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Reflections on race, courts, marriage equality, and Alveda King

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(In between events, Arisha wrote this reflection piece today on her interaction with Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., in Atlanta at yet another of one of NOM’s poorly attended rallies. And then, just a few hours ago, Keith Olbermann featured Alveda King on his “Worst Person In the World” segment. Congrats to the NOM Tour Tracker community for helping amplify what Alveda said, and Arisha’s interview with her, to a larger audience. You are amazing! — Eden James)

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

I don’t make illegal U-turns.

Ask Phyllis or Anthony.

On a GPS-less road trip across the United States there are plenty of U-turns to be made.  But I’ll turn down a dark ally, drive through a shopping center parking lot, or wander an additional 5 miles to the next light to make a legal U-turn.

Anthony, on the other hand, makes U-turns whenever he wants – boldly, without questioning.

When asked why I didn’t make the quicker turn, I’ll say something half-joking like “a black girl in Iowa can’t get away with that.”

Everyone laughs.  I laugh too.  I learned long ago that there’s no point in crying over it.

Let me start by saying that I completely believe and get it when Alveda King says that “my protection has never been the courts, my protector is the Lord.  The courts cannot protect me.”

I was 11 and living 45 minutes outside of Los Angeles when Rodney King was beaten; Oscar Grant was killed at a BART station I passed by everyday in Oakland on my way to work.  I vividly remember watching Mark Furhman “plead the fifth.” I hear the stories of my little brother and his other friends of various colors who are pulled over by police officers 3-4 a month in California.  I’d be lying if I said that despite my integrated, post-racial upbringing, that I don’t have issues with authority figures in this country.  All that said, I never grew up in a segregated world – didn’t go to segregated schools like my mother and grandfathers did;  I’ve voted in the state of California more times than Meg Whitman has over the last decade; I had the privilege to talk to my father – almost in tears – just minutes after Barack Obama was elected President; I am, in many ways, the American Dream.

Nonetheless, all of these juxtaposing experiences create an inner conflict between the America I’ve always been taught about- a nation destined for tolerance- and that other America that I’ve also been warned about- the lineage of inequality.

That’s what it is to be a black American growing up today – in a state of confusion over the integrated, Obama-electing country that we see and the stories of oppression that remain a part of us.

I’m not saying that I agree with her, but I understand Alveda King (or those of you who missed my discussion with her in Atlanta, the video is below). Because for all the judges and elected officials who have stood up for righteousness, for all of the allies that have stood with you, there are 4 or 5 others whose actions maintained the existing state of oppression.]


How can the daughter of a slain activist, the niece of an assassinated leader ever really trust a system like this?  That’s why Brown vs. The Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia, and the election of a black President did not resonate for Alveda.  To Alevda and many other black Americans, those things, even if taken together, cannot repair the integrity of a system that would allow injustice to persist for so long.  The few brave jurists who stood against the will of the American people in favor of racial equality may seem like petty afterthoughts to a person like Dr. Alveda.  She grew up in a country whose citizens found it appropriate at one time to bomb her childhood home while she was in bed.

How does anybody truly recover from that?

I can tell you this much, you can elect 10 Barack Obamas and it will not repair that deep sense of mistrust or fill the voids created by slavery – of families lost, language lost, home and liberty lost; nor will it heal the wounds that allowed a system of segregation to persist – the inferiority complexes that have been handed-down for generations.

Although Brian Brown describes it as a “meltdown,” I cried because that mistrust of America saddens me; it was the same mistrust that I heard in my father’s voice when he said that he couldn’t believe that “Americans would ever vote to elect a black President.”  I cried because that thought-pattern alone, that sense of hopelessness expressed, the lack of agency, that feeling that we cannot expect our government to protect our rights, that people will never change, is so sad to me, so limiting; it is oppression re-manifested.

How did my father continue to be ambitious?  How did he convince himself that if he worked hard he would be recognized, if his entire life he’s been shown the contrary?

Judge Walker’s ruling cannot overturn the years and years of discrimination that LGBT people have faced and will continue to face once marriage is legalized; it cannot overturn that sense of mistrust; that subtle feeling of inferiority that has been ingrained in you throughout your life will never be completely gone.  You learn to live with it – hopefully – forget it, at times, figure out ways to overcome it, argue with yourself until it sounds irrational.

Nonetheless it remains, or at least for me, it does.

I may not know much, but I know that.

If you’re hoping that the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or decisions like the one Judge Walker handed down will heal old wounds, you should pinch yourself.  After equality comes, there’s plenty of healing left to do; Dr. Alveda King is proof of that.

However, part of that healing process requires acknowledging those who stood up for you when everything in their world was telling them to do the contrary.  Part of that process is recognizing that although overwhelming at times that the opposition to equality was not monolithic. I often said during the Obama campaign that I wished more black Americans had the opportunity to see how many white people fought to get that man elected; his election – his movement – was a part of that healing process for me.

