You ever read a story and just wish the person talking would show a little bit of human decency? Well T.I.’s interview at Vibe did that to me.
Man, I will say this, the funniest joke I ever heard Tracy say during a stand-up was, ‘C’mon man, I think gay people are too sensitive. If you can take a dick, you can take a joke.’ [Cracks up laughing.] That shit was funny to me. And it’s kind of true.’ While T.I. makes clear that he supports anyone’s sexual preference, he then connects, in his opinion, a current oversensitivity among gay people with a consequential and ironic offense of the First Amendment. “They’re like,‘If you have an opinion against us, we’re gonna shut you down.’ … That’s not American. If you’re gay you should have the right to be gay in peace, and if you’re against it you should have the right to be against it in peace.’
Here we go again, with the excuse that comedy gives the speaker the right to engage in whatever ism they choose. Comedy is not some kind of magical panacea, and these so-called jokes, come from a place of ignorance, hatred, and privilege. Morgan stood on that stage and purposefully attacked gay people for a cheap laugh, specifically because he has straight privilege.
Gay people weren’t being too sensitive, they were righteously angry at being demeaned and I am sick of the idea that marginalized people are being too sensitive when they respond forcefully to being attacked. Just because the First Amendment gives people the right to spout hate speech, does not eradicate the harm that is caused by said speech. Teens are being bullied and killing themselves, GLBT people still don’t have equal rights, and this manifests in things like higher rates of unemployment, housing discrimination, a lack of social services and sometime violence and death. It is much easier to oppress a group of people, if you don’t see them as your equal, or even human. This is why every single historically marginalized group has slurs that can be aimed at them to reduce their person.
T.I. then goes on to employ the masters tools. It’s not enough that he defended Tracy Morgan, he had to go one step further and suggest that gay people are invested with enough social power to stifle negative things said about them. If GLBT people were so powerful, they would have equal rights in the law. Look at how many years it to took to get DADT eradicated and the fact that in the majority of the states in the U.S., same sex marriage is still illegal. Trans people are still fighting for accommodations laws, but yet GLBT people have all of this power. What T.I. is doing is mourning his perceived loss of privileged, and I say perceived because that is all it is really.
Since T.I. is such a believer in free speech, what he should realize is the same freedom that allows him to justify hatred, is the same freedom that allows GLBT people and their allies to forcefully call out homophobia when they hear or see it. Bigots only want to embrace free speech when it defends their right to be hateful, and not when it supports fighting in the cause of justice.
Finally, the very fact that T.I. claims to support sexual preference is proof of his bigotry. When exactly did this man choose to be straight? Did he wake up one day and say gee, I think I will sleep with women? Sexuality is not a choice. It’s as naturally occurring as the colour of ones skin. If he truly supported the GLBT community, he would not have come to the defense of Tracy Morgan, nor would he have said such clearly bigoted things. The only thing that is clear from his commentary is that he believes that attacking historically marginalized people is his right.
I really felt the need to speak out because of the ongoing tension between the White members of the GLBT community and straight Blacks. Every time I see some ridiculous comment like this, I know that it serving to add fuel to the fire. Everything that T.I. said will be further proof to some that Blacks are uniquely homophobic. T.I does not speak for me, nor for many people. I think that as a community and by community I mean Black people, that we need to be more active in rooting out the sickness that is homophobia. One thing is certain, if some White comic had said racially insensitive comments, we would all be up in arms. Racism may be different than homophobia, but both amount to oppression, and no one benefits when it is allowed to run unchecked.