*Roland Martin of CNN and TV One fame was thrust into the middle of boiling hot sauce after the Super Bowl for some remarks he made on Twitter.   Finding himself offended by an ad featuring a nearly nude David Beckham, Martin decided to make a “lil jokey-joke” out of the situation:

“If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!” said Martin.

Being the professional that he is, Martin fired back at every Twitter missile sent his way, arguing that his remark was more of a joke about soccer fans than something having to do with the nearly naked man on the screen. The move might have worked, had it not been for the diligence of GLAAD and other activists who seemed to feel that they had Martin cornered.

There is an old Chinese saying that “the fattest pig always gets slaughtered.”  Being a regular on CNN makes you into quite the chubby target.  So, the same jokes that regular folks can make on Twitter don’t apply to analysts who are paid well for their perceived objectivity.

Due to his “fattest pig” status, GLAAD and other groups appear to have been trailing Martin for quite some time.   They were actually able to find a 2006 copy of the text from his website (yes, you can go back and look at someone’s site before they changed it) and found Martin’s statement in support of “conversion therapy,” which is apparently something designed to turn crooked (read: “gay”) people into straight, normal heterosexuals like the rest of us.

The group also noted the fact that Martin seemed all-too anxious to defend comedian Tracy Morgan after Morgan said that he would stab his son if he found out that he was gay.  Notice that when Morgan made his remarks, most of us either corrected him or said nothing at all.  I cannot support Morgan’s brand of ignorance, and I certainly hope that Roland (my friend and brother) doesn’t think that Morgan’s comments are OK.

I have no idea if Roland Martin is homophobic or not, but I do know this: Millions of African Americans in the black church treat the gay community like Osama bin Laden’s relatives were treated the day after 9/11. We openly joke about “beating the sh*t” out of men who are attracted to other men, and black women will forgive a lying, cheating, chronically diseased womanizer before they forgive a man for admitting that he’s gay.

It saddens me that a community which knows oppression all too well is so quick to terrorize another group of people for their choices.   While “stabbing your son” or “beating the ish” out of someone for being gay might bring forth a chuckle or two, the joke isn’t funny for those who must withstand the real threat of serious violence due to their sexual orientation.  What is also interesting is that Martin’s head-to-head with the gay community will further endear him to many members of the black church who agree with his point of view.  We should never celebrate an attack on a group that has not collectively tried to harm us- black people cheering on any form of possible homophobia is no different from conservatives applauding when Newt Gingrich says that black people love receiving welfare.

As a result of our community’s commitment to sexual McCarthyism, African Americans face an AIDS epidemic resulting directly from all the gay men who are afraid to come out of the closet.  For these men, conversion therapy only gives them coping mechanisms to pretend that they aren’t gay anymore.  We also have millions of young men who are ostracized by their families and condemned to hell because God made them different from the rest of us.

Let me keep it real for just one second:  I like women, especially black women.  Like any other healthy man, God injected me with an appreciation for hips, lips, curves and all the things that make women physically appealing. No matter how much therapy you were to give me, no matter how many times someone prayed for me, and no matter how quick you were to beat the sh*t out of me, I would still be attracted to the same thing.  Converting me into a gay man is as silly as making a gay man turn straight.

I’m not sure how things are going to work out for Roland, he’s pretty good at handling the pressure.   But I hope that we can take a moment to realize that violence against homosexuals is very real, and it’s certainly nothing to joke about.   Maybe it’s time for us to do what we’ve been asking white folks to do for the last 400 years:  stop hating other people just because they are different.  If the rest of America were as intolerant as some of “us” in the black community, we would all still be on the damn plantation.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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