Civility

Jussie Smollett and Racial Politics

It seems that we are recycling news these days and people don’t seem to learn from the past.

In 2016 a young Muslim woman claimed she was attacked by three white men on a subway platform. She said they tried to remove her headscarf, called her a terrorist and shouted “Donald Trump” at her. This made the news and of course, the media immediately condemned anyone engaging in this activity. But something made the police suspicious and upon further investigation, the young woman, Yasmin Seweid, admitted that she made up the story because she was in an argument with her parents over having a non-Muslim boyfriend. She was later charged by the police for making a false claim but the media just glossed over this and went to the next story.

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We could go back even further to the Tawana Brawley incident in Buffalo. This was way back in 1987 and this young black girl claimed that two police officers and the state prosecutor were the ones that attacked and raped her for several days. Into the fray jumped a rotund social activist, neatly clothed in a shiny running suit, by the name of Al Sharpton. He came up from New York City to demand justice.

The media circus that surrounded this case was intense and over and over Sharpton and others demanded justice. Finally, the story began to unravel. Even after the family demanded that a black police officer conduct the interview her story kept changing. But that did not stop Sharpton and his allies from holding rallies around the state and nation in support of Ms. Brawley. Even Bill Cosby offered a $25,000 reward for information on the case and Don King, the boxing promoter, pledged $100,000 for her education. The truth finally came out and Ms. Brawley concocted the story to avoid punishment from her mother and step-father for skipping school to visit her boyfriend who was then incarcerated. Money had poured in for this girl and she and her parents kept the money and Al Sharpton turned himself into a national figure. It ruined the lives of the three men falsely accused and one even committed suicide. Sharpton was sued but to this date has never paid anyone.

In January of 2016 two black women and one Hispanic woman accused a group of white men on a bus harassing them and hurling racial slurs at them. This prompted protests at the University of Albany (SUNY) where the women were students. Once again, the police followed up by investigation and found the allegation to be completely false. But the media had already jumped to the defense of the women and made it sound like this was a normal occurrence for women like them. All three were expelled from the university but nobody in the media led a charge to demand apologies for the men that were accused.

Before anyone jumps to quick there are also multiple cases of white people falsely accusing black men of committing some crime against them. In one case a man claimed two black men jumped into his car and killed his wife. Turns out this was false, and he was just trying to claim the life insurance on his wife. He himself had killed her.

So that brings us to the news of the day in the Jussie Smollett case. As most already know Smollett first got in the news with a racist letter containing a white powder being sent to the set of “Empire” where he is a member of the cast. That did not get the traction that he thought it deserved so he decided to stage an attack on himself in Chicago. So at 2:00 am in late January he filed a police report claiming that two white men had accosted him, beat him, put a noose on his neck. They were wearing MAGA hats and proclaimed this “Trump Country” while hurling racial and homophobic comments at him. The following weekend Mr. Smollett appeared in public at the West Hollywood Troubadour club to sing and told the audience he was not fully healed but was going to be all right. He then said to the audience ;

“The hateful rhetoric has to stop and it stops when you believe in love. People who celebrate love get wrapped up in so much hate. We cannot let that happen. We are destined to fail to even exist. Take love back. We have to take it back because it was ours, to begin with. Hurt people hurt people, they don’t know why.”

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Politicians being who they are could not let this pass without trying to capitalize on the moment. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, both running for President, called the attack a “modern-day lynching.” Not to be outdone, Nancy Pelosi chimed in with a tweet saying “The racist, homophobic attack on @JussieSmollett is an affront to our humanity,”  Another Presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand added her two cents with “This is a sickening and outrageous attack and horribly, it’s the latest of too many hate crimes against LGBTQ people and people of color.” And AOC could not let a media opportunity pass by tweeting “It is no one’s job to water down or sugar-coat the rise of hate crimes.”

The gay media could not let it go either and Tre’vell Anderson wrote an op-ed piece in Out that was headlined “I believe Jussie Smollett. You Should, Too”. And this was the common theme on CNN, MSNBC, and multiple other media outlets. Hollywood celebrities rushed to his defense and in part blamed President Trump for this heinous attack.

But now we know the truth. Jussie Smollett organized the entire attack, sent the original letter and did this all because he did not believe he was being paid enough for his performance on “Empire.”

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Jessie Smollett booking photo

Where are all the media types and celebrities now? Crickets from most of them and Van Jones even went so far to suggest that we have to assume Smollett is not guilty before we believe the police and the investigators. Forget the two men who helped in the “assault” have already confessed that they were paid $3500 for their participation. Forget that they are both black men from Nigeria and not white Trump supporters. Forget that Smollett and the two men were in communication both before and after the so-called “hate attack.”

Credit to the Chicago police for their diligence. And what Smollett and his cheerleaders have done is hurt the cases of actual violence and hate crimes. Now many will be viewed with skepticism when they should be taken seriously. Jussie Smollett deserves to spend a couple of years in prison and see how he likes working for a couple of dollars a day. His media cheerleaders need to come clean and admit they jumped on the story because it fit the narrative, they wanted it to fit. And to the politicians who were quick to capitalize on this incident, they should take a breath and realize that divisive politics are not what they should be practicing. Just my thoughts on the matter.

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