Friday, February 10, 2012

CNN Smacks the Ish Out of Roland Martin

Roland Martin has gotten himself suspended from CNN for some tweets he made during the Super Bowl:

"Ain't no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear!"

"If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham's H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!"
Here's is the David Beckham ad that got Roland so agitated:



Now Martin claims was that he was dissing Beckham as a soccer player, a sport that he does not give any respect. And he could also have been dissing the tattoos. Or dissing that particular style of underwear, which looks uncomfortably restricting, for a real bruh, if you know what I mean.

Earlier in the day Martin had tweeted:

"Who the hell was that New England Patriot they just showed in a head to toe pink suit? Oh, he needs a visit from #teamwhipdatass."
Here's the picture of that sharp-dressed man:


Obviously Roland's remark is an offensive African-American pimp stereotype. Oh wait, Roland is African-American, that can't be it. Offensive to New England Patriots fans? Nothing wrong with that, outside of New England.

So who did take offense? Maybe we should cut to the obligatory CNN apology.

"Roland Martin's Tweets were regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being."
Well CNN is clearly apologizing to someone, we just don't know who. Maybe Roland Martin's apology will clear this up:

"To those who construed my comment as being anti-gay or homophobic or advancing violence, I'm truly sorry. I can certainly understand how someone could come to a different conclusion than the one I meant. I'm disheartened that my words would embolden prejudice. While public debate over social issues is healthy, no matter which side someone takes, there is no room for debate as to whether we need to be respectful of others."
I'm glad we settled that. We can't have anyone tweeting offensive remarks unless we know who is offended. Maybe the Gay and Lesbian Aliance Against Defamation thought "ish" was a homophoic slur. Actually it's hip-hop slang for "shit" as in "smack the shit out of him." Someone at GLAAD needs racial and cultural awareness training. The meeting between Roland Martin and GLAAD has already been scheduled.

Who is Roland Martin? He's a CNN political commentator who just a year ago was being talked about as anchor for a show on the competing network MSNBC.


I guess he won't be going anywhere any time soon in that shirt, except maybe to that meeting with GLAAD. Or he could wear his pinkish-organgish shirt that the Washington Post is flaunting.


The Hollywood Reporter also puts the pink on Roland:


I'm getting the strong impression from these photos that Roland Martin is a stylish dresser who likes to express his very strong opinions about fashion choices he disagrees with. He is not a man afraid to wear pink.

Nonetheless, the case against Roland Martin was judged open and shut by GLAAD's Communities of African Descent Media Field Strategist Kimberley McLeod:

"This brings me to my next point, gay men, lesbians, transgender folk, or any other oppressed minority, are NEVER wrong when they point out your privilege and/or hurtful words. I’ll say it again; THEY ARE ALWAYS RIGHT. As oppressed people, we dictate when what you’re saying is homophobic, transphobic, or generally problematic, you don’t. As a straight man, you do not get to define what homophobia looks like, sounds like, or feels like. Why? Because I said so. You have never and will never have to grapple with the harsh reality of negotiating your identity as a Black gay man, and that, in-and-of-itself, disqualifies any opinions you may have on delineating homophobic actions, statements, or stances. Capisce?"
Capisce? That's the phrase associated with implied threats of mafia violence. Italian-Americans will be offended.

Roland Martin's original sin is this post on his website from February 2006:

"My wife, an ordained Baptist minister for 20 years, has counseled many men and women to walk away from the gay lifestyle, and to live a chaste life. She has asked heterosexual men and women to abstain from sex until marriage. For her, the obligation is to her calling as a minister of the Word, rather than bowing to societal pressures. She loves gay and lesbian church members dearly, and prays with them, talks to them, and breaks bread with them. But what she cannot do is compromise the integrity of the teachings of Christ."
For that offense, as much as for the Super Bowl tweets, Roland Martin will be glaad-handed into bending it like Beckham. But let's remember, people come to Baptist ministers for counsel voluntarily. Can you condemn the minister without condemning the ministered? And when did we start condemning the minister’s spouse?

So it comes around that Acting GLAAD President Mike Thompson has had to issue his own form of apology:

"GLAAD is aware that several members of the LGBT community have used racial epithets and race-based insults toward Roland Martin, his family and broader African American community. We unequivocally condemn the use of racial slurs when addressing issues of homophobia and strongly discourage the use of hate speech in any context. We look forward to a healthy and productive dialogue with Roland Martin and members of the community."
That is truly bending it like Beckham.

4 comments:

buddeshepherd said...

Why do we have to apologize for every hurtful thing said? i think people should say more rude and hurtful things. It is good for you to be offended sometimes and it is good to offend people back.
I think it has to do with estrogen in the water supply and people wearing really tight underwear.
Saying rude things is a good stress reliever and if you can't handle being called something really offensive or having your sexual preference questioned or your race put down or your religion (or lack of religion) laughed at you need to go through kindergarten again.
Instead of classes in racial sensitivity I think there should be classes in funny responses to rude and hurtful language. Now that would actually make the world a better place.
But there is no money to be made in eliminating victimhood...
Just my opinion and you can say something rude to me in return...

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Yes, something like "Roland your politics are pinker than my suit." Or, "Roland, you only wish you could get the ish stains out of your tidy whities."

In this case, it is worth noting that neither Mr. Beckham nor Mr. Pink had any public complaint with Roland Martin. All the apologies were directed at the offense taken by third parties.

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