Queerty Exclusive

Nate Silver on African-Americans, Prop 8. and Being A Hero to Gays & Geeks Everywhere

Dork genius Nate Silver is one of the 2008 campaign’s breakout stars. Throughout the election he applied the statistical prowess he uses at his day job (he’s an analyst at Baseball Prospectus) to the presidential race. The Internet ate up his mathematical approach to punditry and his website, FiveThirtyEight, was swamped with 5 million visits on Election Day.

When the dust settled, Silver had called the electoral map almost perfectly, with only Obama flipping Indiana and Nebraska splitting its electoral votes coming as a surprise.

In the wake of California’s Proposition 8, which outlaws same-sex marriage, passing, people turned to exit polls and voting records to determine whodunit, with some blaming the African-American vote as the tipping point. Silver decided to use his site to break the numbers down and debunk some Prop. 8 myths, especially regarding whether African-American support for Obama tipped the scales in the measure’s favor.

Queerty talked with Silver about the black vote and Prop. 8, his own personal feeling on same-sex marriage and what he thinks about his *ahem* “big gay following”:

QUEERTY: Last weekend, at the Las Vegas protest against Prop 8., comedian Wanda Sykes came out and mentioned you during her speech– saying that you had disproved the “70% of black people voted against Prop. 8” meme. Is that what you said?

Nate Silver: That’s not exactly what I said. But there’s a related meme, which the notion that Prop 8 passed because of all the new supporters that Barack Obama turned out, and it’s just not true. People who were voting for the first time — almost all of whom supported Barack Obama — voted against Prop 8 by a 62:38 margin. Had Barack Obama not energized new types of voters and gotten them to the polls, Prop 8 would have passed by a wider margin.

Now, there are going to be people who want to slice and dice those numbers more finely, such as by looking at African-American voters, who voted for Prop 8 in the aggregate. But there are a couple of problems with that. Firstly, there is no evidence that new African-American voters — the ones who turned out for the first time because of Obama — voted to pass Prop 8. And secondly, this whole notion of trying to lump voters together into monolithic categories is silly. Black voters do not all behave alike; nor do white voters nor Latino voters. If there’s the need to assign blame, let’s assign blame to the individuals who chose to support the measure — and there were plenty of them in EVERY racial group.

How reliable are the exit polls and statistics about Prop. 8? How seriously should we take them?

Exit polls are somewhat less reliable than telephone-based polls of the same sample size. This is because of a technique called “cluster sampling” — exit polls are only conducted at certain precincts — which introduces another source of error that isn’t present in normal polls.

Also, remember that whenever we’re looking at the voting patterns of just one subgroup — such as African-Americans — the margins for error are much larger than when we’re looking at the entire sample. In consideration of these two things, the margins of error an in fact be quite high. There’s probably about a 10-point margin of error in looking at how African-Americans decided on Prop 8, for instance.

Why do you think Prop. 8 passed?

Well, every year the gay marriage bans have a more and more difficult time passing; this is principally a generational issue, and you have younger, generally more tolerant voters replacing older, generally less tolerant ones. If you sort of plotted those numbers out, and then adjusted for the fact that California is more progressive than other states that had passed gay marriage bans, you could see that Prop 8 was going to turn out to be very, very close — within a few points in one direction or the other. When an election is close, the side running the better campaign is usually going to win. In this case, for better or for worse, the ‘Yes’ side had a big head start in fundraising in messaging, and the ‘No’ side couldn’t catch up in time.

There continues to be new polls showing a shift on America’s changing attitudes towards marriage equality. Should we take them seriously? Is there any evidence that people are making up their minds one way or another on the issue?

People are making up their minds for marriage equality — it’s just happening very, very slowly. Eight years ago, I don’t think there are any states in the country that would have voted to uphold gay marriage — maybe Vermont and Hawaii. This year, you might have had a dozen states that would have voted against a Prop 8 type of measure — pretty much everything in New England, for instance, with California winding up just on the other side of the dividing line. Eight years from now, probably half the country will be ready for gay marriage.

What I don’t know is whether the passage of Prop 8 will clarify the issue for certain people and tend to accelerate the process. It very well might.

Personally, what do you think about Prop 8. and marriage equality? There’s a similar move to outlaw gay marriage in Illinois, where you’re from.

Well, I think the country needs to grow up a little bit and realize that gay marriage does no harm to anyone. I don’t even think the issue is particularly philosophically complex as compared with something like abortion.

On another note, you’ve become something of a gay icon, or at least object of affection. Have you noticed it at all? What do you think of it?

I’ve started to notice it a little bit, although so far it seems like I’m more a subject of geek affection than gay affection. Weird things happen once you appear on TV a couple times; I got a (straight) marriage proposal in my inbox the other day (which for any number of reasons, I turned down). But in general, the whole thing is a terrific confidence-booster. I’m just focused now on trying to build out the 538 brand and making sure I keep getting to do this stuff for a long time.

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  • 24play

    I wish Brandon Voss had done this interview. Then we would know what Silver thinks about having gay fans. And if he knows many gay people. And which male star he would go gay for.

  • Kid A

    He makes being smart cool again. His was the only data-based analysis that I trusted during the election.

  • brcksvg

    Japhy—”meme”? Seriously?

  • Joe Moag

    It sucks when the facts don’t agree with one’s positions. I mean, it sucks for the Wingnuts and the “blame the blacks for Prop 8” crowd…just sucks…

  • Tweety

    Wouldn’t it be a great day in the USA if “American Idol” was a spelling bee? Smart is cool again!

  • dizzyspins

    So is Silver gay or not? He pretty much dodged addressing it here.

  • Poppy, the Coming Out Pony

    He sure seems pretty closety queer to me — Which is funny because the real way that Marriage Equality is going to happen in the USA is for gay people to come out to their families, friends, coworkers and generally seek tolerance from everyone. When gays stay in the closet they are essentially telling the world that they agree to take on the 2nd class cititizenship that society has put upon them. By coming out, gay people reject that notion.

  • mark

    When there are REASON(S) that someone turns down a straight marriage proposal that = queer.
    If you are straight there would only be one reason, you aren’t attracted to that individual.

    There may be one other reason that he’s just not interested in being coupled at this time of his life, or doesn’t like the institution of marriage(I can appreciate that decision.)

    I still believe when he said reasons it meant I’m not attracted to that individual, and that individual isn’t in the sex, I’m interested in.

  • mark

    Besides…I trust my gaydar, and he sets off a big “YES” on my scale.

  • chgo921

    @Poppy, the Coming Out Pony: Your overall position about closeted gays coming out is valid. However, you seem to suggest that Nate Silver is doing something wrong by not coming out, when you don’t know that he’s gay. Just because he seems like a “closety queer” to you doesn’t make it so.

  • Sebastian Melmoth

    Wow, I was really glad to read this interview….if only to discover that I’m not alone in finding Nate Silver to be a gay icon. I think he’s adorable. During the election, I always got extra-excited when he turned up on MSNBC. Especially in the early days before he bought a suit, and he just looked like some cute nerd that Keith Olbermann had dragged out of a college library.

