Iâ€™ll make this quick. Iâ€™m sure youâ€™re still busy trying to clean up your Twitter mess. If only you wouldâ€™ve called it a night after kindly complimenting Jesse Williams on his amazing acceptance speech, youâ€™d probably have awakened this morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
But the force that is #BlackTwitter was not going to let you ignore the fact that many of the issues Williams brought up in the very speech you congratulated him on are partially about folks like you. The cornrows, overall swagger-jacking, and leaving Janet high and dry when it was convenient instantly come to mind.
Truth is, there isnâ€™t much you couldâ€™ve said to justify your history of cultural misappropriation but the condescending tone with which you chose to reply represents everything wrong with this colorblind fairy tale so many â€œwell-meaning white folksâ€� subscribe to. Your response is vomit-inducing.
Oh, wise one, please enlighten us with your superior knowledge of racial equality and justice for all.
Your arrogance is out of this world. What planet are you living on? What did Jesse Williamsâ€™ speech actually inspire you to do? Whitesplain to Black people how they should feel about race and then shut down the conversation with a dismissive â€œByeâ€�? Did you really think you were going to walk away from this exchange unscathed? Iâ€™m glad Twitter jumped on your ass with a quickness. And thenâ€¦
Oh, you sweet soul, feeling misunderstood. So sad. Look here JT, why donâ€™t you go cry a river of white tears to your fans? You have plenty of supporters who undoubtedly feel just as misunderstood as you do. Thatâ€™s a legion of people from all walks of life, teachers, doctors, lawyers, police officers, and other folks we interact with everyday, who donâ€™t see anything wrong with what you said and use colorblindness as a way to deny/ignore peopleâ€™s experiences and identities. Â Youâ€™re right, you probably shouldnâ€™t have responded.
Damn it, Justin! You mustâ€™ve been listening to a speech by some other Jesse Williams. The Jesse I heard on the 2016 BET Awards delivered a no-holds barred critique of systemic racism, white supremacy, and cultural appropriation while praising the strength of Black women and the work of community organizers who tirelessly fight against racial inequality. Nowhere did I hear Williams deliver some Kumbaya, weâ€™re-all-the-same, feel-good speech. Yes, weâ€™re all part of the human race and should be living in peace with one another. I know it, Williams knows it, and his mom knows it. But weâ€™re not all living in peace. Thatâ€™s the problem people like Williams are boldly addressing. You confused a Black Lives Matter message for an All Lives Matter moment and that makes you the type of person Williams was talking about.
To quote the very speech you obviously misunderstood: â€œIf you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.â€�
â€“ Jesse Williams, BET Awards 2016
Iâ€™m glad you decided to stop digging your own grave any further and finally apologized, the same way Iâ€™m sure you eventually apologized to Janet, right? But at the end of the day, youâ€™re just an entertainer, no more, no less. I shouldnâ€™t really expect you to be an expert on social justice, institutionalized racism, and every other overlapping issues beyond the scope of your comprehension. I just figured that a white artist whoâ€™s established a career as an R&B artist with a significant Black fan based would have learned a thing or two about the very real, ongoing legacy of racism in America.
One thingâ€™s for sure, and Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll agree with my advice, the more you acknowledge how little you understood about Jesse Williamsâ€™ speech, the more we can have a conversation.