I can’t believe it has been a week since I’ve last blogged. Things have been very busy here. This week I gave lectures on the history of ancient China from the Zhou Dynasty through the Tang Dynasty (nearly 2,000 years) and nearly three hours on slavery and emancipation, plus a bit on Irish immigration and all the problems they had because other white people thought they were inferior. There are lots and lots of interesting parallels to the fight that the gays and lesbians are going through to get their civil rights with the fight of the African Americans. One interesting parallel–the Federal government enacted a Civil Rights Bill of 1875. Here is part of the bill:
That all persons … shall be entitled to full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement
Sounds pretty reasonable, doesn’t it? To some it didn’t, especially the Supreme Court. It struck this down this law as being unconstitutional, since after all, blacks had their own doors they could enter, their own area in theaters–in effect it is a ‘separate but equal’ ruling. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court stated:
"that it was time for blacks to assume "the rank of a mere citizen"
And, in a stunning parallel to the arguments of the anti-gay groups who do not want equal protections for gays and lesbians, the Chief Justice also said it was time for blacks to:
"stop being the "special favorite of the laws."
How many times have we heard that any rights that are given to gays and lesbians are ‘special rights’ and that they will be treated differently? It is too bad that people don’t know their history very well. But then again, I doubt that would stop these anti-gay activists from doing what they are doing since they are no different from these white supremacist groups–they are Christian supremacists (although I also question whether or not they are even Christian). There is no difference between the thinking of these two groups. The good thing is that over time African Americans were given their rights (although they certainly are not treated equally) and I expect that gays and lesbians will get the same.