Inside: Do you remember Smear the Queer?; I am not enlightened; Homosexuality is a European disease??; He’ll smack the ish out of you; The things we’ll say when not in public, the familiar vernacular; I just invented a word via typo — Feminite!
This is about homophobia. In a roundabout way.
Roland Martin’s Gonna Smack the Ish Out of You
I don’t know much about Roland Martin. I read about his tweets on HP. I’ve read a few of his commentaries on the CNN website before. But, to be honest with you, even though his tweets were ig’nant I didn’t get riled up. I mean, there’s so much stuff in the world — people are constantly saying and doing over-the-top things to get attention, consciously and subconsciously — to get riled up about. And it doesn’t apply to me, personally. Maybe that’s why.
And he was taken to task by GLAAD, so you know. Somebody’s on it ’cause that’s the way it goes these days. There are organizations out there who take it upon themselves for better and for worse to kind of police the culture and language.
On the R-A-D-I-O
But I heard some things today listening to WPFW that went directly into the “blog it” portion of my brain.
Jared Ball had a great program with another member of a Malcolm X society. The guest was a black woman. I think she may have been non-heterosexual. That will become relevant very shortly
What made things interesting was that a lot of the listeners who call into WPFW are older, some religious, some traditional, socially conservative (at least when it comes to homosexuality), old school African and African American folks. As soon as gayness came up, they were on the phone raring to condemn it as an aberration.
The guest made a point to validate Love. Period. She tried to affirm to a handful of homophobic callers that black love is love (her words), regardless of who it’s between.
When listening I’m often not fully on the same page as Jared Ball, but I have much respect for his intellectualism and fair-mindedness. He and his guest ended up having to defend the gay community because the conversation devolved into “homosexuals are a distraction to the cause”, “Malcolm X would most certainly not have condoned gayness”, and “homosexuality came out of European culture and is essentially a white, European disease perpetrated on the world”.
Then this evening on Spectrum Today, Askia and his round table talked about Roland Martin’s ostensibly homophobic tweets. The gist of which –here’s my interpretation — was, if you see someone with stereotypical gay whatever, they need to be slapped or have they ass whooped.
Some of the panelists know Roland Martin personally, but I was still kind of shocked how they collectively responded. In the end, the point was made that Martin was fired or suspended because that’s what it means to be black in America. You think you achieve some status and They, at the drop of a dime, remind you that you have no power. And, his mistake was tweeting in the familiar vernacular and forgetting that Twitter is public.
Obviously, I don’t believe that Martin thinks that gay people should be physically assaulted. Those on the panel who know him personally said as much.
But the colloquial expression — the familiar language — is still homophobic.
When I was a kid, we’d go out and play football. I was taught a game called Smear the Queer. Basically, you throw a football up in the air or at/to someone. Whoever had the ball, everyone tried to tackle. Hard. So in essence, whoever had the ball was the Queer and everyone else’s goal was to physically maim him.
I had no idea. It was just the name of a game.
With your boys
That’s how it is. Like … okay. Trying to be real here. I’m not the most enlightened guy there is. Whenever I read blogs or articles that are super politically correct and sensitive, I kind of scoff at it. I’m not saying that I’m proud of this, but it definitely throws me when I hear someone say “hetero-normative”. It gets my goat when people get upset that someone assumes that there are only two genders. I still don’t know what “cis-” means even after I looked it up.
I was doing the BikeShare thing one day and rode up the special bike lane. Up 15th St. and ended up near a baseball diamond where there was, apparently, a gay kickball league game. I was trying to figure out where the heck I was. Using my iPhone to attempt to find streets with bike lanes that would take me back to Rosslyn. The game was breaking up and everyone was chatting trying to figure out which bar to go to. All I could think was, “They all talk the same. I can’t tell one from the other. They all sound alike.”
What I’m trying to say is that I attempt to be open-minded. At the very least, I respect the fact that others don’t have the same sensibilities and that in some cases their sensibilities are more open and tolerant than mine are. Live and let live, I say, but I’m not going to pretend to have it all together like I’m some enlightened crusader for justice.
Sometimes around a group of guys I’ll be talking about a blog I wrote or things I read. You know by now that I have a weird sense of humor. Inappropriate things, to a degree, make me laugh. Like, I have all of these little Dave Chappelle type skits going on in my head all the time. There’s a context when I can share those and the inappropriate humor is hilarious and is enjoyed by all. Everyone knows that none of us really mean it. Everyone knows how offensive it is, and just imagining someone actually saying something that douchey — that’s what makes it funny.
