The Supreme Court will decide the fate over millions
***Update*** The Supreme Court just ruled in favor of corporations..5-4.. You won’t be able to sue over racial and sexual harassment..
Today the Supreme Court will likely hand down a decision to determine the fate of gay marriage.. Later this week they will also hand down decisions on affirmative action.. Both are important cases and will keep everyone talking… There are a few other cases we should be aware of that will have even more far-reaching impact..
The first case was already ruled on, last week where the SCOTUS made it very difficult to bring a class action lawsuit.. The case they ruled on involved small merchants banning together to stop the tyranny imposed upon them by credit card companies. In this case it was American Express. If there’s an issue each small merchant must handle it through arbitration…There is no way to deal with a problem that may be systemic..This is important and I hope folks take heed, because this sets precedent for what has been an effective weapon to push back on corporate over reach..
The other case they will decide upon will make it harder for employees to sue on the basis of racial and sexual harassment.. What the US Chamber of commerce and others are pushing for is for a redefinition of what it means to be a ‘supervisor’… They want it to specifically to mean someone who can hire and fire.. So if you are on a job and have a co-worker who is ‘supervising’ you and causing you grief, it will be hard to bring a lawsuit for a ‘hostile’ work environment.. Workplaces are already difficult to deal with, this will now make it shear hell. An article in today’s Think Progress breaks it down like this:
The law provides very robust protections to employees who are harassed by their supervisors, but it is drastically more difficult for an employee to win a racial or sexual harassment lawsuit if they have only been harassed by coworkers. In the later case the worker must show that their employer has “been negligent either in discovering or remedying the harassment.” For this reason, it matters a great deal who qualifies as a “supervisor” for purposes of sexual harassment law. If the word is defined too narrowly, it could encompass employees who have the power to intimidate their victims into keeping their harassment secret.
I hope folks stay abreast of such rulings and understand that its rulings like these that favor corporations that will impact us for decades to come.. We already see the impact in places where we have work at will rules and in other places where union organizing is damn near outlawed..
Ever since President Obama came out and says he supports same-sex marriage it’s been interesting and somewhat amusing observing all the hoopla, uproar and call to arms by those who stand in opposition. It’s been interesting watching all the Biblical cherry picking of quotes and hypocritical behavior by many who have declared Obama’s stance as some sort of gauntlet in the sand and the start of sort of holy war on the institution of marriage..
In the interview linked below to our syndicated Hard Knock Radio show, I talk with Professor and ordained minister Michael Eric Dyson about many of the issues surrounding this debate..Dyson got himself in this firestorm last week, when he called those who were intolerant to same-sex marriage ‘sexual rednecks’. he questioned how is it that those who have been oppresses and still find themselves oppressed can turn around and oppress others? You can peep our engaging discussion HERE
As you peep the interview, here’s some food for thought….
What’s been fascinating over the past week is seeing how folks have been jumping out the woodwork claiming same sex marriage is gonna damage the institution of marriage. With divorce rates skyrocketing as much as 75% in some communities and reality show after reality show offering marriage as some sort of game show prize to be discarded at the slightest whim, one might argue, war was declared a long time ago and it had very little to do with same-sex marriages. But let’s not digress.
The issue is not a real concern for marriage, because if it was we would’ve been marching in the streets long ago trying to set clear examples of how to stay married and keep the institution uplifted. We would’ve been celebrated and upholding those who have healthy and long marriages as models to emulate, instead we highlight and placate everything that is opposition to loving relationships. The upset isn’t about marriage being destroyed its about folks holding on to homophobia and intolerance and for many that’s a hard truth to swallow.
Many have tried to frame this discussion as if it’s the Black community against the LGBT community which they depict as white. What many have refused to acknowledge is that the gay community has a pretty sizeable number of Black folks and other people of color, many of who have and continue to either helping lead or right there on front line fighting to put an end to injustice. Folks wanna erase the contributions and leadership of James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, Lorraine Hansberry,Langston Hughes,Marsha P Johnson just to name a few. Folks wanna act like we don’t have current day leaders and activists who are also a part of the LGBT community like Keith Boykin, Dr Adreanna Clay of SF State or Aids activist Phil Wilson.
What’s also been most amusing, is watching all those people who laughed and scoffed at conservative leaning voters back in 08 accusing them of being bitter and ‘clinging to shotguns or religion’. .We chided those voters for being ‘unenlightened’ and outdated in their thinking. We said their refusal to ‘open up’ has resulted in them being close minded, xenophobic, racist and intolerant..We told them it was high time they evolve and step into the 21st Century. Today we have many who were once mocked their conservative counter-parts, literally running to the closet and grabbing their own shotguns as they cling to religion as justification for expressing their own intolerance.
