After a petition calling for “Grey’s Anatomy” actor Isaiah Washington to be fired for his use of the f-word was launched and was reportedly having an affect on the powers that be at ABC, I decided to launch a similar petition but with the aim of keeping Washington on the show.
Within minutes of launching the petition and posting the link on my website, I received dozens of emails inquiring why I, a Black lesbian, would want to support someone who used the f-word.
Make no mistake about it; to me, the f-word is just as detrimental and derogatory as the n-word.
Moreover, this isn’t about saving Isaiah’s job because he is a Black man. While it’s no secret that I advocate on behalf of Blacks, wrong is wrong and what Isaiah said at the Golden Globes was unfortunate.
However, I cannot overlook the way in which this all went down.
The gay community is not one big happy family. For far too long, gay has been synonymous with white and power.
The issue of Isaiah Washington is not solely a gay issue, it’s also a Black issue. But you’d never know that looking from the recent media reports calling for Washington to be fired. That’s because the gay mafia has taken it upon themselves to single handedly position themselves as the experts on what Isaiah’s fate should be.
Now I am not implying that the gay mafia is all of white gay America. Nevertheless, the gay mafia is the gay power structure that quite frankly, is the voice and face of the gay community and is the reason why people, including Black America thinks that all gays are white. Similar to politics, where the Speaker of the House, speaks for everyone, even if people disagree, the gay mafia has done a huge disservice to the gay community by putting the message out there that all gays are calling for Isaiah Washington to be fired, when indeed they are not.
The hypocrisy comes into play with the silence of the gay mafia on one of their own, Charles Knipp’s, whose character Shirley Q. Liquor portrays Black women as being on welfare, living in the projects, illiterate, shoplifting sexually promiscuous mothers who don’t know who their children’s fathers are, alcoholics, and drug addicts. All of which sends a clear message to Black America, including Black gays, that they are all too ok with his use of blackface and stereotypes. Add lest we forget their silence regarding last year’s horrific hate-crime that claimed the life of 29-year-old Michael Sandy in New York, and it’s clear to me that there’s some hypocrisy and media whoring going here.
Before making any rush decision, the gay mafia should have checked with the Black gay leadership to see where they were on this issue. Who knows, if they did, they might have found that Black gays didn’t support Washington being fired but perhaps would have offered another solution. On the other hand, they might have both agreed that calling for him to be fired was the most appropriate road to take. Sadly, we’ll never know, because as usual, the gay mafia has taken a hold of this issue as their own ignoring everything and everyone else that doesn’t fall into line with their position.
Diversity in the gay community is a joke. It’s only an issue when funding is at stake or there is a need to show that certain gay organizations employ minorities. Other than that, diversity flies out the door and the Agenda, as it is commonly referred to, is largely the brainchild of the gay mafia, which at the end of the day really doesn’t include minority voices.
Calling for Isaiah Washington to be fired without first conferring with Black gays and choosing to work together on this issue was a huge mistake. This issue directly affects Black gays as well, because they are also a part of the larger Black community and the outcome of this issue and how Black America perceives it will factor into whether there is Black support in 2007 on other “gay” issues. Any groundwork that’s been made in African American communities by Black gays on gay issues is in jeopardy of being lost if this issue is seen as a case of the white gays attacking a Black man while doing nothing to criticize its own racism.
And so, at the end of the day, I feel that if Charles Knipp can escape the wrath of the gay mafia, why should Isaiah Washington be held to a different standard? If all things are equal and no one racial or homophobic slur is worse than the other, what makes Knipp’s portrayal of Black women any less egregious?
So by supporting Isaiah Washington I am not saying I am ok with his use of the f-word, but I am sending a message that the gay mafia doesn’t speak for the entire gay community on this issue and since they refuse to acknowledge their own hypocrisy with Charles Knipp, why should Isaiah Washington lose his job?
If you get and understand what I am saying, please sign this petition and send a clear message to the powers that be, that hypocrisy, racism, and classism will not go unnoticed or challenged in the gay community.