These issues of equality- on both sexual orientation and race- are bound together. They’re not going away anytime soon.  Although our histories are not the same, there’s an intersection that we have to acknowledge and deal with no matter how much Brian Brown attempts to protest to the contrary.

UPDATE BY EDEN (7:43 p.m. PST): Hey everyone — someone noted that Alveda King was featured on Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person In The World” segment.

We are maxed on capacity right now. So I have a quick request for the Tracker community: If you see it on YouTube, please let us know and we’ll embed it here. Otherwise, we have to go with MSNBC’s video, which we can’t embed due to WordPress issues.

Here is Keith’s segment on Alveda King, via MSNBC:

UPDATE BY EDEN (9:43 p.m. PST): And the winner is… “Tony Douglass in CA”!

Thanks so much, Tony, for taking the time to find the YouTube embed and share it with everyone. It’s another people-powered #Win for the NOM Tour Tracker community.


  • 1. Anonygrl  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you.

    I wrote about six more paragraphs, but they were all about me, and not important.

    So let me just say, though it's not nearly as good as you deserve, thank you from deep in my heart, for those insights into your experience in this world we share.

  • 2. AndrewPDX  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Wow! That is a powerful personal testimony. Thank you for sharing it with us… Maybe even Brian (hi Brian!) will read it and understand.

    Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité


  • 3. VRAlbany  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Amazing assessment, of your feelings and Alveda's.
    If more people were that insightful, we might be more empathetic to the pain we inadvertently cause others, and be better equipped to end true repression.

  • 4. Biff  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Are they giving everyone a Doctorate that has the last name King?….if so, I'll change MY surname!

  • 5. Richard A. Walter (s  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Thank you so much, Arisha. You have so beautifully expressed why BZ and I are so active whenever we get the opportunity. No, the passage of Shepherd-Byrd has not fully healed the pain of losing a very dear friend who was brutally stabbed and slashed for being gay, and marriage equality will never erase the pain of not being able to have a real marriage until almost 50. It will take so much more to fully heal from all the generations and centuries of discrimination against LGBTQQI citizens. I fell so honored to have met you today, even though our talk was too brief. I look forward to a lengthier one.

  • 6. Kathleen  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Thank you again, Arisha.

  • 7. Brandy  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I love the way you explained how Alveda King might think the way she does. I totally see that point of view now.

  • 8. Ann S.  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you so much, Arisha.

  • 9. Biff  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    miss thing (alveda, velveeta, whatever), is dealing with her own demons….too bad it has to effect us, the gay community!

  • 10. Ray in MA  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    It's obvious to me that electing a Black President won't repair the integrity of a system that would allow injustice to persist for so long.

    It's obvious to me that declaring a law uniconstitutional won't repair the integrity of a system that would allow injustice to persist for so long.

    But both are HUGE steps toward moving it along to an advancement of the American civilization.

    In our short lives here, these are major events to be recorded by history.

    In our short lives here, better late then never to be seen by us.

  • 11. Richard W. Fitch  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I have a real problem with Alveda and her "Dr.". She has an M.A. in Business Management, not even an MBA. Her honorary degree was probably more to honor MLK and her own father, I not sure what she has really done to receive it. All that being said, I am humbled by your analysis of the broader picture. Hopefully there is a way to honor the heritage of "the other" without diminishing the validity of our own pain.

  • 12. AndrewPDX  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Scribin' now that I'm home… anybody else ever noticed that the mobile version of WordPress doesn't recognize the checkboxes like the full version?

    Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

  • 13. Richard A. Walter (s  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I can't confirm my subscriptions from my phone.

  • 14. James Tuttle  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    What a beautiful commentary. xo

  • 15. Breaking the Silence  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    As usual; well put Richard and Ray! And again, thank you, Arisha.

  • 16. Eden James  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Hey everyone — someone noted that Alveda King was featured on Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person In The World" segment.

    We are maxed on capacity right now. So I have a quick request for the Tracker community:

    The segment is coming up in the next 5-10 minutes (7:45-7:50 PST) on his program. Can someone record the segment and upload it to YouTube? If you do, I'll give you full credit on the front page!

    Crossed fingers…

    Eden w/ the Courage Campaign Institute

  • 17. Josiah  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you for your powerful testimony, Arisha.

    As a side note, your Socratic handling of Pastor Olden was masterful. I think that there were several points in the conversation when he didn't realize what he was agreeing to.

  • 18. Ronnie  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    "She grew up in a country whose citizens found it appropriate at one time to bomb her childhood home while she was in bed."

