I speak specifically of Isaiah Washington, the black actor whose contract for Grey's Anatomy was not renewed. Several months ago Washington used a slur to describe a gay castmate, T.R.Knight; presumably, he called him a faggot. He apparently repeated this slur at an awards show. Subsequently Washington apologized to Knight and even, in a somewhat bizarre twist, entered rehab to cure himself of this. (Of what? His homophobia? His prejudice against gays? Or just his inability to stop putting his foot in his mouth?)
Alas, it was to no avail, and at the end of the season Washington was canned. Miffed, Washington blamed his dismissal on racial discrimination - I'm guessing that the producers who fired him are not black - and here's where I don't quite get it. Racial prejudice? Has he forgotten what he called his castmate? Has he paused to consider that if another actor had called him a racial slur, the n-word, the actor would have likely been immediately fired? Does he think that prejudice against gays is less reprehensible than prejudice against someone based on their skin color?
Don't get me wrong. I know that racial prejudice is alive and well in America. You'd have to be blind and deaf and, frankly, dumb to think it didn't exist. But I just don't see it here, and it seems to me that when racial prejudice is claimed when it doesn't exist, it just hurts the cause rather than helps it.
I realize that, since I'm not black, I might have no business deciding when racial discrimination exists and when it does not. Maybe I'm missing something here, and if so, I'd be glad to have someone point it out to me.