into a video that is engaging.

  • garysfbcn commented on the diary post Gay Crumbs From the Table of the Masters (by Daniel Edward Massoglia) by Kit OConnell.

    2012-06-30 20:26:44View | Delete

    The enemy of good is perfection. This fake issue is popping-up all over the Internets. It is much better that we burn American Airlines to the ground rather than engage them. It is better that Nike-wearing, Starbucks-drinking, WalMart-shopping hypocrites impose an unattainable ideal on all of Pride than to work for change in small steps. [...]

  • garysfbcn commented on the blog post Buh-bye Rupert! Jude Law Claims Phone Hack in New York

    2011-07-17 17:32:45View | Delete

    You are all wrong. SCOTUS will rule that this is nothing more than a corporation using it’s newly defined “corporate freedom of speech” to do this.

    I am wondering if this recent ruling will make any difference:

    In 2007, the state of Vermont passed a law forbidding the data mining of prescription drug records (i.e., which drugs are being prescribed and how frequently) for marketing purposes. But earlier today, the Supreme Court ruled that the Vermont law interferes with drug makers’ right to free speech.

    The law had been intended to protect the privacy of doctors and patients, but six of the Supremes said Big Pharma’s right to hone its marketing pitches is more important.

    Regardless, I guess that I am glad that they are getting nailed.

    Regards to the Kelster.

  • garysfbcn commented on the blog post “The Sixties” Debate

    2011-05-22 08:55:27View | Delete

    The bad: Many associate the 1960s with ‘the hippies.’ And many of those hippies are now bitter and angry people, with senses of entitlement and pacified by their own excesses.

    The good: People cared enough to protest. There were well populated protests. There were popular songs. Hollywood participated. Even Nixon was a 1960s radical (Clean Air ACT, created the EPA, clean water, etc) because of social pressures). In those days, popular opinion trumped what the business community and the Chamber of Commerce wanted.

  • garysfbcn commented on the blog post Late Night: Merry Schmaltzmas

    2010-12-20 21:31:29View | Delete

    Lots of sorrow and transitions this year, but still on track with Manuel and BCN. I’ll send you an email.

    And U?

  • garysfbcn commented on the blog post Late Night: Merry Schmaltzmas

    2010-12-20 21:29:20View | Delete

    Same wicked smile! Hello to Peg, too.

  • garysfbcn commented on the blog post Late Night: Merry Schmaltzmas

    2010-12-20 21:25:59View | Delete

    Hands downs, The Ref. I like holiday movies with a ‘dysfunctional family’ theme.

  • The Anti-Gay Industrial Complex is about to go bankrupt. Now that’s something to celebrate.

    Watch for them to get more outrageous in their downward financial spiral. It won’t surprise me to see them call for the death of all LGBTs.

    We must remember that their livelihoods are at stake, and they’re not going to take this lightly.

    Pity the religious thugs that used their anti-gay rhetoric for personal financial gain. The party is over, guys.

    See you in the unemployment lines.

  • garysfbcn commented on the blog post US Wage Stagnation Leads to Rampant Inequality

    2010-12-18 18:06:31View | Delete

    I’m white. I’m male. Sadly, due to social inequities, these two characteristics alone allow me to be more financially successful than women and non-whites.

    Whether intentional or not, beyond our culture’s institutional racism and sexism there is also consumerist ‘cultural conditioning’ at work here. I was born and raised in an economically very middle class/working class family. But it was a multi-generational, immigrant household too.

    To a certain extent, I was ‘off the grid’ but not in my family’s pursuit of any ideology – but that’s just how we lived.

    And because of that, even though I am lacking nothing, I have lived with less and that is one reason, that relatively I am financially successful.

    I have not been conditioned to buy so much crap. I have not been conditioned to buy a McMansion. I have not been conditioned to eat fast food. I am not susceptible to peer and cultural pressures, always needing the latest and greatest.

    I’m not blaming people who are consumerists. Some choose to be that way. But most of us are conditioned by our culture to over consume. Not that I would want to drive a BMW, but by my way of thinking, I really couldn’t afford one. But there are people who make 1/3 of my salary driving new BMW’s. There are people paying outrageous prices to go on a two week vacation, about double with I spend on two months vacation. And I live pretty well on vacation.

    I don’t get it. Back to the economic disparity discussion in this post, policy has a big part to do with this disparity. But I think that racism, sexism and consumerist cultural conditioning also play into the economic disparity.

    And unless something is done, it is going to get worse.

  • garysfbcn commented on the diary post Geithner on Foreclosure Fraud: What’s the Problem? by MVPHI50.

    2010-12-17 08:44:53View | Delete

    I remember when I went to a well-known bank to ‘pre-qualify’ for a mortgage. I wanted a mortgage for about $300k. The loan officer in the bank looked over my papers and said that I could get a mortgage for almost $500k and was pressuring me to do so. Are some homeowners to blame for [...]

  • No, you’re wrong. In the last election, we voted to eliminate the 2/3 majority required to pass a budget, and we voted down the propositions that were sponsored by ‘big business.’ And we nearly voted to legalize marijuana – which many believe forced Schwarzenegger to reduce the enforcement and penalty for marijuana to traffic-ticket status.

  • You’re ignoring my point: Prop 13 won because our elected officials ignored the pain and suffering caused by a real estate bubble. I never said that it was good law. The point is that the initiative process is often a ‘last resort’ mechanism.

  • Yeah but John Diaz is an idiot who ‘cherry-picks’ his facts.

    And let me go out on a limb here: Prop 13 was the result of our State representatives and governor ignoring the fact the people were being forced from their homes because of runaway increases in property taxes, based upon the idiotic notion that the unrealized profits from the increases in assessed value of homes should be taxable.

    A better solution should have been a strong ‘sales-tax’ on the profits from the sale of a home that had increased in value. I know this all too well: My mother was about to lose her home as the taxes she was paying went from about $200 a year to over $3,000 a year, and this was in the late 1960s, when salaries were not that high.

  • So should we eliminate voting because of the corruption that led to Bush getting election in 2000? I don’t think so. Just because a good tool isn’t working for us now, doesn’t mean we should get rid of the tool.

  • Yes, the right to privacy, medical marijuana, safe drinking water, and dozens of others.

    One of the more important initiatives was the coastal act (1970s) that protected California coastline from privatization, and preserved it for the use of all Californians.

    And the privacy initiative has been the foundation of many court rulings, etc.

  • Yeah, there’s some bad stuff. But do you think that our elected officials are going to make laws legalizing marijuana? How about medical marijuana? How about the right to privacy, clean water, clean air, public transit (BART, etc.)?

    It’s easy to look only at the bad stuff. But it is disingenuous to do so without the proper context of the good stuff.

  • As a native Californian, I cringe every time I hear that the initiative process needs to be eliminated. People whine because there are just too many initiatives each year. While some of the initiatives are a bit of an annoyance, I fully support the people’s right to gather signatures and put things on the ballot, even evil stuff like proposition 8.

    Many who complain about the initiative process are apologists of privilege.

    Get over it. The initiative process is one of the best tools we have and it is a cornerstone of a democratic society.

  • Obama’s lack of backbone is a real concern. What is he going to do if we are attacked by terrorists – meet them halfway?

    Cutting the payroll tax is a slap in the face to all working people. The ‘agenda’ of those who want to ‘privatize’ Social Security is profit. I we are all forced to have brokerage accounts, etc, guess who profits?

    I will not vote for anyone worse than Obama in the next presidential election. Nor will I be voting for Obama.

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