On June 26th, actor and activist Jesse Williams took to the stage to accept his Humanitarian award at the BET Awards. At that moment, Williams took that opportunity to express the concerns and the needs many African Americans face, which is the need for justice and to truly live in an equal country. Jesse stole the show, left the stage with a standing ovation, and was quickly praised on social media. The speech when viral and quotes from Jesse’s speech flooded social media for days.
Like many moments of minority empowerment, someone had to come and ruin the moment and the party. For starters, Tomi Lahren made a video asking if BET was racist…
Yeah, that was stupid altogether and I’m not going to give her the time or day. I don’t know how you can run a political talk show with no common sense but okay.
What came next was more disturbing, a petition. Yes, an actual petition. Eric Smith made a petition on the website, Change.org, in hopes of getting Jesse Williams fired from Grey’s Anatomy for his “racist rant” and to “boycott” ABC. In the petition, Smith states that Jesse’s speech released a “cascade of inappropriate and racist commentary against police officers and Caucasians”. Smith also went to the extent of questioning why was Isaiah Washington was fired from Grey's Anatomy after his inappropriate homophobic slur, but nothing happened to Williams. He also stated that it was a “slap-in-the-face to the entire human race” when Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy as well as a wonderful, talented black woman, praised Jesse’s speech and accused her of “condoning his actions”.
To Eric, to any of the 14,493 and more supporters, and to anyone else who believes Jesse’s speech was racist, let me be the first to tell you, you are the reason why he made that speech. You are the ones who “keep racism alive”. Let me break it down in a few steps:
1. First of all, people of color can’t be racist. Racism is built on a system of power and privilege. People of color have neither so how can a person of color be racist?
2. Jesse’s speech wasn’t a “racist rant” or a racist commentary on police and white people, it was him telling an audience full of black men and women and to a tv audience of black men and women that their lives matter and that if we stick together we can overcome the obstacles this country has put us through.
3. Your petition is the real slap in the face to the human race.
4. A humanitarian is someone who is concerned with human welfare, with that being said, no Jesse doesn’t owe you or anyone an apology, no he didn’t have poor choice of words, and yes he is living up to his title, working as an activist and seeking for those who are victims of police brutality and racism.
5. You really put #AllLivesMatter? That already lets me know what type of mindset you had when creating this petition. Here’s the thing, if all lives mattered, there wouldn’t be a need for #BlackLivesMatter.
6. You can’t compare Isaiah Washington to Jesse Williams, Jesse was uplifting a minority group while Isaiah was making hurtful comments about another group. A homophobic comment versus a speech on ending racism, which one seems to be harsh?
Eric, with all that being said, your argument is simply stupid. Your petition is pointless. More importantly, you showed why Jesse’s speech was needed. Your petition and the comments underneath perfectly portrayed the racism in America. Now you and your white privilege have a seat and some research on racism and discrimination.
P.S: I know you’re going to say, “I’m not racist”, but the fact that you equate black empowerment to racism, shows us you’re a racist and want to keep a certain hierarchy in place.
Here's Jesse Williams's speech, and before you judge make sure you actually watch the video and listen to what he's saying.