Isaiah Washington has come out in a recent AP article and candidly stated that he was fired because of racism and that because he was a black man he didn’t get a second chance like a white person would.
On one hand you can easily and rightly say that his ass was handed to him because he didn’t have the same respect for the LGBT crowd that he expects everyone should have for African-Americans, and also (I’m sad to say) because it was so public as well – black, white, brown, woman or man – what does he expect from a TV network which is praised for the show he was on because of its diversity? It’s kind of like if you find a Klan member working for the American Jewish Archives – you kinda have to fire them for the PR alone.
At the same time Isaiah Washington does have a point when he says that white men get more chances to make mistakes than black men do. He is right. Black men have to work harder to prove they are worth the same as white men – it’s called the Black Tax – and Asians and women have it too (see the previous posts).
But does it matter in this case? Is it relevant? For the sake of the firing itself – no. You want to use the same words that people use in hate crimes (and don’t tell me you didn’t know it was derogatory and demeaning and hateful), then you need to suffer the consequences. Any employer has the right to fire you for that reason.
But then ask the question – what if it was Tom Cruise?
And then ask the question – what if it was an Asian-American actor who said all of this instead of an African-American actor? Would we even be listening?