By RETINA BROUSSARD
It’s been more than a year since the national uproar ignited by CNN’s Roland Martin — my first cousin — over those infamous Super Bowl tweets perceived by some as insensitive and allegedly promoting violence against gay men.
(During the 2012 Super Bowl, Martin sent several tweets, including, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”)
The tweets caused the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to pounce on Martin like Broadway cats on a hood dog, and it left me thinking, “Wow what a difference a tweet makes.”
When the news broke that GLAAD called for the firing of Roland from CNN and demanded an apology, as a “gay” relative, I asked myself if I should speak out about this and then wondered if anyone would listen. It took me about a day or so to decide to share my initial opinion with a few close friends. Admittedly some of my thoughts were emotional reactions in my social media arena, which were probably perceived as leaning in Roland’s defense. Back then I wasn’t sure on which side of this social and political madness I really stood.
However, in response to a recent “Washington Watch” video from RolandMartinReports.com, I am clear about where I stand now and I believe (as a black woman and an advocate for equality for all people and openly LGBTQ), that black people — gay or straight — have no business speaking out against their white counterparts until “the collective” steps up and truly takes care of their own in ALL human rights agendas.
We have the worst history of shunning and ostracizing our own people. I firmly believe the real problem is a racial issue within the black community for not taking full responsibility for this cause.
Advocating for human rights from a global perspective is extremely important and changing the culture of discrimination and violence against the black LGBT community within my own race, within our own families is critical and concerns me the most.
I have been known to support Roland’s political views, but obviously, I am not his typical demographic and I seldom follow his off-color twitter updates.
I will never discount the fact that words can be harmful, I just think we make way too much about what some people say and tweet and end up bringing more attention to that which may otherwise go unnoticed. Ironically, Roland’s twitter following has doubled since those infamous Super Bowl tweets that GLAAD apparently thought were going to start a gay bashing epidemic.
In a Washington Watch segment on TVOne, entitled, “Perspective: At The Table Of Brotherhood, Discussing Differences And Gaining Understanding,” Roland said, “Now, if you’re gay or straight, your voice matters.” Well, I agree, my voice does matter and I would like to hear from more voices that genuinely and actively advocate for me and my sisters and brothers in the entire LGBT community.
If Roland really wants to gain an understanding and help stop violence against gays, he should work more on eradicating homophobia at home before doing a show that appears to demonize GLAAD and others as racist. Really get at the grassroots level in black communities and encourage each he encounters to first understand and accept their own family members, then perhaps collectively we will all have a different perspective and understanding of the LGBT community.
Initially, during the “tweet scandal,” I was a bit harsh on GLAAD, accusing them of being overly sensitive as did many. In the past, I’ve also quietly questioned what, if anything, GLAAD has done for the black LGBT community. In hindsight, I realize GLAAD may have its problems, but so do most black organizations advocating for any community related issue. So who are we to judge GLAAD?
Who’s really to blame here? And who’s really responsible for changing it? I believe since we continue to judge each other, we are all at fault and responsible for changing it. Surely, it’s going to take a whole lot more than surface conversations on a TV talk show to break this perpetual cycle of mistreating those we are called to love. And until then, it is and will always remain just talk.
ReTina Broussard — aka “The Lifeologist” — is a writer, speaker, performer and proud mother of two. She works to inspire, educate and entertain by sharing her real life experiences. Reach her via retinabroussard.com.