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30 January 2007

Comments

Greg G

Rod, thanks for the clip. I was wondering why you never addressed the "Grey's Anatomy" controversy. Figured it out. As usual, Keith Boykin was supreme.

akaison

I know people are searching for analogies, but the reality is that analogies do not matter. Wanda Sykes (who I love) jokes gay is the new black. But, I think it's irrelevant. Gays are opressed. Blacks are opressed. Why is the comparison needed? For that matter, I am sorry , but the more gay black sites seeming, whether intended or not, to come to the defense of Mr. Washington, the more I find myself dismayed. What is there to defend of his behavior here? At base, when all the crap about race (the red herring in this particular instance) is washed away, we are still left with a guy who smeared a part of you. Now, many of you may say, but he didn't smear you because you don't feel like he did. That's irrelevant to Mr. Washington's intent. It's goal was the put you down. Accepting that is beyond me. I don't have it me to forgive a racist, and I don't have it in me to forgive a homophobe. They are equal in my eyes. I sometimes enjoy your blog, but at others, such as this, or with the discussion over Noah's Arc (a crap show propped up merely for being black rather than good) I have to wonder can't we do better than this? What the hell was King and others struggling for? So that people likeMR Washington could become the opressors of a different minority group within society? I hope not.

Rod McCullom

Akaison, perhaps you misunderstood my intent. I never defended Isaiah Washington. Actually, the only time the incident has been mentioned on this site was in this one post.

Washington's Golden Globes statement and physical confrontation with another actor demonstrate his unresolved issues. However, there are numerous examples of homophobia that the gay larger community routinely ignores, such as Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, and DMX. There is also ongoing racist imagery within our community, such as Shirley Q. Liquor. I have consistently spoken out against these because they are specifically targeted at our community.

I never commented on Wanda Sykes, ever, and am not sure how that was linked. Her joke was lame. But then again, I think her whole persona is rather lame, somewhat like a minstrel. Akaison, I'm flattered that you read and enjoy Rod 2.0, but maybe you just discovered it, no?Most readers have figured out that if there is something big making news in the community and I say nothing ... it's more or less my way of saying "if you can't say nothing nice, don't say anything." :-)

raj

Let's look at it a little differently. Suppose Knight had responded to Washington's calling him a f@ggot, by calling Washington a n!gger. How long would it have been before Knight would be told to leave the show?

By their actions--or inactions--the producers of the show have indicated that it's OK for one of the actors on their program to call another actor a f@ggot. Of course, it's a business decision on their part, but that should suggest to you that they believe that it's important to have that black actor on the show, despite the fact that he has shown himself to be a homophobe, than to risk alienating their black audience by possibly replacing him with another black actor.

Douglas

I really appreciate the attention that Paula Zahn is giving to prejudice on her show. So many people seem to be in a daze in terms of these issues, she is keeping people informed and exposing the struggle we still face.

Cadence

Raj, you are making a lot of assumptions. You think GA wants to appease their Black audience, excuse me, but it's a top five show. Obviously they have a very diverse audience and a very large audience, and they want to keep it that way. I don't think either would have been fired. I think the producers want to keep harmony on the set, and not mess with the show creatively so that it doesn't effect their bottom line. I wonder if we would continously have this comparison made if the creator of GA wasn't also Black.

patrick s

Raj, perhaps you don't understand that many black gay men and lesbians are routinely called words that deride both our race and sexuality.

FYI. I've been called n****r many times in Chelsea and West Hollywood, but a few white gay men who either had too much to drink or were upset if I wouldn't go home with them. White gay men may be gay, but they are still privileged white men.

Bobby

It's tough to be both black and gay. I posit that the gay person of color is the most homeless person on Earth:

http://thisisthediaspora.blogspot.com/2007/01/losing-isaiah.html

jared

Its a shame that there are some black people in the gay community who seem to want to insist that race wasn't an issue at all. And, just for some fun, go to any of the white sites and see just how many of them were so angry that the n-word flowed as if it was some cheap rap cd. And these same posters, go from site to site saying how its not racially charged and there is no such thing as racism in the gay community as a whole. Of course it was, it always is, maybe not on the surface, but, underlying. IW was a jerk, no doubt about it, but, ABC made a huge mistake when they decided to call into white groups to put him in his place. The implications are the same, bad black man needs white men to tell him how to act, and, hence race is the room, and the white gay community is just as uncomfortable with it as anyone else.


