I actually like Roland Martin. Not only are his tweets and Facebook postings humorous, but he also gives some of the best political insight that’s available for us who live outside The Beltway.
So, I was disappointed to see Martin play into long-standing gender stereotypes with tweets he made about a commercial during Sunday’s Super Bowl:
Since I’ve been following him for close to a year, I understand his long-running jokes he makes about soccer, as he notes about an hour after posting the above tweets. However, the tweet, “Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear” caused a shit storm among some GLBTQ folks on Twitter. Of course, Martin defended his tweets by accusing people of not fully reading his timeline to fully grasps what he *really* was getting at.
I’m still pondering what Martin meant by “real bruhs,” though. I’ve read his timeline for 15 minutes before writing this and I still can’t grasps what he means by real bruhs. Do real bruhs purchase Hanes, formerly pitched by Michael Jordan, from Wal-Mart instead? Do they purchase their underwear from mall stores? Gap? Old Navy? Abercrombie & Fitch? Aero? Ecko? So, what if a dude at someone’s Super Bowl party was hyped about Beckham’s H&M underwear ad? Why does he deserve to have the “ish” smacked out of him, as Martin directed to his followers?
Does a man getting hyped about Beckham’s underwear ad make him less of a bruh, Martin? Does that make him worthy of ridicule? Mocking? What if a real bruh’s young son were to get hyped about Beckham’s underwear ad? Does that young son deserved to have the shit smacked out of him, reminding him of how real bruhs are supposed to conduct themselves in the presence of other real bruhs, young and old?
Here’s another screenshot of Martin’s tweets. Notice his defensiveness…
Martin’s response to his critics is typical of cisgendered, straight folks who refuse to check their privilege in the presence of GLBTQ peeps. Here’s the thing Roland Martin: if a member of an oppressed group criticizes your tweets as offensive and homophobic–just like GLBTQ folks regarding your tweets–you have no right to question their reasoning or their perception of your tweets. As a cis, straight man, you have no right to lecture gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgender folks on how they should perceive homophobia. You have no right to dictate to GLBTQ folks on what is or isn’t homophobic. Your cis, straight privilege doesn’t give you that ability. Plain and simple.
Cracking on men wearing skinny jeans is very different than advocating violence towards those who aren’t “real bruhs” because they would get excited about seeing David Beckham’s underwear ad.
The difference, Roland Martin, is you are perpetuating gender stereotypes and promoting the idea that real men only act a certain way or like certain products. You’re promoting the idea that real men don’t get excited about going to H&M to purchase David Beckham’s new underwear. Furthermore, you’re promoting the accepted hypermasculine response to anything that goes against gender conformity as subject to ridicule and violence as an effort to put those misfits in check.
The idea that Martin would even hide behind humor to explain away the latent homophobia in his tweets is beneath a man of his intelligence. I can bet on my 2005 Honda Civic that Martin wouldn’t excuse Newt Gingrich if he tried to hide behind humor to explain his racist, sexist or homophobic statements. So, why should he expect his Twitter followers to accept his haphazard excuse for his homophobic tweets?