T.I., Tracy Morgan and the PC Police

The rapper's in trouble for defending the comic's anti-gay rant. But does T.I. have a point?

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Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic; Aby Baker/Getty Images

Rapper T.I. doesn't always exercise the best judgment. Shocking, I know. Though that's usually his issue, this time that flaw affects others. A reasonable point that he tried to make about the way many of us react to controversial comedy was lost over the flawed premise with which he chose to introduce it.

In an interview with Vibe, the Atlanta rapper, inspired by the backlash that comedian Tracy Morgan received following bigoted comments during a Nashville, Tenn., comedy set, recently discussed gay people and the public's sensitivity to anti-gay sentiment.

He recalled a joke Morgan made that went, "C'mon, man, I think gay people are too sensitive. If you can take a dick, you can take a joke." The joke may offend, but there is an underlying truth there, even if it's inconvenient to hear. Unfortunately, T.I. lost all hope for wide consideration of his opinion when he kept talking.

Saying he found that quip funny and "kind of true," he added that gays are "like, 'If you have an opinion against us, we're gonna shut you down' ... That's not American. If you're gay you should have the right to be gay in peace, and if you're against it you should have the right to be against it in peace."

Not only does this statement suggest that the recently paroled rapper has a shaky grasp of U.S. civics, but he confused the concept of entertainers having the creative freedom to push the envelope with some bizarre request for public figures to be allowed to be hateful without repercussions.

Comics go to the edge, but sometimes they jump over it headfirst. Like the 30 Rock star's declaration that if his son was gay, "he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked an effeminate, high-pitched voice], or he would pull out a knife and stab that little nigga to death." It was this joke, not the one T.I. referenced in Vibe, that got the comedian in hot water with gay-rights groups.

It's delusional to think that Morgan would be able to say what he said without criticism, and ridiculous not to see why gays and straights alike were offended by those words. For the record, if you want to express your opinions "in peace," you don't offer them before a crowd.

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Trying to hide behind "free speech" is cowardly and suggests a false sense of entitlement -- not to mention hypocrisy. T.I.'s First Amendment advocacy didn't seem to apply to personal matters; he was quick to shut down questions about his wife and his jail time in that same interview as well as during a recent appearance on The Wendy Williams Show.

In an attempt to quell criticism over his comments to Vibe, T.I. called TMZ to clarify his thoughts. He explained: "It's about people who take themselves too seriously, any group. It's not just about gays. I think that African-American groups sometimes take things a tad too seriously, too ... If you use the n-word like Don Imus [he meant Imus' "nappy-headed hos" reference] and say something that's completely derogatory and disrespectful, that's understandable."

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