We already know that being gay in the Black community is a touchy subject for many African-Americans. About a month ago Don Lemon came out of the closet and it seemed as if the Internet was going crazy, especially the Black sites. As a follow-up, BET.com featured an exclusive with a Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation representative.
He explained that in the African-American community, coming out can be extremely difficult because Black men are expected to be a “strong male figure” and if he is gay, there’s a belief that he cannot be, and that he is less of a man.
Therefore, to know that so many sites have made an effort to combat how the Black community thinks about Black homosexuals, I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I read on TMZ what Tracy Morgan recently said.
On stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, Morgan went off, about gays. "Gays need to quit being p&*#@* and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying," he said.
Though many including Lemon have gone public and said that they were “born gay,” Morgan went on to say, "Gay is something that kids learn from the media and programming."
And, just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, when talking about the possibility of his son being gay, Morgan said that his son, "better talk to me like a man and not in a gay voice or I'll pull out a knife and stab that little n#**%! to death."
Though there are many things that could be pointed out as crossing the line between comedy and being derogatory, I first have to ask, have we not come further as a people?
It seems as if LGBTs are the new punching bag. As a racial group who has overcome racism and injustice, no matter our personal views− whether we accept the lifestyle or not−no one deserves to be mistreated physically, or in this case, verbally.
Though I am a huge Tracy Morgan fan, I almost feel as if his platform is now a gift and a curse.
When reading the article I think about how a joke can have a different effect based on the audience in front of which it’s told and who is telling the joke.
It’s almost as if you go to a small club where an unknown Black comedian tells a slightly racist joke about a white person in front of an all African-American crowd. Though the joke may be a little offensive, he’ll probably get a couple of laughs. But, if you see a famous Black comedian tell that same joke in front of a non-minority crowd on television, it almost wants to make you shake your head.
A double standard? Most definitely.
The difference is that when Black celebrities do something or say something wrong in public, the Black community almost feels as if it is a representation of them. We’ve seen it with Kobe Bryant when he cheated on his wife, when Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson’s wife stuffed almost $80,000 in her bra, and who can forget Kwame Kilpatrick’s text messages. Though many of us don’t know them personally, we felt the shame.
In this case, however, I don’t find these jokes funny− whether they would have been said in front of a minority, or non-minority audience.
I do have to say that I think you overstepped Tracy and that this may be one of those shameful-representation moments.
(Photo: Scott Gries/ Picture Group)