GQ’s Lauren Bans explains why gay characters don’t give you a free pass on racist jokes:
The latest example comes courtesy of Glee-master Ryan Murphy’s new NBC comedy The New Normal. The show’s leading gay couple Bryan and David (Bonus points: David is a doctor. Who likes football. And doesn’t speak in jazz hands. En garde, Will & Grace-era mellifluous homotyping!) are in search of the perfect surrogate. All seems well and fine, except for the sitcom also features an “Oh no you did-eeent” black secretary who steals her boss’s credit card. And an Asian mistress nicknamed, uh, “Hello Kitty.” Plus a slew of jokes centered on the idea that lady genitals are more disgusting than a Van Halen tour bus toilet. (At one point, Bryan, just imagining a vagina, whines, “Ewwww, they look like tarantulas!”) Weirdly enough, the same dynamic exists on the new CBS sitcom Partners. There’s a leading gay couple, and this time a Latina receptionist who they “found on a subway platform” and who threatens to “cut” them every half second. We’re calling it gaycism: the wrongheaded idea that having gay characters gives you carte blanche to cut PC corners elsewhere. Take Modern Family, the familiar but funny ABC darling that modernly features a gay couple with an adopted Asian daughter, and not-so-modernly grounds about half its humor on Gloria’s (Sofia Vergaga) Taco Bell chihuahua Spanglish, with nary a reflexive gasp from critics. (Please take a moment to imagine if Two and a Half Men featured a bombshell Columbian who mispronounces everything. There’d be critics calling for Chuck Lorre’s proverbial half man to be proverbially cut off.)
Full essay here.
GQ isn’t flawless by any means, but this article makes an excellent point: just because you might be oppressed, doesn’t mean you’re not oppressive.