In things that make you go "Wait? What now?" gay and lesbian activist organization GLAAD is calling for CNN to fire Apha Phi Alpha member and ascot-aficionado Roland Martin due to some insensitive tweets he made on his very well-retweeted Twitter page.
As we all know, Twitter is a constant causation of any and all drama these days. Rappers used to put out entire albums beefing with each other. Now folks just spit their insults over Twitter. It's fascinating. Just makes me want to run up and slap the iPhones out of people's hands.
The trouble started this time when Martin was enthusiastically tweeting while in the throws of America's greatest secular holiday, Super Bowl Sunday.
So you know? Jokes. Which of course is always trouble, whether you're a comedian or not.
GLAAD responds with a tsk, tsk, tsk ...
Martin then responds (because that's what he does).
Martin also tweeted this line, of which GLAAD also took offense.
GLAAD, whose memory is long, mentions in their Roland Martin post that Martin defended comic Tracy Morgan's homophobic jokes last year even though Morgan went back and apologized for them.
While Martin (and others) didn't see what big deal was, GLAAD and other groups are making a concerted effort to get people to pay attention to how they talk about gender and queer issues, namely curbing violent rhetoric. Even though they are "jokes," violence against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people continue to be extremely routine. And yes, routine, even in the age of RuPaul's Drag Race and the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The United States is a big country and all the gay people just aren't hanging out in Hell's Kitchen, SoHo, the DMV and the Bay Area. Some people are gay in Montgomery, Alabama or Columbus, Ohio or Kansas City, Missouri. Being "out" in those places varies from "not that bad" to "afraid for my life" depending on where you live, work or go to school.
So yes, hahahaha wack jokes. But also ... not that funny if people are actually still getting beat up for wearing pink, killed for living their lives and shunned for expressing attraction towards the people they are attracted to. The jokes were in poor taste. Much like how pretty much all rape jokes are in poor taste. Or all wife beating jokes. Or all "nigger" jokes. Or all jokes about the disabled. Like, ha ha, but don't be super shocked if your turn of phrase offends members of the group you're lazily mocking.
It's like how when I was 13 I used to call everything uncool "gay" and my mother pulled me aside and asked me why I would say that when she knew I had no issue with gay people. Why would I associate something being tacky, negative or boring with also being tied to gay people. And I told her I didn't see the two as tied together. In my brain Uncool/Gay and Gay/Gay where two entirely different things. But she explained to me that to others who didn't know my heart, who could tell the difference?
She asked me if I would have liked it if someone had said something was a "girl" thing in a negative way. That if girl (or many of the offensive ways you can say "girl") were tied to the word uncool. Well, 13-year-old me understood sexism (which is why the first time I heard a rape joke at 14 I recoiled in horror, then tried to explain to the boy who told it to me how screwed up that sounded), so that day I stopped saying something was "gay" or even using the word gay unless it was used in its proper context.
I don't think Roland Martin is some "beat up the gays" kind of person. But considering his age, background, religious beliefs, personal feelings about homosexuality and the fact that he was shit-talking during the Macho Nacho world of sports, he probably doesn't know or care about how careless his language came across. Because it's something he's probably always said and done and he doesn't think that much of it and those around him don't think that much of it because they all say things like this too. None of them plans on beating up a transsexual tonight (I hope), but they also can't see the connection between what is just a lazy joke for some and real violence for others.
I don't think ol' Rolly Rolls should get fired, but ... you know? Clean it up a little, man. It's not like that joke was super original and awesome. Getting called out for simply being lazy in your language usage is pretty pedestrian. To paraphrase the great Kanye West, "I'm on (Twitter) talking like it's just you and me."
But see? It's not just you and your boys and fans on Twitter. It's GLAAD. And everyone else. And everyone else might not think you're that funny.