Friday, August 24, 2007

racism? from a white person's perspective

this is converted from my 6/29/07 myspace blog.

former Grey's Anatomy star, Isaiah Washinton said racism was a factor in his firing from the tv show. for those who don't remember (as if there is anyone who doesn't know this story), Washington was in the hot-seat for using anti-gay slurs to his co-star during a confrontation. he was eventually fired from the show because of public backlash towards him for using the word "fag."
now, he is saying that he was fired because "someone heard the booming voice of a black man and got really scared and that was the beginning of the end for me."
my first instinct upon reading this was annoyance. sadly, i thought what many white people think... "another black person using the race card to excuse his failure."
the fact of the matter is, he DID use the word "fag" multiple times during a confrontation.
but, was he already disliked before this?
was he a so-called "angry black man?"
and if so, is this really any different from an "angry white man?" or "angry woman?" he said people were intimidated by him because he didn't buy into the slave mentality that so many black people allegedly buy into..."Well, it didn't help me on the set that I was a black man who wasn't a mush-mouth Negro walking around with his head in his hands all the time. I didn't speak like I'd just left the plantation and that can be a problem for people sometime," he said."
the problem with this is that most white people don't want "mush-mouth Negros" walking around. they just want normality in their interactions with people. and that does not include anger, shouting, and drama. i think that's what everyone wants in their interactions with other people. and if he was a constant source of this type of drama, i can understand why he intimidated people. there are lots of angry, loud people out there (white, black, latino, etc), and all of them are a little scary.
but, this is also why i hate the media. they can blow anything out of proportion, and NO ONE in the general public knows what really went on daily on the set.
and sometimes people ARE intimidated by a minority (or woman) who doesn't always agree with the white people (or men). and just because they don't agree with the majority, they are deemed "another angry black man/woman." or the woman "must have PMS."
because we all know that woman who are assertive and able to speak their mind are bitches. yet men who are assertive and speak their mind are ambitious and successful.
but black men, by far, get the worst of this in the US.
so there are two sides here:
1. the people who will side with Washington, and say that minorities who speak up are discriminated against because they intimidate white people.
2. the people against Washington, who will say that he is a homophobe looking to use racism to excuse his actions.
maybe both are correct.
so, maybe i was too quick to judge.
is he making up a bad excuse for his blatantly homophobic remarks?
or does he have a legitimate claim based on years of racist oppression? i wish there was some way to know before the media was able to distort the truth and paint their own picture for the masses. in the end, people are going to believe what they want to believe.
but hopefully, some will stop to wonder first that perhaps both sides of the argument are right. and wrong.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that the story provides enough facts to tell whether the firing was racist, whether Washington is homophobic, or whatever. In my experience, everyone's prejudiced about something, and yet so many people use routine charges of homophobia, racism, sexism, etc. for no other reason than to discredit their enemies and political adversaries. Maybe we all should listen more and make fewer accusations.

I was at a party a few months ago, in a parking area between buildings. Law firms set it up, but it was open to the public. Anyway, my wife and I were waiting for the dancing to get going, and like everyone else, enjoying the free food, drink and music. Then suddenly everything goes quiet. Some obviously homeless lady wanders in off the street, dirty, holes in her clothes. People are outraged that she'd invade -- what -- a public space? Enjoy free food like the rest of us?

People hissed, and, as hungry as she obviously was, she finally turned tail in the face of all of that hostility.

There's not even a word, as far as I know, for prejudice against the poor. But cities pass law against "loitering" and "vagrancy" and some towns even make it illegal to give food to a homeless person in a public park. Homeless shelters get shut down by city councils because they hurt property values.

What an enlightened society we live in.


Jane Know said...

I agree with what you're saying. that blog was kind of a "stream of consciousness" of what went through my mind when reading that article. people probably do play the homophobia, racist, sexist card too often. yet, it's also true that people who aren't gay, black, or women will never know what it's like to be gay, black, or women.
i can't imagine being a black person... where your "oppressed" status is visible to everyone, evey single day. if they are at all angrier, as a whole, than white people, i'm sure most of it is due to how they are treated by white people. at least i can hide my gayness to prevent outright prejudice.
it's bad enough being attacked by homobigots in an online forum these past couple of days. these people (the opine people) are attacking a very integral part of who i am and the way i live.
i can't imagine dealing with that in the real world every single day.

i fear it would make me a bitter, angry person, too.