Friday, June 29, 2007


And speaking of racism - it seems that Isaiah Washington was fired for being black, rather than for calling someone a "faggot."

Of course, it's ridiculous for ABC to fire Washington from Grey's Anatomy just for calling someone a "faggot." And of course, it's totally unfair that they're firing him despite his obviously sincere attempts to make amends: appearing in public service announcements, going to sensitivity training, agreeing not to speak to the press until the incident was resolved despite the fact that the "injured" party was allowed to appear on Ellen DeGeneres. And all of this is not to mention that Washington has written essays before condemning homophobia - long before Grey's Anatomy even existed, in fact.

But is it racism? Hardly.

Check out some of the ridiculous things he's saying:

"Well, it didn't help me on the set that I was a black man who wasn't a mush-mouth Negro walking around with his head in his hands all the time. I didn't speak like I'd just left the plantation and that can be a problem for people sometime," he says. "I had a person in human resources tell me after this thing played out that 'some people' were afraid of me around the studio. I asked her why, because I'm a 6-foot-1, black man with dark skin and who doesn't go around saying 'Yessah, massa sir' and 'No sir, massa' to everyone? It's nuts when your presence alone can just scare people, and that made me a prime candidate to take the heat in a dysfunctional family."

Guess he missed that whole Don Imus thing then. 'Cause from where I sit Imus looks pretty damn white, and he got fired for exactly the kind of slip of the tongue that Washington got fired for. And, like Washington, Imus made a pretty sincere effort to apologize - including even (and this, folks, is torture in the Ninth Circle of Hell if I've ever heard of it!) allowing Race Pimp and Hypocrite Number One Al Sharpton on his show to give him a public dressing down! If even THAT can't fix a brainfart, then it's hardly surprising that Washtington's sensitivity training wasn't enough to keep the hounds at bay either.

The bottom line is that this stuff has gone way too far. There is, simply put, NOTHING about the word "faggot" that is offensive enough to be worth someone's job. If the faggot in question can't suck it up and get on with his life, then I can't help but think there're some seriously unresolved self-esteem issues in his own mind that he needs to fix first before he goes pointing the finger at everyone else. Probably, in fact, Washington is right that he's just exploiting the whole incident as a career booster. It wouldn't be the first time, and it certainly fits the profile this time.

But I think there's a light at the end of this tunnel - and that's that this defacto zero tolerance policy on discriminatory speech in the public forum will start to eat its own. Imus and Washington have to go, fine. But the more and more this happens, the more and more people will realize that apparently no amount of contrition is enough to make up for the utterance of even a single ill-thought phrase of prejudice. And if that's the case (as it demonstrably is), then people will stop bothering to apologize. And when they stop apologizing - well, then I think we'll see a real sanction of the victim effect - whereby the networks will find that it isn't as easy to fire someone who doesn't say "sorry," both on legal and on public image grounds. And that, I think, is the beginning of the end for hypersensitivity.

The "hostile workplace" crowd has subtly overplayed their hand. It will take a couple of years for the backswing to be noticeable, of course, but I do believe the pendulum is starting to swing the other way. I would say "I'm only sorry Isaiah Washington had to lose his job in the process," but I'm honestly not. Anyone who looks at the world around him the way it is today and HONESTLY thinks racism against black people ever has anything to do with ANY firing anymore, let alone firing for the reason Washington was fired - well, is just a retard, no other way to put it. So see ya, Washington, and don't let the door hit yer ass on the way out! But I hope everyone else in Hollywood learns the right lesson from this --- namely: if you slip up and say something racist or homo"phobic," for God's sake DON'T APOLOGIZE!!! They're going to can you anyway - and it works out better for me, you, and everyone else if you go out with style!


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