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Civil Disobedience, Gay Rights Movements, and the Black Single Mothers Who Don’t Benefit From Marriage

Silje Sande an American Professor, discusses something called “The Necessary Tension.” She writes “In a democracy the tension between civil obedience and disobedience is a necessary tension.” She argues that Civil Disobedience confronts and holds accountable the norms that exist in society today. I think that black single mothers and families around the country should take some advice from Sande, and participate in this tension. This week the Gay Rights movement took a huge step forward by winning the right to marry in one of the largest states in the country. I am happy that there has been progress in the overall struggle for equality in the United States. However, I think it is necessary to think about the single mother’s of color that will be further marginalized because they will not receive the legal benefits that come with marriage.

My politics are becoming more radical lately. I believe that if people scream to the hallways of government and are continuously ignored, then something more must be done. Martin Luther King Jr. explained this “something more” as dramatizing an issue. You must bring drama to the struggles you have in life  (of course peacefully) so that your issue is taken up and your voice is not ignored. Sande posits that Civil Disobedience challenges the “commonly accepted laws and norms and keeps the guardians of the system alert and in constant dialogue with the changing public opinion.”

The issue of Governments ignoring individuals in society is nothing new. I posit that black mothers and other disenfranchised groups in America have been ignored by the city, state, and federal governments on multiple issues. While some communities start to reap the benefits of capitalistic societies it is my understanding that Black and Brown women in the United States are still at the margins. Henry David Thoreau in his article titled Resistance to Civil Government in 1849 discussed the very same issue of civil disobedience and how this is an important tactic to get government to listen. He compares government to a machine and says “when the machine was producing injustice, it was the duty of conscientious citizens to be “a counter friction” (i.e., a resistance) “to stop the machine.”

I am not sure in what form or fashion this group should civically disobey, but I do know as the gay rights movement continues to enter into the normalized process of nuclear “family-hood” it only means that the communities who remain in the realms of deviance will only continue to be stripped of equal opportunity and tied into the margins.

The history, politics, and methodology of resistance and civil disobedience has been a useful tool for social movements in the past. I think this tactic is looking increasing appropriate for communities who have been ignored for centuries, in order for them to finally have their voices heard and needs met.


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