  • Smartypants

    538.com was the best blog to break out of the pack in this year’s election. Nate and his team provided lucid, insightful and balanced reporting on the polls. It would be dandy if he happens to be gay, but I’m just glad to have such a hot geek garnering attention for his thoughtful analysis of an otherwise arcane subject.

  • RS

    @mark: I took what he said as a coded reference that he was gay, but I suppose there are lots of other reasons to turn down the straight marriage proposal. He didn’t find her attractive, he’s already in a relationship, and biggest of all … who marries a total stranger???

    That said … yes, I too assumed it was a “coming out” statement at first until I re-read it.

  • Tin Tin

    he’s totally gay, he’s just about the number’s y’all not about talking about his sexuality.

    Go to chicago and find him at a gay bar

  • Clay

    He’s not gay y’all! He has a girlfriend and is getting engaged! Stop spreading these rumours!


  • Jon B

    Why do we leap on the sexuality of everyone? Maybe we should let some straight people be straight, until they say otherwise (unless they are republicans and are found 1)doing meth with a hooker, 2) writing inappropriate emails to teenaged boys, 3) tap dancing under bathroom stall… in which case we should skewer them publically, call them hypocrits, refuse them into our fold, and withold sex).

  • DaveO

    Why are we falling all over ourselves trying to excuse the African-American community for their vote on Prop 8. Whether or not Obama’s presence on the ballot caused Prop 8 to win is irrelevant. We have a problem gaining support for marriage rights among African-American voters – as we do among older people, religious people, republicans, etc. Trying to wish it weren’t the case doesn’t make it any less real.

    And Silver’s assertion that the exit poll is untrustworthy is ridiculous on its face. All you need to do is look at the precinct-level breakdown of the ACTUAL vote to realize that Prop 8 won big in precincts (even in San Francisco) with large African-American populations.

  • The Gay Numbers

    I am hoping that Nate and the others will turn their coverage of the GOTV across the country into a table book. My friends, straight and gay, discussed it and we think its brilliant. The photos were stunning. seeing people so committed and involved was amazing.

    Love your site Nate. It was one of the island’s of sanity. And, yeah, for me I love geeks. People who know their shit, gay or straight, are always welcomed.

  • The Gay Numbers

    By the way- that MOE of 10 actually makes sense.

    It fits the pre-election polling that pegged AA support at 58 percent for Prop 8/40 percent against.

    It fits outcomes in 2004 exit polling that found in MI , for example, 55 percent for banning gay marriage

    It finally fits exit polling done in Los Angeles County that pegged it at 60 percent for the ban. Indeed, Watts– which is 39 percent black and 70 percent Latino any race– was 60 percent in favor of Prop 8.

    The indicators are that they numbers are higher than other groups, but no insurmountably high. There seems to be a consistent 10 point rather than 20-25 point difference.

  • Marco

    He’s a total cutie! He stimulates my cerebrum!

    It always seems he’s a bit uncomfortable doing television interviews… he’ll refrain from smiling a lot and he’ll have this hypnotized stare going on…. but it’s so geeky that it’s cute!

  • The Gay Numbers

    Dave- all I can say to you is whatever. You racists will believe what you want to believe. When you are proven wrong on the numbers, your response is to a) try to attack the person providing you better insight or b) claim to have better knowlege, which itself based on the same polling data or c) Say the numbers do not matter it is stil the blacks fault. Who can argue with bigotry? I won’t. For the record, Nate was arguing against the problems of exit polls before Prop 8 in that he wrote a 10 things wrong with Exit Polls article on fivethirtyeight. Something that your lazy ass would you know if you were not a racist hater trying to push everyone into your limited world view.

  • ryan

    This interview is a perfect example of the improvement this site has undergone since Japhy Grant took over.

    The content has greatly improved and most of the trolls are gone.

    Great interview and great work – keep it up Japhy!

  • fredo777


    Agreed. I saw him doing some interview during the election — can’t recall where — + thought he looked very awkward but also very cute.

  • DaveO

    Numbers – No I am not saying it is all the blacks’ fault. It is the fault of many different groups of people, including the African-American community, and I don’t understand why we are so willing to give them a pass when we do not do so likewise to Mormons and Catholics and Republicans etc. I just do not supporting putting our heads in the sand.

  • Tin Tin

    i agree , this site is much better. When on earth would we have had a nate silver interview?

    this is great stuff.

    and by the way, he is definitely gay. I have it on GOOD authority

  • The Gay Numbers

    @DaveO: Here’s a simple exercise: Cut and paste where anyone here has given the AA voters who voted yes on 8 a pass. Since you are making this claim, it should be an easy task to prove it.


    Yes, it’s better. I will give you props on that.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @DaveO: by the way Dave rather than being a dick to you, which is my natural state. Let me say that the problem centrally with your post is that you assume the purpose of the analysis is to give a pass rather than to understand what happened, and how to address it. For example you split religion from race as if race rather than religion is the issue. The point is to going forward figure out what’s driving voters to vote as they do to persuade those who vote against us to change thier minds. This isn’t giving people a pass- this is an attempt to accurately understand what’s happening outside of simple minded narratives about race. For example if a lot more AAs are religios than whites- then the understanding needs to be that maybe its the religious persuasion that we need to address.

    Nate’s point is to also provide an additional point. Maybe looking at the numbers we need to consider age. if there were older blacks who showed up than younger blacks, etc. None of this can be figured out by your approach- which seems to be to assign blame rather than figure out the persuadables. If religion is the issue, which crosses racial demographics, then focusing race is besides the point. It’s the faith of these demographics which we need to persuade, eliminate or minimize. See the point?

  • Jonathan

    Both I and my husband think Nate is just smokin’…

  • The Gay Numbers

    Dave you also make the mistake of equating voters with organized efforts against us. This is a little like what the Democrats used to do. people (voters) who voted for the Republican party are not always the same things. An organized effort by Catholics and Mormons are not the same thing as voters because the later did not lead the effort. The voters are the persuadables. The organizations leading the effort are not.

  • blake

    “He sure seems pretty closety queer to me.”

    —What the hell is wrong with you people? Why must every one be either gay or a closet case if he helping gay people? By implying this kind of crap you do nothing more than make it seem that being gay is wrong and that he’s a liar. Frankly, isn’t that the same kind of tactic that homophobes use? “No straight guy could be friends with or show any kind of support for gay folks unless he is actually gay.”

    This guy is a statistician. He’s smart. And, oh by the way, he seems to be a supporter of gay people.

    Why not just say, “Thank you, Mr. Silver, for your support,” instead of questioning the man’s sexuality.

    Sometimes I’m just shocked by how immature people can be.


    I think you’ve missed the point about what Silver was saying. You are trying to lump all African-Americans into a group based on race. By doing so, you ignore that you could break down the vote within the African-American, white, Asian, or Latino communities based on other factors: age, religion, etc.

    Silver’s analysis shows that older voters of all “races” voted for 8 as did religious voters and gun owners.

