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Dr. Boyce: How Racism, Sexism and Homophobia Can Turn You Into a Dinosaur

I once had a friend who thought it was inconceivable for a woman to defeat a man on the basketball court.  My friend, who was a very good player, happened to come upon the misfortune of meeting his match.  The woman who showed him up was a college hoops star and eventual player in the WNBA, and she made my friend look silly.

After losing to the woman in a game of one-on-one, my friend challenged her to double or nothing.  The woman then proceeded to spank my homeboy like a four-year old at daycare, taking his money once again.  But my friend was stubborn; his brain could not absorb the fact that he was beaten, and that it was time to walk away.  The woman took every penny he had, and he still doesn’t believe women know how to play basketball.

I learned from watching my acquaintance make a complete ass out of himself that a commitment to sexism can get you into serious trouble.  The same is true for racism, homophobia, or any other bias you hold near and dear to your heart.   These prejudices cause us to make the irrational decision to cut off our nose to spite our own face.  When it’s all said and done, the closed-minded person almost always loses.

A recent example of this phenomenon has been the debacle known as the Republican primaries.  Because the right wing is so outraged about having a black man in the White House, the party has been hijacked by illogical extremists who are determined to make themselves into dinosaurs.  Unfit candidates such as Rick Santorum have been pushed to the top of the party, and Republicans will ultimately lose the White House because of their own internal divides.

Additionally, Republican racism has kept our Congress in a state of perpetual stalemate and created political chaos that may ultimately harm our nation.  But the party doesn’t care what happens to America, since they are so angry about that “Nig….I mean socialist” in the White House.  Also, their inability to let go of the art of race baiting costs them millions of votes from the highly conservative African American community.   If I were a Republican, I’d know how to get people in the black church to support me, but unfortunately, most Republicans do not.

Another good example of how stubborn biases can irreparably harm us was the public implosion of CNN analyst Roland Martin.  Roland got into a spat with gay rights activists after a series of public remarks that revealed serious homophobia and disrespect for the safety of the gay community.    When the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) approached Martin about his remarks, he didn’t apologize.  Instead, he and his wife only made it worse by getting into Twitter beefs like rappers fighting over malt liquor and baby’s mamas.

The problem for Martin is that GLAAD held all the cards:  they’d compiled years of evidence showing Martin’s bias against the gay community.  They were able to readily dismiss Martin’s inconceivable story that his string of anti-gay remarks came from the fact that he doesn’t like soccer players.  GLAAD didn’t believe him, I didn’t believe him, CNN obviously didn’t believe him and America didn’t believe him either.  Martin’s wife made matters worse by attacking both GLAAD and CNN via twitter, referring to the gay community as bullies who demand that we all accept their lifestyle. Actually, they were simply requesting that we not make jokes about beating them for their sexual orientation.

In spite of a public appeal from Tom Joyner that Martin simply apologize, it was the stubborn Southern Baptist minister in Martin that would not allow him to let go of the issue.  The fact was that Martin was wrong, which is why none of his high profile friends were rushing out in public to defend him.

I love the game of poker (believe it or not, I’ve even won a few tournaments).  One important rule in this intense game of strategy is that when you know your opponent has the best cards, you should almost never raise the stakes.  Instead, you fold your cards and live to play another day.  Racism, sexism and homophobia make us hold on to things that should be let go, and ultimately cause us to spend our lives trying to kick and ride dead horses.

Time will go on and America will continue to evolve.  But those who insist upon positioning themselves as enemies of progress and remain determined to oppress those with alternative points of view will see the world pass them by.  Racism, sexism and homophobia are almost never winning strategies in America, and refusing to accept change will end up costing you dearly.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Black American Money.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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10 Responses to Dr. Boyce: How Racism, Sexism and Homophobia Can Turn You Into a Dinosaur

  1. Not a Nigger

    October 22, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Why are niggers so homophobic? Go back to the jungle, darkies. You’re just as backwards as the GOP.

