The historic announcement last week by the Census Bureau that the number of white births in the United States has been overtaken for the first time by the number of births among other racial groups should inform the debate around President’s support for same-sex marriage – if it has not already.
Making this connection may be helpful, given the apparently widely held view that whites are more tolerant of homosexuality than blacks.
Apart from the consequences of Obama’s statement on his chances of retaining black voters’ support in his re-election bid (which the mainstream media has tended to focus on), the issue of the impact his endorsement could have for persons considering openly homosexual lifestyles is worht considering, as is the impact such choices may have on America’s racial demographics and relations.
As I recently pointed out to Allvoices writer Dava Castillo in response to her article, “Who has the right to define marriage?” I have serious reservations about equating same-sex and opposite-sex marriage because a very significant, fundamental difference between these two types of relationships is the possibility of human reproduction – without the hoop-jumping or circumlocutions of surrogate pregnancy and other scientific interventions.
Without such interventions, same-sex marriage is a “kiss of death," virtually, so far as procreation is concerned.
Not that I am against scientific intervention strictly.
In fact, having highlighted the possible connection between the Census Bureau’s racial birth rates announcement and Obama’s affirmation of homosexual marriage, I would hasten to add that I am very wary of race-oriented population statistics – given the scientific “fuzziness” of the biological notion of race – as opposed to its more easily investigated status as a sociological construct: the casual, often simplistic way, people classify social groups.
American whites afflicted by Anders Behring Breivik-like anxiety about the implications of homosexual relations for the preservation of their color groups’ dominance of American economics and politics (such political dominance as remains under their “fuzzy black” president) may find some consolation in the work of population geneticist Mark D. Shriver of Penn State University (PSU) and other scientists who have demonstrated the superficiality of conventional modes of racial labelling.
This superficiality was possibly not borne in mind by the Census Bureau. One Christian Science Monitor article says that the Census identifies Hispanics and Asians as races, when these are in fact ethnicities. (After one visit to the Bureau’s website and a first-time perusal of the relevant press release I have doubts about elements of the Monitor's assessment but am inclined to agree with the overall thrust of it).
Dr. Shriver is featured in a May 8, 2002, United Press International article entitled “White prof finds he’s not” The article dramatically underscores the racial identity and demographic measurement problem.
That article says that thanks to his own research with colleagues at PSU, Shriver, who considers himself white, found out that he has a relatively high percentage of black ancestry.
Perhaps he is just the man and PSU the university best suited to address some of the issues raised by Obama’s announcement and that of the Census Bureau.
Perhaps Dr. Shriver and his colleagues could devise (if they have not already) some population measuring means by which to tell race-preservation anxious Americans what percentage of whites who are tolerant of or favouring homosexual lifestyles have black ancestry – and how high a percentage of it?
Perhaps they could do the same with the question of how many blacks opposed to homosexual relations have white ancestry – and how high a percentage of it.
Facilitated by Dr. Shriver and his PSU colleagues, these and related questions – for example, about the prevalence of homophobia among evangelical Christians, be they superficially white or superficially black - may yield a more discerning picture of racial groups’ attitudes to homosexuality than commonly being portrayed in the media in the wake of Obama’s recent endorsement of gay marriage.
The PSU geneticists may even want to embark on a parallel study, measuring the distribution of genes among blacks and whites diachronically (across generations) that indicate or predict homosexual inclinations – presuming such a gene (or genes) exist. I may or may not have heard or read something to that effect once.
And I recall once broaching the topic of the cross-generational phenomenon of homosexuality – or a related notion – with Dr. Patrick Taylor of York University (and possibly Dr. Karl Watson of the University of the West Indies).
I believe I shared my speculative theory that homosexuality may have an “ancestral” origin with Dr. Taylor about 10 years ago. He was then my contact for York University’s (Toronto) Caribbean Religions Project.
As the head of that project he facilitated my contribution to the Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religion, based on a summary of my book "The Bible: beauty and terror reconciled". (So far as I can tell, the Encyclopedia is yet to be published.)
Perhaps York U and PSU could combine the research expertise of Shriver, Taylor and their colleagues to advance its institutions work in these related fields, in line with current emphases on interdisciplinary study and increased collaboration between researchers in the international scientific community.
Perhaps some of the more muscular, manly looking women of the York Lions women's rugby team, which apparently includes blacks, whites and other superficial racial categories, might want to assist with the resulting studies.
I could go on and on with other relevant “blue sky” and more grounded research possibilities. But I fear that the more suggestions I make, the less the chances of any one of them being taken seriously.
My main point, at any rate, is that President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage may not be the electoral “kiss of death” that it initially seemed.
Perhaps it is just the kind of catalyst for intelligent discussion about race, religion and sex that America needs.
And how some Americans need an elevation or injection of intelligence – and empathy - in their discussion of these subjects!
With one mature man who holds considerable social standing and responsibility – no less a person than 67 or 68-year-old U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull – forwarding puerile, deeply insulting, disrespectful and racist emails about Obama to his friends, there can be no doubt that the level of discussion on racial admixing in America is in need of uplift urgently.
I find this elder jurist’s apparent lack of judgement on matters of human procreation as repugnant and unhelpful as the gumption and tunnel vision of persons in the media who push a homosexual agenda (and those in the church who oppose it) at the expense of discussion about the viability of polygamy as a proven, biblically justifiable model of family life for modern societies.
I remain baffled by the relative silence of the western media, politicians, clergy, academics and other opinion shapers about the social utility and viability of polygamy as an option for Christians (and non-Christians alike), giving the impression that a homosexual lobby has hijacked contemporary debate about alternative or non-traditional western models of the family.
I will reserve, for the time being, my comments on the disappointing response I recently got from another elder - the retired Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali - during a discussion on marriage at the Houses of Parliament here in England.
I will only say that the value of polygamous marital options as a means of boosting birth rates among all racial categories in the U.S. and UK is underscored as much by the kind of divisive and disappointing commentary Judge Cebull and Bishop Ali seem limited to (on race and religion respectively) as by the increasing agedness of these two leading western countries’ citizenry.
Finally, I will say that consistent with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the U.S. president, he seems ideally placed to not only initiate the uplift in debate on race, religion and sexuality that his fellow Americans need, but also to enhance the constructive, social cohesion furthering discussion of these issues by the global community.
Of course, like Breivik, Cebull, and Bishop Ali, others are free to reject Obama’s, Dr. Shriver’s, PSU’s and any other individual, group or institution’s solution to their racial, religious or sexual antipathy or anxiety.
Like Breivik, they may instead endeavour to win the argument with the literal "kiss of death" of their exploding bombs’ and barking rifles’.
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