By Lavern Merriweather:
There has been tremendous attention, as well as controversy, surrounding “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams after his stirring speech at this year’s BET awards. Jesse, who was the winner of the Humanitarian prize, spoke some serious truth to power as he accepted the award. Unlike certain black famous folks such as Charles Barkley, Stephen A. Smith and Don Lemon, Mr. Williams stepped up to the plate. I’m not exactly sure why he was the recipient for this. However, I’m grateful that he used this opportunity as a platform to say what needed to be said.
Mr. Williams questioned, and rightfully so, how we can be considered “free” as black people when the murders of Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd and Sandra Bland have occurred with zero consequences. On top of that, there has also been no sympathy, indignation or moral outrage.
When the shooting in Orlando happened, rich, white celebrities came out in droves to shed tears along with the victims. They dedicated songs, said public prayers and donated money. This is a vastly different response to when the victims are black, especially when the perpetrators are cops. Regardless of how wrong the police are, they are always seen as the good guy when they kill a black person.
Remember Rodney King? Although he has since passed away, he is still seen as the villain. Many white folks will defend the cop’s position even when the people who manufacture Hynudais said their car doesn’t go as fast as police claimed. So, you mean to tell me that you purport to be little Mr. and Mrs. Objective about the altercations between black folks and law enforcement while you believe every damn thing cop’s say? I would love to know just how that works again. Here’s the thing, it don’t.
White people can’t defend what cops do then turn around and act oh so righteous about what went on with Adrian Peterson and his son. That tells me right there that their rhetoric is completely and utterly phony.
The same quiet bitching about what Jesse Williams spoke is being silently perpetuated throughout the media. Of course, leading the charge are the uber racist white folks at Fake Noise, namely new Stepford bleached blonde Tomi Lahren. Once again, the response of the white right flies in the face of all their so-called freedom of speech assertions. Jesse was only exercising the ability that many white people demand exist: the right to speak his mind. A few whispers by black people have circulated that they hope this doesn’t ruin his budding career. I honestly hope that his courageous stance doesn’t come back to bite him in the ass. This young man deserves our praise and appreciation, not our scorn.
Those of you reading this may be too young to remember what befell star Eddie Murphy. Thirty years ago when the Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover vehicle “The Color Purple” came out, it was nominated for 14 Oscars. Yet, it won none. Eddie was one of the final presenters of the night. As the show wasn’t going that well, many attending expected him to say something hilarious and save the program. Instead, Eddie gave the Hollywood elite what for by letting them know how pissed off he was about how shitty an all-black movie was treated. Many of the white executives and movie stars there didn’t say it aloud, but most likely they were upset about Eddie giving them a piece of his mind. Notice how Eddie’s name became mud with the critics shortly later on, granted some of his movies have been stinkers. Still, plenty of the biggest names of white males in the industry have had more than their fair share of crappy flicks. Yet, it’s always Eddie that they criticize as if he is the lone star out there that has made bad films.
For me, that all boils down to the night he chose to let his conscience override the need to be accepted into the dominant society.
This leads me to another point I have heard from Negroes about Mr. Williams, that he spoke out just to make a name for himself. If that is the case, then so the hell what? I don’t care what his motivation was. What he said was valid, important and is rarely done in America. Jesse did what scant Negroes have the balls to do and frankly he has a lot more to lose than gain by what he did. So why disregard it?
Some black women even had the nerve to complain that his comments about black women was pandering. Okay, you bitch about black men not speaking up enough for you, then you whine when this black male does. That contradictory angry-about-everything attitude is what continues to cause a rift between black men and women. And make no mistake, Jesse Williams IS a black man.
So, for all of those people with your ass on backwards because he has a white mother, please STFU. His parentage does nothing to change the fact that he is obviously conscious to the racism which has been plaguing this land for centuries. Not decades mind you, but hundreds of years racism which has been a problem. Jesse was addressing what older folks have been saying for the longest of times. That he is so young is extremely encouraging to the future of black people in general. He isn’t here to play the game like others that sit silently on the sidelines when there is violence against black people, yet hurry to speak when it’s time to selectively vilify a fellow black citizen to make themselves more appealing to massah.
This is why I don’t get the huffing from other black people about him being a so-called “half-breed”. Apparently the ones that are quick to reprimand are not nearly as quick to have the same guts that Jesse has. What I find especially funny, or maybe typical of their hypocritical nature, is that even alleged liberal white people are showing their petulance towards Jesse. It doesn’t surprise me seeing how condescending those white people who insist that they are down are. Aren’t these the same folks that hem and haw the most about the right to express yourself freely in the US? Still, this is yet a perfect example of how white people say one thing when it’s them, then do another when they feel disenfranchised. Or when a black person dare tell them to get their shit together and calls out their faults.
It wasn’t black criminal behavior that cost Tamir his life, nor Sandra Bland, Bernard Monroe, Amadou Diallo, Samuel Debose, Tony Robinson and Sean Bell. Yet, that is the motto that white people scream whenever challenged. Well, now they are trying to shut down a person who is finally brave in confronting them. I for one support Jesse wholeheartedly, and even if this does end his chance to get further in Hollywood, he can still hold his head high.