    That's the part that gets to me the most. Those against equality ignore & in many cases deny or even say that doesn't happen to LGBT on the same level. That we don't have those same fears. When the truth is it has for over 40 years & most recently that deplorable violent behavior has picked up in the last few years. When a 17 month old baby boy is killed by an adult man because the baby boy acts "girly", that is the hatred & bigotry festered by the very words that come out of Alveda King's Brian Brown's, Maggie Gallagher's, Louis's, etc etc. mouths, fingers, pens, keyboards.

    When a 15yo boy thinks it is ok to bring a gun to school to shoot another boy point blank in the head twice for giving him a card & asking him to be his Valentine. that comes from incompetent parents who teach them that those who are gay are evil, & all the other repugnant things they say about LGBT people. When a couple is walking down the street & is scared to hold hands because they may offend somebody else, while they see other people doing the same, that's not freedom.

    We get trapped inside ourselves because those against us can't accept that what they want is irrelevant to our personal lives. They don't want people telling what to do, what to say, & how to do & say it; but then they turn around & do it to us & expect us to allow them to.

    I'm sorry, But I am nobody's b!tch….well except for maybe my future husband (wherever he may be)…lol

    I can't show remorse for people like Alveda King, who has lived through this kind of discrimination, harassment, oppression, fear & tyranny then turns around & does it to somebody else because she doesn't like the way they live their lives. I think its great that she is so trusting in her "God", good for her, but its irrelevant to my life & my beliefs. If she & other anti-gay people like her demand that we respect their beliefs, they then should respect ours as well. It works both ways not their way only. …<3…Ronnie

  • 19. Owen  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    OT but somewhat related: I think they're about to do a segment on Countdown with Keith Olbermann about Alveda King @ NOM's rally.

  • 20. rf  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    she's third worst person in the world, today.

  • 21. Paul in Minneapolis  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Arisha, thank you for this very moving and insightful piece.

    We cannot change the past. We can only learn from it.

    Some horrible things happened in the past. We weren't there for most of them.

    We are not responsible for a past from which we were absent. We are only responsible for our present and for our future. Our means all of us.

    While how we got here is important in many ways and for understanding many things, to me the fact that we simply are here is more important.

    We didn't ask to inherit the world as we received it — but we can make the world a better place. We can both understand how our world got to where it is now and work together to make it better. Indeed, the latter requires the former.

    We must all live together — rich and poor, black and white, immigrant and native, theist and atheist, gay and straight. We must keep our differences from coming between us while celebrating our diversity, for our strength comes from our diversity.

    You can't have an orchestra if everyone plays only the violin.

    E pluribus unum.

    Every day I read this site — both the columns posted and the comments in response — my faith in humanity is renewed. It is my refuge from the hostility, intolerance, insanity, incomprehensibility and inhumanity of NOM and their ilk.

    Thank you all — every single one of you — for all you do. Thank you for being here, for being the community you — no, we — are, and for welcoming me as a part of it.

    Paul in Minneapolis

  • 22. Owen  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Ah, nvm, she was just one of his "Worst Persons in the World." LOL

  • 23. Chad  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    You can see the "World's Worst" segment on the Countdown site at

  • 24. Sheryl Carver  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm


    During the Rodney King tragedy, I asked a young friend of mine (who is black) if he'd ever had any problems with the police that he felt was a result prejudice. (Although in my 40s, I was obviously still very naive.) He gave me a sort of "oh, you poor innocent dear" look, then related just one incident that had happened to him in San Francisco. It could have turned out very badly, except he kept his cool.

    I can only really relate as a woman who grew up in a time when there were so many LEGAL limitations due to gender. My brother, who is really quite a rational creature, could never understand what I tried to tell him about how that was, & how it still is in many ways today.

    So I get that, as a white person, I can never do more than have a superficial & purely cognitive grasp of what it's like to be black in our country, even with all the legal protections that didn't exist decades ago..

    That said, my criticism of Ms. King isn't that she puts her faith in her god, but that she was so unwilling to answer your very respectful questions. And that she is so unwilling to acknowledge that what she is attempting to do to others is no different than what others have done to her.

    In both the military and in corporate life, I have seen people so often fall into the 2 extremes as a reaction to being treated badly by someone in power.

    One group says, "I didn't like that; it wasn't right or fair. I will NEVER do that to another person."

    The other group says, "just wait until it's my turn." Unfortunately, Ms. King seems to belong to this group.

  • 25. Bolt  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks, Arisha, your essay is a real tour de force, and highly interesting. It will be the subject of future African American and LGBTQIA studies. You've exposed a cynical attitude that I didn't know existed with Dr. King, and you've made extraordinary links between race and sexual orientation.

    Maybe some of us have the opposite expectations of authority, and justice. From the atoms in my bones I expect that we'll prevail in every level of this federal fight. This attitude is in sharp contrast from Dr. King.

    Good night.

