Is Jussie Smollet Living in a Racist America?

On March 26, 2019, all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped even though it was clear that he staged a hate crime. In the hate crime he fabricated, he claimed that two men wearing MAGA hats yelled racist and homophobic slurs, put a noose around his neck, and poured what appeared to be bleach on him, among other things.

This story aligns well with the general claim of the left that Trump and his supporters are racist, hence why it included two men wearing MAGA hats. But the claim that America is racist goes back even before Trump won the presidency. Recall that the Black Lives Matter movement bloomed after a series of incidents involving black men being beaten and sometimes murdered as a result of police brutality. It was then widely believed that white policemen in America are racist and are disproportionately targeting black citizens. This belief was coupled with the belief that America was systemically racist. A popular perception on the political left is that this racism was empowered and amplified after Trump was elected.

Let’s start off with the basics that any sane person can agree to.
There are racist people in the world, including America.
There are racist police who have abused their power.
There are racist Trump supporters.
There are non-racist people who voted for Donald Trump for reasons that they believe to be significant enough to overlook his obnoxious character.

Now that we’ve hopefully established that not all Trump supporters are racist or condone racism, let’s assess the claim that America is a systemically racist country.

Black Lives Matter and Police Brutality

Ever since the uproar from Black Lives Matter, I haven’t seen police brutality against black people dominate the news. That, to me, is a hint that the police force as a whole is not racist. If it was a systemically racist arm of the government, the brutality would’ve gone on like in the days of Martin Luther King Jr.

Allow me to refer to an interview hosted by Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report. Dave Rubin is gay and is liberal, and the guest is a black man by the name of Larry Elder. This background should hopefully dispel any suspicion that this is a biased interview. In the clip, Dave argues that police are more likely to shoot a black man than a white man. What follows is a dialogue about the extent to which that is true.

In their third interview, Dave admits that his mind was changed:

As for me, I observe from what I see in my own experiences in the city I live in, and I hear news from mainstream media and social media, and I just don’t see police brutality against black people as an epidemic. Here I take the police force out of the picture of systemic racism.

Systemic Racism in Government Offices

Judging by the numerous positions in high levels of government I’ve seen over the years, I believe that black citizens have just as open a path as citizens of other ethnicities.

The most striking example is Barack Obama. What kind of systemically racist country allows a black man to be elected as its president? For two terms? With the popular vote in both terms?

We’ve had extensive inclusion of black people in power in cities like Baltimore and Chicago, and I would venture to say many more cities as well as state governments.

Other individuals I can remember include Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. Many more black people in prominent government positions can be read about here: 25 Most Influential African Americans In Politics.

Systemic Racism in Sports

Sports is open to people of all sorts of color. Black athletes dominate the NFL with 70% and 80% of athletes in the NBA are people of color. These are major sports leagues where players and coaches earn tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. I don’t see how a systemically racist country would allow black and minority athletes to enjoy such opportunities.

Colin Kaepernick, former QB for the 49’ers, famously and controversially kicked off the trend of kneeling while the national anthem is playing. He has claimed that America is racist and has worn socks depicting police officers as pigs. Would a systemically racist system of government let a black man freely protest like that? Nothing has happened to him. He has instead signed a deal with Nike and privately settled with the NFL to put closure to his accusation that the NFL discriminated against him after his kneeling fiasco, allegedly preventing him from again being employed in the league.

If Kaepernick really believes in something, namely that the system is against him and black people as a whole, and he is willing to sacrifice everything, why did he settle privately with the NFL and, reportedly, received an undisclosed amount of money to hush up? Shouldn’t he continue the good fight since black people are oppressed?

Systemic Racism in Entertainment

Circling back to Jussie Smollett, who works in the entertainment industry and is a cast in Empire, Smollett himself is the de facto example of a black man who enjoys such title and position and support from the media that even staging a hate crime and being caught with a mountain of evidence along with 16 counts of felony can be let off the hook for $10,000 in bonds and community service.

The entire cast of Empire is black. This should eradicate all skepticism about whether black people are an oppressed group in this country. Black people are well represented in the movie industry, with mega stars like Denzel Washington, Samuel Jackson, and Morgan Freeman. Black Panther was a movie with a black-dominated cast. Looking around the entertainment industry should make it obvious that black people are well represented.

Case Dismissed

The fact that Jussie Smollett can stage a racist hate crime, draw national attention in the media and the public, be charged with 16 counts of felony, and still be released under obscure circumstances, should be more than enough to put to rest the idea that this country is racist. A truly racist America would not leave Jussie Smollett in such a forgiving ending. Normal citizens would not have come anywhere close to being treated as such.

The ramifications of this settlement cannot be understated:

  • Smollett stirred up even more the idea that America and Trump and his supporters are racist and furthered the political divide in America.
  • Smollett undermined and devalued real cases of hate crimes against LGBT and black persons.
  • Smollett made a joke of the integrity of the Chicago Police Department specifically and law enforcement as a whole.
  • Smollett created a perception that he is above the law, and that staging hate crimes is something that can be done with minimal consequences.

The treatment Smollett received compares glaringly favorable to the treatment the public and media gave to Nick Sandman, who is white, in which they rushed to condemn him, even though he was thereafter cleared of any wrong-doing. Between the gay black man and the white teenager, who was given better treatment in this so-called racist America?

To wrap up this case (pun intended), I will let the superintendent in the Chicago Police Department, who is black, and the mayor speak on my behalf and on behalf of all Americans who are infuriated by the appalling injustice that was displayed for all to see.