The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Birmingham Times: Fair and Balanced (well, almost)

I hope this is the last time I feel compelled to write about Tim Hardaway and John Amaechi. Not that the story is not important, but it’s sort of like Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears. I picked up a copy of The Birmingham Times, which bills itself as the Southeast’s Largest Black Weekly, on Monday, February 26, (the issue was dated Thursday, February 22.) While most of the news and opinion was upbeat, two columns on the sports page reflected an intolerance that seems to be accepted in Alabama. The columns are about Tim Hardaway’s admitted homophobia.

Paul Finebaum seems to think it is OK (although stupid) to use the word “hate” in describing your feelings (this same column appeared in The Western Star on Feb 21, 2007). But what if it had been John Amaechi who uttered the word, saying he hated, for instance, Jewish people, said they shouldn’t be in the United States, or in the world. What if a retired white player, like Larry Bird, stated that he hated black people? While we can not control what people feel, we should not just dismiss it when they publicly proclaim their hatred. It’s time, past time, to put hatred aside, and search for common bonds and start to lift people up, not tear them down. Read Finebaum’s article here:

This brings me to the second columnist, DaMarcus Miller. Miller’s column is titled “Tolerance to Alternative Lifestyles Is Not Mandatory.” Read Miller’s article here:

He is critical of John Amaechi for coming out of the closet and proclaiming his “gay lifestyle.” First of all, Amaechi proclaimed his sexual orientation, not his “lifestyle.” Furthermore the lifestyles of gay men are as varied as the lifestyles of heterosexual men. Some are productive, upstanding citizens, some are not. Some are raising children, some are raising hell. Some gay men are so wealthy that they enjoy a lifestyle that I can only dream about, while some heterosexual men enjoy a lifestyle filled with weekends of golf and hunting, while ignoring their children. Lifestyle pertains to one’s opportunities and choices and has nothing to do with one’s sexual orientation.

After stating that he would abandon a friendship with a close buddy if that man came out to him, he states “I should not be deemed homophobic for not being comfortable around gay guys.” Then he goes on to compare homosexuality to drug dealers and pedophiles and says he is not comfortable around them either. This comparison is ludicrous, since drug dealers and pedophiles are lawbreakers by definition. And it perpetuates the misunderstanding that being homosexual is criminal.

Miller goes on to say that he will not hang out with gay men because they might be checking him out. Please, Mr. Miller, is your ego really that big? Do you think women should avoid you because you are a straight man, and you might be checking them out? This tells me that you are not very secure in your own sexuality.

Miller says that heterosexuals do not go around proclaiming their heterosexuality, but in truth they do. Every time we see their wedding announcements and pictures in the paper, every time we see their wedding band, we all know they are (or claim to be) heterosexual. But what we don’t do is then let our imagination take us into their bedroom. Mr. Miller, you are right, what a guy does in his bedroom is his business. So why do you make it your business and think first about sex when a man lets you know he is gay?

Birmingham Times gets it right

To the Birmingham Times’ credit, they have an article, author unknown, on the same page as these columns that supports the NBA’s decision to ban Hardaway from NBA affiliated activities. The article, titled “NBA makes the right call", describes an upcoming event sponsored by the National Black Justice Coalition that is inviting Black churches from across the nation to gather in Philadelphia to discuss how to combat homophobia in the Black community. The event is the 2nd Annual Black Church Summit. Learn more at their web site, I salute the editors of the Birmingham Times for printing this, and hope that pastors from the Birmingham and Bessemer area will make efforts to attend. (I could not find this article in their online edition.)

Miller says that tolerance is not mandatory, but I say that tolerance is not enough. John Amaechi was being interviewed on ESPN and was answering questions about tolerance. I’m paraphrasing, but he said having to be tolerated isn’t enough. He indicated that he should not have to be tolerated for being black, he should be accepted, and he said the same holds true for homosexuality. Tolerance seems to indicate putting up with something you shouldn’t have to. That is not acceptable to John, and it is not acceptable to me.

1 comment:

Jennifer (Errett) Robinson said...

Joe, I would like to post a subject:

In today's Bham News: "City may partner with group that builds low to mid income homes" and it mentions the first site to be used located on Owen Avenue. It also says that these are to be modular homes. I am all in favor of the city using hud funds for housing improvement initiatives, however we need to put some pressure on the City of Bessemer to consider the style of homes that they put in existing neighborhoods on vacant lots. The city should not find it acceptable to put a glorified trailer home on a street that is primarily early century homes with historical and architectural significance. Also what I fear is that these homes will be placed far too close together and/or there will be no consideration for ample parking. I hope the City considers the current residents who have equity in their homes and neighborhoods before they devalue our property with proposed modular homes. I think this housing is great and should be placed in areas that are not being intermixed with existing contstruction unless the new contstruction is in keeping with the older homes.

Jennifer Prince