  • 26. Breaking the Silence  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Ronnie, you reminded me of a recent case that shows institutionalized mysogyny is still alive and well also-
    This country, and others really need to get over ridiculous ideas and obsessions over gender and just wake up and smell the future.

  • 27. Bob  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I'm with Ronnie on this one, and lttle Roy who was killed, on Aug 2nd 2010, and all my friends who have been harrased, and, those who died, at the hands of authorites who, were supposed to protect them.

    Yes we share a lot in common, and a no ruling is going to erase that.

    Enough of sentiment I'm glad for your ephinany and your connection with Ms. King, so now lets bring on the equality, because that is just the start and then we can get on with making this planet we share home.

    Wow I can't believe you just realized that , good for you Arisha.

    now can we please pass the equality around,

  • 28. Eden James  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Yeah, but we can't embed MSNBC's video on our WordPress account. Frustrating.

    If you see it on YouTube, please let us know and we'll embed it here. Otherwise, we have to go with MSNBC's video.

  • 29. Chrys  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    My partner and I, some years ago, were visiting her father and his lady. All three of us are white, she is black. We were in Cincinnatti, and went out to dinner.

    Our service was horrible, and clearly managed to be prejudicial, for example, the three of us got our meals well before hers came out. Her meal was not prepared the way she had ordered it, things like that. And the attitude of the wait staff made it very clear what was going on.

    Now I am from northern New York, very different from southern Ohio.

    I was furious – she was resigned.

    I cannot begin to understand how it is to grow up being judged because of the color of your skin (a little because I am very overweight, but that's not the same thing). But yes, a lot of the issues for the LGBT community are the same, and while I can see the point of Dr. Alveda King feeling the way she does – I cannot accept it as right.

    Coretta Scott King took the position that equality was for all people – and that resonates with me.

  • 30. StraightForEquality  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I appreciated getting this link. Thanks, Chad.

  • 31. Chad  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Eden – I have embed code for the video (tested it on my personal WordPress site). Let me know the best way to get it to you

  • 32. Eden James  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Chad, I have the embed code as well. And when I try to embed it, it breaks.

    But send what you have to me at "eden AT couragecampaign DOT org" and I'll see if it works.

  • 33. rick jacobs  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Arisha has exposed her soul and in so doing, the soul of America. This fight is about love and family. It's also about all of us owning "equal." The truth is we have decades or more of work to get there for all of the reaons Arisha states and all of those in this thread so far.

    We'll win at law–and thanks to AFER, we'll win soon–but look at the struggle Arisha has written about that goes on for generations after the very 14th Amendment that informs the Prop. 8 case.

    Even wihen we win at law, owning "equal" comes from each of us acting "equal." Acting equal is not arrogance; it's humility and embrace. It also comes from each and all of us understanding that our fight for LGBT equality is neither monolithic nor in isolation.

    Courage Campaign was born in California as a "multi-issue" empowerment organization. The Institute's equality program grew out of that heritage.

    Arisha has just laid out the philosophy and the essence of why we all do what we do.

    And together, we'll make a more perfect.union. I really believe that, especially when I read what's here on this blog.


  • 34. Brad Larsen  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Off topic, but did you all see this?

    All Mexican states must recognize same sex marriages from Mexico City!

  • 35. StraightForEquality  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    This essay by Arisha and the thoughtful comments by the community are very moving and beautiful. Thanks all!

  • 36. Tony Douglass in Ca  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Finally got posted to youtube:
    Keith Olbermann: "Worst Person In The World" – 08/10/10
    [youtube =]

  • 37. Breaking the Silence  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Yes! Saw it on Facebook, then promptly neglected to mention it here. :/ I wonder if there's a twisted sense of "Charge of the Light Brigade" among anti-folks- "Equality to the North, Equality to the South!…" :p

  • 38. Sagesse  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    David Boies keynote to the American Bar Association (if the embed works). The best parts are toward the end where he talks about protecting judges from personal attacks, and getting rid of state sponsored discrimination (to Arisha's point).

  • 39. Sagesse  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Embed fail. The link is

  • 40. Michelle Evans  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I still find it unbelievable that people such as Ms. King (sorry, just can't say "Dr" King), would not be right there beside us in our fight for equality. I would sincerely hope that whenever we do all reach LGBT equality, that I would never sit back and say of someone else oppressed: "I've got mine, so who cares about yours?" What kind of person, who lived with that sort of prejudice, could ever justify the fear and loathing she apparently has for LGBT people and our equality?

    My own life of prejudice and discrimination because I am a transgender female, not to mention the physical attacks I've (so far) survived, have taught me well to never take my freedoms for granted and that we ALL must fight to keep ALL of us free and equal. What possible blockage is occurring in Ms. King's thought processes that she cannot understand that fundamental equation? Sad.

