Saturday, June 02, 2007
June 2007 TransGriot Column
Chuck Knipp + SQL + Minstrel Show = Racism
Copyright 2007, THE LETTER
Just in time for pride I’m calling out all you GLBT racism enablers.
Racism enabler? Moi? Yes, you!
You peeps who silently sit through racist rants that would make the local KKK Grand Wizard proud. It also includes you peeps who paid good American money to see and support a racist minstrel show like some of y’all did on May 5 during Derby.
A minstrel show mind you that perpetuates stereotypes dating back to the 1830’s and has as much humor in it as Don Imus’ April 4 ‘nappy headed garden tool’ comments that got him canned from his multimillion dollar radio gig.
Stop rolling your eyes and muttering under your breath ‘there she goes again.’ I’m just as sick and tired of ‘splaining to y’all why Chuck’s minstrel show is offensive to the African-American SGL community. For the record, it’s disrespectful on multiple levels to single mothers, economically disadvantaged peeps, women and African-Americans.
Spare me your latest ‘It’s free speech’ SQL defense line. With free speech comes responsibility and consequences as well. Free speech cuts both ways. Just as Chuck has the right to say things and insult my people in his ‘act’ I have a reciprocal right to protest and call him out for performing a 'show’ with stereotypes rooted in slavery.
And no, Chuck doesn’t get a ‘dodge criticism’ free pass because he’s gay. Isaiah Washington and Tim Hardaway didn’t (and still don’t) get them from the gay community for their one-time comments, so a serial offender like Chuck doesn’t get one either.
Let me also put an end to Chuck’s disingenuously fallacious statement that by performing SQL he’s fostering a discussion on race relations by getting us to laugh at them.
Chuck is exacerbating racial tensions, not healing them. Using a blackface image with 400 years of negativity associated with it doesn’t exactly lend itself in African-American eyes as a starting point for a civil discourse on race relations. In 2002 we African-Americans had a major problem with those blackface images in Spike Lee’s ‘Bamboozled’ movie. You know we’re gonna be highly perturbed with someone standing on stage in blackface who is not only gay and should know better, but comes from the same ethnic group and gender that enslaved our great-great grandparents.
That little ‘12 Days of Kwanzaa’ ditty Chuck composed that’s posted on every white supremacist website on the Net also puts an abrupt end to that ‘I’m a racial healer' fallacy as well.
Finally, let’s get one thing straight (pardon the pun). The white community gay or straight doesn’t get to determine what we African-Americans should or shouldn't be offended by. The African-American community collectively does and it’s the height of arrogance for you to think that you do. Trotting out RuPaul, the mysterious African-American ‘friend’ who’s allegedly an SQL fan (yeah, right) or anyone else for Chuck to hide behind ain’t gonna work either. RuPaul has less credibility in the African-American SGL community nowadays than Condoleezza Rice.
It should be obvious after 5 years of protests, show cancellations, denunciations from African-American activists, African-American GLBT columnists and bloggers, GLBT organizations, our gay and straight allies and other concerned citizens of various ethnic backgrounds where we stand on the SQL issue. The more intransigent you get about SQL, the more you risk losing the African-American GLBT community as an ally
in the GLBT rights struggle.
Yes peeps, it’s that serious.
This was always more than just us complaining about a lousy minstrel show. This is being viewed by some in the African-American GLBT community as a litmus test to see just how serious the white GLBT community is about dealing with issues that we deem important.
And right now you’re in danger of failing that test.