Smollett Is Doing Irreparable Damage to Black and LGBTQ Communities
Jussie Smollett is crushing his own communities with his actions.
Unfortunately, we live in a world that isn't always as kind and understanding as we'd like. As a 31-year-old black man, I can assure you that I have experienced plenty of deeply rooted, ugly and hateful parts of our world. I could name countless racially-charged verbal attacks I've faced. I'm blessed that I myself have never experienced any violent attacks, but I have been threatened with violence based solely on skin color. And while I've never been physically attacked, I know others that have.
It's real. It's very real.
For Jussie Smollett to allegedly try and take those real and terrifying attacks that people face every day and turn it into a publicity grab is abhorrent. It trivializes those who have real scars from real attacks. It gives license to the skeptics to discredit those who come forward and speak out about their attacks. There are already enough people that try and tell us that racism is a thing of the past. There are already enough people that try to say we should be dubious of those claiming sexual and racial hate crimes.
If it is found that Smollett has lied about this attack, he will be the first example the critics give to discredit real victims. I remember as a kid, I was walking to a friend's house and I had someone stop me and tell me, "If you ever come on this street again you'll be stabbed for thinking you can walk around as the town's n*****." I remember being afraid to tell people. I remember being afraid to take another step. I remember it all. It was hard enough then to convince adults that it had really happened. I can only imagine what it will be like if this is all was fake.
I remember being stopped by a police officer for "not stopping" at a stop sign when I knew I did. I remember him telling me to "Shut the f*** up unless I wanted this whole thing to get a whole lot worse." I told people that story and watched them try and find ways to say I shouldn't have felt that it had anything to do with race. While I can't prove it did, I know what it felt like and I know I couldn't prove it didn't.
I can see it already. If Smollett did, in fact, make this all up because he was upset about his salary on the show, he's turned that hill into a mountain.
The part that really sucks is that he's right. Trump himself has done plenty to stir up his fair share of trouble and further divide the country racially, but in this case, he's absolutely right. Smollett has, if found guilty of doing this, provided enough for the racist, sexist and anti-LGBTQ elite to play the victim. He's made them an actual victim.
All of this for a rich celebrity to make a publicity and money grab. The ripples from this will be felt far beyond the set of Empire. I just hope and pray that the waves he's caused don't devastate these communities as much as I predict they will.