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Journalists Weigh In On Roland Martin Controversy

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Journalists and media outlets across the country have been weighing in on Roland Martin and publicly sharing their stances against language that encourages anti-LGBT violence, no matter what the context.

The National Association of Black Journalists, an organization of journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides quality programs and services to and advocates on behalf of black journalists worldwide, recently released a statement taking a stand against hate speech in any medium.

"This is a teachable moment for all journalists," said the statement, released in the name of NABJ President Gregory H. Lee Jr. "We are reminded that what we communicate in print and broadcast -- and now through social media -- has considerable power. NABJ does not support any commentary in any medium that is insensitive or offensive.

"Mr. Martin is one of our most committed members. In lieu of his presence on CNN, until this matter is resolved, we encourage the network to continue to present a diverse offering of voices in its programming," the statement concluded.

Political pundit Dr. Boyce Watkins wrote about the very real implications behind anti-gay language, even when said jokingly: “While ‘stabbing your son’ or ‘beating the ish’ out of someone for being gay might bring forth a chuckle or two, the joke isn’t funny for those who must withstand the real threat of serious violence due to their sexual orientation.”

Cultural critic dream hampton wrote on EBONY.com: “There are people reading this now wondering 'What violence?', as the threshold for violence is so high that even the idea of smacking 'the ish out of' someone hardly registers (in an ironic twist, Martin considers cursing offensive, hence the 'ish'). It’s also worth noting that the timing of Martin’s 'joke' is made even more troublesome as it was immediately followed by a viral video of a Black gay man being brutally beaten in Atlanta. As a community, we must continue to press for a culture free of hypocrisy and condemnation. And we have to press for sensitivity from our community leaders, within our churches and where ever there is gay bashing.”

“If not because the comment itself was distasteful, than because a political commentator ought to know better than anyone how quickly an off-the-cuff remark can be your undoing,” wrote theGrio contributor Michael Arceneaux. “One wonders why a person paid to offer analysis on the current political and social climate would even tempt fate with that kind of tweet, especially at a time when anti-gay violence has become a pervasive trend.”

Many other journalists took to Twitter to spread a positive message:

In reference to Roland Martin’s “real bruhs” tweet that prefaced his anti-gay comment (“Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear! “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl.”), cultural critic Toure (@Toure) tweeted, “Real brothers are not homophobic.”

Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile), political strategist and syndicated columnist, posted on her timeline, “Let us all find common ground @GLAAD & @rolandsmartin will mend, meet, share, grow stronger, wiser and more determined to stop the hate.”  And earlier: “Upon departing campus, my inbox was full. The news about @rolandsmartin suspension from #CNN forced me to pull over. Teachable moment y'all.”

Later ESPN columnist/CNN contributor LZ Granderson retweeted Donna Brazile: "@Toure: Real brothers are not homophobic.” May I add this: real sisters are tolerant and believes in equality for all.”

After a series of LGBT-inclusive tweets about masculinity, New York Times columnist Charles Blow (@CharlesMBlow) tweeted about the power of words: “You may mean no harm with a joke about manliness, but all those jokes feed a culture, and at the fringes of that culture things can unravel.”

And in response to one of his followers, CNBC contributor Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) tweeted, “Roland is a successful TV pundit; he'll be fine. It's the gay kids I'm worried about.”

GLAAD looks forward to a healthy and productive dialogue with Roland Martin and members of the community.

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