Before I begin, let me say, I would put money down on it: I’ll catch crap for this post from some members of the LGBTQ community. I hope that you will read the whole post before having some knee-jerk reaction to the title.
[He takes a deep breath and begins to write…]
The Far Right is having a heyday with the fiasco surrounding the Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Richardson, and they are really winning points on this one. In the end, the Far Right will have deepened their belief that they are right and the Gay Agenda is evil, and many in the LGBTQ community are helping make that happen. Even well-intentioned folks who are not wrong in their view of what Richardson said are helping the Far Right turn this into a victory for themselves. So, I’m writing this hoping to get a few folks to stop helping them succeed. That outraged they are experiencing? There is a better target for it that may actually help the LGBTQ movement. So, don’t stop being outraged, but how about consider what you are outraged about and shift your efforts?
Here’s a timeline of the Duck Dynasty incident:
- Phil Robertson is interviewed by GQ, and spews a bunch of stuff, perfectly aligned with his personality, which is offensive to African Americans, the GLBT community, other religious minorities, women, and maybe some others. He’s a crazy old redneck guy which is part of what makes Duck Dynasty so entertaining.
- A&E, the company who owns and runs the highly successful reality TV show, suspends him for his remarks claiming that they don’t adequately represent A&E.
- The Conservative media and others erupt in outrage claiming the guys 1st Amendment rights have been violated.
- The Duck Dynasty family says the show can not go on without their lovable patriarch, so it appears the end of this cash cow for A&E is coming to an end.
- The Gay Agenda is blamed and gays are made out to be monsters who seek to stop every God-fearing Christian from expressing his beliefs.
Add to this:
- There next season of the program has already been taped and begins to air in January. Phil is featured in nine of the episodes.
- The A&E CEO is responsible for the suspension, claiming that it was because of the feelings of the LGBTQ employees at A&E, especially those who work on the show. But it was just a suspension. He wasn’t really fired, and the show wasn’t cancelled or taken off air.
- This is A&E’s biggest money maker, and the show has spawned a vast marketing franchise responsible for massive amounts of money.
After the holiday, A&E will issue a statement that they are comfortable with a private apology Phil makes to the company, and lift the suspension. The Far Right will erupt again is joyous celebration similar to what the victor experiences after a Superbowl win. And life will go on like before. Those who watch the show will be emboldened in their belief that the Gays are evil.
What is really there harm to the LGBTQ movement?
Without a doubt Phil’s remarks were offensive, but if you read the GQ interview, he really comes across like a crazy old man. But, he doesn’t really have any power and can’t really hurt queer people, and if nothing had happened, the whole craziness would have blown over in a few days. It may never have become news.
But what is really a harm to the LGBTQ movement is what the media and conservatives inn power have done with this. I wrote earlier about Bobby Jindal, but take a look around, and it is every Far Right crazy pundit and politician getting mileage out of this. And they are being successful using this to paint gays as the freedom killers. Every single LGBTQ person should be outraged at the media and the various conservatives spreading lies and misinformation about 1st amendment rights and free speech. These are people who have power and they are using that power to maneuver this incident into a story that helps their side. And they are doing it successfully.
What does the most harm to the LGBTQ movement are those within it who are claiming that Robertson should be silenced. That is unproductive and even if it isn’t anti-1st amendment, it comes across as such. An end to bigotry won’t come by silencing bigots. Rather it will come as we counter bigotry with truth, facts and honesty. We succeed by allowing the bat-shit crazy to look bat-shit crazy.
How bigotry gets learned.
The other day, Oprah made a comment about racism. I’ve linked to a Far Right reaction to it, not because I agree but so you can have a look at how words get twisted around. Oprah’s point was that a younger generation seems less inclined to push an agenda of hatred, bigotry and discrimination, and racism will die as older people who perpetuate it die. She isn’t completely right there. Bigotry is taught, and as the linked story demonstrates those who seek to maintain bigotry use incidents like this to show why their views are important.
Racism isn’t dead for many reasons, but one of them is the way that racist bigotry was silenced and pushed underground, and we will only help homophobia grow if we are seen as trying to silence it. Rather, we need to let it be. Point out how counter productive it is to a civilized world, and use truth, facts, and honesty. We need to quit making bigotry a big story and treat it as unacceptable.