Many in this group wanna now conveniently fall back on ‘tradition’ and talk about the ways things have been for 3000 years and why we shouldn’t change. Meanwhile these same folks seem to have no problem letting go of centuries old traditions cloaked in religious practices like slavery, women being deemed subservient or property and sacrificial rituals to name a few all of which have been pushed to the wayside because they been deemed ‘oppressive’, impractical or archaic.
Once upon a time in some cultures, marriage meant giving up some cows and property in the form of a dowry. There was a time marriage was arranged, you had no say so who your mate was. It wasn’t too long ago within some religions you could take on more than one mate in your marriage. Still in other traditions you had to be virgin in order to be ‘properly’ married. It used to be you got married to procreate.. We could go on and on listing what it meant to be married and in each case folks and sometimes the church itself got together and redefined things. It didn’t matter if it was a centuries old tradition. You heard people say we had to evolve.
Today we go to down to City Hall which all of us straight, gay, Black, Brown white etc.. pay with our tax dollars and get a marriage license from the state. In other words we don’t have to go through any ‘religious ceremony’ or a church. I seen folks get married on beaches, in nightclubs and at barbeques, all far cries from what many have deemed traditional.
Some of us have gone to weddings where folks are taking sacred vows and switching up the words. How many times have we seen women scratch out the part where it says ‘You’ll obey your husband? Tradition be damned. Religion be damned.. As I heard one bride say .. ‘this ain’t 200 AD it’s 1993 it’s equal partnership time.. I ain’t obeying no one but God’. People laughed and applauded as she went on to complete her wedding.
No one including the pastor got bent out of shape about her switching up those vows and changing tradition. No one tripped that she had been living with her husband for 5 years prior to getting married and no one tripped that she had multiple sex partners prior to meeting her husband. No one told her that God who she said she would obey, might’ve wanted her wanted follow those vows where she obeys her husband..And everyone held their tongue about her other ‘transgressions’ after all its a new day and age and those pesky religious rules get bent all the time when it suits our individual or collective purpose. They get bent all the time except when it comes to same-sex marriage..
Many of were told to not get upset w/ Obama for being silent on Troy Davis, he had to do what was political expedient
What has also stood out to me during this same-sex drama is all the glaring political MIS-POSTURING.. What do I mean by that? Well it wasn’t too long ago that folks who opposed President Obama on any number of issues like; mass deportations, warrantless wiretaps, the resigning of the Patriot Act, his deafening silence on cases involving the police killing of Oscar Grant and the execution of Troy Davis, him giving money to build more prisons, his continued drone strikes in countries like Pakistan and Somalia where innocent families have been killed, his seeming indifference to the plight of poor folks as he constantly over-compromises or outright saddles up with multinational corporate interests, big Pharma, the telecoms, Goldman Sachs, and Monsanto to name a few, were rebuffed and often ridiculed by those now crying foul about this same-sex marriage endorsement..
If I go through my Facebook posts, twitter timelines or blog message boards, there were quite a few of these folks who would give lectures to anyone pushing the president to address issues specific to the Black or Brown community. The rationale usually broke down this way; ‘President Obama is not the President for Black people, Brown people or one political persuasion ...President Obama is President for all people’ Folks opposing Obama were often chided and told; They ‘need to see the bigger picture and not focus on one or two issues’ and support the President’.
Many would staunchly point out that the President had enough opposition from the Tea Party and far right extremist forces and by behaving ‘emotionally‘ they were fueling the fire for his enemies..Folks opposing Obama on such important issues which adversely impact us day in and day out were essentially told to be quiet, because the President was ‘playing chess’ and executing shrewd political gamesmanship. We were told that Obama had to be politically wise in order to win over certain voters. Now that this same sex marriage endorsement is on the front burner, those folks who told us to pipe down are making all sorts of noise and following their own advise.
This past weekend there was big conference call put together by Rev Jamal H Bryant. he made a public call for Church leaders to get on the conference call to discuss Obama’s same-sex marriage endorsement..I would hope this wasn’t the only issue in recent days that he and other church leaders put out a nationwide conference call to undertake. I’m gonna assume that there were nationwide conference calls by these churches to address issues like skyrocketing poverty, massive incarceration rates, increased police and vigilante killings, war efforts in Africa, higher education becoming less and less affordable etc..Maybe I’m wrong to assume. I hope not.
