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Rehabilitating Hate?

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This article is part three of a series in celebration of a new, dynamic voice in Black America: the NUBIANO Exchange. Brace yourself for the NUBIANO experience. 
  by E Scott

Homophobe rehab?! Seriously?!

What is homophobe rehab? Is it effective? And why is their no rehab for racists? Or is there? And if there is, why didn’t Kramer go? So many questions!

For the few who may be out of the loop, Isaiah Washington, who stars on the award winning show Grey’s Anatomy, issued an apology for calling his fellow cast member T.R. Knight a derogatory term for gay men. Knight says that the incident forced him to come out publicly before he wanted to. 

Washington released an apology that included the statement: “I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I've asked for help.” 

And, reportedly, he has entered “therapy.”

I’d love to make some profound conclusive statement on the issue, but I honestly have more questions than answers. How does one “recover” from hating? And if it is possible, why is this the first time most of us have heard of it? 

This situation is astoundingly suspect. If there is “treatment” that one can seek to become “hate-free,” how do we decide who goes? Who decides? And is it just a coincidence that the first visible “patient” was a black man? Is there a hate hierarchy in Hollywood? Is homophobia worst than racism?

Many are well aware of the November 2006 incident where actor Michael Richards repeatedly used a notoriously derogatory term for people of African descent and made racist statements about Mexicans at a popular comedy club. The two situations aren’t exactly comparable considering that the Seinfeld alum wasn’t starring on a television show at the time, so there was no one to encourage him to enter rehab. But given Hollywood’s -– like America’s -– history involving racial preferences, one can’t help but to wonder if Richards, a white male, would have been asked to seek “help” if he were still on a top-rated show. The truth is that his decision not to enter “rehab” on his own speaks volumes.

The bottom line is discriminating against someone because on his or her sexuality is unacceptable. Period. And I fully support the decision of the powers that be (at Grey’s Anatomy) in encouraging Washington to take his personal issues with hate seriously. But true change –- on a macro level, at least –- will never occur unless we’re consistent. And until there is a full-scale war on all hate, prejudices will continue to sneak into Hollywood – or maybe even be welcomed. When people start getting serious about this, let me know.

I have a couple names to give you.

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About Clayton Perry