    Furthermore, there is the ugly elephant in the room that everyone ignores constantly: 50% of eligible gay voters did not vote!

    Think about that! One of the most important elections to determine civil rights for gays and 50% of those affected by the law did not show up to vote.

    What’s also missing from most analysis is the rejection of common sense in understanding how Barack Obama’s campaign was so successful and the No on 8 campaign wasn’t. Obama’s campaign volunteers have been interviewed extensively. Many explained that they ran into a lot of racism. Right? There’s a video of a union leader speaking out about this and getting people to think about how not letting go of their racism would only hurt them.

    The No on 8 campaign refused to contact the Obama campaign and ask for guidance. That was incredibly stupid because the Yes on 8 campaign used the same bigoted tactics that the Republicans were using against Obama. Think about the parallels in terms of the racist messaging used against Obama.

    Had the No on 8 leaders created a grassroots movement that followed Obama’s tactics of going to communities with members of that local community, they might have been more successful.

  • DaveO

    Numbers – The fact that this post exists and the multitudinous efforts to debunk the 70/30 CNN data exists is a reflection that there is an eagerness to disprove or explain away the result in a manner that fits within a palatable liberal narrative. You eagerly jump on explaining away the African-American vote by asking us to consider the age breakdown or religiosity breakdown. Why not do the same for other groups? Why not explain away religious voting patterns by delving into economic background or educational level or some other criteria? For every group, you can make the argument that the results are meaningless unless you take other demographic information into account, and we are eager to do so when the result reflects negatively on African Americans, but not so eager to do so when the result reflects negatively on some other group.

    We’ve criticized Mormons, justifiably, following Prop 8. In 2004, Utah passed its own anti-marriage initiative. Not a big surprise. But do you also know that FEWER people voted for this initiative than voted for Goerge Bush, the only state to do so. And, do you know that the Utah resolution, though passing with a depressingly high 66% of the vote – passed by among the LOWEST % of the vote of any state that year. Compare to Mississippi (86%) or Louisiana (79%) or North Dakota (73%). I’m not excusing MOrmons, or Republicans, but I’ve not seen them being defended either.

    As for lookign forward, are there any other lessons from history we should learn? What about Arizona in 2006? It’s true that that was a combined anti-marriage, anti-civil union initiative (and an anti-marriage only version passed this year), but it did fail whereas similar combined initiatives passed. Steve May, a gay Republican, was prominent in that campaign, the only success to date. Why don’t we involve him more? Who are those 10% of people who voted NO in 2006 but YES in 2008? These would seem to be the most likely people to convert.

    (OT – how do you do that @Name thing?)

  • fredo777


    Hit “@Reply” beneath that poster’s name.

    As for the “70% of Blacks being in favor of Prop 8” stat, the reason people are more eager to disprove it is because it seems so far-fetched, considering the numbers of black voters for/against gay marriage bans in recent past votes (MI, etc). Also, they are seemingly being made a convenient scapegoat, with perhaps more blame than is warranted being placed on their footsteps for the passing of Prop 8. As others have already pointed out, when take all of these different factors into account, somethin’ just don’t quite add up. Or, as my friend would say, “that dog don’t hunt”.

  • fredo777

    * when taking all of these…

  • The Gay Numbers


    a) As Blake points out: You completely ignore overlap. This is a Venn Disagram. Religion, race, age. Which characteristic have the most overlap.

    This is why I assume you are just a racist since your go right to race rather analyzing the data to understand what it means.

    b) You also ignore MOE. If Nate’s MOE– which I didn’t know until he posted it here- is right, then that fits with the 58 percent to 60 percent. With the 60 percent being the lower end of the MOE. It’s not a perfect MOE overlap, but it makes sense.

    60 percent is not something I am proud to hear. It’s just a reflection of understanding what’s happening. I wish you would leave your emotional baggage out of this.

    c) Nate’s arguments regarding exit polls predate election day 2008.

    Thus, again, factually, you can keep saying that this is about my getting emotional, but that’s really just a case of projectin on your part since , again factually, these are concerns that were not strictly about CNN’s polling on a subset characteristic in its polling on Prop 8. To be correct, that people are trying to rationalize the results- all this analysis would have happened post the CNN poll. That’s just using basic logical construction as we human use it. Another reason I suspect you are a racist is your inability to admit even the obvious points about what motivates people when logic demonstrates your supposition about motives to be an impossibility.

    d) AZ passed its anti gay ban this time. Your reference to 2006 seems like a misdirectin. As many as 30 states have gay marriage bans. some of them like Oklahoma with little or no minority vote involved. Some of them like Oregon with little or not minority vote involved. It’s not making excuses for minority groups to ask why this is the case. It’s asking what are the underlying characteristics shared by the groups if race is taken out as the variable. If race were the variable, you would not expect the different outcomes. Again, just simple logic.

  • DaveO

    Numbers – Of course there is overlap among demographic groups. But that’s true of all groups. Why are we invoking it as an excuse only when the discussion involves race? As disparate results in places like Oregon and Missippi and Oklahoma show, there are lots of factors, including race, which can help inform where the pro-marriage poeple must make inroads. I point to the Arizona 2006 and 2008 votes as instrumental in identifying a key 10% of the population who seem on board with the civil unions idea but are not yet on board with the marriage idea. These seem like the most “gettable” people next time around.

    I also point to the curious result in Utah in 2004 as the sole example of fewer people voting for a marriage ban than for the republican nominee for president. Who are these people? Are there more people like them?

    I’m just not willing to put our heads in the sand about any information or any result coming out the marriage bans. I applaud efforts to digest exit polls and break down acutal data from actual precincts to better elucidate voting patterns.

  • The Gay Numbers


    a) Actually Dave O the point is to look at demographics to understand outcomes rather than point fingers. You are the one fixated on pointing fingers.

    What Oregon demonstrates is that your point about race is essentially wrong. As does Oklahoma and Utah. The salient point seems to be age and religion. Useful information that race does not provide because it tells us there is a shelf life on this for our rights being denied in the popular vote.

    As I remember, AZ was not a matter of civil unions. It was a matter of convincing a majority that the issue would harm them personally. That straight couples would be harmed.

    This is why rights should never be about popular votes, but instead some other more difficult super majority process like U.S. Constitution requires that involves multiple levels of checks before the majority can take away rights.

    The majority often will not easily give rights to the minority out of simple intertia (hence the age factor) unless the majority is convinced its in their interest (hence the AZ outcome).

    If you look to CA, you can see this with the vote over abortion- which actually failed. Why? Because the majority saw it in its interest.

    b) The organized religion question is separate from persuasion. It’s one of who is funding and organizing anti-gay efforts, and how to address them. It’s the Democrats going after voters who vote Republicans but separately addressing the Republicans as a party.

    c) No one is asking you to put your head in the sand. They are telling that you are logically wrong as to your analysis because it seems ill informed. You overestimate whether your position is correct because you assume ours are not per se wrong.

  • blake



    You just don’t want to listen! Silver explained that the 70% was erroneous! CNN’s exit poll was scientifically inaccurate.

    Get it?

