Why Kobe's Slur Wasn't Anti-Gay
Not all members of the gay community think the basketball star's use of the other f-word was homophobic -- and it certainly doesn't compare to using the n-word.
Although I'm sure the Bryant bashing would have been far less virulent if he were white, ultimately this isn't about defending Bryant's outburst -- because it shouldn't be defended. Rather, it's about demanding that any Kobe critique intelligently, accurately and honorably reflects the facts. Most crucially, those critiques must never devolve to the kind of race-based vitriol flowing freely across the Internet today.
White-led LGBT blogs such as Joe.My.God and particularly Towleroad have traditionally shown little leadership in these kinds of efforts; sadly, minority blogs such as the one by openly gay black blogger Pam Spaulding have also failed to chime in with some context.
From Donald Trump to the Westboro Baptist Church folks, the enemies of LGBT liberation are very much alive, well and ready for action. Kobe Bryant, I suspect, simply wants to get back on the basketball court. Pro sports is a fiery realm of testosterone laced with narcissism, where terms like "faggot" are often used with impunity. One day Bryant may call yet another referee a "fucking faggot." But unless he believes that ref is gay – sorry, John Amaechi -- "faggot" will still not be the new "nigger."
David Kaufman is a New York-based writer who regularly contributes to the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Time and Monocle.