Sunday, June 12, 2011

Quote for Day: Wanda Sykes on Defense of Tracy Morgan's Homophobic Rant--"Break Me Off an Evolved Country"

Quote for the day: Wanda Sykes responding to Chris Rock's (initial: he's now changed his mind) defense of Tracy Morgan's recent homophobic rant in Nashville, after Rock tweeted, "I dont know about you, but I dont want to live in world where Tracy Morgan cant say foul inappropriate s--t":

I Do! U Keep the world, just break me off an evolved country.

Both Rock and CNN reporter Roland Morgan have defended Tracy Morgan on grounds of free speech, with claims that those criticizing him for saying he'd stab a gay son son are infringing his right to free speech as a comedian.  As Wanda Sykes notes, we've evolved culturally in ways that make certain forms of violent speech and behavior unacceptable, when they were once acceptable.   She points out that people used to take picnic lunches to public hangings and watch the hangings as a form of amusement (and people did the same at lynchings).

She might have also noted that when Michael Richards went on a pseudo-comedic racist rant in 2006, he was rightly and resoundingly condemned for his racism, and not long after the incident, he stopped doing stand-up comedy and announced he'd set off on a course of "spiritual healing."  One has to wonder why venting homophobia that incites violence is defensible in a comedy act, when venting racism laced with violent overtones is not.

We've evolved in one area, to the extent that some things are off-limits to say in public. We're moving in the same direction when it comes to homophobia, though we're not there yet--and our evolution is now being retarded by some religious leaders who keep defending indefensible homophobia, such as Catholic leaders in Illinois right now, who have filed suit against the state asking for special faith-based "exemptions" permitting Catholic Charities to discriminate against gay citizens in that state while receiving over $30 million in state funding yearly. 

Really quite disgusting, this overt defense of prejudice and this claim that people of faith should be permitted to practice discrimination while accepting state funding that is contingent on putting non-discriminatory policies in place.  This is an example of a powerful faith community contributing to the devolution of a society, and not to its moral evolution.

I'm with Wanda Sykes: "Just break me off an evolved country."  That's the kind of country I want to live in.

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