    You’re stuck on race. Again, you are blaming “blacks.” In doing so, you are ignoring that again, not all African-Americans voted for Prop 8. That there are, in fact, gay African-Americans. Right?

    You want to assign blame based on race. The fact that statisticians have proven the error, you, in turn, are using as proof that the original claim is true!

    By doing such, you only prove your bias! You also show that you are just as willing as the homophobic bigots to ignore scientific data.

    Get it? Homophobes ignore science that shows homosexuality is based in biology and stick to their bigoted views in the same manner as you stick to your anti-black views.

    You also continue to ignore that 50% of eligible gay voters were too LAZY to get off their butts to vote. Newsflash: by the numbers there are just as many if not more gay voters than there are African-Americans in California.

    As for blaming Mormons, only an idiot would blame all Mormons. Anger is directed at the Mormon Church because Church leadership spearheaded a campaign against gay marriage as part of long term project to undermine gay civil rights efforts!

    There were Mormons, like football player Steve Young’s wife who were against 8. Right? Blaming all Mormons is bigoted.

    Again, why do you want to ignore scientific evidence provided by a statistician like Nate Silver? The only answer one can infer is that you hold anti-black racist bigotry.

  • DaveO

    I’m not pointing fingers. You seem to be doing just that with your fixation on age and religion. It’s as valid to observe voting patterns by race as it is by age and religion, as it is by sexual orientation, educational background, economic situation, length of time spent in the country, membership in various social clubs etc. etc. ALL these things are valid, and race is no exception.

    The organized religion thing is part and parcel of the equation about persuasion. You yourself say that the African-American vote can be explained by other factors, including their participation in religious life. Well, how are you going to persuade African Americans if you ignore persuading religiuos people? And don’t think attacks on “religious institutions” is not perceived by many people as attacks on religious people. It is, whether you like it or not.

  • JJ

    not necessarily. Especially in the case of an email proposal (which I read to mean “from a complete stranger”). Reason(s) could include:

    She came across as a complete psycho
    I’m in a committed relationship
    I don’t accept marriage proposals from complete strangers
    It was Via EMAIL

    I mean, come ON.

    If he said his GF (or even a good friend) proposed and he had several reason(s), you might have a point.

  • sparkle obama


    Why are we falling all over ourselves trying to excuse the African-American community for their vote on Prop 8. <<

    you trash need to quit.
    you are making the gays look bad.

  • Ashley


    There is a woman who has posted on her blog several…enthusiastic marriage proposals to Nate that she has also evidiently emailed to him. IF this is the woman he’s refering to-its number one times like a thousand.

  • The Gay Numbers


    By first realizing its not about their race. It’s about understanding how to reach them on faith. For example, it’s not enough to bring say a black person into the mix. You need to bring black people of faith who can reach out to them on the terms fo their faith.

    There were black religious groups who were against Prop 8 based on religious grounds. I will bet you didn’t know that.

    Why? Because No on 8 failed to reach out to them. Instead, they assumed blacks were not reachable.

    The religioous argument for No on 8 as the black religious leaders stated was “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar.”

    I know from personal experience of having talked about the marriage issue to people of color who are evangelicals. It can work. it takes time and persuation.

    Rather than assuming black, I looked at their faith and formulated my message accordingly. African Americ typically (not sure about CA) do not come from organized faiths like Mormonism.

    The way to reach them therefore will be different regarding faith. The same is true of all the religious groups. Each has to be looked at in turn.

    Look, we can all agree it shouldn’t be a matter of faith in a free society,b ut that is naive. Faith is a part of this discussion anyway. So is age. Race is only a vocal point in who we choose as spokes people. This is why I thought Dan Savage was a horrible choice. When coming up against the two preachers recently on Larry King- I kept thinking- there are a lot of black preachers who would have argued agaisnt the Pro 8 black preacher. Why didn’t they call on any of them? For example- check out the Good Book by Rev. Gomes.

    The problem with race as the focal is that it misses what motivates people in favor of a dynamic that is central to most of American thinking- that all can explained by race. this is why even the mortgage crisis was used as an excuse by some conservatives to blame blacks. Race here is more of a factor of how you communicate. not whether you willl suceed at persuading. Thus Nate’s point about GOTV in a close race

    You again misconscrue what has been said by several people. Well, those people who know what the hell they are doing. the suggestion is not to ignore religious people. it’s to realize how to go after the organizers of prop 8 but also separate the list of who is persuadable. Again the Republicans versus voters analogy. A practical example would be a place like Indianna where no Democrat thought we could ever win because no one went aftere the voters there. By th esame token going after the voters there was in part about going after the GOP. The GOP like the Mormon Church is the organizational part. Even the boycott and going after the money is about the organizational power. Not about hating Mormons. Although soe probably do. It’s bout the money sources. Get it?

  • Cindy McCain

    @blake: Talk about not wanting to listen:

    …you had disproved the “70% of black people voted against Prop. 8” meme. Is that what you said?

    Nate Silver: That’s not exactly what I said.

    In other words, he said all the new black voters drawn by Obama’s candidacy were not the reason Prop. 8 won. That’s not the same as saying seven out of ten black voters didn’t vote to deny marriage rights to gays and lesbians.

  • The Gay Numbers


    if I were head of anything- which i am not because I’ve got my own business to run , I would have a) used black preacher surrogates in commercials b) used religious surrogates in other faiths as well and c) had those ads and GOTV in those communities night and day rather than in the givens like the westside of LA or as was the case running ads on Bravo. I would have focused my efforts on Christian radio, neighbor to neighbor forums in red parts of CA, etc. The point of doing this is to reach the persuadables who may lean one way, but could have been reached. We are talking a 5 percent difference. This was simply a failure of gay leadership along with the apathy of gay voters who didn’t bother to show up. Paul Wellstone I believe said that victory goes to those who show up. We didn’t. So we lost. By the same token, Obama has taught us that if we show up- we can win battles that were previously thought impossible to win. The point is not to win everyone, but to so significantly reduce their numbers, but also increase ours in our strong holds that we win by the margins. That’s how Obama won in IN and VA. Get it?

  • donsnyc

    He is not gay at all. We would be giving Nate Silver a disservice if we, in the gay community would start putting out a false rumor that he is gay. He is a nerdy straight guy, and reasonably attractive who is comfortable with his sexuality and is not at all intimidated by gay men. And he is open minded and supportive of our community. Thank you Nate!

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Cindy McCain:

    a) I always love when people parse a statement that says much more than what they parse it to mean. The rest of his statement accurately reflects his point- that it was more about age.

    b) His point about the 70 percent was addressed in his discussion of MOE (margin of error), which he guestimates was probably 10 points.

    All of what I just wrote is in the post above. You aren’t on Fox News. You can’t just spin what people write and say to create your own version of reality. You can. but people are going to call y ou on it.

  • Joe Moag

    @The Gay Numbers: EXACTLY!!! I wrote a post about this a week or so ago on http://flamingpolitics.com/2008/11/12/prop-8-who-were-the-clowns-in-charge-of-this-campaign/

    The AA vote was as foreseeable as the sun rising in the morning. The abject failure of those running the No campaign to address this by mobilizing early and on the ground is why we have the outcome that we have.

