As of this writing, there’s been a recent spate of incidents regarding homosexuality. There were several suicides in September of 2010, including that of Tyler Clementi, from Rutger’s University. Then in early October 2010 there was the gang attack in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx on three gay people. Then there was a minor flap about the film trailer for the movie the Dilemma. Then there was the Carl Paladino commentary regarding homosexuality. All of these incidents should make it clear that intolerance of homosexuality is still alive and well. Indeed, I was shocked by an ABC television news reporter remarking on how shocked the neighbors in the Bronx were regarding the attack in light of society’s greater acceptance and tolerance. I have to ask, “which society are you referring to”?? It’s certainly not the black or hispanic societies of the urban poor, where manhood is constantly challenged and assessed.
Remember Isaiah Washington’s career crippling use of the slur “faggot” in re then co-star T.R. Knight? Some speculated that Blacks tolerate homophobia. Overall, albeit with some glaring exceptions, there is some truth to this. Isaiah Washington, a straight black man from Texas showed some intolerance towards homosexuals through his choice of words, but I wonder how many straight black men from Texas accept homosexuality? How many others use the word “faggot” in casual conversation? How many junior high and high school students use the term? If we are to feel outrage at each infraction, then there is more than enough outrage to go around…
Yes. There are gay people of every ethnicity, African American, White, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and so on. However; one would be very hard pressed to find two gay man of color walking down the street of a poor community of color while holding hands in broad daylight if they live in that community. This is because they know that they will never, ever command respect in that community if they do.
The depth and breadth of homophobia and other forms of intolerance is greatly underestimated in this country. We are very, very far from a national Kumbayah moment…To hear some people talk, it’s clear that they don’t understand how deeply entrenched, intense, resilient, or pervasive certain beliefs are. All one has to do is to open the editorial pages of a newspaper like the New York Post or read the comments written in response to the Paladino and Clementi stories to see that.
As a sidebar, I’d like to point out that “Joe the Plumber” is 37 years old – born 12/3/1973, whereas Mr. Paladino,born August 24, 1946, is 64 as of this writing. The oldest person who attacked the three gay men in the Bronx was reported as 23 years old in October 2010. This underscores the point that although younger generations as a collective whole may be more tolerant or accepting, that by no means suggests that all individuals of a certain age are more tolerant or that intolerance is no more.
My overall response to the “It gets better” campaign directed at the self-esteem of homosexual youth? The notion that life gets better is a conclusion of which I’m very skeptical, depending upon the individual circumstances. Sure it gets better for you if you move to a more progressive community, but if you remain in an overwhelmingly conservative/intolerant one, life is not likely to get a whole lot better for you if you’re openly gay.
Intolerance is too nice a word to adequately prepare people for the seething, insidious, and in many cases, intractable hatred that may come their way. There are and probably will always be those for whom a homosexual’s life, opinions, deeds, works, and values are completely worthless.
Some of the comments in response to a CBSNEWS report on Paladino’s statements were exceptionally vicious, such these:
by drivelphobe October 11, 2010 8:17 AM EDTHe wants kids to understand that homosexuality is a disease that cannot be cured and that the behavior is unacceptable and in direct conflict with life. They are[a] a non-reproductive life form that exist as societal freeloaders. They serve no purpose, but compete within our society for survival and tend to demand more and more from their hosts.by drivelphobe October 11, 2010 8:03 AM EDTCorrection.. “genetic and natural” should be genetic, but an unnatural, defective mutation. It’s a genetic malfunction that occurs like Down’s syndrome, cleft pallet, etc. It just happens to be worse. LIke other socially unacceptable behaviors, these people should not be mainstreamed in the public school system. They need to be kept separate from the normal kids. Homosexuality is as disgusting to heterosexuals as cannibalism is to civilized humans. The thought makes heterosexuals puke. It is not homophobia, but rather a genetically programmed revulsion. All homosexuals can do is fight for their survival, but they cannot win. Our laws give them rights, but they are rejected by societies everywhere as they should be. I agree with Paladino, I don’t want any kids taught that homosexuality is anything but an aberration of nature and a disease, like polio, that needs to be eradicated. I can’t blame them for fighting for survival, but it’s a losing battle.
CBSNEWS is a more mainstream news source, and considered by some to be liberal/left-leaning, so one can only imagine what some of the more conservative media websites have in their blogs…So although those who are queer are here, there will be those who won’t be getting used to it, and biased folks like those mentioned above and from the Westboro Baptist Church won’t be going anywhere either.