GAY + N*GGA= The Controversy

by MIKEL MCCOY · May 21, 2008

TV, gay, controversyYesterday afternoon was pretty rainy so I was watching a bit of the T.V, W.B. syndication no less, and the show My Wife and Kids stuck me. Along with all the situation comedy aspects one can expect, like family interaction problems, battles for space, time, and family love, and an interesting battles of the sexes. I noticed the word "Gay " being thrown around in a derogatory manner, friendly, but derogatory no less. Like, Q: Is this a good hat? A: That hat is gay. I thought wow, that's pretty provocative for a national T.V. show. But then I thought about how my friends and I use the word, and I hear the word being thrown around like that a lot.

It was also my friend and sometime GOFG photographer Andrew's B-day so I went out drinking to help him celebrate, but also with this burning question of whether saying something is Gay is OK or calling a friend Nigga is OK?

Sure word's meaning and connotations change in our language on the daily, but some words are so powerful that even when the new meanings come into play its pretty difficult to forget about the original ones. Gay the word that the homosexual community uses positively to describe themselves-now a negative dis. The "N Word"-the word that for centuries has been used as a derogatory remark to cut and belittle- now a term of endearment.

With out going too much into the etymology of these words I wanted to know how the people I was out drinking with felt about this linguistic sea change. Both Andrew and Vic, a graphic designer agreed that the words maybe not the best ways to express dislike or endearment, but both also admitted to using the words, though Vic said he's been using gay a bit less dues to his associations and friendships with gay people. That's what I got from my unscientific, non-representative sample. What I want to know now is how do GOFG readers feel about these at times divisive, always controversial words?

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