    Before people blame long-term and grossly obvious voting behaviors of different groups (and ignore the fact that, unlike Obama, nothing was done to try and mitigate those behaviors), they should take a long look at their own sorry campaign, which seems to me to have been comprised of shitty ads, celebrity ass-kissing and one fundraiser after another.

  • Mister C

    Hey DaveO,

    Reading all of your comments it’s obvious you did’nt follow this from Day 1 after the election. When it was announced Prop 8 passed in California Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan were all over their blogs blaming African Americans and even here on Queerty they did the same thing and the comments were in 100’s as where some folks agreed.

    It was reported at some marches that racial epithets were screamed at African Americans who were marching in protest that Prop 8 passed and wanted it defeated.

    So since you’re one who is still on “BLAME IT ON THE BLACKS” bus. Read this aticle here from a Black LGBT Activist and Author.


    You need a real wake up call. You don’t in protest castigate a certain group of people and let the others off the hook!

    We as a community has to accept DIVERSITY as well!

  • Joe Moag

    Just so that I am clear in my above comment, when I say “and that is the reason we have the outcome that we have”, I am referring to the fact that the Vote No crowd could have – and did not – mitigate the AA pro-Yes vote. That’s the outcome I am referring to, not the overall outcome of the Referendum which, as Nate points out, would have been the same if the AA vote turned a different way.

    Just want to be sure that my words are not incorrectly parsed by DaveO here…

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Joe Moag:

    No on 8 ran a top down Kerryesque campaign against Yes on 8. No decentralized bottom up command structure at all. They controlled even the callers to leave out certain words or stories. They ignored the gay black activist in California. They didn’t go to black clergy until weeks before the election. As one person as the Nation wrote- the Yes on 8 had been out in those communities for weeks if not months.

    No on 8 focused on running up the numbers in strong support enclaves, and hoped to eck out a victory. In 2004, Kerry did much of the same. All his strategies, like McCain’s this year, required a perfect storm. (OT: As it was, Kerry still barely lose. As it is, McCain’s lose for the GOP was more devastating.)

    Going back to No on 8, they wanted to win big in the coastal areas that supported gay rights as a general abstraction, but paid no attention to anyone or anything else.

    For that strategy to work, they needed to have pushed the gay voter voter registration drive heavily. This was doomed to fail because to do that they needed to have started the minute In Re Marriage was decided. It takes months, if not years, to build the base they needed to win and the infrastructure.

    By contrast, obama started early, built the infrastructure. He actually had in some case more offices in the red areas as I remember was reported by Nate site about the number of offices of the McCain and Obama. A lot of that while the message was centralized, alowed a lot of neighbor to neighbor efforts. Issue campaigning is not the same as candidate campaigning, but there is a lot we can learn from the nationalizing of community organizing by Obama.

    The strategy focuses on reducing the loses in red areas, while running up the numbers with your base. You have as your central message to defeat 8, but then you let the various groups- gay, Latino, Asian, christian, etc, do it according to its own decentralized approach that fits the way a message needs to be sent to the individualized community rather than centrally controling it through ads.

    The goal here is to take out the abstraction. to make it a friend telling you to support gay rights rather than someone you don’t know. To get you to see real world examples of what it means- ie, I would have had real gay couples sitting around talking about their real problems that they face. I would have given the horror stories of what happens. Not abstract ideas about equality, but real world harshships of what happens when we don’t have those rights. I would choose spokes people from a lot of different backgrounds to act as surrogates for the message. Ex-Mormons to talk to the mormons or even practiccing ones. Evangelicals. Blacks. Etc.

    This is how Obama’s strategy worked. Its’ how No on 8 failed. They actually out raised Yes on 8. Money wasn’thte problem. Poor leadership was th eproblem.

    As I said, I am just a guy building my business so I had time to actually follow this substantively. I could see before hand that we were going to fail because these strategies aren’t new. We know which ones work (Obama’s centralized community organizing) and which ones do not (centralized control that ignores segments and populations that are not already the choire).

    Here’s one optimistic point: despite this we barely lost. The question is what lesson to take from this. I think the race issue is a distraction put out there by those trying to justify their own failures. Its an easy CW that people believed already before hand and rather than realing it was a self fullfilling prophesy. Just like states like IN and NC used to be “no way we can win there” by Democrats.

    If the gay movement wants to win- it has to start doing what the black civil rights movment had to do. Go there. Go places people tell you shouldn’t go. Push.

  • donsnyc

    And I also believe that the No campaign was outorganized by the Yes campaign. Watching from outside looking in (me being on the East Coast), I did notice the somewhat disorganized No campaign compared to the other side.

  • Joe Moag

    @The Gay Numbers: BINGO again, Gay Numbers!

  • donsnyc

    I meant to use the word “Outorganized” and not “disorganized”.

  • DaveO

    @The Gay Numbers: But you are going through mental gymnastics to try to convince yourself that it is about anything and everythign EXCEPT race. The gay rights movement has coopted much of the rhetoric of the Civil Rights movement which sought to end racial discrimination; civil unions are “separate but equal”, a modern day “Jim Crow”, and that gays are “sitting at the back of the bus”. Do you not think that these arguments might, JUST MIGHT, be perceived differently based on race? Which is not to say that the analogies are invalid. But that’s from my perspective. Is there no truth to the claims that such analogies are PARTICULARLY irksome within the African-American community?

    I am not saying that race is the only factor. I am only saying that it is A factor. One of many. We should accept that and move on.

  • Black Dyke

    @The Gay Numbers:

    b) His point about the 70 percent was addressed in his discussion of MOE (margin of error), which he guestimates was probably 10 points.

    So voting against gays 60-40 is ok since it isn’t “really” 70-30?

  • Joe Moag

    @DaveO: OK, DaveO. Race. So, it’s not how economics or religion or class or caste are played out in different communities in America (such as AA communities) that, like a Venn diagram, intersect with race. It’s race. So, tell us: is it the skin pigment? The level of melatonin? The hair? Just what part of race – and only race – are you interested in addressing?

  • Trig Palin

    @Black Dyke:

    It could be “really” 80-20 if the margin of error went in the other direction.

  • anonymous

    Just what part of race – and only race – are you interested in addressing?

    I am not saying that race is the only factor. I am only saying that it is A factor. One of many.

    Who’s not listening again?

  • Joe Moag

    @anonymous: You just don’t get it. If you want to exclude the relevance of how socioeconomic factors play out in the AA community and, as a result, lead that community, in this instance, to vote like other socioeconomically similar communities, and say, after all of that, race – RACE – is still a singular issue in and of itself, then you are saying that the biological components of race are involved. AGAIN: Just what biological aspects of race would you have us look at?

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Black Dyke:

    It’s a bad number. But so is almost 50 percent of whites and 50 percent of Latinos who voted yes. The question is why the numbers. I leave it to the rest of you with your Ivan Trump l evel of baggage to assign blame. I am trying to figure out what information is salient to achieving the goal of giving my friends to the marry and live their lives as they see fit.

