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05/15/2012

The increasingly obvious danger in mag-bombing black barbershops

by Jeremy Hooper

I know Matt Barber thinks he is being strategic when he fosters memes like this...

Screen Shot 2012-05-15 At 8.25.36 Am

…but I can't help but think of how dangerous it is, the deliberate cultivation of racial division. And how dumb it is, too.

Since around Prop 8, the social conservatives—led in no small part by the "wedge-driving" NOM—have seized on the idea that the Black community is (a) a monolithic block opposed to marriage equality, and (b) their key to either banning or repeal marriage equality in our states. When it comes to this, it's one thing to look at polling and then attempt to reach out to certain communities—every political candidate and group does that. But that's not what we're seeing from the anti-LGBT conservatives. There is this truly insidious mindset in play, where anti-equality "culture warriors" act as if African-Americans are some sort of secret weapon that those who work to deny marriage rights can use as needed. It goes beyond forming connections or building alliances. It's much more cynical than that.

Which takes us back to Matt Barber's tweet. Picture white, heterosexual conservatives packing up the car with stacks and stacks of Newsweek magazines, mapping out this nation's most popular "black barbershops," and barging in each of these establishments' doors for the expressed purpose of turning the patrons against our country's first African-American president. Does that image not trouble you as much as it does me? I mean when you really think about it—isn't just a bit ugly?

I say this tactic is not only dangerous, but also dumb, because I truly believe that it's the kind of thing that is starting to catch up with the increasingly careless "values" conservatives. That's kind of how this whole pitting Americans against each other thing typically goes. For a bit of time, a lot of good people go along to get along, not seeing the strings that are being pulled, fully realizing the reason for the manipulation, or understanding the deeper implications attached to the same. But when we step back and take a longer view, things have a way of crystalizing. When we understand the deliberate attempts to tear our national fabric, the American people tend to move towards repair, not greater holes.

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