The Phil Roberston/Duck Dynasty Debacle Continues. Yelling Gay Fire in a Crowded Anti-Gay Theatre
The unpleasantness has not gone away. Phil Robertson was reinstated to his reality television ‘position’ despite his egregious comments regarding African American and LGBT individuals. Not wasting any time whatsoever, conservative groups have dragged out every possible dated and tired (and generally debunked) argument to defend their right to incite hatred. The precise form of hatred that led to the attack of someone like Daniel Zamudio.
Daniel was a 24 year old gay man from Santiago. On March 2nd of 2012 he left home for work, as he did most days. He told his parents he’d be late that evening but he never returned home. According to one of his aggressors:
“One of us decided to beat him because he was gay (…) then A. and P. started slapping him around, lightly. Then things got worse. We beat him; Face, testicles, legs, his entire body. I hit him with the tennis shoes I’m wearing now. I think I struck his head and legs. (…) The boy was bleeding from his face and nose. A. broke a bottle on his (Daniel’s) head. As he was already unconscious, A. and P. carved swastikas into him with the broken glass. On his chest, stomach and back. (…) A. got a large rock and threw it at the boy’s (Daniel’s) head. Then F. took the rock and started throwing it at his legs, about ten times. (…) That didn’t break his legs, so then they used a ‘palanca’. When it finally broke it sounded like a chicken bone breaking.”
Notice how the aggressor didn’t refer to Daniel by name. In fact, none of the aggressors did. That’s part of dehumanizing a group or individual. The exact same way the Hutu’s did to the Tutsi’s in Rwanda, and the Nazi’s to the Jews in Europe. The first step to feeling the entitlement to physically harm, maim or kill a fellow human being is believing they are less than. Phil Robertson’s comments imply LGBT lives are worth less than the lives of heterosexuals because being gay is ‘defective’. His comments are a de-facto launching pad for anti-gay sentiment, persecution and attacks. I’d love to think that the comments of a reality television personality didn’t matter; That they’re as irrelevant as the shows themselves, but that’s not the case. Evidence of that is how the anti-gay crowd of old has already jumped on the bandwagon to defend the right to hate and exclude gays. That’s the same crowd who said they had a problem with the use of the word marriage for gay unions, but forget to mention they were the same ones who also fought against gay civil unions for years. And in case you were wondering, Daniel Zamudio spent 25 days in a coma after the attack, he died in hospital.
Make no mistake, A&E’s decision to reinstate Robertson is an unabashed endorsement of the social exclusion of the LGBT community.