The show comes first, and if he is a idiot with anger management issues, sack him, but, don't call in Glaad or the other group to "counsel" him, when they need counseling themselves on issues of race. I along with my best friend, who is Hispanic have seen it first hand in West Hollywood, Palm Springs,SF and other places, when its the two of us out for a drink, almost invisible, but, when we are with a good friend of mine, who is buff and blond and good looking, for a white guy all of a sudden treated like royalty,lots of free drinks, etc, even if he and his boyfriend get there after us. They have some of the worst stereotypes in the world about people of color and I always say, way closer to the Nazi ideal of the perfect man than any group in the USA.

akaison

jared

I read every comment along this thread. and not one says that racism is not a problem. they say that's not the only problem, and we aren't going to play your game of chosing between race and sexual orientation.

and rod, i find it instructive that you think the shirley situation is targeted at our community, but the TR Knight thing is not. That's maybe where we differ. I think both are targetted at a part of me, so each part of me that is being targetted gets to be offended. I don't term of being gay to be black. I dont turn off being black to be gay. I know that's not per se your point (or at least I hope not) but the reality of this discussion is that shirley in the context of TR Knight is a red herring, just as some racist using TR Knight would be a red herring to use gay. Neither justifies or refute the other, and the only reason why people are mentioning Shirley is to somehow refute the homophobia (again whether intended or not, that's the effect). Essentially, it's saying look see there are these white gay racists, so that justifies (whether you say it that way or not) the other. Neither justifies anything but the fact this country needs to grow up on both race and sexual issues.

raj

Cadence | 31 January 2007 at 09:09

Raj, you are making a lot of assumptions.

Yes, and I come here to be educated. I mean that sincerely.

A few points, that won't work well fisking your comment line by line. So, I won't. If I miss something, please let me know.

One, I disagree with you that I believe that GA wants to appease their black audience. What I am pretty much sure of is that they want to keep their advertisers happy, for the most part initially, and to preserve the reputation of the show for subsequent syndication and possible DVD sales and rentals. In an advertising-driven medium such as broadcast TV, it is the advertisers who have to be kept happy--the opinions of particular segments of the potential audience are secondary. We saw that with the rather substantial tanking of "Dr" Laura Schessinger following John Avarosis's jihad against her a few years ago, and the utter fear in the rabidly right-wing talk show station KSFO in San Francisco after they were outed to their advertisers a few weeks ago. It is the advertisers who have to be kept happy, not necessarily the audience. We've seen that in other shows, such as when the 1980s TV "drama" 30Something tried to inject a sympathetic gay couple into the story line: the religious right inundated the advertisers with complaints, and the character line was cancelled.

That said, I agree with you that it is likely that the producers of GA (a program that, by the way, I have never seen) want to keep harmony on the set, and to push the whole thing under wraps. One thing that I wondered is why has this brouhaha been brought to the fore now (a couple of weeks ago) when the incident apparently actually happened back in November or so? I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist, but I suspect that something else is--or has been--going on that we don't know about, with the show, and probably we will never know. If I had been Knight, I would have ignored the whole thing, and, unless he was a total idiot, he probably did. If I had been Washington, I would have cooled myself down, apologized to Knight, and, unless he was a total idiot, he probably did. But, somehow, the incident was made public. By whom, I really don't know.

Look, it doesn't appear as though what Washington did was in any way analogous to the idiot Michael Richards n!gger rant a few weeks ago. (And, notice, apropos of my comment above regarding "subsequent syndication and possible DVD sales and rentals," that Jerry Seinfeld, substantial owner of the Seinfeld show, went out and tried to apologize for Richards, obviously to preserve the marketability of his Seinfeld show.) As far as I can tell, what Washington did was a little face-to-face. Why it was made public, I'll never know.

raj

patrick s | 31 January 2007 at 09:57

Raj, perhaps you don't understand that many black gay men and lesbians are routinely called words that deride both our race and sexuality.

Oh, no, I know that quite well. And I know that many black gay men and lesbians are routinely called those things that deride you because of your sexuality by people of your own race. And I have a pretty good idea why. (I'll avoid the sociology unless requested.)

That said, it is really a shame when white gay people deride black gay men and lesbians because of their race. And I do know that it happens. And I also know that black gay people feel alienated from (not by, but from) so-called "mainstream" gay organizations in large part because of that. What might be done to rectify the situation? I sincerely don't know. Maybe you can tell me.

Let me posit you the following question. Everyone belongs to one or more groups. White people, black people, gay white or black people, straight white or black people, a myriad number of groups based on race, skin color, eye color, eye slant, profession, education, whatever. I could identify probably fifteen different groups that I would identify with, including my profession, my undergraduate training, etc. But let's get to the question. A black man kills a gay man of whatever race. You are sitting on the jury. The evidence is overwhelming that he is culpable for the killing. Would you, as a black gay man (I'm being presumptuous here--I don't know whether or not you are either gay or black) vote to convict? Or would you vote not to convict because you would not want to send another black man to prison (some black jurors in Maryland were reputed to have indicated that they voted not to convict in a criminal trial because they didn't want to send another black man to prison)?

These "divided loyalties" issues come up more often than we would like to admit, and the sad fact is (this is from experience) that "gay" is always secondary to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, or any of the other "incidents" of discrimination that I might name. And, I'll have to tell you, that is one reason why gay people will never achieve equality in the USofA. "Gay" is always secondary.

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