The carrot waved in front of the Latino community is fascinating, and a lesson in how minority groups assimilate into Whiteness. Like many immigrant communities before them, Latinos are currently being attacked. Clearly NOM’s tactics are predicated on the hope that like the Irish before them, that the ability to oppress others at will is enough of an incentive for Latinos to join the dominant class, against those whom they should exist in solidarity with. This may well prove advantageous for some White Latinos, who have complete passing privilege, but it will certainly not be the case for darker skinned Latinos.
Whiteness is an enticing incentive because assimilation into the dominant class means the elimination of at least one source of systemic oppression. It grants one the appearance of being an individual, rather than a representative of one’s sub group; however, acceptance will only be maintained as long as one agrees to uphold the concept that difference means inferior.
Each new wave of immigration has caused a shift in the American experience, even in cases where the minority group achieved Whiteness — as in the case of the Irish. It’s the potential of radical people of colour to shift the conversation towards increased social equality that terrifies groups like NOM. Ultimately a segment of Latino’s will have the opportunity to choose between freedom for themselves or freedom for everyone.
NOM can continue to plan and to speculate until the end of time, but it cannot escape the fact that its tactics are patently obvious and reductive. They don’t take into consideration the configuration of the GLBT community or communities of color, and they most certainly do not consider that communities of color will resist being manipulated in this manner.
According to Mass Equality Executive Director Kara Suffredini, “Seven national polls show that a majority of Americans now support marriage equality. This includes strong growth in support among African-Americans (from 32% to 50%) and among Hispanic voters by nearly 2 to 1, two communities specifically targeted in NOM’s secret strategy memos.” Heterosexism will not be dismantled by the passing of same sex marriage, but with increasing levels of support within the dominant society, and in communities of color, marriage equality is inevitable. Rather than listening to what NOM has to say about this issue, people of color simply need to ask themselves what side of history they want to be on.