Ergane (kyooverse) wrote in postqueer,

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Breaking it down-down!

Racism Advances Gay Rights

by Hargrove Jones


I heard that Isaiah Washington is in treatment to examine why he used the word faggot. Let me answer for him, and I don’t need treatment to do it. I can answer this question without introspection. In fact, I can answer for him, without even knowing him, and without even speaking to him . . . Isaiah Washington used the word faggot, because he is an American!

I challenge anyone to show me an American, over the age of fifteen, who has not used the word faggot, or at least acquiesced to the use of that word by others. Faggot is to men what bitch is to women, whenever an American wants to challenge the quality, not preference, of a man or woman, those words fly . . .

Faggot is so commonly used in America until a popular question-and-answer newspaper column, The Straight Dope, printed the following question from a reader, "How did faggot get to mean male homosexual?". Using the word that Isaiah Washington cannot, even if it is to say that he did not, The Straight Dope gave the following answer: "The first known published use of the word faggot or fag to refer to a male homosexual appeared in 1914 in the U.S. It referred to a homosexual ball where the men were dressed in drag and called them "fagots (sissies)." Ernest Hemingway, in The Sun Also Rises (1926), included the line, "You're a hell of a good guy, and I'm fonder of you than anybody on earth. I couldn't tell you that in New York. It'd mean I was a faggot." A 1921 cite says, "Androgynes [are] known as 'fairies,' 'fags,' or 'brownies.'"

Even on the website, Americablog, the word Isaiah Washington cannot say, is abundantly used. Indeed, even John Aravosis, the gay correspondent to Americablog, used it in two of his articles. Of interest was the fact that he used it in the same manner that African-Americans use the word nigger.


Who knew that you cannot say faggot to say that you did not call someone that? But Isaiah was put on notice that he can’t, and to make sure he understands it, he had to publicly infer that he is a liar, a bigot, and mentally challenged too . . . And then he had to go and visit the homosexuals and eat humble pie with them. After that he was summarily banished to a treatment facility.

But before "ABC told Isaiah Washington that he must enter a program to examine why he would say such hateful words," Glenn Beck used the same word disparagingly on air, but ABC told him, you’re hired! After saying faggot, in a mean way, in front of a television audience, Glenn Beck not only gets to keep his job at CNN, he gets another one at ABC as a commentator for Good Morning America, and he’s not even inconvenienced by criticism.

Then there’s the matter of Ann Coulter calling Vice President Al Gore a "total fag," and former President Bill Clinton a "latent homosexual" while appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman on MSNBC. Nobody sought to lighten her pocketbook, and she wasn’t steered toward a mental health facility either. And while the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) demanded, and got, an apology and a meeting with Isaiah Washington, they made no demands of Beck and Coulter, settling instead to ask the networks to regulate the use of the word on air, and they got nothing for their effort, not even a promises or an apology.

How is it that the same ABC, that put Isaiah’s job at issue for using faggot, in a good way, in an interview, hired Glenn Beck after he used the same word, in a bad way, on air? And why would GLAAD come after Isaiah with balled fist, while tap dancing, lightly, around the issue where Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck are concerned? The answer is that things are not what they seem. Isaiah Washington is not being punished for using the word faggot, he’s being punished for stepping out of, what some people believe to be, a black man’s place.

Consider the challenge contained in the question articulated by the comedian Richard Preyer, "Who do you trust, me or your lying eyes?" Do our eyes deceive us when we see everyone getting a pass on the use of faggot except for the one African American who may not have ever used it to denigrate anyone? Are we so desensitized that we cannot see that ABC, Isaiah’s colleagues, and the media have ganged up on him to, for once and for all, finish the fight between Isaiah and Patrick Dempsey in Patrick Dempsey’s favor . . .


Isaiah Washington is a perfect example of the type of event where an African American claims racism, and the chorus of denial proclaims in unison, "did all of those people get together and conspire against you . . ." That usually silences the victim who exits, wounded, and without justice. When the answer to that lame manipulation should be a resounding yes! Yes it was a conspiracy, but not of the mind. It was a conspiracy of the heart . . .

The heart reflects our deepest beliefs. Jesus said, "Out of the mouth pours the abundance of the heart . . ." If one believes, at their core, in the subordination of black people, they will support a position that accomplishes it, and they won’t have to be asked to do it. Consider Martin Lee Anderson, a young boy enrolled in a boot camp program who complained of breathing difficulties and collapsed while doing push-ups. The guards collectively attacked him, without any discussion. The nurse who was a witness did not intervene nor did she offer any assistance when he was in physical distress, without any discussion. Finally, a doctor conjured up a cause of death that exonerated everyone, without any discussion . . .

