I would really like to apologize for offering my view on the Willow Palin PR disaster. It’s probably very predictable for me to post about Palin’s recent Facebook debacle, but I think it’s symbolic too: Whenever someone says, “That’s so gay,” “You’re so gay,” or worse language around me, I tend to let my disapproval show. Of course, because people don’t just stop saying those things overnight, I don’t give up on showing my disapproval. So many people have already analyzed and criticized Palin’s comments, but I think it’s important to make sure when people use homophobic language, no one forgets about it. It’s the only way people will eventually stop.
According to Popeater.com, after someone named Tre posted a negative comment on Facebook about Sarah Palin’s new TV show, Willow responded to him with this:
“Haha your so gay. I have no idea who you are, But what I’ve seen pictures of, your disgusting … My sister had a kid and is still hot…Tre stfu. Your such a f****t.”
A negative comment on Facebook is enough for her to resort to using the kinds of “negative comments” some gay people have to endure daily. That’s ironic.
Bristol Palin, Willow’s older sister, also posted a comment against Tre, although she did not use homophobic language. (More of Willow’s general comments to Tre can be found on Advocate.com.
What makes this situation sad is that Bristol apologized on her Facebook page for the comments of both she and Willow. Even though Willow was the one who used hate speech, she hasn’t said anything publicly. Why is she not under greater pressure to apologize? Are her parents okay with her staying silent? I don’t know what Sarah Palin’s thoughts are about gay youth, but the silent message she is sending by not being publicly concerned about her daughter’s comments is telling.
Thinking beyond the Palin family, what is a solution for hate speech? Clearly, we need to speak out more against it. For example, while the “It Gets Better” videos have a great anti-bullying message overall, I’d like to see more specific language in them about homophobic language. People have tried to justify “that’s gay” to me by saying it’s just a habit and they’re not really bashing gays. Yet, even if they don’t notice they’re saying it, I notice.