  • 41. Bob  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I forget how man months ago we talked about thisi issue and made reference to Dorothy Heights speach about equality never being really achieved but something we are always striving for, the fightfor equality never ends , the only goal is to stay in the fight, always acting on being equal it requires perfection at humility

    I don't see Allveda expressing humilty::::::::::::::

    once we have equality Rainbow people are anxious to humbly work with Alveda on acting equal.

  • 42. Eddie  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to this cause, Arisha. If only people like Ms. King and Pastor Olden had the same kind heart that you have.

    One would think that given their experiences and understanding of the history of racial inequality, they would better understand the civil rights issues involving gays and lesbians. It's painfully obvious though that whatever their racial experiences or reasons and excuses for their apparent mistrust in government, their religious beliefs prevent them from having an honest and rational dialog about LGBT civil rights issues.

    During the interview, I can see Ms. King's eyes literally glaze over as you present facts and rational concepts to her. And, inexplicably, Pastor Olden did not understand some of the questions presented to him. But none of it really matters to them, because their fallback position is always religion. Not human rights, not civil rights, not love, not humanity or rationality. Thankfully, you are out there getting their unsupportable views in the open for everyone to see.

  • 43. Alan E.  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Of course I decide to spend the evening with my husband and missed this one. I'll read it and your comments in the morning.

  • 44. Kathleen  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    You're willing to openly admit you have a life outside of P8TT? Risky.

  • 45. IanC  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Arisha, I don't want to agree with you but I do, and I am saddened by this…

  • 46. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Judge Walker Video Evidence released…

    one by one they can be attached, but better to see them all in the url above.

  • 47. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    will try to attach each

  • 48. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm

  • 49. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm

  • 50. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm

  • 51. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm

  • 52. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:57 pm

  • 53. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:58 pm

  • 54. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:58 pm

  • 55. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:59 pm

  • 56. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 2:59 pm

  • 57. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 3:00 pm

  • 58. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 3:00 pm

  • 59. Mike  |  August 10, 2010 at 3:01 pm


    I love what you have been doing on this tour. But I have to say that the Oscar Grant thing got to me. As an Oakland resident, I feel for the mistake that was made. I do not believe it was intentional, nor racial. Oscar Grant was not a saint by any means. But he did not deserve to die. A mistake clearly. Your bringing this into the debate on same sex marriage makes me sad. Apples and oranges from my point of view.

  • 60. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    this is great…wanted to see this

  • 61. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 3:01 pm

  • 62. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm

  • 63. Trish  |  August 10, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Yuck. My stomach just turned over.

  • 64. Kathleen  |  August 10, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Yes, viewing these video clips from the depositions, you can see why the Plaintiffs called Tam as an adverse witness and submitted the other clips as evidence for their case. It also points out the real reason these witnesses were withdrawn by the D-Is. The only intimidation they feared was facing David Boies during cross-examination.

  • 65. David  |  August 10, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I'm sorry Arisha, I don't buy it. I've been a second class citizen all my life and I can tell you that what I feel is not inferiority, it's anger. You can apologize all you want for this woman but she made a big deal out of saying we are all one race (the human race) and should be treated equally except when it comes to gay marriage. She practically said that gays and lesbians weren't human, and you let her scurry and hide behind the bible. You should have pressed her to clarify her statements. She's just one more ignorant bigot, and any 'noble' deeds from her past were done by other people a long time ago.

  • 66. Trish  |  August 10, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I am speechless.

  • 67. Bob  |  August 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    if you want to mention a murder wouln't it be more appropriate to mention baby Roy,

  • 68. Dpeck  |  August 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    It seems to me that several people here are concluding that the point of Arisha's essay was simply to explain or excuse Ms. King's behavior. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's not what I got out of it at all. I think Rick Jacob's post at 8:26 PM more accurately summarizes the main points of Arisha's essay. Or is it just me?

  • 69. Russell  |  August 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    And that honorary doctorate is from a school that doesn't even award REAL doctorates, so her credibility is 0.0% in my book.

  • 70. Jeff  |  August 10, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I'd agree with you – Arisha is communicating what it's like to be a minority in this country. She in no way is making excuses, she's stating reality from her point of view (something many of us can relate to on many levels). Stating that minorities in this country turn to God because the people have failed them is echoed from the Black Church, MCC, to the gay bars (communities of minorities). Or atleast that's how I see it:)

  • 71. Ķĭŗîļĺę&  |  August 10, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Missed another post while sleeping :(

  • 72. Rev. Will Fisher  |  August 10, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    I wonder if "Dr." King means genocide and extinction of African-Americans not the human race per se. Perhaps she views same-sex marriage as some neo-colonial plot to exterminate AA people.

