As usual, the Super Bowl passed me by this year. As much as I don’t want to be the gay cliché, I am. World Series? World Cup? No, thank you. Then again, I don’t watch the Oscars, either, so the universe maintains its balance.
Still, there’s always the fallout. I passed the newspaper boxes Monday morning with their sporty photos and headlines. By the time I got to work, I’d even learned the Baltimore Ravens had won. My mom was born in Baltimore, so I guess that’s nice. Thanks to Facebook, I saw there was some singing. That’s nice, too.
What was not so nice was a tweet I saw posted on a friend’s Facebook timeline, the one from Todd Kincannon, former head of the South Carolina GOP who bills himself as ”The Honey Badger of American Politics.” He broadcast to his 35,000-plus followers: ”This Super Bowl sucks more dick than adult Trayvon Martin would have for drug money.” While being called out for racism, Kincannon sees no wrong, pointing out that it’s been documented that the black 17-year-old had some history with marijuana, and that the man who shot him to death was also a racial minority.
And when that shopkeeper posted the image of President Obama as a ”witch doctor,” that wasn’t racist, either, but a thoughtful critique of ”Obamacare.”
Certainly Kincannon is free to mark Black History Month, aka African American History Month, any way he sees fit. Plenty of people share his disposition, seemingly annoyed at being called out for being racist, quite certain they are not. Please keep in mind that we are all racist/sexist/transphobic/homophobic/xenophobic – on and on – to some degree. The real question is what we do about it, whether we wallow in it or attempt to rise above it. And there will always be room to rise above.
This bit of Twitter trash reminded me, however indirectly, of a recent bit of On Point I heard on WAMU the other night. Host Tom Ashbrook was exploring the seemingly evolving views of gay people in America. Have we turned a corner? Is it a new day for the American Gay? Yes, progress has been made. I am legally married to my husband, for example. Our marriage is even recognized in a few other states and countries. On the other hand, I can ride the metro 15 minutes into Virginia where, like a magical curse, my husband instantly morphs into a legal stranger. Worse, there are countries we could visit where we would be not just single, but criminals. There’s plenty more to be done.
It’s the same with race. We have a black president – an impressively popular one, at that. Good for us. But there are not enough eye-roll GIFs in the world to counter every instance of someone claiming that a black president proves America has conquered racism.
I think, at least, Tom Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, gets it. In his latest plea to followers to lobby the Boy Scouts of America to maintain its ban on gays, Wildmon writes, ”Big Gay is never satisfied.” Granting him the benefit of the doubt that he’s calling us powerful rather than fat, I agree. We are never satisfied, as there is always more work to do. Claiming to be a Christian, he should never be satisfied either, instead fighting misery wherever he finds it.
The reality is that we have Christians burning mosques, Muslims killing Christians, women being raped to death, rich people exploiting poor people and every other misery. And once we solve those ills, there will be others. The touchdowns will come, but the game will never end.
Will O’Bryan is Metro Weekly‘s managing editor. Contact him at wobryan@MetroWeekly.com.