An open Letter to Jesse Williams BET Commentary

Jesse Williams, Actor, BET Awards
Jesse Williams, Actor, BET Awards

Dear Jesse Williams,

Firstly, congratulations on the posthumous BET award you just won, Dr. King would be proud of your accomplishments. Your opening statement referencing a “system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do,” really did set the tone of your ill informed rant for me.

You then went on to talk about basic mathematics, the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we mobilize? Was that a reference to the chauffeur driven limousine that you arrived in to the event or the struggle in general black people face daily? Clearly a desire there to make the divide bigger because I heard nothing there to unify us.

Dedicating your award to the black women who have spent their lives nurturing and dedicated putting everyone before themselves is such a laudable sentiment sir. I am however left wondering if your white momma felt a little offended by that lack of inclusion? Can we say yet more segregation commentary?

Next you reference data that you have been looking at. I am wondering what data and written by whom? You say that police managed to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people? Is that more suggestion of institutionalized racism? Not met many cops who are concerned about the color of someone’s skin over and above the crime they may have committed or are about to commit, or if they will jeopardize public safety.

Lets face it Jesse, everyday the Police are out there keeping my fat white ass and your skinny half-black ass safe and they are the first people we call when we are in trouble. Can you imagine the pressure of having to make split second decisions every day of your working life and being expected to get it right one hundred percent of the time?

Whilst in your career I accept it is not life and death decisions you are making every single day, but surely you get it wrong? How many retakes on Grey’s bro? As an actor I know I don’t always get through in one take and let’s face it no one expects us to. How fair or realistic is it to expect the Police to get it right every single time? Who do you call when you need assistance? Certainly not BET!

Are there racist cops out there? Of course there are, and politicians, and fast food workers, and actors and the list is endless. The assertion that if a black person gets shot it is because of the color of their skin is preposterous.  Highlighting incidences of where this has happened to further an agenda is divisive and does nothing to bring us together as a community.

“We are gonna have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.”

What does that even mean Jesse? Is this another incitement or a threat? I mean seriously, whilst eloquent, your understandability is lacking here somewhat. Standing ovations not withstanding Jesse using Tamir Rice was a really low blow. It is unconscionable to use his death as an example of alleged Police racism. If Tamir had been white I doubt it would have gone down differently.

Should the Police have been psychic and known that was a toy? What if it had been a real gun and he shot himself, his friends, or the cops or the public? Whilst it was most unfortunate that Tamir was killed do you think those cops will ever sleep again without seeing his face? We cannot begin to understand making that split second decision and being wrong. Once again Jesse, do you get it right every time? I am guessing not. As for going home and making a sandwich your implication they didn’t care or were unaffected is pure conjecture.

If you don’t wanna talk about how far we have come and believe me I know there is so far to go how about becoming part of the solution rather than a part of the problem Jesse? It is very easy to criticize but the real question is what are you doing to make a difference over and above stirring it up? I am wondering where your dedication is and what you are giving back from your Hollywood Ivory Tower.

Asserting that freedom is conditional only for black people is again ridiculous. Where is the unconditional freedom for white people? “If there hereafter is a hustle?”, please explain rather than using hit and run buzz words and phrases. And just what is it that your elite ass doesn’t have? Seriously dude! The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander? Dude have you been reading Dr. Seuss for Hollywood actors nominated for an award?

“If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do.”

Well how about dropping the segregation Jesse and lets talk about equal rights for all people, regardless of the color of their skin? How can we ever come together if we continue to segregate ourselves based upon any one thing? “Just because we are magic does not mean we are not real?” Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

I totally resent the ideology of “White Privilege.” I am white, where is mine? By that same token Jesse, let’s talk about your half white privilege or does that cancel out because you are half black?  I am genuinely so sad after spending my whole life fighting for equality for all that we still have these attitudes. I am white and the suggestion that all white people are complicit in racism makes my blood boil.

We all have a responsibility to effect change and make a difference and sadly Jesse not one word of your commentary was about making a difference in the whole community only “your own.” While there is still this “us and them mentality” we can never move forward. There is no them, only us. Regardless of skin color, sexuality, political affiliation, age, religion, ideology we are all human.

We are flesh and bone and doing our best to make it through this mad crazy world and whilst I do not kid myself there are not some among us who don’t do their level best to make a difference, we are not responsible for the behavior of others. Whilst I have to believe your speech was heartfelt Jesse and not just for effect you failed to unify us all and sadly, divide will never allow us to conquer.

If we cannot unite the whole community with our commentary, then we should politely STFU!!!

Love and Peace,
Xan

Reposted with permission from Xander Gibb

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