Wednesday, March 28, 2012

'What NOM implied about white gay men and black babies' and other ways it played divide and conquer game

Jennifer Morse of NOM's Ruth Institute
Since the news has come out regarding the National Organization for Marriage's plan to drive a wedge between the black and gay community on the subject of marriage equality, NOM leaders have called the controversy an overhyped assessment of its partnership formed with black leaders who oppose marriage equality.

However, two items posted online caught my eye because I think they contradict that claim. These items show that NOM went out of its way to create hostile situations, or at least an air of hostility between the black and the gay communities.

The first item comes from Equality Matters. The site has written a very detailed post, Looking Back: NOM’s Top Five Race Baiting Moments Of 2011, which gives an in-depth description of five times NOM attempted to drive a wedge between blacks and gays.

One moment really caught my eye because there were no black leaders involved. Jennifer Morse of NOM's Ruth Institute implied that white gay men were taking black children away from their families in order to adopt them:

2. “I Wonder What The African-American Community Thinks.” In November, NOM’s Morse criticized a banner ad campaign in California encouraging gay couples to adopt children during National Adoption Month:
And look at the children in these posters.  I wonder what the African-American community thinks about recruiting gay men to become foster parents for the children of their community who have been taken from their parents.  Do the African-American pastors have any thoughts and opinions about this? I imagine they do. But I will let them speak for themselves. [emphasis added]

At the time, folks like myself criticized Morse not only for her ugly words but also for her blatant race-baiting.

But even more eyebrow raising than Morse's statements are internal emails released by former NOM employee Louis J. Marinelli. Marinelli worked for the organization in various capacities before he resigned after becoming an advocate of marriage equality. Marinelli's position changed after conversations with those who support marriage equality.

According to Think Progress, the emails not only show NOM's emphasis on highlighting African-Americans who oppose marriage equality, but also exploiting situations pitting white supporters of marriage equality against African-Americans who did not support marriage equality.

One email with NOM project leader Joe Grisanti confirms this:

In two other emails, project leader Joe Giganti confirms that he has collected photos that portray a group of black NOM protesters clashing with white LGBT counter-protesters:
GIGANTI: I’ve been reviewing these shots this morning. From this first email, there are several good shots that demonstrate a majority Black American crowd.
GIGANTI: This is a great contrast shot of our people all happy and smiling (majority black, only one non-black in picture) versus the angry counter-protesters… Keep this one close for future use—maybe a dynamic picture point that rotates between positive, happy shots of our people versus our angry foes?

Nasty stuff.

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Anonymous said...

Got to love Dr. Morse. Don't forget this tidbit:

Erica Cook said...

The choice to take this stance has done fare worse things than even what they've done on the face of it. My mom, a woman with racial issues in her own right, was in a situation where she was seeing black people pitting against her now 3 times discriminated against daughter. Both my sister and I are of mixed heritage, all be it religious not skin tone. I am learning disabled and I'm a lesbian.

For her to hear people say my rights don't count again because it wasn't about race tipped the scaled for her. I won't call her a full on racist, but it has made her very embittered. I've always known my rights came because of the precedence set by the civil rights movement. As a white person I took that fact very serously. I can only think how betrayed you must feel.