Real Men Wear Ascots: Roland Martin, Homophobia, & Fighting Bigotry

I don’t watch football; I will neither confirm nor deny whether my reasoning for disinterest is based on my capacity to understand that game. While many of you were enjoying the big sporting event of the year yesterday, I was working (and missing out on festivities that included alcohol and party food). I’m not disappointed, because I decided to peek in on twitter every now and again for the sexism, hetero- and all other forms, in the advertisements for my annual personal project. It turns out, unless you’re actually watching what is being live-tweeted, it isn’t as amusing; nor is my misogyny and homophobia watch as effective if I do not witness it with mine own eyes.

What I did witness, however, were Roland Martin’s tweets (complete with exchanges from a few of my very sharp followers) that were, in short, homophobic, heterosexist, and disgusting. Now, I wasn’t entirely surprised at Roland, given how he defended Tracey Morgan’s remarks that he would stab his son is he turned out gay, writing it off as mere comedy. Roland tweeted advocating violence toward men who engage in behavior that is not hetero-normative, quickly distinguishing the difference between a “real” bruh and all others.


 

Roland spent much of his evening and hours following the tweets attempting to clear up the confusing, stating that he was just joking on soccer in general and that claims of homophobia were reaching. I’ll just be one of many to say, Roland: you need more people.

I’d like to say, though, that this is not that uncommon a stance within the Black communities. Roland’s homophobia is dangerous and damaging particularly to the Black community; and I am in support of GLAAD’s position that language matters and that there should be no space on CNN for a pundit who puts the LGBTQQI community in fear of being assaulted for expressing themselves (or, in many instances, minding their business and not physically expressing themselves at all!).

In the past, I’ve discussed how oppressed people often become oppressors, even while still being oppressed. Roland Martin’s tweets are a perfect example of that. I am a firm believer of calling people on their shit when they are wrong. What I am not a firm believer of, however, is fighting bigotry with bigotry. For Roland’s hate-filled words, he was called a N-word, an ape, made fun of due to his weight (during which, I interjected because fat-shaming is wrong), and even told by a psuedo-celeb for effect that he hopes he is “assraped”. I get it — we’re hurt, outraged, and upset. I do not by any means support any of what Roland Martin said; I absolutely agree with my LGBTQQIA family that he has a history of inappropriate and quite disgusting homophobia. I feel very strongly, though, that you cannot fight ignorance with ignorance. That, instead of encouraging more bigotry and even more violence (yes, Perez, I am talking to you), we must combat that shit with intelligence. Otherwise, we’re just as small-minded as the promoters of bigotry.

I stand with GLAAD, and yet I think that this may be putting a band-aid on a larger problem. We absolutely have to address LGBTQQIA rights on a larger scale, and within the home. We absolutely must do so within the Black community. If you think that we have, I’d encourage you to check the comment section under the video of the young man who was recently attacked – by multiple with a tire, by multiple men – in Atlanta for being (presumably) gay*. It’s sad and beyond offensive; hate speech, especially that provoking violence, infringes on basic civil and human rights owned by any individual.

I’d like to see advocacy groups from the different corners of marginalization building better partnerships in addressing bigotry and working together in the best interest for each of our respective and collective groups.

*If anyone in the Atlanta area knows who the parties in the linked video are, please contact law enforcement.