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Jussie Smollett Ain’t Your Scapegoat for Not Believing Vicitims

Last week, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard, Christopher Paul Hasson, was arrested. Hasson is a self-professed white nationalist who intended to carry out a terror attack complete with a stockpile of weapons and a kill-list. Named on this murderous spreadsheet were well-known journalists and politicians including Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, political commentator Van Jones and journalist Don Lemon. A kill-list with four Black people and one who happens to Black and gay?

Tuesday, a former Philadelphia police officer, Phillip Nordo, “pleaded not guilty Tuesday to allegations that he sexually assaulted male witnesses and suspects over more than a decade.” Nordo used his position to force men he arrested or otherwise held captive to perform sex acts. Philadelphia is has a majority Black population, nearly 43%.

An active member of the country’s Armed Forces was hatching a plot that included the murder of not only Black people but someone who was Black and gay. A homicide detective, spent at least 15 years, raping, stalking and even seeking out not only Black suspects but gay inmates he knew wouldn’t be believed and could be easily coerced. So despite the fact that Jussie’s story is most likely a hoax, is it really far-fetched that a white man could carry out a racist, homophobic attack against a Black man like Jussie Smollett?

Smollet’s story is not true, but without reading any details of the alleged attack, were headlines declaring he was beaten, bleached and had a noose thrown around his neck unbelievable? USA today reported a “rise in lynching symbolism,” detailing several recent incidents were victims were terrorized by one of the most recognizable symbols of racism and slavery in this country. In 2016, two Hasidic Jewish men beat a gay Black man so severely that he lost an eye, receiving just 150 hours community service.

Last December on Queens subway, a yet unnamed and uncharged Black man punched a 20-year-old Black woman he assumed was a lesbian in the back of her head and pushed her to ground causing her spine to break as he pelted her with homophobic slurs. Across the country in sunny California, a white, well-connected political donor by the name of Ed Buck has had two gay Black men turn up dead in his apartment in less than two years and has yet to be charged. The FBI reported a 3% rise in homophobic hate crimes in 2017, and that statistic only addresses crimes which were reported and charged as hate crimes.

But what about Jussie? Frankly, the only reason that discovering one gay Black man lied about an attack would make you doubt other queer people or Black people or queer Black people is because you view one from the corresponding marginalized group as a representative of them all. And that, anyway you paint it, is textbook racism and homophobia.

And what of the same heterosexual Black men and women, who rail against police brutality and lament how the state sanctioned agents of violence target them everyday, delighting in Jussie’s arrest for lying? These men who are outraged that Black men are serving lengthy prison sentences for selling marijuana are now on the side of the law enforcement they usually decry because they have found a common interest in their homophobia.

Oh, and the white folks? Are you really mad “police resources and time were wasted” or is this just an opportune time to validate your racist beliefs? I assure you that the time and resources police uncustomarily used to solve the racist homophobic attack on a Black man are not even a blip on the tally your President, whose violent anti-Black rhetoric has most certainly inspired racist homophonic attacks, has spent playing golf and vacationing. It isn’t a supposed waste of manpower that has upset you to the point where your hands are shaking. It’s the fact that an uppity nigger had the unmitigated gall to level an accusation against two white men, MAGA enthusiasts at that.

And the white gays, who eagerly erased the racism in these attacks to prop Jussie up as an example of homophobic violence, I got y’all on my radar as well. Your public denouncement of Jussie because his story now makes it that much harder for victims fails to address how y’all don’t care about Black victims anyway. It fails to address how you compartmentalize sexuality and race, and would never allow a Black gay man victimized at the hands of rabid racist homophobes the double-sided victimhood based on his orientation and color. Perhaps spend some of that outrage over Jussie discussing why white gays appalled and maddened by having homophobic slurs lobbed at them let “nigger” fall from their lips like cookie crumbs.

So to those who ask what this means for future victims of the Black LGBTQ Community, I say it shouldn’t mean a fucking thing. Contrary to the popular saying, one bad apple does not spoil the bunch. Not if you view each apple uniquely and as valuable on its own. If you were an advocate for the community before, so it should be today.

To those lamenting that Smollett set the Black community back I wonder how a Black man lying on some white men is more damning than the Black man who has roamed Chicago raping teen girls and young women for more than 20 years. Is Jussie’s behavior more worthy of outrage than the family predators too many in our community still break bread with on holidays? Surely Smollet, who’s “crime” is at most lying ain’t more deserving of ex-communication from the community than the host of Black male celebrities accused of rape or domestic abuse whose music you still bump or whose team you still cheer.

Really, all of you crying about how Smollet’s lie makes it harder for true victims weren’t fighting for those victims anyway. All of those who believe and affirm victims still do. No need to cloak your homophobia and racism in a veil of righteousness. You’ll be the same gaslighting victim-blamer you were before January 29th.

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Jo'el Santiago avatar About the author: Joel Santiago is a Brooklyn-bred writer, Popeyes enthusiast and aspiring international Supermodel. He’s committed himself to a life of activism & strengthening his people through laughter & education. Consider him your favorite cousin at the cookout…who only stays an hour.  Get at him on Instagram & Twitter: @exhalejoel

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