Have Americans become overly sensitive to language? Or was Gabourey Sidibe right in being accosted after telling jokes on the Arsenio Hall Show?
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn’s own is treading hot water after she repeatedly used a transphobic slur on Arsenio Hall’s late-night talk show. The Oscar-nominated actress said “tranny” five times in under one minute during the chat, which understandably angered transgender activists upon it hitting their radars.
According to The Huffington Post, Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said, “Using the word ‘tranny’ isn’t OK anymore. Using it to make fun of people is definitely not OK. And using it to make fun of any kind of violence is just plain wrong.” It’s no secret that humans enjoy making fun of others without giving any credence to the actual problem behind it. Look no further than last year’s Halloween here in the U.S. to see how something like the shooting death of Trayvon Martin inspired sickening revelry instead of awareness to the problem of “Stand Your Ground” laws.
With that in mind, should the American Horror Story: Coven star have had to apologize for the comments she made in jest?
“There was always, like, a gang of cops arresting trannies,” Sidibe told Hall on the show. “Specifically trannies,” she emphasized. “And I don’t know what goes on with trannies but that tranny-on-tranny crime needs to stop! It is tearing our nation apart!”
Breaking down what Sidibe says is important, especially in noting that as a woman of color she should feel remiss to the issues facing her ilk. Given what America has said about Black people and has done to Black Americans, it comes as no shock the double standard they are faced with when it comes to slurs and spoken language.
The plight within the transgender community is shocking when you dive into the numbers. And while ignorance of any kind is unbecoming of us as a human race, there are other ways to handle it than by forcing the entire conversation on the shoulders of a few.