Two Wrongs . . . No, Make That Three

In an article today at ChicagoDefender, a self-described “Black News Source,” Jasmyne Cannick, a lesbian writer, compares the media-overblown Isaiah Washington/T.R.Knight controversy to the gay mafia and their support of Charles Knipp and his character Shirley Q. Liquor.  Wait, let me roll up my sleeves for this one. 

Regarding the Grey’s Anatomy debacle, Jasmyne Cannick wrote:

But something about this whole thing reeks of White privilege, gay power, and what I commonly refer to as the hypocrisy of White gay America.

The gay mafia didn’t have a problem defending their pretty boy Knight whose career will probably sky rocket now that’s he’s out of the closet. However, at the same time, there’s been no protest launched against Charles Knipp, a White gay man who dresses up in blackface as a character he calls Shirley Q. Liquor and describes as an inarticulate Black women on welfare with 19 kids.

I’m sorry, let me make sure I understand what she’s writing: Firstly, there are, apparently, both a the gay “community” and a “gay mafia,” and both are comprised solely of caucasians (and I must say, for a black lesbian she’s evidently better informed on this subject than I am).  Now, while the black community bore no onus in protesting Isaiah Washington’s comments, the gay “community” does bear the onus of protesting when one man, a performer of little-to-no taste–insults black people.  Because he’s gay.  Is it just me, or is there a double standard here?

Now let me say that I’ve heard a couple of the Shirley Q. Liquor bits, and the one thing that strikes me about all of them is that they’re extremely stupid and highly offensive.  I should also say that I felt that way BEFORE I ever knew that this was a white man doing these bits.  I heard them in mp3 format, and have never seen the knave who portrays the character.  Hopefully I never will.  The “humor” is trailer-trash at best.  I don’t belong to any “community” except the local one I reside in, but Ms. Cannick can rest assured that I would never give my patronage to someone of such poor taste and no talent.  (Except for my viewership of American Idol, but that’s free.)

HOWEVER, Ms. Cannick’s article is so determinedly anti-white that it misses the mark by a mile.  As for this “gay mafia” she talks about . . . I’ve done far more than enough to piss them off if they existed, and as Shirley Mclaine sang in Postcards from the Edge, “I’m still here.”

I admit that whenever I see the phrase “white privilege” I can’t help but compare it to the phrase “white power,” which begets “black power,” at which point I put down whatever I’m reading and go brush my teeth.  Privilege and power should have nothing to do with skin color, and those who maintain that they do have yet to convince me that their arguments are nothing more than an excuse for laziness. 

White skinheads who shout “white power,” and black militants who shout “black power,” are doing nothing positive to contribute to an integrated society as a whole.   I have thought since I was a child that it was the white people that had to be brought around to equality and integration, but much to my chagrin it isn’t just the crackers who are full of cheese.  Witness the black gentleman on this past Friday’s Trading Spouses who said, “I don’t want any part of integration.” 

Perhaps the most telling statement in Ms. Cannick’s article is this:

I learned a long time ago that as a Black lesbian, my place was with Blacks. The same racism and classism issues that exists between Blacks and Whites in general, applies to the gay community as well.

I’m sorry, “My Place?”  Did she just say “My Place?”  As a white man, I’m sure I’m missing something here.  Then again, I’m 1/4 Cherokee/Mohawk, so “My Place” wouldn’t be with the “whites” either–except that “I pass.”  (In fact, I had a college professor tell me, and all of the other “white” kids in class,” that we were racist because we benefitted from our white skin.  White people have the power, and power plus prejudice=racism.  Evidently we have no choice but to be prejudiced because we benefit from having white skin, and white people hold most of the positions in power.  That pissed me off to no end, because my Grandmother told me many stories of the prejudice she experienced as a native american girl growing up–and she looked it, too–and here was this man judging my life experiences from the color of my “white” skin!  But I digress.) The whole subject of race makes me sick.  How about we just be the HUMAN race and be done with the segregationist crap already?  This was supposed to be settled before I was even born.  I know racism still exists.  I know it is easier for whites than blacks in some parts of this country to this day.  But come ON. 

Washington’s remarks were just plain wrong.