Rumor has it that Isaiah Washington confronted Patrick Dempsey because he was offended by Patrick’s reaction when he asked to go forward with their performance before T. R. Knight arrived. As an outgrowth of the conflict, Isaiah is reputed to have used the word faggot.

Whatever the truth is about the incident, it was always reported as Isaiah’s fault. If there was any inappropriate touching, he did it. If any words were spoken that should not have been said, it was him. All of the reporting favored Dempsey, and some of the reporting exceeded the rumors, and disintegrated to calling Isaiah names like "potty mouth". It must have seemed like a divine opportunity, to set the record straight, when somebody finally asked him if he called T. R. Knight a faggot.


Isaiah answered, but he quickly learned that he is forbidden to defend himself. Unless, of course, he is willing to forfeit his pay check . . . Who can believe that a man would say, "I did not call T. R. Knight a faggot," one day, and the next day, "voluntarily" say, that he used the word faggot twice, and then praise his purported "victim’s" "courage throughout this entire episode..." Sounds like he’s repudiating what he previously said, but is he really?

Isaiah Washington was virtually used as a prop for the story that he called T. R. Knight a faggot. He was given words to say that confirm that he previously used the word faggot. He was sent to gays as their poster boy for the word faggot as politically incorrect. Then his use of the word was defined as something "treatable." Meanwhile T. R. Knight trots down to the Ellen Degeneres Show, purportedly to confirm what Washington denied, but it was all smoke and mirrors that obscured the fact that no one, including T. R., said that they personally know that Isaiah call T. R. Knight a faggot

When T. R. Knight was on the Ellen Degeneres Show, he said, Isaiah "referred to me as a faggot" But when Ellen tried to get him to say that he personally knew that, "So you’re around the corner and you hear this?" T. R. dodged the question by changing the subject, saying "It’s an awesome word, isn’t it?" revealing that he does not know what Isaiah said. Further evidence of this is his description of who knows, "my friends on the set knew. We talked about it. They knew." Notice that he does not include himself as knowing. Directly after Isaiah’s denial, the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, said "things were created in a very odd way by the press that were not necessarily completely reported as true." Her remarks clearly don’t sound like she just heard a lie come out of Isaiah’s mouth. But lack of personal knowledge and general confusion about what was said, did not stop T. R. from applying enormous effort to make the story stick, including fabricating Isaiah’s behavior, to justify treating it as a lie, "yeah he denied that he said it (faggot)." Why would T. R. say that Isaiah denied using the word faggot, when he knows what we all know, namely, that Isaiah did not deny using the word faggot, he denied that he called T. R. Knight a faggot . . . Perhaps Knight’s misstatement reflects what is known as evidence of consciousness of guilt.

Notice that no one at ABC is saying that Isaiah’s denial was a lie, they merely said that his denial resulted in him using the word faggot twice. For as much crow as ABC is forcing Isaiah to eat, they would not leave anything insulting out that they are licensed to say. Namely, if they knew that Isaiah’s denial was a lie, they would have said so. Nevertheless the words they have caused Isaiah to say, and the gag they have put on him against defending himself, and T. R.’s misleading comments on the Ellen show, create the false impression that Isaiah Washington called T. R. Knight a faggot and then lied about it . . .

The power of definition is the power to determine how another is defined. In matters of race, many whites feel privileged to determine how a person of African descent will be perceived. The folks at ABC acquiesced to the press labeling Isaiah as a bigot, but they revealed their investment in retaining him in that status when they prevented him from setting the record straight, while asserting a new standard for a bigot, one who uses the word faggot, in any context . . .


Even small children know that African Americans are socially vulnerable. When my daughter was four, she told me that at nap time several white girls came to her and announced, "We’re white." My daughter wanted to know why they told her that, and I said, "it is because they expect people who are darker than they are to behave as though they believe that they are special. You did not do that, so they thought that you did not recognize the color of their skin."

