Alec Baldwin & Homophobia: A Race-Based Double Standard?

November 25, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Guest editorial by Rev. Irene Monroe

Alec Baldwin has done it again—caught on camera in a cussing tirade hurling anti-gay
epithets at the vulturous paparazzi on his heels.

This time Baldwin’s accused of spewing out the phrase, “c-ksucking f-g.”

Baldwin doesn’t deny using the word “c-ksucking.” Some argue his admission is merely because he can’t lie his way out. But Baldwin claims that’s not the case because he simply had no clue that the word was a homophobic slur. And he tweets “I apologize and will retire it from my vocabulary … you learn something new every day.”

However, knowing the six-letter f-word is one—and the deleterious outcome to both career and endorsements of spewing it by those called on the carpet in the past—Baldwin emphatically refutes having uttered it. CNN’s Anderson Cooper has publicly called him a liar, but Baldwin, nonetheless, persists with his tale.

“One is that I never used the word faggot in the tape recording being offered as evidence
against me. What word is said right after the other choice word I use is unclear. But I can assure you, with complete confidence, that a direct homophobic slur (or indirect one for that matter) is not spoken,” Baldwin’s writes in Huffington Post blog titled “Two Requests in Light of Recent Events.”

While we have to credit Baldwin for his staunch support of marriage equality, gay civil
rights, and of also having a bevy of LGBTQ friends, Alec Baldwin has finally maxed out with mea culpas to the community. He now appears, at best, to be a lip service ally and at worst, an exposed closeted homophobe.

“Mr. Baldwin can’t fight for equality on paper, while degrading gay people in practice,”
a GLAAD representative rightly told FOX 411.

Homophobic epithets are so pervasive across our culture that most good-hearted and well-intentioned heterosexual people, like Baldwin, are sadly unaware of the psychological and physical toil they have on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. Too often and cavalierly these epithets go either unchecked or unchallenged as hate speech.

Baldwin’s arsenal of profanity words is a bevy of potty-mouthed anti-gay epithets.

And Baldwin has received numerous passes from the LGBTQ community with his homophobic
rants where others have not. And many in LGBTQ communities of color contest the reason is race-based.

Tracy Morgan, African-American comedian and former co-actor on NBC’s “30 Rock,” with Baldwin is a glaring example.

During a standup performance in June 2011 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee,
Morgan’s “intended” jokes about LGBTQ people were instead insulting jabs:

“Gays need to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant
as bullying.”

“Gay is something that kids learn from the media and programming.”

“I don’t “f*cking care if I piss off some gays, because if they can take a f*cking dick
up their ass…they can take a f*cking joke.”

Morgan publicly expressed his mea culpas to GLAAD. And as part and parcel of his forgiveness
tour has spoken out in support of LGBTQ equality.

In October 2006, Isaiah Washington got into fisticuffs with “Grey’s Anatomy” costar Patrick
Dempsey by grabbing him by the throat and outing Knight, saying, “I’m not your little faggot like [T.R. Knight].” His public apology to the LGBTQ community for the derogatory comments he deliberately and repeatedly made about his costar T. R. Knight’s sexuality was a disingenuous statement to deflect attention away from his desperate effort to save his job. He lost it nonetheless.

And there are those who have been called on the carpet for using the f-word contesting
they didn’t mean it as an insult.

Case in point: Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended in September 2012
for three games for wearing eye-black displaying a homophobic slur written in Spanish during a game against the Boston Red Sox.

With the phrase “TU ERE MARICON” (sic) written in his eye-black, the phrase can be loosely
translated as “You are a faggot” or “You’re a weak girl.”

Escobar, a native of Cuba, contested that the phrase is taken out of contest because
used in his culture it is not intended to be offensive; it’s merely used as banter in their friendly repartee.

These words are no doubt homophobic because language is a representation of culture.

If a culture is unaware of or anesthetized to the destructive use of homophobic
epithets it re-inscribes and perpetuates ideas and assumptions about race, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Consequently, these ideas and assumptions are transmitted from field houses to playing courts to media and into the dominant culture.

The difference between way the LGBTQ community has treated Alec Baldwin after his numerous outbursts and the way it’s reacted to similar outbursts from celebrities of color is troubling. Anti-LGBTQ language needs to be called out equally no matter where it comes from. Alec Baldwin certainly needs to go to anger management, but he also needs to clean his potty mouth, because it’s not just foul — it’s also homophobic.

Rev. Irene MonroeRev. Irene Monroe is a Ford Fellow and doctoral candidate at Harvard Divinity School. One of Monroe’s outreach ministries is the several religion columns she writes – “The Religion Thang,” for In Newsweekly, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender newspaper that circulates widely throughout New England, “Faith Matters” for The Advocate Magazine, a national gay & lesbian magazine, and “Queer Take,” for The Witness, a progressive Episcopalian journal. Her writings have also appeared in Boston Herald and in the Boston Globe. Her award-winning essay, “Louis Farrakhan’s Ministry of Misogyny and Homophobia”, was greeted with critical acclaim.
Monroe states that her “columns are an interdisciplinary approach drawing on critical race theory, African American , queer and religious studies. As a religion columnist I try to inform the public of the role religion plays in discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Because homophobia is both a hatred of the “other ” and it’s usually acted upon ‘in the name of religion,” by reporting religion in the news I aim to highlight how religious intolerance and fundamentalism not only shatters the goal of American democracy, but also aids in perpetuating other forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism and anti-Semitism.”

The views expressed are those of the author.

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