Tag Archives: Super Bowl

You’re a Homophobe, Dude.

Check yourself.

Check yourself.

Last week, I ignored the comments made by San Francisco 49er, Chris Culliver, about how gays were unwelcome on his team, and unwelcome in his team’s locker room. I ignored them because, well, you just can’t fight every battle.  But then, a Facebook status popped up in my news feed, declaring that those who didn’t ignore Culliver’s comments were just sensitive to folks’ discomfort with homosexuality. There was a chorus of agreement with points like, “yeeees … enough with the political correctness,” and “I don’t hate gays…I just wish they’d go back into hiding….”

Right. Because that’s all we’re doing when we oppose discrimination, being politically correct. Moreover, prefacing statements with “I don’t hate gays…” and then going on to say some hateful shit is really a waste of energy.  Just say you do hate gays.  That way, you can at least be consistent in your logic.   You don’t have to reconcile how it is that one could not hate an individual, but merely wish that he or she remained in the margins of life -unprotected and invalidated, and unseen.  It wasn’t Chris Culliver’s brazen display of ignorance and immaturity that bothered me, it was the people who agreed, and tried to defend him that wouldn’t allow me to remain idle. Here’s what Culliver said:

“I don’t do the gay guys, man. I don’t do that …. Ain’t got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff.” Asked to reiterate his thoughts during the interview, Culliver dug deeper, stating that he wouldn’t welcome a gay teammate, no matter how talented. “Nah. Can’t be … in the locker room, nah,” he said. “You’ve gotta come out 10 years later after that.”

The reason what you’ve just read is stupid (which is an academic term, in my opinion) is because it’s based on an irrational fear – the urban legend of the gay man hemming up some unsuspecting hetero, and forcing him into submission. This is irrational because it’s heterosexual men who are responsible for most sexual advances – wanted and unwanted. Allow me to add some perspective by pointing out that I have several gay male friends, and only one of them has ever hit on a straight man. On the contrary, almost all of them have been propositioned at least once by a so-called straight man…

See, homophobia isn’t the fear of gay men and women, per se. In my view, it is a fear of how homosexuality challenges our traditional norms and conceptions of masculinity and femininity. I love the hypocrisy, for instance, when guys balk at the assertion that “all men” are the same of anything, but trot out their “man laws” in the very next breath — ascribing for all men an arbitrary litmus test of masculinity.

The problem with Chris Culliver’s comments, and homophobia in general, I guess, is that they assume so much that has no basis in fact. Culliver’s first assumption is that he’s never had a gay teammate before (folks, gay men play football too) and that he’s never been in close proximity (in a non-sexual way) with a gay man.  Secondly, he assumes that because a gay man is attracted to men, then he’s attracted to all men and is therefore a threat to heterosexual men.  By the same logic then, heterosexual men are a threat to all women. If you find this analogy acceptable, then it’s not gay men who should bear the brunt of your ire. It’s men. Generally speaking.  I maintain that this homophobia folks display so proudly says more about the wearer than the intended target.  Pardon me, but your ignorance is showing.

Additionally, I’m told I can’t be mad at a man for stating what he believes. It’s “his opinion,” they tell me.  Say what now!? I can’t judge an individual based on what he thinks and says? Only when you’ve allowed your biases to corrupt your good sense is this a viable argument. Cats gotta be responsible, at the very least, for what they say.   I agree that everyone is entitled to think and say what she or he feels.  However, once it’s out, the peanut gallery gets to respond. There’s that proverb that goes:  it is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt. In other words, I can think the world is flat all day long if I want to. It’s not though, no matter how assured I am in my opinion.

The reality is, friends, that gay people are gonna be gay whether you like it, believe in it, support it, or are comfortable with it. Like it or not, we live among you.  We are your neighbors, your teachers, your doctors, your trash people, your hair stylists, your choir directors, your classmates, your brothers, cousins, sisters, moms, dads, and daughters.  In a secular society like the one in which we live, there is no rationalization for homophobia.  Gay people want the same things heterosexual people want – peace, security, happiness, love, opportunity, and respect.  Thus, in this society wherein homos and homophobes seek to find common ground, I submit most sincerely to the latter:  check yourself.  It’s not us, it’s you. Grow up.

P.S. I won’t say Culliver’s poor performance in the biggest game of his life is karma being that bitch again. But prolly.

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Tyranny of the Majority: Correcting the Narrative

Know why diversity’s so important? It’s about more than just adding another feminine, Black, or gay face at the table, you know.

There are those proverbs that talk about the victor having the spoils, and about history being the victor’s nonobjective story — HIStory. And there was an African proverb I ran across yesterday that read: Until the lion has a chance to tell its story, the hunter will be glorified.

My purpose here isn’t to shade victory. It is survival of the fittest out this mug. Our very existence is predicated on the theory that only the strong survive. What I mean to suggest, then, is that one of the privileges of winning, nay, the best privilege of winning is controlling the narrative. And thus, controlling, massaging, and/or revising the truth. Because “the truth” and one’s perception of it aren’t always the same.

