This is my last post about Jussie Smollett because — like I said — I don’t really care about this anymore, but I just want white gays to take a beat and see what their Definitely Guilty stance looks like to people like me who have listened to White America decide over and over that Black kids are “definitely guilty of something” whenever the police tell us they are.
This case stinks and at this point, I think it’s impossible to get everyone (or the majority of people) on the same page because of the way the case was handled from the beginning. What I do know is that so many of y’all are vehemently proclaiming Jussie’s guilt because the cops say he’s guilty, yet I’ve seen you chime in over the years in support of Black activists championing investigations into police conduct when unarmed Black people are murdered and the official cop position is “I feared for my life because…” or “We had no choice because they were a criminal.”
Where’s that support and skepticism of the police now?
The city of Chicago has paid more money to the victims of police shootings than any other city in the country, yet their cops don’t end up in prison. We’ve seen them lie repeatedly about the sequence of events leading up to the murder of another Black person…and then the tapes are released and they have to change their story. This police department leaked SO MUCH INFORMATION to the press, held so many press conferences about new “evidence” during an ongoing investigation to a degree that I have never seen before, seemingly to sway public opinion to their side.
And, I guess it worked because you same folks who meet our skepticism of the police with head nods of agreement have thrown all that away now that the alleged crime affects the perception of *your* LGBT community. We have a criminal justice system in this country, and for all its flaws, the basic premise is still “innocent until proven guilty” not “innocent until the cops show the public the evidence they want us to see, the same cops who show us evidence in many cases where they are eventually proven wrong, sued, and have to fork over a few million dollars to the victims.”
If Jussie lied, it’s terrible that Trump & His MAGAts have a new lightning rod to use at rallies…but they’ve also been chanting “lock her up” for three whole years now…so who cares? It’s terrible that the next (undisputed) victim of a hate crime will have Conservatives question the veracity of the story with “but Jussie lied!”…but they already question the veracity of every hate crime…so what has changed? Jussie Smollett lying about a hate crime wouldn’t set back LGBT victims any more than it set back Black victims (please stop ignoring that there was a noose; the erasure of race by gay white men starts at ignoring the racial aspect to the alleged crime and ends with ignoring the voices of Black people telling you to hold your pitchforks for a moment and THINK!).
If there was a way to prove he lied (and there isn’t, at this point, thanks to how poorly Chicago PD handled this case) I wouldn’t spit on him if he was on fire. There’s too much division in the country, too much violence, too many lives at stake for a privileged brat looking for a bigger paycheck to trivialize the real dangers regular people face and to exploit the fears of two communities that have supported your career for years. If there was a way to prove he lied (and there isn’t, at this point, thanks to how poorly Chicago PD handled this case) he should never be able to work in Hollywood again — he should be blackballed straight out of the industry. If there was a way to prove he lied (and there isn’t, at this point, thanks to how poorly Chicago PD handled this case), he should absolutely be punished by the legal system and serve time for not only diverting attention to himself at the expense of other victims in Chicago but also for causing Black people, LGBT people, and Black LGBT people (hello! I’m right here!) extra stress in an era of MAGAts always looking for a “gotcha!”
And even still, even if we could prove he lied and got away with it, the parade of white men in government and law enforcement pretending they care about crime, pretending they care about lying to the legal system, and pretending they care about the credibility of marginalized communities telling their stories would still enrage me far more than any staged crime Jussie came up with. That is the discussion I was having with other Black people and that is the discussion I brought to the floor on *my* wall. I don’t need to discuss the repercussions of a crime we can’t even agree happened. I don’t want to go back and forth about the appropriate punishment of a man who may or may not have committed a crime. I don’t want to watch gay white (and white-passing) men proclaim the guilt of a Black man based solely on the word of police and tell ME how angry I should be about it and how I should hold my torch and my pitchfork when the man in question isn’t even being prosecuted due to lack of evidence!! I don’t need to have Facebook debates about someone who hasn’t been proven guilty or innocent (because he’s not going to trial) when I do have guilty white men in my face shedding crocodile tears for this terrible “miscarriage of justice” when they can’t even muster a thought or a prayer for dead Black people at the hands of a system they operate!
It’s not that hard y’all! I’m not debating what consequences should be assigned to a Black man who has not been proven anything one way or another when I’m trying to express my anger about the lack of consequences assigned to a group of men who MURDER innocent Black people while the politicians who uphold that system are pretending that a staged crime is more serious than a dead body.