A self-respecting African-American writes:

"We do not need protection.

There is not one individual on this planet who can make a black into a n***er. We can only do that to ourselves. Yet aided and abetted by fear of the right and largess from the left some are all too happy to be accomplices in their own demise.

This is where gays got it right. There was a time when queer was a harsh pejorative for homosexual. But instead of trying to force people into using convoluted phrases such as "the Q-word," they embraced the word queer. Gays stole it from their enemies, waved it like a captured war flag which they then strung from the standards of pop culture: Queer as Folk. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. By flogging it endlessly they took away its intended sting. So, then, go on and call a gay queer. At worst they will laugh and shake their heads. At the least they may say: "yes, thanks."

Acceptance of the word does not end homophobia. It does not stop the hate mongers from trying to inject bigotry into the Constitution. However, unlike some in the black community, upon mention of the once dreaded word gays will not drop into a fit of histrionics.

Of course, by bowdlerizing the word, I do what the writer wishes I didn't. But I'm not black; and that word is too toxic for me. As for the q-word, I can understand the idea behind coopting it. But it doesn't coopt me. I prefer to think of myself as a fag.