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Isaiah Washington, T.R. Knight, and being black, white, straight, and gay in America

As the controversy surrounding African-American Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington and his usage of the word "faggot" in reference to white, gay co-star T.R. Knight grows in the spotlight, an article has emerged that addresses the issues within a context that deserves consideration.

In "The hypocrisy of White gay America" Jasmyne Cannick compares Washington's current predicament to a 19th century lynching by an angry white, gay, and hypocritical mob whose hypocrisy surfaces with its apparent indifference to, and even reverence of Charles Knipp, a white, gay male who dresses up in blackface as a character called Shirley Q. Liquor and caters to white, gay audiences across American metropolises. For Cannick, Knipp promotes the most negative and vicious stereotypes of blacks, and in particular black women, yet no protests erupt from white, gay America. Why? As Cannick puts it:

"The same racism and classism issues that exists between Blacks and Whites in general, applies to the gay community as well...Unfortunately, when it comes to the gay community, if it's not affecting their rosy White lives, then they couldn't give a [darn]. But hey, isn't that what White privilege is all about?"

Now of course, there are exceptions to every generalization, but Cannick opens another door to understanding how both homophobia and racism are present even within groups, like visible minorites and homosexuals, that have historically been persecuted. When will we learn? Read more.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rich white gay folks like SQL because he gives them an excuse to do something naughty- laugh at a black woman.

But the vehicle SQL uses to bypass the race issue is poverty.

After all, in America, poor is shit; black or white.

Jason Lydon said...

unfortunately, "anonymous" there is a little more to it than that. To say class is the only issue is ignorant of the history of class and race in the U$A. I would really suggest taking some time to learn about the racial wealth divide and the implications race has had on ones ability to accumulate wealth. We should also look specifically at the queer community and how any advancements have happened and how white queers regularly leave Queers of Color and all People of Color behind in the work that we do. Solidarity really needs to mean something. Queer Liberation is about Black Liberation is about Brown Liberation is about Gender Liberation is about ALL Liberation!

Anonymous said...

I never suggesteed class was the only issue. I suggested that "shirley q. liquor" in effect focuses on making fun of the poverty of the individual in order to "get away with doing blackface.