Friday, February 16, 2007

Commenting on Gay Basketball Players

"You're a homophobe."

This comment is a tactic used by people against anyone who says something negative about a homosexual. The tactic has worked because it's one thing not to like gay people but to be portrayed as being afraid of them isn't tolerable.

The argument usually ends up with, "People who are homophobic are usually just trying to cover up for their own homosexual feelings." Hence this logic means that if you're afraid of something it's because you want to be that thing you're afraid of. Personally I'm afraid of Pirates, Leprechauns, Gypsies and snakes. Deep down inside I want to be all of these things but because I can't be I must bash them in my private thoughts because I'm a coward...unlike Mr. Hardaway.

Tim Hardaway sidestepped the whole matter in one sentence which I'll quote:

"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people," he said. "I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."


I personally think it's wrong to make fun of people because of their fears. Tim Hardaway is a strong and athletic man having been a former NBA star but he suffers from an acute fear of homosexuals. It may seem silly to many of us who feel very natural and comfortable around homos but this is the nature of fear. It isn't easily understood by people who do not have it.

As a Seattle SuperSonic fan since the 70's I'm accustomed to gay basketball players. Jack Sikma, Tom Chambers, Dale Ellis, and scores of other courageous gay athletes have donned the green and gold. I've recently overheard many Sonics fans nonchalantly proclaim, "This team is so gay." and "...another gay season down the drain." We simply take it for granted. No group of fans in any other part of the world understands gay basketball quite like Seattle Supersonic fans do. We cheer for them and celebrate their courage.

I once knew a guy who was a normal upstanding individual that was afraid of spiders. His fear was irrational and silly for a man of his size to be afraid of something so small but his fear was real. It would've been cruel to single him out because of something he wasn't able to cope with.

I'm glad that Tim Hardaway came out of the closet and admitted a fear that he has. Tim Hardaway is a Homophobic-American and deserves our respect for his courage to admit it.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe one day the people who have criticized Hardaway will be able to realize their own fears and come clean about their fears of Homophobics….or the clinical term; Homophobiaphobia. These are the people I’m afraid of.

robert the grump said...

Dude, I can't believe you outed Sikma and Chambers. Ok, that perm that Sikma had back in the day was like a neon sign, but Chambers? I liked that guy. He was the only white Sonic who could jump, and the Sonics drafted a lot of white guys.

Dale Ellis is more obvious. Anyone who just shoots three pointers is immediately suspect.

Thanks a lot Tracy. After reading your blog I am now afraid of gypsies and left-handed guitar players.

Esther said...

That's great! I know this girl who is terrified of fish. For some reason I have never been able to laugh at her fear. I just make sure not to leave pictures of fish out when she's around. I'm afraid of radiation. It is wrong to mock people for their fears. It's also illogical to say that people want to be what they fear.

Also, heh heh, some of my ancestors were gypsies . . .

little-cicero said...

Anonymous has homophobaphobaphobia. If I was afraid of people like him, I would be a...this could go on forever!

I'm still mulling over this post. I appreciate you contrarian approach, but I'd like to get Andy over here and read his reaction as a homosexual.

Andy said...

There's a lot to respond to in here.

The main reason people who make outrageously homophobic speech are suspected of being gay is that many gay people -- myself included -- went through a phase when we were still in the closet where we were so afraid of being found out that we made all manner of derogatory statements about gays. (See Haggard, Ted.) It's a very real phenomenon.

You trivialize the issue by comparing homophobia to fear of Leprechauns or pirates, for example. Not all phobias are the same; people may jump and shriek when they see a snake or a spider, but that's not the usual response even the most virulently anti-gay people have to spying a homosexual (unless you're the Archbishop of Nigeria).

Yes, fear of snakes and spiders can result in lethal violence toward these animals, but in our society that's not regarded as the same thing, at all. No one's ever been prosecuted for smushing a spider, no matter how harmless it might have been.

Homophobic people don't just run away in a panic, nor does homophobia limit itself to idiotic speech like Hardaway's. It manifests itself on a regular basis in violence against human beings and, here in America as elsewhere, in legislation that serves to classify them as a second-tier group of citizens. It has real consequences for real people.

