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Is Tracy Morgan Just Another Hater...And What About the Rest of Us?

| 5 Comments

It's true. I'm coming late to the party because I didn't hear about Tracy Morgan's much-discussed homophobic comedy routine until people were demanding he apologize tout suite. So I asked a co-worker to send me links to the latest news about the 30 Rock star.

After I read the articles, I started surfing the web to see what people were saying. From what I read, Morgan crossed the line. Some things, such as advocating murdering your gay child because of his or her sexual orientation, just aren't funny. And if that's free speech, well, think about it...someone, somewhere, somehow, some day might pay a price because he--or someone else spewing hate--spoke out without thinking of the harm their words could cause.

But the more stuff I read about Morgan online, the more I began thinking about today's omnipresent information provider and aggregator and communication conduit, a.k.a. the Internet.

I got to thinking about how incensed some people were about Morgan's "hateful speech." Some thought nothing of spewing their own brand of hatemongering online--name-calling and other mocking and hurtful verbalizing that amazed me. Funny how easy it is for those who accuse others of doing wrong to perpetrate the same crime they charge others with committing.

Today, many Internet users are guilty of the same kind of hateful speech Morgan employed in his comedy stage show. Whether the issue is homophobia, or some other stigma-generating topic, people routinely bully, bait and victimize others online. The tactics they use are the same ones constantly used by those who wish to devalue and dismiss others. They dehumanize and demonize people with impunity. Yet, for the most part, online hate speech continues to proliferate unchallenged.

Just as Tracy Morgan's combustible comedy routine blew up in his face and exposed the deep-seated ugliness that lies at the heart of all hate-filled rants, the same should happen to those who use the Internet to practice their art of the poison pen.

In this instance, Morgan's celebrity got what he said noticed. But while we're vilifying Morgan, let's remember to also do the same to those nameless speechifiers who post venomous statements via "anonymous" comments on countless Internet sites. (Oh yes, and hold them accountable too!)

In these days of anything goes and say-what-you-like speech, reportedly Morgan said he didn't care if he angered gay people with his inflammatory comments. But Morgan was quickly censured.

That said, when anyone condones violence against others--be he or she a celebrated actor-comedian or anonymous member of Joe Q. Public--what he or she says should not go unchallenged.

Oh, yes, I've followed the story as it's unfolded. Morgan apologized for his homophobic jokes and expressed mea culpas to all concerned. Is he sincere?

Well, some say yes and some say no. Let's see how long people's comments stay civilized, conversational and venom-free.




Kate on:

5 Comments

The funny thing about "free speech" is that in only means that the government won't come after you for what you say publicly. Free speech does not mean speech without ramifications.

Personally, I find it offensive how Morgan as well as others, speak on behalf or their deities. Saying that "Homosexuality is a choice because god doesn't make mistakes" is saying that a. a god exists, and b. that gay people are mistakes.

The irony here is that the "success" of heterosexuals being "fruitful" could be one of the biggest threats to our continued existence.

I will leave further judgments regarding Mr. Morgan to others, but caution that whatever whomever has to say publicly may come with costs. Perhaps the lesson here is think before you speak.

Interesting reaction, seeing as how the author is, as stated, 'coming late to the party' as regards Mr. Morgan's indefensible 'comedy' act.

While I and most others will defend to the death Mr. Morgan's right to say whatever he likes, there comes a point when speech irrevocably leads to action, if not of the original speaker,then of someone who hears it, and finds in it a spur, a blessing, a 'call to action. We are all aware of instances in which some irresponsible party says some foolish things, knowing full well what the reaction will be from others.
When one utters such things as Mr. Morgan has, one must expect that there will be some reaction, both on the listeners, who may then consider their action 'sanctioned, and those to whom the supposed words or action is directed, in this instance, gay sons. What Mr. Morgan, among others, fail to realize is that some people will act on their feelings of homophobia and ultimately direct their actions outward toward others they perceive as 'gay'. Public figures have a responsibility to know this, and knowing this, realize (usually) that the equivalent of shouting 'fire' in a crowded theatre will have a deleterious effect, sometimes to the point of murder, which Mr. Morgan so eloquently advocated for his own child, should the child declare or evidence his 'gayness'. Ms. Ferguson, being an editor-in-chief and self professed advocate of 'healthy relationships, knows this as well as anyone. Therefore, it is difficult to accept what she says at face value. This was at base an incident of hate speech, designed and uttered to stimulate a reaction. She knows this, we know this. When one shouts fire in a crowded theatre, one must accept responsibility for the falling beams and ashes in which one finds oneself. This is particularly reprehensible in light of the many recent (and underreported) murders of eighteen gay people in Puerto Rico, to name but one instance of homophobic actions no doubt spurred on by those in the public eye, be they pastors, preachers, politicians or other so called 'community leaders.
When one is the object of the hate speech, it becomes apparent that there is an ever increasing climate of hostility and violence toward gay people. And, yes, we WILL hold those speakers of hate speech accountable. ?We must, for it is our lives we are fighting for. We will not sit idly by and allow others to determine for us or define how we should live, or what we should be in order to make them 'comfortable' or accept us as gay people.

When I taught middle school, I had to constantly defend students when ignorant bible-thumping teachers made remarks about gay students. They went from wanting to beat their own children if they were gay, to demanding they pray to God and ask for forgiveness. Tracey Morgan apologized to keep his 30 Rock job.

Hi Kate!

Thank you for this article. I noticed the same thing as the story unfolded in the media.

I must add that my first thought was astonishment and great inner pain because even today, people still get killed for been born his same skin color. So I thought, "how could he?".

Your article sheds light on a much broader issue of hate, love and acceptance of each other beyond our differences.

Again, thank you and BIG HUG!

Hi Kate,

Thank you for a great article.

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This page contains a single entry by Kate Ferguson published on June 13, 2011 6:34 PM.

Why Not Give Yourself a Break? was the previous entry in this blog.

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