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.