The controversy in regards to comedian Tracey Morgan's nasty and ill-timed "comedic" routine -- in which he used shockingly ugly homophobic terms to talk about LGBTs and even talked about murdering his son if the boy turned out to be gay -- has caused a lot of suitable controversy.
And now it has gotten worse. CNN journalist Roland Martin and comedian Chris Rock have chosen to defend Martin -- both asserting the idea that Morgan is a comedian who thrives on being shocking so maybe there is too much made out of what he said.
Of course both of these individuals did not give Michael Richards the same courtesy for his infamous nasty tirade against African-Americans during his comedy routine. Martin gave a weak defense that Richards was out of line because he attacked members of the audience, whereas Morgan's vile comments came as a part of his comedy routine.
To me, that says Morgan's comments are worse than Richards because it means that they were planned, thus premeditated.
Naturally Martin and Rock's defense has unleashed rude comments from some white LGBTs who feel that they are defending Morgan because he is a fellow African-American. Of course these folks are omitting the fact that other African-Americans -- LGBT African-Americans -- comedian Wanda Sykes, former Clinton White House employee and prominent speaker Keith Boykin, as well as prominent blogger Rod McCollum, have been vocal, either on Twitter or in public statements, castigating Morgan for his words and Martin and Rock for defending Morgan.
This fact brings up the crucial point which is lost because of the eagerness of some to vent prospective anti-LGBT or anti-African-American prejudices.
And it is a point which can be best described by remembering the Clarence Thomas hearings of the early 90s.
Remember when Anita Hill, who accused Thomas of sexual harassment, testified in front of a predominantly white male Congressional hearing who berated her, belittled her, and came so very close to calling her a liar? Remember the reaction it garnered from women across the country that this all-male Congressional body just "didn't get it" when it came to what a woman has to deal with in terms of sexual harassment in the workplace or sexual harassment in general?
It's the same situation in terms of Morgan and Rock and Martin's defenses of Morgan.
To LGBTs, potentially being harmed as LGBT children is a reality of not just now, but what a vast majority of us faced as youngsters.
Nasty inferences made about how we engage in sexual intercourse is also an unfunny reality to us.
Being bullied to the point of being fearful of making assertive actions to benefit our lives is not trivial but another unfunny reality to us.
But all of these things were belittled by Morgan.
Morgan infringed upon the dignity of our lives. He impugned the painful process that many of us had to go through (and are still going through) in order to embrace ourselves with self-love and self-worth in the face of a world which at times tells us to hate ourselves. He took our history and spit on it for the sake of laughs
As much as I hate to use the term, Morgan -- and Rock and Martin for that matter -- just "don't get it," not because of race, but because of "heterosexual privilege."
"Heterosexual privilege" is the same as "racial privilege" or "gender privilege," when those in the majority have no inkling that words and actions which have no affect on them can be devastating to those who don't have nearly as much population numbers, influence, or visibility.
It's a sad reality which gets omitted a lot. And as the Tracey Morgan controversy proves, that's a real shame.
UPDATE - Rock has backtracked on the defense of Morgan's comments.