A few comedians have gotten into trouble while joking about how they'd be terribly disappointed if they ever found out that their son was gay. People accused them of being homophobic and, at times, promoting violence against gay people.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Kevin Hart talked about a similar joke he tells about the topic, although in a more enlightened way.
"One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That's a fear," Hart confesses. "Keep in mind, I'm not homophobic. […] Be happy. Do what you want to do."
But Hart said that what makes his account different is that he presents it in a way that sheds light on how much of his concern would stem from the insecurities he would feel as a father.
"It's about my fear. I'm thinking about what I did as a dad—did I do something wrong—and if I did, what was it? Not that I'm not gonna love my son or think about him any differently," Hart explained.
"The funny thing within that joke is, it's me getting mad at my son because of my own insecurities—I panicked. It has nothing to do with him; it's about me. That's the difference between bringing a joke across that's well thought out and saying something just to ruffle feathers," Hart explained.
It seems that a lot of the anxiety about gay sons and their fathers stems from the idea that a man's sexuality is a commentary on what kind of father he had in his life. Kudos to Hart for trying to articulate that perspective.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features expert advice with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.