At first glance, I laughed at the latest piece of street art in my neighborhood.
But after thinking about it, I’m not sure if it actually achieves much of anything and it might actually work against the point it was seemingly trying to make.
While I get what the artist Thrashbird was going for, this really doesn’t do anything to subvert the power of the word or the negative stereotypes that the word often carries. In fact, it mostly relies on the negative connotation of the word. It’s not much different than when Eminem uses the word but says it isn’t about sexuality, it’s just a put down; that ignores that he’s still using a word connected to homosexuality as a negative. I mean, even if you aren’t consciously thinking about a person’s sexuality when calling them that, why exactly is it a put down? What gives the word its power?
At the same time, you could argue that faggot is a negative kind of gay person (just as “White Trash” refers to a kind of white person, not all white people) but I’m not sure that most of America (and little of the world at large) is to a point of enlightenment where they’re splitting semantic hairs like that. I’d love it if the word was as innocuous as the word “Honky” but we’re not remotely close to being there yet. So while the intentions might have been good, this mainly just plays to me as crass name calling.
Although either way you land on the use of the word, I think we can all agree that it’s better to just not have the word “Faggot” emblazoned on a wall. (And, you know, I could do without the Duck Dynasty dude as well.)
What say you?

 

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