  • 73. Keith  |  August 10, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I think it's very easy to say that "The courts cannot protect me" when they already have been for many generations. It is also very disingenuous. You sound very sincere Arisha, and much of what you say is very moving. But, correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think you are old enough to have been subjected to institutional discrimination on the basis of your race. Who was the last president of the US to support institutional discrimination against African-Americans? Ms. King, President Obama, Justice Thomas and far too many African-Americans in power support institutional discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans. I think that's a little more important than whether you are comfortable making an illegal U-turn.

  • 74. rf  |  August 10, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Well if you subscribe to the teachings of Melissa Harris-Lacewell (which I do), you might consider that it appears to be a phenomenon that groups suffering discrimination that gain equal rights tend to discriminate against those groups that come up after them when they attempt to attain those same rights. Its partly because they are looking to fit in with the majority and partly because they are afraid to jeopardize their newly found standing. We might end up seeing this in the lgbt community–there is already some talk about throwing the t's under the bus to get legislation passed. b's are definitely still looked down upon and questioned as legitimate by many l and g's. Who knows how we will all feel when the next group comes up–atheists? the overweight? some other group we overlook now?

  • 75. Christopher Mongeau  |  August 10, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Arisha, thank you for your meaningful and thought provoking words, and for all your hard work this summer!


  • 76. fiona64  |  August 10, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    And it's too bad, Biff, that you can't really see what she's saying.


  • 77. fiona64  |  August 10, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    And … I misread what *Biff* was saying … for which I totally apologize. You were correct, Biff, and I was wrong.

    Fiona (who for some reason thought you were referring to Arisha)

  • 78. fiona64  |  August 10, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    I didn't get the idea that it was excusing behavior at all. Rather, I got the idea that it was explaining some clear parallels between Ms. King's feelings (oftentimes, the oppressed cannot wait to become the oppressor) and the anger in the GLBT community.


  • 79. MJFargo  |  August 11, 2010 at 12:36 am

    My ever growing respect for Arisha Michelle Hatch only deepen with the words she's written here. I'm 60 odd years old (will be 63 next month), and as a Caucasian, have never experienced what African Americans have/do experience(d) in this country. But as a gay person, I never was able to "pass" as anything but that. You could see me comin' a mile down the road certainly by the time I entered grade school. But my uncle wouldn't speak to me because I lived "openly" with a man for 9 years; now another for 16 years. My uncle died two nights ago, and I could never share/hear about his life. My parents were extremely accepting of me; I've met people who aren't accepted when I worked with addicts with HIV/AIDS in the Tenderloin. Families had cursed these kids and sent them on the streets irregardless of their race. So when Arisha Michelle Hatch faced Dr. Avleda King, I hoped for so much more from Dr. King. But what Arisha Michelle Hatch gave me demonstrated that there are those I can trust, and they've been there throughout my life. Even when as a postal worker intern right out of high school, I was called in and told I couldn't work there because I was a homosexual (and quite a virginal one at that). My Dad went ballistic and pulled every string he knew how to and kept me in the position that summer. I didn't suffer because my parents protected me; but I was aware people–though not everyone–hated me just for being who I am.

  • 80. Alan E.  |  August 11, 2010 at 12:37 am

    COSTA RICA: Supreme Court Rules Marriage Referendum Unconstitutional

    the rights of minorities should never be subjected to a referendum process where they might be subjected to the wishes of a majority.

  • 81. Sagesse  |  August 11, 2010 at 12:43 am

    My previous post tied up in moderation. Try this again. Missed this interview with Chris Matthews from last week. Concerned Women for America Alert.

  • 82. Straight Grandmother  |  August 11, 2010 at 1:00 am

    I have read this blog before, he is terrific. Now that I think about it I probably read it becasue of a link some one here posted.

  • 83. MJFargo  |  August 11, 2010 at 1:22 am

    The misstatements of the Judge's ruling as well as what the Supreme Court ruled on in televising the trial as well as why the witnesses "withdrew" from the case need correcting. Anytime these kinds of accusations are made and not corrected simply perpetuates the various myths the proponents of Prop 8 need so badly to keep from discussing their actual position. I was surprised by Chris Matthews (a staunch Catholic) was so persistent in this piece. And that's encouraging.

  • 84. Dpeck  |  August 11, 2010 at 1:28 am

    More great news! Of course, this doesn't mean they have equal marriage rights yet, but they understand that you don't put MINORITY rights up to MAJORITY vote!

  • 85. sweetleopardess  |  August 11, 2010 at 2:23 am

    Arisha, I admire your courage and strength. I always enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for all of your hard work on the Tour, on behalf of my gay son and all other LGBTQ Americans!

  • 86. Straight Grandmother  |  August 11, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Bob me too, I am with Ronnie. At first I wasn't going to write anything but then I thought, well… Eden James says silence equals acceptance on a confrence call, if I don't say anything then I am transmitting that I agree completely with the article.

