Gay is the new Black?

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12/11/12 Colorado - As we were both walking down the insipid hallways of our high school, I watched as the boy in front of me turned around with a puzzled and slightly hurt look because of what he had just been called. “Faggot.” I’d heard about bullying before, but had never witnessed it. I thought to myself, “Clearly this man is not a bundle of twigs!” but that’s not what the antagoniser had meant. The victim wasn’t even gay, but what if he had been? If I had a dime for everytime I’ve heard the word “faggot” used as a slur for being homosexual, I’d be rich.

Calling a homosexual a “faggot” is nearly as bad as a black being called a “n*****”. They are both harsh, demeaning words and equally hurtful. Many people have said that “gay is the new black.” With all the discrimination towards both kinds of minorities, how can you ignore the similarities? Will gay rights ever be as big a deal as African-American rights were? There’s already extreme controversy spawning.


DISCRIMINATION WITHIN MEDIA
How many times have you come across hate towards homosexuals? It’s not just within society and the people you see and hear, it’s within media. There are plenty of commercials that suggest homosexuality as unacceptable. For example, a Snickers commercial portrays two men who accidentally kiss while eating a Snickers bar. After the accidental kiss, the men resort to “doing something manly” to make up for it and proceed to ripping off their chest hair.
Watch the commercial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oooij6sQYgI&feature=player_embedded
Other examples of homophobia through media are in advertisements.
An advertisement for cologne says “Str8. There’s no other way.”

An advertisement for Nike shoes states “The only thing worse than going to the ballet is going to the ballet to watch your son.”

More or less, media is also moving towards supporting gays, but sometimes it doesn’t necessarily influence people enough to apply it to the real world. T.v. shows like “Glee” or “Modern Family” make it their primary goal to represent homosexuals as acceptable and that they live the same lives straight people do. But why can’t that translate to society? Whether we see it everyday or not, it’s there. Even with idols like Elton John or Ellen DeGeneres, Ellen preaching every day to “Be kind to one another”, the hate is overpowering support.

The same kind of discrimination is aimed towards blacks as well. Media throughout the years has looked down upon having darker skin color and has given in to the social norm of following stereotypes. An example of a commercial that expresses a stereotype is a KFC commercial that shows a white man in a crowd of blacks explaining how to handle an awkward situation like the one he’s in by holding up a bucket of fried chicken.
Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FftZt-Dw_hQ&feature=related
Other examples of racism towards blacks in media are through advertising.

An advertisement for soap has the Caucasian girl saying “Why doesn’t your mamma wash you with fairy soap?” directly referring to the color of the African-American girl’s skin.

An advertisement for Intel Core Duo Processors shows a Caucasian male standing in the middle while African-Americans are bowing down, in a stance resembling one ready to run. The caption reads “Multiply computing performance and maximize the power of your employees,” referring to the African-American men surrounding him.



Especially now, media has shown that diversity is key. Plays like “Hairspray” make people realize that people are no different from each other whether they have the same skin color or not, that they have the same skills and can do the same things. They also show how segregation was in the 1960’s and how underprivileged and discriminated blacks were. Today, society is much better about racism towards blacks because segregation is not in play, but racism is still out there.


HATE CRIME
No one does hate crime better than hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Westboro Baptist Church. For whatever reasons, the KKK and Westboro Baptist Church are out there to make any gay/black rights activist cry out bloody murder because of how absolutely ridiculous they are.

The Westboro Baptist Church is essentially a cult and has terrorized homosexuals since the 1990’s. Performing hate crime by means of protesting and picketing, the Westboro Baptist Church has definitely made it’s mark on the LGBTQ community. Although obviously insane, the founder of the church Fred Phelps has influenced enough people (mostly of his own family) in the quaint town of Topeka, Kansas to join in on his awful shenanigans.

Similarly, the Ku Klux Klan has been performing hate crime against African-Americans on-and-off for over a century. Taking it a little to the extreme, the KKK have been known for lynching African-Americans.

RELIGION
Religion is one of the biggest make it or break it factors that makes people so homophobic. In Christianity, people often argue that in the bible it is a sin to have same-sex relations. But is this a valid argument when it is preached that the Lord loves everyone? If God loves everyone and forgives all sin, then why aren’t homosexuals forgiven by His followers, too? Haters are mainly of the religious type who say that homosexuality is unnatural and wrong.

There is nothing in the Christian bible that rejects African-Americans. But one example of discrimination with religious significance is Washington Irving and his creation of the modern Santa Claus. In history, the story of St. Nicholas included a black companion called by the name Black Peter. In Irving’s interpretation, he completely excludes Black Peter. Washington Irving has been known to be somewhat racist.

POLITICS
As if there wasn’t enough discrimination going on, there are laws against gay rights, too. Military privileges, gay marriage, and same-sex adoption are just a few examples. Before the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was in play (recently repealed by President Obama), there was the “Ask, But Don’t Tell” and even before that, it was against the rules to be a homosexual working in the military. Gay marriage is one of the biggest issues at the moment and many states are trying to decide whether homosexuals will be able to marry or not. Also, same-sex adoption has been often denied to gay couples. In many countries, it is illegal to even be attracted to the same sex.

When the Constitution was written, African-Americans were only counted as ? of a person. What kind of law says that people of African descent don’t even count as a whole person? That’s how the people back in the 1800’s thought it was okay to discriminate. Because there was a written document that stated how blacks weren’t good enough to be whole. Slavery was also legal in America. The controversy between the North (anti-slavery) and the South (pro-slavery) got so bad that a war between the two sides branched out. The end of the war resulted in the abolition of slavery, but even then blacks didn’t have the right to vote. They were still underprivileged even with their freedom. Eventually, blacks got their right to vote, even before women, but that’s a whole other issue.


Discrimination against homosexuals has taken a very similar path to how discrimination against African-Americans evolved. How is this all going to end? Will it ever end? I can’t wait for the day when it does. I can’t wait for the day when someone like Martin Luther King Jr. stands up and says, “I have a dream, that little gay boys and little gay girls will be able to join hands with little straight boys and little straight girls as sisters and brothers.” It’s up to us, as readers, as people of modern society, as the next generation, to realize that “every man IS created equal”, whether gay, bi, transgendered, straight, black, yellow, red, green, blue, or any other name we can label each other as. We need to realize, apply, and pass our knowledge on to our children so that they can pass it on to theirs. You never know, you, or even I, can be that person as brave as Martin Luther King Jr., as Malcom X or Rosa Parks. You can be that person standing at that podium, speaking up and preaching that speech about what is right.

If society can come to accept African-Americans (who during the 1800’s, and even before that, were seen as dirty dogs who existed only to serve) then why can’t we as society accept homosexuals? Are we scared of them? We were scared of blacks. Are we just that close-minded? Probably. If you don’t agree that homosexuality is okay, that’s your opinion. Just remember that in the end, we are all the same.





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