If you have a fair number of female Facebook friends, then chances are your timeline looks very similar to mine on any given Thursday night. It’s, filled with unending streams of status updates about Olivia Pope, President Fitz and whatever else Shonda Rhimes has conjured up that week. Last Thursday, a friend of mine posted her outright sick and tired frustration towards a gay couple in the show making out. She went on about how you can’t watch anything on television anymore without ‘them’ ramming this gay thing down your throat. I immediately thought, how soon we forget. How soon we forget that many white persons had the same to say about these black people in all their TV shows.
For those of us who live in a democratic world, we are afforded the right to express ourselves freely. That right allows us to impose our religious beliefs, values, and any random empty thought we may have on varied social platforms.
It’s funny how many persons- upon arriving at a destination beyond their prior status- quickly forget where they once were. I will be so bold as to say, as a people who have suffered oppression- an oppression frequently justified by quotes of the old testament- have no right to speak upon the rights of others. It is the absolute height of ignorance. Withholding the rights of any human being and essentially judging a person for the way they live their personal lives is not the business of any person. The ignorance however, is in some way comprehensible (not excusable) when it comes from person’s whose ignorance is attributed to a lack of understanding or privilege. On the other hand, it becomes all the more offensive when an educated black person, whose parents had little to no representation of themselves on television just a few decades ago, feels compelled to state that these gay people are all over television now. That same person will most likely quote religious doctrine, preaching old testament values against sodomy and homosexuality, while conveniently ignoring what the Good Book had to say about slavery. They may proclaim the generalized “to each his own” statement, adding that they don’t care what a person does in their home, but it’s just too much when it’s in your face. They may add that it’s not so bad when two women kiss, but two men? It’s just too much!
As it pertains to homosexuality on television; art imitates life. Perhaps in a lesser measure, life may also imitate art. And that’s where the ignorance compounds. It rests on the idea that homosexuality is a learnt behavior and that exposing it on a platform such as television will further perverse an already immoral society. We all bleed the same. We fall-in-love the same. We get our hearts ripped from our chests just the same. We argue the same and many of us hope to create families. Being black, gay, or white doesn’t impact a need to love and/or be loved. It is only natural that someone would feel compelled to share a story that depicts that connection on the small or silver screen.
Tolerance is something to which we should all ascribe. As a black male or female, it baffles me that we can remain so intolerant towards any one person. Anyone or group who is deemed lesser, a minority or somehow flawed deserves your support most of all. A woman who is reminded daily that her work has less value than her male counterpart deserves your support. A gay man who is withheld the same basic privileges you enjoy, merely because of his sexual orientation, deserves your support. If your belief system greatly impacts your ability to do so, then at the very least, your empathy is warranted. To live your best life you have to participate in it. That doesn’t mean a life best lived is one solely lived for you. It means consideration is made for the world you will leave behind. It means making an effort to continuously improve and be a better version of yourself than you were they year before, and the year before that. If all this is beyond your capabilities, then at the very least keep your ignorance to yourself.
This is purely an opinion piece. I would love to hear your thoughts on the issue.