Kobe Bryant: Gay Slurs, Perceived Bias, and When Keeping It Real Is Wrong

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has been fined $100,000 by David Stern and the NBA. While he has made his apologies for using a gay slur as well as unacceptable language, the issues raised by his actions have yet to die down.

This morning's news of Bryant's fine was making the rounds on CNN, and numerous civil rights groups took turns lashing out at Bryant for his inflammatory language and poor judgement.

Bryant's misdeed has opened the door on a much larger conversation, and—as expected—there are people lining up on both sides of the debate who bring some very interesting points to the table.

Some people feel that Bryant's statement was taken out of context, and the slur he used was based more on his emotions at that point rather than an indication of what Bryant thought of the referee as an individual.

I'm almost sure that Bryant did not intend to offend the gay community with his comments, but that knowledge doesn't make Bryant's words any less painful to the people he did hurt.

One of the most commonly repeated phrases I hear concerning the subject is, "words are only damaging when a person gives them power," but there are also words that have enough embedded history to generate power of their own.

I was born, raised and reside in the city of Charlotte, NC which is located in a region of our country that is no stranger to the power of words, one in particular, that is immediately associated with generations of hate and repression.

Charlotte is a little different though, because while most of the cities in the surrounding south were strong in their belief of so called states' rights, leaders in the Queen City were more concerned with the growth of the area.

Integration came quicker and was accepted with less difficulty than in other areas, and children of my generation were mostly spared from the racial discrimination and violence that surround...

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