Thursday, February 8, 2007

I'm like GLAAD: Late in responding

To GLAAD, that is. They finally released a statement condemning Chuck Knipp's character Shirley Q. Liquor:
"This performance perpetuates ugly racial stereotypes that are offensive, hurtful and simply unacceptable."
Well, good. They realise that we can't separate the fight against stereotypes of one group from another's. We're all in this together.

It's also just wrong. They say that they get that. But here's something that rubbed me the wrong way:
While our work at GLAAD is about promoting fair, accurate and inclusive media representations of the LGBT community[....]
No, of course it didn't. Because it absolutely didn't play into the stereotype that gays are elitist, out-of-touch, racist, and shallow. Such a stereotype exists, and here's one example:

Knipp is a visible representative of the queer community, and while I'm usually the last person to say that a LGBT person should avoid playing into a stereotype, one has to wonder if he's exploiting this stereotype of gay men for laughs as well. Would the same people who like his show right now find it funny if he were a straight man who played an "ignunt" Black man with 19 kids...? Are people laughing at stereotypes of Black people and gay men simultaneously?

Knipp is playing into that same stereotype that we see of gay men used on everything from SNL to The Family Guy to for humor: shallow, hyper-sexual, and alcohol-addicted. This is not to take away from the obvious fact that his minstrel show is racist. But just because Knipp is gay himself, doesn't mean that he can't exploit a heterosexist mindset for a few dollars.

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