    I just kind of wish Arisha had not written it this way. It gave me the impression of Alveda King getting a "free pass", “I don’t agree with her but I understand her” and I won't condemn her. In my heart I cannot give her a free pass (although based on Arisha's writing I feel closer to understanding her) as she steped up onto the NOM podium in the public square and led… and… encouraged discrimination against GLBT people. She not only holds these views but she advocates for others to follow her. And as Ronnie and Bob said, her views lead to violence and discrimination, even death to GLBT people, even to babies who are percieved not to be acting in their gender.

    She of all people knows discrimination is wrong, and she proved it by declining to answer the quesitons put to her. At least the minister answered the questions truthfully when prodded, even though when it came to the final questions he reverted back to his dogma. Alveda evaded, evaded, evaded right from the start. You only evade when you know you are wrong, when you know it.

    Truthfully I could have been a little bit sympathetic if she just held these views privately (maybe), but standing up in the public square, on the NOM podium, and advocating for discrimination? No, no, Free Pass, even considering her background. I am sorry Arisha and Rick.

    The persecuted surely do recognize the same persecution when applied to others, they do. They just have to decide if they want to join in or not. Alveda King has decided to join in the persecution, she is willing to even be a leader in the mob.

    To Arisha- This paragraph bothers me-
    "I can tell you this much, you can elect 10 Barack Obamas and it will not repair that deep sense of mistrust or fill the voids created by slavery – of families lost, language lost, home and liberty lost; nor will it heal the wounds that allowed a system of segregation to persist – the inferiority complexes that have been handed-down for generations."

    If the election of 10 Barack Obamas will not change your feelings about yourself and how you fit equally into American society this is then your shortcoming, it is not the shortcoming of society. Because the election 10 Barack Obamas to be President of the United States truly would show a defnitive and permenent change in society. I guess one down, nine to go :)

  • 87. Kathleen  |  August 11, 2010 at 2:52 am

    We can add Costa Rica to the list of countries that seem to be more American than America is these days.

  • 88. AndrewPDX  |  August 11, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Hm… I don't read it that way at all. Please forgive me if I'm putting words in your mouth Arisha, but I read it as a testimony of how "life after equality still isn't equal".

    When she mentions "it will not repair that deep sense of mistrust or fill the voids … nor will it heal the wounds … the inferiority complexes…” I read that not as "it doesn't help" but that "it doesn't erase".

    Likewise, when SCOTUS hands us a sweeping victory, there will still be inequalities, prejudices, Fred Phelps. If we are looking to the courts to "erase" the hate that is thrown against us, we are fooling ourselves.

    Instead, once SCOTUS rules input favor (or whatever it takes to get legal equality), we will still need to have Courageous Conversations to get some people to accept us.

    We still got a long way to go… But that is no reason to quit.

    Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

  • 89. Richard A. Walter (s  |  August 11, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Bob, I also think, at least from my reading of this, that Arisha's epiphany actually brought up for Arisha even more reasons that our struggle is equivalent to all the other civil rights movements. And that will strengthen Arisha's commitment to the fight. For those who have not yet met Ant, Arisha, and Phyllis, I truly hope you get that opportunity. I for one, am glad to add Arisha to the list of straight allies we have in our family.

  • 90. Bob  |  August 11, 2010 at 3:23 am

    something about equality seems to hold you back America does not want to be equal to other countriies

    being equal is not seen as powerful

    perhaps we need to change those definitions so that equality =power

    on a personal level I'm workiing at feeling equal to Alveda
    America holds back from equality in the U.N. because of fear of being judged for war crimes

  • 91. Richard A. Walter (s  |  August 11, 2010 at 3:35 am

    Thank you, Rick. I think I expressed the same thing in a different way. You see, after reading what Arisha wrote about her epiphany, I feel that it has made her an even stronger ally for full equality. And after meeting Arisha and Phyllis yesterday in Raleigh, I am so glad we have them. they are even nicer in person than what comes across here on the site.

  • 92. Breaking the Silence  |  August 11, 2010 at 4:11 am

    I believe that the examples Arisha cited (strictly obeying traffic law, the death of Oscar Grant) were worthwhile examples of the black experience on the streets -and transit platforms- of the US to this day. I would note that she did not say "the police-murder of Oscar Grant." I'd say that Mr. Grant, and more than a few other persons might not have lost their lives were we not still living with the ramifications of just the history to which Arisha is referring. I feel this was more her point, and it also happened to relate to her experience as she passed the location daily, and likely reflected upon the incident and its "meaning" if you will. I also have no impression whatsoever that Arisha's trying to say that her strong aversion to even minor infractions of traffic law is "more important" than civil rights, whether they're rights pertaining to gay marriage or black persons or any other class. I would also echo previous mentions that these wounds run very, very deep indeed, and that change, deeper than that in policy, law, administrations etc., is going to be necessary to heal them as thoroughly as they possibly can be.

