Fans of TV shows are usually a passionate lot, and quite vocal at that. But some of them are, in a word, unlearned. In what can only be called an act of utter ignorance, some fans are demanding that Jesse Williams be fired from Grey’s Anatomy; they’ve even launched a petition at change.org.
Why? Because his acceptance speech at the recent BET Awards mentioned some of the issues that black people face: police brutality against blacks and white privilege.
This is what he had to say:
Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people every day,” he said. “So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.
According to the petitioner, Erin Smith, Williams’ speech was racist hate speech against white people and the police and if he were any other race, the consequences would be dire.
Jesse Williams spewed a racist, hate speech against law enforcement and white people at the BET awards. If this was a white person making the same speech about an African American, they would have been fired and globally chastised, as they should be, but there have been no consequences to Williams’ actions.
Naturally, people with any sense quickly slammed Smith for conveniently forgetting that blacks have been facing persecution and racism in the US for hundreds of years. And the one who will eventually call the shots if the petition goes through, Shonda Rhimes, wasn’t all that bothered. She wrote on Twitter that he doesn’t need a petition.
Not satisfied with leaving things at that, Smith updated her petition to slam the Grey’s Anatomy creator and try to get people to boycott the entire ABC network. Believing that black people face the same issues as white, she insisted that Williams should have offered an apology and insinuated that Rhimes was a hypocrite for condoning his actions. She conveniently failed to counter his arguments, instead opting to label him things like “racist”, “disrespectful” and “fostering violence”.
This petition is shocking, not just because it exists, but because Smith is clearly stung because whites don’t face racial abuse so they aren’t allowed to say things like what Williams said. #AllLivesMatter only works if racism and discrimination don’t exist.
But here we have police officers carrying out excessive violence against black youths and Trump promising racist measures against immigrants. These are the times we live in, and Smith’s petition conveniently ignores the reasons for Williams’ speech. There’s no way Wililams, Rhimes or the ABC executives will be affected, but the petition’s mere existence is a slap in the face to equality everywhere.