You probably…No. You DEFINITELY know about the case involving actor and singer Jussie Smollett, known for his role on the Fox TV series Empire. For reminders, here’s a quick summary revolves around Smollett supposedly being a victim of a hate crime by two MAGA Trumpster dudes. Naturally, he received tons of love and support. That is, until the Chicago Police Department started to take apart the case by stating that Smollett faked the incident. According to them, he paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the hate crime and would pay them a few grand in return. Why? They said it was due to his resentment of not getting paid enough for his work on the show and he wanted to advance his career.
Smollett has been charged as police declare it a hoax. Still, he maintains his innocence, and there are still questions being asked.
This has been a news media inferno. Reports have been working overtime with the latest updates. As expected, the right was flabbergasted, eating up the news coverage that the alleged attack was a hoax as claimed by Chicago P.D., a law enforcement agency with a not-so-sterling record of trustworthiness, ethics and justice regarding policing communities of color. Donald Trump even took time to express his outrage towards the actor, and conservatives are breathing a sigh of relief as well as recording this case in their memory banks to use it against the left and those they consider are SJWs (Social Justice Warriors) should any actual hate crime happens, real or otherwise.
Commentators from mostly liberal news outlets try to examine this case, particularly focusing on why would an actor who’s black and gay himself would pull off such a horrid act in the midst of this nation’s disastrous atmosphere and what would happen to blacks, gays and actual victims of hate crimes IF Smollett was lying the whole time.
Blogger Abagond wrote about Smollett’s case a few weeks ago, but the commenting thread turned upside down after recent news reports of his possibly faking it made the airwaves and interwebs. I left a response explaining why blacks and gays are in their feelings about this whole unraveling explaining that our fears are nothing sort of reasonable:
1.) If this is a racial hoax, it would make it harder for actual victims of hate crimes to be taken seriously. The right has always made it their mission to program themselves to believe that black and gay people are NEVER victims, even when they clearly are. The greatest modern examples are just about EVERY police-involved murder of an unarmed black person, and I can remember clearly how right wing media wanted to argue against the fact that racism was the motivating factor for the Charleston Church massacre. And let’s not forget EACH AND EVERY TIME a white person (acts) belligerent whenever he or she sees a black person doing everyday things and that white person calls the police on them for doing NOTHING (but be there and be black). But sure enough, there are people who will contest that those white people were in the right for some BS reason, but will run away at the notion that race was involved.
(It goes without saying that the right entertains white victimhood ad nauseum, and sees this as another hit and miss undertaking to demonize white people they believe are existentially innocent…of everything.)
2.) In this climate where white racism is bubbling in this nation, why the bloody hell would ANYONE stage this? Reports say that Smollett allegedly staged the attack, because he wasn’t getting paid enough or that the letter he allegedly wrote to himself didn’t get enough attention. Even though stranger things have happened, it’s almost impossible to take any of that seriously. We can’t accept someone would be this stupid and careless to want to jeopardize himself, help to undermine any activism against the unapologetic hate in this country and give them fuel to continue their pathological need to hate and fear people who aren’t straight white and male and aren’t mindless “Trumpsters”.
And for what?
3.) I talked a lot about what this does to marginalized groups when members of their own is accused of something terrible. If Smollett’s attack was fake and he knowingly orchestrated it himself, a lot of black and gay people are going to be dismayed, embarrassed, ashamed and will fear the worst. One of those fears is explained in the first point. And America is on denial autopilot whenever something like this happens.
Speaking as a black man, black people can never be victims of racism in the eyes of many people, INCLUDING SOME BLACKS. Whenever racism rears its ugly head, there’s an immediate push-back from people who tell black folks that it’s not racism, that they’re delusional or too sensitive, or anything to deny that race was the issue.
I’ve learned since blogging that some people are too closed-minded with zero empathy to truly get why this case is weighing so heavily on our hearts and minds. They could care less if this puts us in an uneasy position and puts more stress on us than we already feel.
I have no doubt there are many gay and black people praying that Jussie Smollett didn’t cook up the attack. If he did, it will unleash a wave of negative emotions. But if it was authentic and he was indeed attacked, it would still be heavy on us as it reminds us that this country and the world in general, hatred is not only the norm, it’s empowered.
It doesn’t take much research to know that people have been assaulted and murdered just for being what they are that’s none of their choosing. Black skin and sexual preferences are NOT choices, and neither of them are indicators of evil. But choosing to hate those things and be uncultivated to think otherwise IS a choice, a choice this nation continues to make repeatedly against groups of people who survive it each generation.
So yes, people have damn good reasons to be nervous. Even if the Smollett case didn’t happen, sure enough, the fear and hate will find some other way to continue. It won’t likely be widespread, there will be future victims just because of their melanin-rich skin and/or their sexual orientation doesn’t sit well with those invested in fear.