It's one thing to say you disapprove of homosexuality, though since all of the scientific evidence that is available overwhelmingly points to a biological origin for sexual orientation you might as well speak about your moral disapproval of a certain eye color -- or, more tellingly, skin color. But when you start to say things like homosexuality should not be in the United States or, indeed, the world, there is a violent threat lying just beneath the surface of your rhetoric.

Mr. Hardaway can say and think whatever he likes, but that same right gives the rest of us the power to stand up and say, "Wake up and smell the 21st century."

If you think Mr. Hardaway's being unfairly treated, you should try being gay in America for a while.

Tracy said...

Wow, what a surprise to have Andy post here. As usual he make a great deal of sense. I'll address some problems however from his post.

1. I did not trivialize homophobia in comaparison to other fears. Instead I COMPLETELY DISREGARDED homophobia in the comparison. This was done in an attempt to make Hardaway seem like the victim. It's parody...not comparison.

2. Pointing out the difference between the 'phobias' really points to the problem of calling it a phobia to begin with. It's not the same thing at all. People are disgusted with homosexuals in the same way they didn't like sharing a water fountain with someone of another race. Phobia is what it's called... but Hardaway really said what it was.

3. The accidental truth. It's when people accidently say what they really feel. He began by saying he 'hated.' All bets are off after this statement. My only point was that I loved that he admitted he's homophobic. It neutralizes what I feel is a non-issue to begin with.

4. Motivations are the big issue. We don't know the motivation but we are skeptical and rightly so. Do I think he's being unfairly treated? C'mon, don't be thick.

5. Hardaway is not a homophobe. He admitted it to call 'bullshit' to the bigger issue. Newsflash...he's not afraid of gay people...he 'hates' them. He said so. That is where it should begin and end on the subject of what he said.

6. Andy, try being a left-handed-American and you'll know what real persecution is. We're here! Our handwriting smears! We're in your face!

7. I outed three former NBA basketball players that to my knowledge aren't really gay.

Andy said...

Well, Little Cicero encouraged me to come over and say something, so I thought I might as well stir the pot.

See, 'homophobia' and hatred of homosexuals really kind of is understood to be the same thing. I've never yet come across an anti-gay person who was actually "scared" of me. Maybe instead of "fear," phobia should be understood more as any irrational response.

I did not realize that you were making a parody here, which changes the tenor of your post. It seemed sincere to me, so if I overreacted, sorry.

Tracy said...

You didn't overreact...plus it wasn't even good parody so you're off the hook. Also, you are pretty much the only blogger spokesman for 'the gay' that I pay attention to...mostly because you're way smarter than I am. I fear smart gay people. There, I've said it.

little-cicero said...

My view of this situation is that this man is getting his come-upins for utter stupidity, and for that reason stupidity should not be stifled- it should be corrected. Without the true, unhindered freedom to say what one believes, there is not true accountability.

Now this guy can be corrected- he's admitted he has a problem (stupidity being compared to alcoholism) and now he can deal with it. It would work better if he wasn't a celebrity, but he'll also experience deserved punishment.

Stupidity doesn't have to be harmful to others to cause suffering- that altruistic morality is imperfect. Suffering occurs as a result of solitary stupidity- put your hand on a stove, you suffer, you learn. I've done plenty of stupid things in my blogging life (ANDY can account for this) and with suffering, I learned.

Andy said...

Okay. : ) Those are some nice compliments, thank you.

It's not that it was necessarily a bad parody; it's just that -- as I recently explained to LC -- irony, sarcasm, or tongue-in-cheek writing is really hard to pull off online; almost certainly someone is going to take what you say literally.

Esther said...

I think most of Tracy's writing is tongue in cheek or parody-like. There's always an interesting truth or point behind it, but it takes a degree of exposure to know it's parody immediately upon reading.

Personally, I think it's usually good parody.

Ronald said...

Well, I think we've all learned alot here. The summary:

The Seattle Supersonics are very gay. I think we can all find agreement there.

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