There’s always someone who takes it too far, though. Someone who’s like, “Yeh. I’d tell that bitch to get back in the kitchen.”
Awkward silence and an uncomfortable chuckle. But even that’s kind of funny and makes me laugh, because there’s always that guy. And you’re like, “Haha. He’s that guy. That guy that always takes it too far.”
The other day it made me think, though, because I imagined a bunch of guys sitting around making fun of black people in the same way. I mean, we’re all human. Everybody rants or blows off a little steam every now and then — I don’t really care — but it helped me put things in perspective.
A completely different situation than if you were representing some institution professionally or speaking or writing in public. One hopes.
Seems like Roland Martin got a little too comfortable reclining in front of the Super Bowl and forgot he was broadcasting 140 characters at a time TO THE WORLD. You can’t talk about smacking the ish out of a possibly gay dude, especially when you previously have called people bigots for various things.
The amount of homophobia in the black community is astounding. After denial comes abandonment and rejection.
A while ago I was sitting with my nephews having dinner and a few girls and a woman were talking about Justin Bieber. “Yes, he is kind of cute.”
One of my nephews said, “Ew. No he’s not. He’s ugly. He’s an idiot.”
And I, trying to temper that kind of language, said, “Don’t talk like that. Don’t call people names.”
“Girls talk about him all the time. He’s butt ugly.”
I said, “No he isn’t. He’s a good looking guy. That’s why all of the girls like him so much.”
My nephew got this look on his face like I said something taboo. I guess I did in his world. A guy isn’t supposed to acknowledge that another guy isn’t ugly. I don’t know how that works exactly but you get the drift.
Or maybe he just thinks I’m gay. A lot of people in my family do. And people I’ve worked with or went to school with. Some un-sourced rumors, my lack of a normal social life, absence of any dating and shyness/introversion/inaction around women. They mistake my abject failure as a man for an “alternative lifestyle”. Maybe that has filtered down to the kids.
Hahaaa. That’s amusing in a self-denigrating kind of way. But I digress…
Now. Add a few decades of living to that attitude plus jaded cynicism, worldliness, contagious prejudice and overall bitterness. Stir in some pseudo-religious doctrine and you end up with some common, derogatory and downright hateful attitudes.
I’ve mentioned before that I knew some guys in college from Africa who said that gay people should be beheaded. Beheaded! Head literally removed from body. For being gay. Yikes.
A transvestite — is that still a word we use? — was killed the other day for no other reason than people hated her for being who she was. Him?
That’s why you can’t talk flippantly in public about smacking the ish out of people. That’s why I was kind of shocked that the panelists on Spectrum Today said, “Oh he didn’t really mean it. That’s just Roland being Roland and, uh, Institutional Racism!”
Way to avoid the ish out of a teachable moment.
This morning a few people called in to Jared Ball’s show and said that Europeans introduced homosexuality into the world and …. It’s a filthy European degeneracy.
Ball held his own countering that nonsense, though. And he kept the peace.
How can someone even say that much less believe it? First of all, the implication includes the “white devil” concept and that black people are somehow superior to white people. Second, if ancient texts talk about homosexuality — even to forbid it — that kind of nips the argument in the bud, which was his point.
And that’s when it hit me. It’s still kind of okay to hate gay people.
I mean, we expect socially conservative Christians (or other religions) to disapprove. I don’t think that necessarily = hatred. But it doesn’t help. It doesn’t help because when people who are straight up full of hatred for gays say or do something outrageous, they fall back on a hand-picked Bible verse or two. Usually a verse plucked conveniently out of context. “Let’s see. I’ll take this part from Levitical law since I already kind of believe that. But you can keep the rest. It sounds a bit ornate.”
And it doesn’t help that media evangelists are out there saying that homosexuality consistently was the cause of the downfall of every civilization that dared tolerate it. Or that gay people and feminists were the cause of earthquakes, hurricanes and the 9-11 attacks.
Black people who feel absolutely oppressed by racism — who feel like the entire system was made and exists to hold them down, personally — will reflexively disown and condemn the homosexual community.
It’s nuts, regardless of your beliefs, to de-legitimize an entire community.
Oh well. That’s all I have to say. Of course, after I post this I’ll think of better ways to say it. Then I’ll fall asleep and forget them by morning.
“There’s only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch.”