Yoshino offers a description of three stages of the assault on civil rights – conversion, passing, and covering. Though he focuses on the challenges faced by gays (including himself), Michelle Obama’s graduation speech at Tuskegee came to mind:

Back when my husband first started campaigning for President, folks had all sorts of questions of me:  What kind of First Lady would I be?  What kinds of issues would I take on?  Would I be more like Laura Bush, or Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Reagan?  And the truth is, those same questions would have been posed to any candidate’s spouse.  That’s just the way the process works.  But, as potentially the first African American First Lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations; conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others.  Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating?  (Applause.) Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?

In what way(s) do we – as a society, as employers, as people in power, as people in the dominant group – putting explicit and implicit pressure on any group? Are we saying, “You can be gay, but not too gay.”

Yoshino does particularly well when he questions the distinction made between being and doing. Consider, for example, dreadlocks. Are they being or doing?

A clear, thought-provoking discussion. I imagine that Yoshino is a great teacher. I know I learned a lot and want to learn more.

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