Currently there are some who are so upset about the same-sex marriage endorsement to the point that they are calling on folks to sit out the 2012 election.. Now just a few months ago, many of these same folks were running around chastising anyone who objected to President Obama’s policies on war, poverty, government surveillance, deportations etc labeling them ‘Emo Progs’ (emotional progressives) aka Professional Left Y’all remember that term? What do we label those upset about ‘this one issue’ of same-sex marriage, who are now threatening to ‘derail the 2012 election? Emo Churchers? Professional Religious Zealots? The New ‘Ralph Naders?
I’ll tell you one lesson learned from this whole debate.. If you have issues of importance to you, you best speak up and push any and everyone who is in elected office to do right by you. There were many in the LGBT community who never piped down and even with this endorsement by Obama have not let up. They’re still pushing him as they should. There is no room for compromised citizenship. The goal is not an endorsement, but true equality and an end to state sanctioned discrimination.
This was a speech given August 15 1970 by Huey Newton co-founder of the Black Panther Party..here he addresses the issue of Gay Rights… Its serious food for thought coming in the aftermath of President Obama endorsing Same-sex Message…
During the past few years strong movements have developed among women and among homosexuals seeking their liberation. There has been some
uncertainty about how to relate to these movements.
Whatever your personal opinions and your insecurities about
homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals
and women (and I speak of the homosexuals and women as oppressed
groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolutionary fashion.
I say ” whatever your insecurities are” because as we very well know,
sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the
mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in
the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we
want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she
might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start
We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and
feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude
that the White racists use against our people because they are Black
and poor. Many times the poorest White person is the most racist
because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover
something that he does not have. So you’re some kind of a threat to
him. This kind of psychology is in operation when we view oppressed
people and we are angry with them because of their particular kind of
behavior, or their particular kind of deviation from the established
Remember, we have not established a revolutionary value system; we are
only in the process of establishing it. I do not remember our ever
constituting any value that said that a revolutionary must say
offensive things towards homosexuals, or that a revolutionary should
make sure that women do not speak out about their own particular kind
of oppression. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite: we say
that we recognize the women’s right to be free. We have not said much
about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual
movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and
through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not
given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the
most oppresed people in the society.
And what made them homosexual? Perhaps it’s a phenomenon that I don’t
understand entirely. Some people say that it is the decadence of
capitalism. I don’t know if that is the case; I rather doubt it. But
whatever the case is, we know that homosexuality is a fact that
exists, and we must understand it in its purest form: that is, a
person should have the freedom to use his body in whatever way he
That is not endorsing things in homosexuality that we wouldn’t view as
revolutionary. But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot
also be a revolutionary. And maybe I’m now injecting some of my
prejudice by saying that “even a homosexual can be a revolutionary.”
Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most
When we have revolutionary conferences, rallies, and demonstrations,
there should be full participation of the gay liberation movement and
the women’s liberation movement. Some groups might be more
revolutionary than others. We should not use the actions of a few to
say that they are all reactionary or counterrevolutionary, because
they are not.
We should deal with the factions just as we deal with any other group
or party that claims to be revolutionary. We should try to judge,
somehow, whether they are operating in a sincere revolutionary fashion
and from a really oppressed situation. (And we will grant that if they
are women they are probably oppressed.) If they do things that are
unrevolutionary or counterrevolutionary, then criticize that action.
If we feel that the group in spirit means to be revolutionary in
practice, but they make mistakes in interpretation of the
revolutionary philosophy, or they do not understand the dialectics of
the social forces in operation, we should criticize that and not
criticize them because they are women trying to be free. And the same
is true for homosexuals. We should never say a whole movement is
dishonest when in fact they are trying to be honest. They are just
making honest mistakes. Friends are allowed to make mistakes. The
enemy is not allowed to make mistakes because his whole existence is a
mistake, and we suffer from it. But the women’s liberation front and
gay liberation front are our friends, they are our potential allies,
and we need as many allies as possible.
We should be willing to discuss the insecurities that many people have
about homosexuality. When I say “insecurities,” I mean the fear that
they are some kind of threat to our manhood. I can understand this
fear. Because of the long conditioning process which builds insecurity
in the American male, homosexuality might produce certain hang-ups in
us. I have hang-ups myself about male homosexuality. But on the other
hand, I have no hang-up about female homosexuality. And that is a
phenomenon in itself. I think it is probably because male
homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexuality is not.
We should be careful about using those terms that might turn our
friends off. The terms “faggot” and “punk” should be deleted from our
vocabulary, and especially we should not attach names normally
designed for homosexuals to men who are enemies of the people, such as
Nixon or Mitchell. Homosexuals are not enemies of the people.
We should try to form a working coalition with the gay liberation and
women’s liberation groups. We must always handle social forces in the
most appropriate manner.