  • 93. Breaking the Silence  |  August 11, 2010 at 4:15 am

    …I must have forgotten whatever point I had that caused me to post this under your post, rf. 😛 -I do agree with it, though! Sorry for any confusion.

  • 94. Adrenalin Tim  |  August 11, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Arisha, this is beautiful. Thank you for your witness to Rev. Olden—it sounded to me like he's been taken in culturally to the "culture war" mentality that assumes that he has to oppose civil rights for GLBT people, but your calm articulation and connection to other civil rights issues seemed like they were reaching him.

    Peace and all good to you, and may justice prevail.

  • 95. ArishaMichelle  |  August 11, 2010 at 5:56 am

    Hi StraightGrandmother – I should start by saying that I'm a fan. I've probably been flowing you, as much as you've been following (when trying to quickly gauge the community's reactions to our daily posts, I typically scroll to you @Kathleen, @lesbiansloveboies, @Richard A and a few others. I value your opinion tremendously and wanted to assure you that I was not attempting to give King a free pass in anyway. The following was the first sentence I wrote for the piece: "When a state
    sponsors discrimination, mistrust by
    those who are/were oppressed is an
    inevitable consequence." This line gets at the heart of what I was attempting to say. I think if this movement wants to begin the process of having open an meaningful conversations on this issue, it is important that we remain committed to get beyond the knee jerk reactions and talking points that we've all been taught and really try to understand what people mean when they say "redefine marriage" or "the courts can't protect me." I was attempting to condemn her point of view in the latter section of the piece which talked about healing and acknowledgment of federal jurists who stood with AAs in difficult times. Perhaps I wasn't heavy-handed enough or the piece was too long, but I don't want that to be lost.

    You're probably right on the 10 Obamas piece – perhaps I was overreaching there. What's that saying 2's a coincidence, 3's a trend?Maybe if I had a time machine, I'd go back and change that to 3 (depending on the time frame in which they were elected). I mean this to say that it will take several generations to completely move beyond the social construction of what it means to be an AA in this country. The racial constructs that we grow up, dilluted or not, still hold meaning an relevance to our feelings on liberty and mobility. It will take generations to remove that viewpoint from our psyche, in the same way that it will take generations to remove overt and subtle forms of misogny.

    I wasn't at all attempting to compare illegal uturns to the discrimination that lgbt people face. I wouldn't have left my family for a month to document uturns, I was attempting to illustrate a thought process I've observed in my self and others that I believe is an indicator of a certain world view. Are you taught to believe that police officers are friends that you should go to in a time of need, or are you fearful of that body?

    In solidarity and with deep respect.,

    ps please excuse the typos, I'm posting from my iPhone outside of a kinkos in Charleston.

  • 96. Ronnie  |  August 11, 2010 at 6:02 am

    Uggggg…typos excused….IPhone typos su<k…lol….I <3 you Arisha…. ; ) …Ronnie

  • 97. Richard A. Walter (s  |  August 11, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Thank you, Arisha. I feel honored. I hope you like the picture I took of you in Raleigh yesterday. I was so thrilled to get to meet you and Phyllis yesterday. Hope all is going well for you three today. Hope we all get a chance to sit down sometime and chat. I will bring more challah. Would love to take everyone here to MiCasita's in our area sometime for authentic Mexican cuisine. And yes, I do mean authentic. Not the Taco Bell imitation.

  • 98. Straight Grandmother  |  August 11, 2010 at 7:06 am

    @Arisha, I am so glad you replied, although I didn't expect you to at all. Typos? LOL, actually ROTFLMAO, if you have been following my psots (there you go psots instead of posts) ha-ha.

    All I can say is… Right on Sista Arisha :) I agree with everything you wrote in your reply, all of it. Solidarity, fist pumping and all.

    And thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking the extra time in your reply even using a phone to do it, to type out the word Discrimination. I know it is a lot longer than the word Equality, but it is an important word, a word that should be used more to describe what is being done to the GLBT community. The word Discrimination generates a gut reaction and stops people in their tracks, there is a historical and cultural reference to the word Discrimination. The word Equality just doesn't do it like the word Discrimination does, so thank you for using the D word. (see I was to lazy to type it out ha-ha). I hope to see it used more and more on P8TT. Not every time, but more than it is used presently.

  • 99. NOM ally Alveda King name&hellip  |  August 11, 2010 at 7:41 am

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    Yes, S.G.! Great place to visit for a daily dose of reality. =)

  • 101. Breaking the Silence  |  August 11, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Yes, Trish. It turns my stomach. The only "implicit consent" I see in this case is the implicit consent involved in this dolt inviting a well-placed knee or elbow from the victim.

  • 102. Monkey Man emerges on NOM&hellip  |  October 28, 2010 at 1:49 pm

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