    It’s better to know also from where these numbers derive than not. It’s not about your baggage or mine for that matter. It’s about figuring out strategies for how we can win. Faulty numbers and faulty understanding of numbers leads to bad strategies and bad policies.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @DaveO: No Dave, I am doing what people who want to find solutions do. Trying to figure out what the numbers mean.

    You continously assign your baggage to me and others. That’s why the conversaton with you is a waste of time. I don’t have your issue with knowing that blacks by 60/40 supported stripping away gay rights.

    The difference lies in my ability to discern whether there being black was the cause or just coincidental. I can say that a persons religion is a direct cause, but race? I think just intellectual your approach doesn’t pass the logic test. Again Dave Venn Diagramm level of analysis. Not rock science here.

    Basic logic: If blacks are the cause, then explain in Venn Diagram those situations in which race was taken out as a factor (a la Oregon and Oklahoma)?

    What do voters in those states have in common? If it’s not race, then what? Again simple logic.

    I am really begining to question after 50 some odd posts by both me and others whether you understand basic statistical analysis to have this conversation. The issue is a causation question.

    Whether race caused blacks to vote by 60 percent or religion? See the point now? I am trying to get beyond blame to understanding and analyzing the numbers like Nate had done with age (ie, that older voters are going to tend to be more set in their ways is not only true of politics, but older people in geneal. Ask any marketer trying to sell a product why they go after certain demographics, but not others). Again, simple logic here.

    Your refusal to even accept basic logic is why I think you are racists. I am not asking you to not have a problem with 60 percent of blacks voted as they did. I m saying let’s understand hte numbers so we can know how we can reach them.

    Again, my example that a non religious black person would not reach these voters like say a religious black person would. I wouldn’t be the best spokesperson for example, because I am not Christian. I beleive in God. Just not sure of the christian doctrine.

    If you still don’t get it.I give up.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Joe Moag: Thank you. Which is why marketers go after different demographics with diffrent approaches, and why a top down campaign that avoids grass roots action was doomed to fail. You have to target your message to each audience. Not one form of message fits all. And if you ignore it, then don’t be surprised witht he result.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Trig Palin:80/20 is possible , but unlikely given the separate Exit Poll done for LA County that showed it in black communities passing 60/40. Also unlikely given the previous exit polls in states like MI showing 55/45 split (as I remember). Also unlikely because the SUSA polls prior showed a split of 58/40 (with some undecideds). Also another poll showing a 45/45 split with 10 undecided.

  • DaveO

    @Joe Moag: Now we’re getting somewhere. I postulated one theory in my previous comment. Does it have legitimacy? I don’t know. But at least I’ll admit that I don’t know.

  • DaveO

    @The Gay Numbers: I you’re still saying that I ever suggested that blacks are “the cause” then I give up. I’m simply asking that we accept the reality that the African-American community voted overwhelmingly aganist gay rights, and stop making excuses for it.

  • Joe Moag

    @DaveO: Well, DaveO, unless you have been living under a rock for the past 40 years, I think that “postulating a theory” (as if that was what you did – please!) that race – and race, in and of itself – has some bearing on how human beings vote, is a rancid position to take. Unless you care to share with us your findings in this area…

  • The Gay Numbers

    @DaveO: I think you should give Dave. I am a logical guy. I am going to analysis and try to understand things versus come to simple solutions that tell me nothing about how to change things. Your anlaysis tells us nothing useful. Minds does.

  • DaveO

    @Joe Moag: As I asked previously, and which you’ve chosen to ignore: the gay rights movement uses a lot of the rhetoric of the Civil Rights movement – “separate but equal”, “back of the bus”, “Jim Crow”, yada yada. You think it is not possible that an African-American person hearing these arguemtns is going to respond differently than a white person? I honestly don’t know. But I DO know is that the gays have a problem in the African American community, and it’s possible that our own rhetoric is a contributing factor. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not, but we can’t just wish the problem didn’t exist.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Joe Moag: Don’t you like the gentle civilized nature of Dave’s racism?

    Ironically he shares a lot in common with the civilized homophobe. You know- the kind who will say “I have nothing against gays, but I don’t like when you flaunt it as a response to them denying our rights.” I imagine in Dave’s racist mind he thinks I am saying “those blacks have no homophobia.” Or the one I love is where now people will say “you shouldn’t boycott because its not the right thing to do.” If you ask them should black people have boycotted, they will argue that’s different. You can try in vain to point out the only difference is how they view sexual orientation over race.

    In Dave’s mind- when I try to analysis the elements that seem more relevant to sexual orientation issues like religion, he gets confused because he thinks this means I am ignoring race. That’s the racist’s mind.

    When Nate says it seems age is a bigger factor for how blacks voted, t hat’s excusing race rather than understand generational trends.

    We are “excusing” homophobia that occurs in the black community rather than understanding from where he comes. Very different outlooks and points of views. His is motivated by bias, mine by thinking of where we can target solutions. This con versation has reminded me of that.

  • Brigham Young

    Where were these elderly and religious precincts that skewed the results located?

  • Black Dyke

    I feel that the scapegoating came about for a simple reason: there is a (liberal) myth that oppression ennobles people, and imbues one with wisdom. That simply isn’t true, and that fact never fails to disappoint me. The Balkanization effect of identity politics makes people not see the forest for the trees. Over the years, I have overheard relatives who were a veritable treasure trove of Civil Rights era history express homophobic and Anti-Semitic sentiments without the slightest trace of irony.

  • Mambo

    Just what biological aspects of race would you have us look at?

    How about the same ones you would use to target your message to each audience, since not one form of message fits all. And if you ignore it, then don’t be surprised with the result.

  • NerdLuver

    538.com was my favorite new site of 2008 BY FAR. Everyone I turned on to it became addicted to it immediately. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

    Nate is a stud.

  • Mister C

    Well Black Dyke since you and DaveO are still fixated on Blacks and how they reacted to Prop 8…Then why are you all so FUCKING QUIET when it comes to Asians and Hispanics?

    Is it because they’re not confrontational and more submissive when some Gay whites make inappropriate comments towards them?

    Or is it because they are the minority of choice for Gay Whites when they go outside of their race so they get a PASS card.

    Just a scenario of questions……why?

    Because all this shit that you and DaveO are saying is simply LUDICROUS. I mean are you not telling me that WHITE HETEROSEXUALS are not HOMOPHOBIC as well as ASIANS AND LATINO who gives a FUCK about percentages? If one of each group is HOMOPHOBIC. That is TOO MANY!

    And as far as you hearing relatives saying such things……SO WHAT are Blacks suppose to be grateful in all things and not have an opinion? Its called CIVIL RIGHTS…. However it was always their right now I’m not agreeing with anything you heard your relatives say because BIGOTRY is wrong from whoever uses it!

    And that also means our beloved Gay community as well. Maybe DaveO can explain why sometimes Blacks are treated funny at predominately white bars. I have never seen GLAAD, or HRC or any of those groups tackle racism in the Gay community. They just sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happens.

