Nothing pisses me off more than the use of the word “gay” or “fag” as an insult. “That movie is so gay,” is supposed to automatically indicate that it sucked (not that it had boy-on-boy/girl-on-girl action) or “You’re such a fag,” is supposed to indicate that said fag (as a male) is feminine (femininity being innately bad, of course) or stupid. Being that those of us who aren’t born white, heterosexual and male simultaneously are summarily dismissed due to our “minority status” at one point or another in life, it always grinds my gears when members of a heavily-oppressed minority bash another heavily-oppressed minority group. Like when a black guy uses the word “faggot.”
Unfortunately, this particular black guy, a famed celebrity, has lead a privileged life since his youth that may not have lent itself to much empathy. But he’s not alone. Individuals of all races and economic statuses gleefully take part in homophobic mud-slinging. Why? Because, for some reason, it’s still okay to say “faggot.” The N-word went out with the “politically correct” era of the 80’s and 90’s and it’s a pretty big deal when a high-profile personality uses it nowadays. But, in reality, it hasn’t been that long since it’s been dropped from the acceptable lexicon and – even today – in some shit-brained, ethnocentric circles, it’s perfectly tolerable (if not encouraged.) There’s always the lunatic fringe to contend with. And, of course, there are all of those in the middle who don’t use the word out loud, but mean it.
So here we are again, this time with the word “faggot” – or, as Kobe Bryant prefers to use the term, “fucking faggot.” We’re back at square one, and the word can be spat in any circumstance against anyone of any color or sexual persuasion. Straight or gay, you can be called a “faggot.” Black or white, you can be called a “faggot.” Anywhere but on public television, you can pretty much get away with using this heinous slur, but fortunately Kobe Bryant was dumb enough to get caught, and justice was (sort of) served. He was fined $100,000 and then he gave this apology:
“What I said (Tuesday) night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.”
Riiiight. Kind of like when I accidentally call my brother a nigger because he’s beating me in a video game. Wait a second… that has never happened in my life. Why? Because I have respect for people of all races and would never use that word in my daily speech or at any time in my life (except to impactfully illustrate its caustic, abhorrent nature.) I don’t toss the N-word around at anyone because I respect black people. I don’t toss the word faggot around because I respect gay people. I don’t use the word “gay” as an insult, because it isn’t one, and it’s despicable to infer that it is.
However, allow me to make this perfectly clear: I am not equating the African-American experience with the GLBT experience. They are completely separate and different experiences and identities entirely with completely separate and different dynamics involved. BUT… is it too much to ask that us minorities band together against the establishment’s systemic, straight-white-male supremacy that prevails in our society?
Kobe. Mr. Bryant, sir. I know you attended Lower Merion High with all of the other well-to-dos and high-profilers. I realize that you’ve been living your celeb-tastic life as though you’re invincible, and the fine they made you pay was more like a trip through the McDonald’s drive-thru… but please examine your conscience and don’t blow this off as another scandal you shrugged off or another penalty you avoided. You’re a star and people – even grownups – look to you for validation and inspiration. You’re talented. You’re loved. So please… I’m begging you… STOP FUCKING IT UP.