There are so many questions raised by the reality of racism in American culture, but in order to maintain the status quo, those questions are not asked. For example, there’s very little curiosity about why so many white criminals claim that a black person committed their crimes. The benefit of doing that must be readily known in American culture since, even 12-year old Christopher Pittman, under the pressure of killing his grandparents and burning down their house, thought to say, a black man did it . . . Some people say that anyone who would make that claim is a racist, but I say that they are simply trying to save their own skin, by holding out the people, who they know to be, the preferred culprits. Introducing a black person into a crime, causes racist to forget everything that they know except their racial beliefs. When that happens, the obvious suspects are allowed to hide behind the chaos.


T. R. Knight tells us that the events surrounding the incident between Isaiah and Patrick caused him to come out. Meaning, he decided to tell people that he has a characteristic that some of them may not like. Perhaps if Isaiah had that luxury, he wouldn’t have been publicly humiliated, alienated from his castmates and banished to treatment . . .

What, besides racial privilege, would inspire Katherine Heigl to assume an authoritative posture toward a grown man, who is at least her equal, that presumes to tell him when he should speak, "he needs to just not speak in public. Period!" And what delusions of power, besides the expectation of support from a racist culture, would inspire a small woman to threaten a large man in a way that suggests that she can physically overpower him. "I will beat you up. I will use every ounce of energy I have to take you down . . .."

It is no wonder she can maintain these illusions when Isaiah is left gagged and shackles by slander, indignity, betrayal, insults, ridicule, humiliation and threats of impoverishment, while the white gay "victim" is buoyed by accolades, forced out of the mouth of Isaiah, like "tremendous character" "talent" "a person in high esteem . . ."

In all of my years in America, and there are a lot of them, I’ve never seen a black person held so high as T. R. following a complaint of racism, nor have I seen a white person brought so low as Isaiah Washington, as retribution for racist behavior. Even when Oprah, the supposed sweetheart of America, got locked out of Hermes Paris while in France, and was insulted to her face by a clerk, American media challenged her version of events and as much as told her to get a grip.

Even though men make up almost half of the population and African-Americans make up only 12.5 percent of the population, in a google search, the word faggot appears 3,240,000 times, while the word nigger appears 3,820,000. Since there are more than 4 times the opportunities to refer to men as faggots (-50% of the population) as there are opportunities to refer to people of African descent as nigger (+12.5% of the population) the number of times the word nigger appears should at least be multiplied by 4, making the relative number of times nigger would be used on google, if the number of African-Americans in the population were equal to that of men, as 15,280,000 compared to 3,240,000 for the word faggot. If the use of these words on google is representative to how they are used in American culture, it would mean that for every time the word faggot is used the word nigger is used five times. And when one considers that faggot is applied to straight men more often than it is applied to gay men, while nigger almost always is applied to people of African descent, the relative frequency of the use of the word nigger is probably understated.


The gang at Grey’s anatomy is using the faggot facade to put Isaiah Washington in his place, and the gays are using his social vulnerability to implement the social status that they want, but that they dare not attempt through a white person, especially a white person with status. It’s through Isaiah that they get to declare a "standard" that they hope others will buy into, as reflected in an article on Americablog entitled, "CNN defends host’s use of the word "faggot" - network slammed by lead gay anti-defamation Group. Then the writer strengthens his position with this swaggering challenge, "apparently, no one at CNN has heard of Isaiah Washington . . ."


Judge Mablean Ephriam, after seven years with FOX on Divorce Court, and the only judge program with a ratings increase in 2006, up 8% compared with Judge Judy, down 2%, Judge Joe Brown, down 3%, People’s Court, down 3%. Despite the fact that all of these judges earn more than Judge Mablean, and she was willing to accept an increase that would keep it that way, rather than reward her success, when she asked for a pay increase, FOX chose instead to fire her, along with all of the people they employed through her, including her daughter.

James Curtis, arguably the best commentator on Court TV, summarily dumped.

Starr Jones, after nine years of outstanding service on The View, wasn’t even given the courtesy of being told that her contract would not be renewed. Instead, she was lied to about her employment status, publicly humiliated and ultimately fired.

Now ABC is considering firing Isaiah. If his behavior justifies firing, then none of us should have a job.

Isaiah Washington has a wife and three babies who are dependent on his continued employment for their lifestyle. He has submitted to abusive and oppressive indignities in order to secure that for them. He earned his position, and he’s done nothing that justifies taking it away from him. He should keep his job, and ABC, Grey’s Anatomy, T. R. Knight and all of the media that participated in trouncing on him, owe him an apology . . .

Copywrite Hargrove Jones

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