  2. Kwame

    March 18, 2012 at 4:16 am

    Sorry to burst this deceptive bubble but hating, discriminating or having against an individual or group due to their ethnicity,race gender is a far cry from disliking or disapproving someones sexual “lifestyle”. I can see a black,Latino,white,Asian male and female from a mile away. Very few Asians, Blacks and whites have to state their ethnicity. It’s physically obvious. Very few women have to state their gender. It’s physically obvious. I cannot tell you the number of times I was surprised and shocked to “learn and hear” that someone I know is gender confused.

  3. Browningofeurope

    March 14, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Let civil discourse have the stage

  4. Browningofeurope

    March 14, 2012 at 3:43 am

    I understand the issue of Racism and Sexism and both should be dealt with separately from the issue of homophobia. I agree with Roland Martin on this and believe that his stance was correct. Just to disagree with someone view does not make them a homophobe. This is apart of the problem we see that everytime someone disagree with the Gay issue it made out that this person is a homophobe,etc. I know plenty of gay people and not all of them agree 100 on every issue within their community or the so called loud voices of “gay advocates” out there broad beating everyone who is perceived as a hater. I think civil discourse has lost it way today, people can’t agree to disagree without being called names or attacked, and the “pc” mantra is destroying the way we communicate.

    • Kwame

      March 18, 2012 at 3:55 am

      Great Point. Lumping the centuries of injustice heaped upon Blacks,because of their obvious physical color and women,because of their obvious physical appearance with anyone’s sexual orientation (whatever that means) is an insult to their legacy.

  5. milagros

    March 14, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Delete me at any time With respect..MGV

  6. milagros

    March 14, 2012 at 1:37 am

    There is no such word as homophobe other than the made up word mentally ill men and women who seek same sex relation made up…The people who choose that life had to have a way to disenfranchise those like iself who refuse to jump on a bandwagon and support them. The spiritual being that i know did not make men or women who lust for same sex and thus there is no civil right to chase vaginas and penises within the same sex smh! Bring it or leave it but know i am NOT going to be reasonable and NO! we cannot get along..Prove to me that anyone has the civil human or constitutional right to insert thier penis into an anus ?? Its called crime against nature

    • Cindie

      March 14, 2012 at 4:41 am

      Gay people — male and female — do not “choose” that so-called “lifestyle” — they are born that way — there is a mounting body of scientific evidence to support this.

      A gay person is no more “guilty” than a person who was born short, with red hair, or black skin!

      As African-Americans, we need to let go of our hateful, hurtful superstitions, and get a better understanding of science.

      And that not only goes for our homophobia, but our discriminatory treatment of the mentally ill, of alcoholics, and drug addicts.

      • Chris

        March 17, 2012 at 2:36 am

        While I do not wholeheartedly with the way some believe that homosexuality is chosen, I do know for a fact that there are some who have chosen that very lifestyle. You can agree or disagree as you like, I am not here to insult and call someone out of their name for their perspective, however I do know that just because someone has been fed up with the opposite sex they have contemplated and even experimented or vowed never to return and in such cases, it is a CHOICE.

        Some are born with defects that are noticed in more ways than one. There is no particular scientific proof that says there is a predetermined proclivity for the same sex in humans and the studies that have shown contrary evidence have come from homosexual physicians. This is not saying that I have anything wrong with those that are homosexual, however the ones that do choose are the ones that get me upset over the issue.

    • vernon sukumu

      March 15, 2012 at 1:38 am

      So the big white man in the sky, make sex organ perfect but he make babies with down syndrome, authism, blind at birth,C.P. missing body part. He some times give babies TWO SEX ORGAN the are called intersex was your big spiritual guy asleep are just having fun. Just think if you live in right muslin country you could help stone them to death. And about nature it produce, small pox,T.B., cancer, polio,and you have this sure fire guy who make perfect sex. About words evey single word that we use to communate was made up at some point by someone. I’am a black male 72 father of five, I grew up with folk like you using god to justify jim crow and other cruelties.