Sunday, May 22, 2011

H8 Comes to Minnesota

It is just after 4:00AM Central Time on a rainy Sunday morning and I am awake, for now. I wake to the news that the final vote on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to ban same-gender marriages once and for all in the state of Minnesota will be on the November, 2012 ballot. This will be on the same voter's sheet alongside President Barack Obama's re-election bid and the challenge to U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar's (D-MN) seat.

Frankly, I am bitterly disappointed - as are a majority of you. It simply appears that our state's budget and economic recovery are meaningless next to sending this shit to our ballot boxes. It does not ensure confidence that I will be able to be a contributing taxpayer in this state, unless a job comes along that keeps me employed and my debt under control. I'm hopeful for the latter, yet it seems the game has changed now. 

Then again, I lived in a state where my desires were considered illegal my entire time there. The Commonwealth of Virginia (in which some of you currently live) was a place where, under Governor Jim Gilmore, you were arrested if someone reported a same-gender couple having sex. This has happened a few times (not me, but others) during my time in Falls Church - before my relocation to the Midwest in 2000. So, I know what living under a form of segregation and Apartheid is all about.

I also know what hate is. I faced anti-Semitism when I was younger - still do to an extent. I faced homophobia - still do. I was made fun of a perception that my intellectual capacity was below so-called normal. I still stammer, but I've exhibited my ability to attain a higher degree recently. I was also a target of an attack because I associated with other races in 1977. Even I am not welcomed in parts of my own culture and community sometimes. That form of bullshit hurts a hell considering now that we have to work alongside each other to maintain the degree of our citizenship status in this state and nation. 

This post is not about me entirely. I am just parsing out the impacts of what the state legislature accomplished while I am trying to get back on my feet in my seventh year as a Minnesota resident. Frankly, I was slapped in the face by those who do not directly represent me. They may represent some of you. They will also be on the same ballot as this proposed Amendment to the state Constitution.  

I know it's early, but I am torn as to how to approach this. A part of me wants to "fight the power" by following the path of Huey B. Newton, Sista Soulja and those who mistrusted the status quo when challenging institutional hatred. Yet, those of you who know me - some of you for most of my life - know I do not hate easily. That's where the other part of me comes in: A collaborative, broad-based and broad-minded person who can bring different people to the table. 

However, I also need to step away from this fight for now. Again, it's too early to plunge into what could be an absolute war on the consciousness of the people of this state. Yet, I fear the consequences this war could bring to friendships from varying places - whether it is here in Minnesota or elsewhere.

So, I'll say my political piece now, and continue with the priorities of job hunting, building a journalistic/blogging portfolio, use social media as a networking tool to those ends and continue being passionate about the things I love regardless of what others think. 

In conclusion, I again quote Steven Biko: "I'm going to be me, as I am, and you can be beat me, or jail me...or even kill me. But, I am not going to be what you want me to be."

Amandla! Awethu!

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