    But we know better than that!

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Mister C: In fairness, in the last year or so I have seen HRC finally start to make efforts. its been decades in coming, but its started. For example, HRC came out forcefully with regard to the Jenna Six. You are right generally, and i can tell you some horror stories from other gay organizations I’ve dealt with as well as some out and out racist shit (I had one white friend throw these guys out of his party because they hated on all the blacks at his party and because he did not know that bout them until I and a few other black folk attended , etc), but to claim nothing has changed isn’t accurate. There are overtures that they rae starting to get it, which is part of the reason I think you see so much effort to keep the two communities separate. like Patti LaBelle said we have a lot in common despite our differences. The dividers in both communities never want us to see that. They are threatened by it.

  • Mister C

    @ The Gay Numbers, You’re right I must admit some progress (very little though)has occurred.
    But some of these queens are young and have inherited such feelings. I’m 42 and born and raised in NYC. And I have seen it from The Good, The bad and The ugly our community is not what it appears to look like from the heterosexual world.

    RACISM in our community is so OUT THERE.
    And we as a GAY people do nothing about it. Assmilation is one thing. However educating and understanding each is another. YES the Civil Rights movement was all about DEMANDING our fair share. And maybe The Gay Community on a whole scale should do the same. But all of this “Gay Is the New Black” and Being Black is just like being Gay”…SINCE WHEN?

    Like someone said in another post. It’s a known fact that whites can cover up their homosexuality when applying for a job and may only need to be 80% on point to get the position. How about me I can’t cover up my skin color. Once I walk in that room that is one of the first factors (subliminally) that is noticed and on top of that I have to be 110% on point…or else!!!! it’s CURTAINS!

    So if Gay is the New Black…then what in God’s name will be Black Folks????

    And also I do understand that HRC sent a Black representative to Jena to cover the march. I’m not sure if they really partnered with other civil rights groups.

    But The Gay Numbers don’t you think it’s time a forum is called all over the country with Gays Lesbians with regards to race to at least get the ball running?

    It needs to star from somewhere. And after all of this from Prop 8 no better time than now.

  • DaveO

    @Mister C: This post is titled “Nate Silver on African-Americans, etc. etc.” It’s purpose is to minimize the contribution that the African-American community had in passing Prop. 8. I have yet to see a post minimizing the impact of the Asian-American community; minimzing the impact of the Hispanic voters; minimizing the impact of Mormons; minimizing the impact of people of other religious faith; minimizing the impact of Republicans; minimizing the impact of pro-life voters; minimzing the impact of members of the National Rife Association; minimizing the impact of voters over the age of 50. When I see one, I will be glad to denounce their apologists as well.

  • kevin57

    For what it’s worth, DaveO, I think I understand what you’re trying to say, and believe it’s worth saying…and attending to. I do think a transcending critique, though, that all sides can agree on is that the “No” folks could have and should have mobilized greater efforts among the AA community (and perhaps other groups). By not doing so, they’ve left the AA community open to this criticism.

  • Mister C

    For the record @DaveO

    He’s (Nate Silver)only addressing it in reference to the AA community because of the outrage that happened AFTER Prop 8 was passed and Gay Bloggers decided to BLAME THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY instead of their poor planning on how to defeat it.

    So all youre doing is piggy backing what everyone else said prior by using my community and race as the whipping boy excuse for the passing of this proposition.

    Like I said since you want to critize us read the link I left you before.

    Once again you are failing to understand because of your racial ignorance and YES I said RACIAL IGNORANCE. And you don’t see a post on here in reference to Asian Americans and Latino Americans because the ones who promote our PRIVILEDGE WHITE GAY COMMUNITY rather not include them. They rather run after a community that they THINK they can put blame on. But they’re about to find out it won’t be so easy and it’s going to stop.

    Blame us all you want keep that racial shit mentality between you and your friends who choose to feel that way. Just like you’re inclined to blames BLACKS as a whole which is STUPID because they are BLACKS who are Gay and who voted to defeat Prop 8.

    BTW,If you’re not BLACK you do not know SHIT about our race so stop with your rhertoic please. Don’t like us but trying to plan theories..PLEASE!

    Some blacks as well as whites, and Latinos and Asians felt it was neccessary to pass this prop bill. So what about whites who voted for it?……QUESTION THEM!

    Or do you understand why they voted for it?

  • Joe Moag

    @DaveO: The majority of people that voted for Prop 8 were white, so let’s hear what you have to say about WHITE people.

    Come on, DaveO. Let’s go…

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Mister C:

    Please excuse this long post, but I think it’s critical to say what I am about to say. I hope you read it.

    HRC is finall trying. I am not going to look down on them because of failures of the past. If things are going to change, we can not hold hold onto our baggage. Where No on 8 failed was that it failed to engage various communities, not just black. But, this failure is long term. Not sure. Thus, its one that even now needs to be corrected for 2010.

    Their failure with the the black community is symptomatic of a greater problem that has plagued gay rights activists for several decades: The inability to build coalitions.

    It is easy to sit back and blame faith, etc, but that’s really just a lie too. The reality is that we do not push for religious allies in the communities to speak, and when these fight come up as they did with Prop 8, we don’t have those resources upon which to draw in a coordinated way. Instead, like on Larry King, we are pit as gays against religion. Rather than those who support gay rights (including the religious) versus those who do not believe in equality.

    I am not saying that we don’t have religious allies. I am saying we are not engaging them to address their religious brothers and sisters. That’s hurting gay rights.

    A lot of this is just orthodoxy. Gay rights people who fought before think theirs is the only way to fight. Religion is per se against us. Black folks are per se against us. The numbers ay so. Therefore the numbers are true and immutable. This is why I like Soulforce- they understand innovation.

    Dave’s posts are about stagnation. Not transformation. So are black dyke’s comments. They are about being hurt. Not about healing.

    Separately, you are right about one important factor. White privilege is a big issue here. This explains a lot of the reaction to — “but if they just accept that I am gay then there wouldn’t be any problems. ” So, the emotional need overtakes the rights issue.

    What many are seemingly saying is that they don’t get that this struglge is the nature of all minority groups. These struggles, even between two different minorities, always come up.

    Gays aren’t unique here. We say we are like other civil rights struggle. That’s true. But guess what- those struggles were hard and took a long time. 40 years is nothing.

    There is nothing that says one minority must understand another. Especially, when that minority in the characteristic being discussed- is in fact the majority. Ie, we are discussing black straights rather than black gays.

    This has been historical fact for a very long time regardless of the two groups involved. What people are really saying is that becuase one is black you are suppose to not be like every other minority group.

    The privilege explains the racist you see in the white part of the gay community. They secretly want to be like their straight white counterparts, and think they wold be, but-for the gay issue. So it’s not about being the minority. Or having solidarity in that status. It’s about returning to the majority. The goal is to return to the majority without us pesky gays of color to remind them that they really aren’t the majority. So, they want to ignore us. Thus, when blacks do not fall over themselves in their support- it seems to me that its really about “how dare you “the black person” not do what I ‘the white person’ want.” I would be less likely to believe that if the white gay community reached out to black folk.

