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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Was Racism the Factor in Isaiah Washington’s firing from Grey’s Anatomy?

By Georgette MosesSpecial to CSMS MagazineIsaiah Washington, the flamboyant star of Grey’s Anatomy, is now history as far as the producers of the show are concerned. Isaiah emphatically claims that racism had a lot to do with his firing from the hit ABC series after he twice used an anti-gay slur.     According to Newsweek magazine, Isaiah, who first used the epithet during an onset clash with a co-star, complains that “someone heard the booming voice of a black man and got really scared and that was the beginning of the end for me.”    ABC declined comment Thursday. In its one public statement regarding Washington, issued in January, the network said his actions were “unacceptable.”   Washington, who used the slur against co-star T.R. Knight during a confrontation with Patrick Dempsey, repeated the word backstage at the Golden Globes in January in denying the first incident. He later apologized.    Fearing for the inevitable, the actor went out of hi way to try to redeem himself.    According to the Associated press, the actor “tried to make amends by expressing remorse and volunteering to enter a counseling program to understand how the confrontation got out of hand. “My mistake was believing that I would get the support from my network and all of my cast mates across the board. My mistake was believing I could correct a wrong with honesty and sincerity,” Isaiah said during an interview with Newsweek Magazine last week.     Many were dismayed as it became clear that Isaiah did not have a chance. “My mistake was thinking black people get second chances. I was wrong on all fronts,” the actor said.     Isaiah Washington’s downfall is not a phenomenon that is new to many observers. But it is hard to understand how something that happened on the set could make its way out to the media. The answer may be found on a common trend that minority people face almost daily in this country.     In many instances, talent is not enough to land you a job. If you are a person of color, it may take a little bit of luck to reach your goal. Reaching the top can sometimes come with a price. You must learn to be submissive; otherwise your downfall is just a heartbeat away. “Well, it didn’t help me on the set that I was a black man who wasn’t a mush-mouth Negro walking around with his head in his hands all the time. I didn’t speak like I’d just left the plantation and that can be a problem for people sometime,” Isaiah said.     “I had a person in human resources tell me after this thing played out that ‘some people’ were afraid of me around the studio. I asked her why, because I’m a 6-foot-1, black man with dark skin and who doesn’t go around saying ‘Yessah, massa sir’ and ‘No sir, massa’ to everyone? It’s nuts when your presence alone can just scare people, and that made me a prime candidate to take the heat in a dysfunctional family,” the actor continued.     We all agree that Isaiah Washington was wrong to use slur against Knight. Being African American does not seem to be enough to teach him the lesson that he is now learning the hard way. Having said that, is that sufficed to fire him?NoteGeorgette Moses is a writer and singer. She lives in Saint Augustine, Florida.

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