Friday, February 19, 2010

"No Homo"

There are a lot of things about pop culture that just need to DIE. Like, for example, the prevalence of misogyny in hip hop music. Or the widespread acceptance of violence in movies.

To this increasingly long list, I would like to ad something I recently became aware of: "No homo." I've heard this here and there over the past few months (maybe years) but it is at the front of my mind right now because it is a trending topic on Twitter and has made me really think about how despicable this phrase is.

We are all familiar with "That's so gay" ---a hate mongering and homophobic phrase that became so widespread in our society that a series of public service announcements were created to address them. "No homo" is along these exact same lines.

The idea is that if you say something that, out of context, would suggest something homosexual, you immediately say "no homo" after it. I went to the wealth of valuable information,, to find some examples:

"Hey man, pass the nuts. No homo."
"His ass is mine. No homo."

There are a couple of caveats I'd like to put out there before I explain why this phase is obviously problematic. The people using this phrase:
  1. Are not intelligent enough to understand the ramifications of their words.
  2. Don't care about the ramifications of their words.
  3. Really do hate homosexuals.
  4. Are self loathing/deeply closeted.
  5. All of the above.
Now, having laid that all out...I'm going to explain why this phrase is an issue in case those of you reading this don't already get it (which I'm sure you do!) It's pretty simple...if you have to state that you are not homosexual after saying something, then you clearly view homosexuality as something lesser-than and undesirable. Instead of seeing it as a simple variation in human identity, you have pointed out homosexuality as something no one would ever want to be associated with. This use of language is one of those things that people brush off as not a big deal, but contributes to how we shape our reality.

There's a good break down of how important language is here and I've also addressed this in this previous blog.

We've just got to face it. Our society is to a place where saying "no homo," "that's so gay," "throws like a girl," "Indian giver," and other phrases that evoke racism, homophobia, sexism, etc should no longer be tolerated. It takes two seconds to look at what these things really mean.

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