    I would wage this feeling is felt a lot by many of my black gay friends. They feel that really the white gays to whom you are referring when all else fails still prioritize their race over their sexual orientation. That despite all this claim of unity what they really mean is “so long as it helps just us” and not “it lifts us all, gay or straight, black or white, up.” It means just “gay white.”

    This dynamic is what bothers me about the No on 8. It wasn’t just that they didn’t reach out. It was what that failure to reach out not only blacks, but religous people etc said about their views of anyone who was “other.”

    The irony is that while they were asking for others to see them as acceptable, they did not in return practice what they preached. How can you fight for rights while implicitly endorsing such darkness?

    I don’t mean accepting the homophobia. I mean- why didn’t we even bother to try?

    This is the question that continues to bother me. I would be more concerned by the numbers if I felt No on 8 had tried. It does not excuse the numbers. But it does make sense in a human kind of way that if one side engages the voter, but the other side ignores it, then the side that engages will win.

    That No on 8 didn’t try seems to be more about entrenched belief on both sides, not just one. Without this effort to change hearts and minds because No on 8 we decided it wouldn’t matter- what No on 8 proved is that our hearts and minds are equally closed.

    I believe that much of that inablity to try stems in part for the white privilege you mention. That- why should we have to try when its our right, and you should just do it because…? Why? Because it’s our right. The privilge is that they believe we don’t have to work for it.

    I think by the way it is fine to talk to the black community, but not as blame. Which is why folks like Dan Savage are not good spokes people, but as a chance to persuade.

    The privilege comes into play when they , the gay whites, feel there is no need to persuade.

    My first thought is to look at the other end- as a black guy- not just a gay one. I want to say ‘hey, wait a minute, it took centuries and decades of persausion for blacks to obtain equal status in this society” Why exactly- what part of you- believes it would be any easier for us gays?

    The only thing I can think of is that its that white privilege part that does not understand the struggle. That as a minority in a society you must always be the odd man out. Not because you want to be, but because its simple truth.

    That odd man out does not mean that you must feel this way socially or morally or personally. it just means politically this is just the reality. You must work for your political power more than the majority does. You must argue for your rights more forcefully than the majority does. You must organize for your rights more than the majority does.

    Nate said the most important of his interview when he said No on 8 was outorganized. No struggle for civil rights will end well where the minority is out organized by the majority.

    These are not things that are subject to debate. This is just historical fact. Only some sense of privilege would make you think otherwise. That you don’t have to work for it? Please. “Life is working for it twice as hard if you are black” is what my mother used to tell me growing up. I think some of the white gays needed to have heard that growing up to get the point- nothing we want is going to come easy.

    That’s how I feel the situation is as we see it in too much of the gay white community. They did not experience being in the minority until they accepted their gay identity. We , as gay black folk, knew it from child hood. We have this separate voice that tells us the struggle is never easy. They do not. That’s the privilege in a nutshell.

  • The Gay Numbers

    There is also, by the way, a practical reason for why the gay community must start to reach out to communities of color: Demographic shifts show that the share of the white voting population is decreasing and the share of the communities of color are increasing. You will be forced to reach them later if you don’ bother to reach them now.

  • Mister C

    @The Gay Numbers

    You’re so right. But you know something friend. My partner who is by the way Caucasian all the time says to me “Why do you read those blogs”? I tell him because I like to engage in deep conversation, which at times gets very emotional and heated. But at least it does provide responses.

    And after the election I was reluctant to question him about his thoughts on Prop 8. But I did and he didn’t understand why the Gay community was seemingly blaming African Americans. He said the No on 8 was a “Johnny come lately” attempt to defeat it. Once it had enough signatures to go on the ballot they should have been out campaigning. And if they did it would have not passed.

    Also to the fact that 1,000,000.00 gays in the state of California didn’t even bother to vote at all. Sad but embarrassingly true!

    But that won’t be breaking news. Who wants to be embarrassed!

  • Michelle Obama

    @The Gay Numbers:

    Why is it always the gay’s job to reach out to communities of color? I never see the reverse.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Mister C: Have nothing to add other than I agree with your partner. I believe this pointing fingers at others is for the purpose of avoiding looking in the mirror. This is why I can not trust this is a “new movement” for gay rights. There is no introspection or growing awareness of our own culpability.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @Michelle Obama: We are the one’s asking them for help with our struggle. So, you do the math. Your question in the context of asking for a handout goes from being about rights to privilege because it sounds like you are saying they should give it without us making a concerted effort to ask. In the real world, humans don’t do that. If you don’t work for it, people aren’t going to give it to you.

    Look, in the real world, minorities should not have to ask majorities for their rights. That’s what we have constitutions to address.

    But, since so many have bought into the conservative mindset that we live in a mobocracy now, I am discussing the reality of what that conservative mindset means.

    It means you got to go out there and ask for it. Welcome to the conservative reality. You are just lucky we are beyond the world that the founders were in when it was even worst than this with regard to asking the majority for rights. We don’t have land to move to just to get away from our opressors.

    No one is going to hand it to you because you sit around pouting “they should give it to me. why should I have to ask? How dare they not give it to me. damn it.”

    In the real world, that’s called being a diva. Only in gayland is it somehow suppose to happen by you sprinkling magical dust on it and bitching to the choir.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    This sounds like an Agatha Christie murder mystery. 87 comments about “Who dunnit?”

    Proposition 8 = Unconstitutional!

    Why isn’t anyone checking out that clue?

  • Roland Basque

    I think it’s really cool to be anti-gay.I mean what does “gay” entail?Is it about a beligerent whining bunch of over-demanding heterophobes trying to advance their own intolerant and narcissistic agenda?Everyone I know enjoys mimicking and making sport of the self absorbed nebbish twits who consider themselves candidates for veneration just because they are so called gay.Nobody really likes queers they just consider them material for great comedy.Proposal 8 won by a majority vote.

  • Liberace

    I mean what does “gay” entail?

    Fucking you up the ass.

  • Rob

    My name is Rob Smith. I run a video blog over on AfterElton.com called The Mocha Lounge that deals with gay men of color. I dealt with the prop 8. issue on our last episode and actually spoke with a gay black pastor in NYC because I still find it so odd that we are not hearing the voices of gay people of color in this whole argument. The very nature of the argument and the exclusion of these voices reinforces the incorrect idea that black = straight and gay = white. You can check out the interview and discussion at my link. I think it will definitely open your eyes a bit about religion and homophobia, and the roots of the homophobia in the straight black community. Also, I think the mainstream gay community has a race problem that needs to be dealt with, and that no real progress will be made until real steps are made towards fixing it.

  • Joe Moag

    @Rob: Thanks for the info – and thanks for the effort. I am going to check it out.


  • Chris

    Nate IS gay, but he’s quite private about it. Everyone who knows him knows the situation. He lives with another guy, in fact.

  • Robin

    @Chris: How do you know that Chris? Do you know him personally? I read the guy who lives with him is just a roomate…

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