Charles Knipp’s “act” is insulting and wrong.

Ms. Cannick’s presumptions about the “white gay community” based solely on suppositions, and her application of a double standard?  That’s just as wrong. 

Can’t wait to get Pam’s take on this story.  

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7 thoughts on “Two Wrongs . . . No, Make That Three

  1. Pingback: Anonymous

  2. As you well know, Jamie…homosexuality is the ‘white man’s disease’. When people from other cultures are infected, it’s because of Neo-Colonialism and American/European Union Hegemonic Media. Why, just ask any radical Islamist fundamentalist from Syria or Iran. Surely, they know much more about the topic than any so-called Western scientist (who, at any rate, is probably biased because of white privilege).

  3. Having re-read her comments more clearly, I think she has a point when she says there is racism (certainly, preferential treatment for whites) in places like Chelsea, WeHo, and Castro.

    But to use that as an excuse for Mr. Washington’s actions is ridiculous. And to suggest that homophobia (as a way of enmasculating white males) is somehow a form of legitimate resistance to racism is equally disturbing. You don’t fight bigotry with more bigotry, it only encourages retaliation and mistrust. Moreover, after all is said and done, the only real casualties are the GLBT folks of color who get caught in the crossfire.

  4. Cannick might have a point about racism in the homosexual community, but like so many others she Michael-Moore’s it into insignificance by trying to play a race card.

    There is a fundamental difference between humor/parody/satire and hate speech. Cannick completely ignores this difference to somehow draw a parallel between an entertainer with a questionably funny act and someone who used a term in a specifically hostile way. Tracey Ullman has a character who is a black woman and some might find stereotypical, so should we also protest her? For that matter, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx and Martin Lawrence also have characters that are less than complementary. Even Bill Cosby’s “Fat Albert” might be considered offensive. Yet Cannick isn’t interested in these characters or entertainers because they don’t feed into her “black victimization” world view.

    You are absolutely right, Jamie, that two wrongs don’t make a right. This sort of intellectual double standard seems to be extremely popular right now and this whole sad affair is an excellent example of that. What’s more, it’s an example that two wrongs aren’t even necessarily wrong for the same reasons and that one must pay attention to context when developing a response. Cannick would do well to remember this and stop crying wolf just to compare pickaninnies and fairies.

  5. I sorry, but which part of are you lot not getting. Blackening his face for comedy role is way out of order.

    As for the black guy and his faggot comments is in the same line as that Kramer fool, they are both idiots, however the black drag act is far more offensive and will always lead to violence.

    We have something in England called Darkie Day, perforemd on boxing day in Cornwall. The local parade the streets singing song about Ni**ers and dress in Bob Marley wigs and face painted in Black.

    However things came to head, when a young documentary crew stating filming the event. Police were called in and protest grew. The locals response was this and wait for it.

    They have been singing the same songs and painting there faces for over 150 years, so why should they stop. They stopped quickly singing the songs, as word got out.

    My point is this, the drag queen is still allowed to perform, but as usual, the black can lose his job so quickly.

  6. Again, there is a sizable difference between parody/satire and hate speech. That’s what’s being left out of the consideration. Washington’s remarks were purely intended to injure while the Shirley Q. Liquor character is parody. Broad parody, to be sure, but still parody.

    Furthermore, it’s not as if this was Washington’s first offense or that he merely called someone a bad name. He laid hands on a coworker. Getting violent in the workplace is an easy way to get fired. Indeed, at present, the only thing that’s actually keeping Washington in a job is the fact that he’s black and the network doesn’t want to deal with the unavoidable, although completely off-base, shit storm his removal will engender.

    This issue isn’t about race and the false correlation of the Shirley Q. Liquor character to Washington’s remarks and actions is insulting, myopic and damaging to the real struggle for racial civil rights in the same way Michael Moore has hurt the credibility of liberals everywhere. The black man hasn’t lost his job, quickly or otherwise, so lets not go crying about a racial situation that doesn’t even exist. Indeed, the only one who seems to be in danger of losing his job is T.R. Knight who Cannick is so eager to vilify because he’s white, male and blameless.

  7. Pingback: Is George Lopez A Homophobe? « I must be dreaming

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