Take 3 recent examples: President Obama vs. Religious Freedom, Roland Martin sticking his foot in his mouth on behalf of “real bruhs,” and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals kicking discrimination in the nuts by clipping Proposition H8’s wings.

In the middle of January, the Health and Human Services Department mandated that, under President Obama’s Healthcare Affordability Act, all employers and organizations who provide healthcare insurance must also cover contraceptive care, aka birth control pills, for example, as part of that package. The phony furor that’s erupted over the last week has to do with religious organizations (particularly the Catholic church) being “forced” to indirectly participate in a practice to which it is principally opposed — the prevention of pregnancy.

As a result, the airwaves are awash with characterizations of the Obama Administration as anti-religion, anti-First Amendment, anti-freedom, and anti-American! If I jumped the gun on the last two, I merely jumped the gun. I suspect this phase of the game will show its pasty face sooner or later. There’s no harm in being ready for it.

At any rate, Rachel Maddow was excellent last night in providing a different perspective on this issue: the woman’s perspective — based in real female behavior, and not religious proscriptions for female behavior. Maddow pointed out that something like 99% of women who have sex use birth control. And something like 98% of Catholic women use birth control. Moreover, nearly 6 in 10 Catholics recently polled agreed that “all employers should be required to provide their employees with healthcare plans that cover contraception or birth control at no cost. ”

What this says to me is that churches might want women to bear litters of children like they did a century ago. But seeing as though Mrs. Duggar appears to be the only sista signed up for baby factory duty, then the HHS decision doesn’t, in fact, trample on religious “freedom.” Instead, it protects reproductive freedom from religious dictates that aren’t based in reality. Granted, this probably wasn’t the fight to pick in an election year because it requires some critical analysis, and we know Americans aren’t very comfortable with nuance and context. It was a ballsy move though. And the right one.

Also not based in reality are Roland Martin’s attempts to clean up his uncompromisingly lame joke (at best) and homophobic (at worst) tweets from Superbowl Sunday. Martin tweeted that “real bruhs” wouldn’t rush to H&M to buy some underroos based on an advertisement featuring a half-naked David Beckham. The implication here is that “real bruhs” are heterosexual men, and thus, gay men (who might also not be interested in buying men’s underwear just because a presumably attractive man is wearing them, might I add) aren’t “real” men. I had the pleasure of meeting a woman a few months ago who recently penned a piece on this issue that hits the nail squarely on its head. Take a look: An Open Letter to Roland Martin by Ms. Samantha Master.

Only from within the bubble of majority privilege and story-telling can one not see the danger of advocating that “real bruhs” should “smack the ish” out of he who exhibits what Roland Martin has arbitrarily decided is unacceptable “real” man behavior. Folks were right to call Martin out for his remarks. And, just to be messy, can a brother wearing a paisley Ascot really talk shit about what is and isn’t considered manly?

I mean, really. Find a fucking seat, dude.

Finally, yesterday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a considerable blow to a 21st century tyranny of the majority when it declared California’s ban on same-sex marriage (known as Proposition 8) un-fucking-constitutional. Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote the opinion, asserting that Prop 8:

…serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.

In America, we’ve ascribed to the institution of marriage more than religious and cultural traditions. The special bond between individuals in the modern world is socially recognized and legitimized by the tradition of marriage. In the modern world, sure you still sit in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. But quiet as it’s kept, love, marriage, and baby carriage are all a toss-up as to which comes first. It appears “traditional” marriage had begun to change course well before Adam and Steve decided to make it official.

The prevailing narrative is that society is based in the tradition of one man, one woman “marriage.” And defining “marriage” as something other than that destroys the bedrock foundation of society. This is preposterous. Yes, preposterous. I would argue that the foundations of society are its various incarnations of family and cooperation. “Tribal” and “civilized” societies alike have toyed with what family looks like — polygamous, nuclear, extended, polyamorous. But what they’ve had in common is the notion that whether I’m your only wife or your third of three wives, my commitment is to helping our family prosper; my commitment is to raising well-adjusted children with diverse perspectives and unique stories who will grow into productive members of a global society, and pass on a legacy of respect for difference, and optimism for cooperation — based on the values we, as human beings, share.

When Civil Rights legislation hung in the balance during the 1950s and 60s, the overwhelming majority opposed equality then too. The ratio was something like 3 to 1. This is the exact same fight … because I know you know Civil Rights aren’t synonymous with Black people rights…I don’t have to tell you that, right? The majority was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

As a Black woman with a gorgeous girlfriend whom I plan to marry, I’m grateful for “activist” judges who understand that just because many people agree doesn’t mean they’re all “right.” I’m grateful that judicial activism exists to rescue us from a tyranny of the majority. As Maddow put it, speaking about the contraception issue, ” I realize that a lot of 60-something male pundits look at this issue and think, ‘hmm…bad politics for the democrats on the catholic side.’ There is another way to look at it.”

That’s what I mean by correcting the narrative.