Column: What the Jussie Smollett case says about our current political climate
When examples of racism go viral, our society quickly pounces and shuns those involved for their irrational beliefs.
Societal leaders like elected officials, celebrities, athletes and pundits in the mass media are often outspoken when this happens.
Generally, this is an honorable trait of our society, but in Jussie Smollett’s case this good-faith practice of denouncing racism was disgustingly manipulated.
On January 29, TMZ first reported that Smollett, an African American actor on the show “Empire,” was allegedly a victim of a horrendous hate crime on the streets of Chicago.
In an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts on February 14, Smollett says the attack happened around 2 a.m. as he was walking home from Subway.
Allegedly, two white men in ski mask pummeled Smollett, poured bleach on him and wrapped a noose around his neck while shouting, “this is MAGA country!”
After this alleged attack, Smollett returned home and called police at 2:42 a.m. which launched an investigation.
On February 15, Chicago police tweeted a statement saying two persons of interest were in custody because they were seen in the area the night of the attack.
These individuals, Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, are African American men from Chicago with connections to the show ‘Empire’.
Chicago police searched their house once the brothers were detained and, as reported by CBS, they found “ropes, masks, and bleach.”
It’s also reported that both have recently been released without criminal charges and are fully cooperating with investigators.
In a recent statement, the Osundario brothers said, “We are not racist. We are not homophobic, we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens.”
On February 18, CNN reported that two “law enforcement sources close to the investigation” believe Smollett orchestrated the attack and paid the brothers to stage the attack.
Currently, investigators are waiting to interview Smollett before making any conclusive statements on the alleged attack.
Although these new revelations were just released, social influencers like senators, celebrities and athletes offered Smollett support as if his story was factual.
Democratic leaders and presidential candidates in the 2020 election like Sens. Kamala Harris, Corey Booker and Bernie Sanders quickly offered their grievances.
On Twitter, both Harris and Booker called it an “attempted modern-day lynching.”
In the same sentiment, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tweeted, “The racist, homophobic attack on @jussieesmollett is an affront to our humanity.”
This tweet has since been deleted.
In an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Ellen Page seemingly pinned the attack on Vice President Mike Pence for his views on the LGBTQ+ community.
There are several similar examples of this, but if you’re active on social media, chances are you’ve seen them.
Rather than presenting each example, I believe it’s important to highlight how quick these people with massive platforms rushed to judgment without facts. I hold this because it’s become a recurring theme in American society.
When anyone associated with supporting President Donald Trump goes viral, they’re depicted as narcissistic, racist and vile.
This narrative has become so entrenched in many on the left that they’ve ceased to consider facts and logic before forming an opinion on an issue.
In January, a video of teenage protesters wearing “Make America Great Again” gear went viral. A Native American man named Nathan Phillips can be seen in the video, banging a drum in the middle of the crowd of teens.
The initial video made the teens seem intolerant and smug, but a later video showed Phillips approaching the crowd and instigating them. The newer video also revealed that the teens were instigated by another group of protesters that were shouting obscenities at them.
Despite this, the national media and social influencers pounced on these teens with a relentless mob mentality.
The individuals that assume what they see on the surface is factual are self-righteous and divisive. They constantly use identity politics to endlessly amplify a narrative of hate.
What is worse is that these outlets are never held accountable and they fall into these traps because they don’t fear the repercussions.
I believe Smollett intentionally set a trap and they fell for it. Will they face criticism or apologize? Don’t hold your breath- we’ve been here before and the answer is no.
Liberal leaders are sacrificing truth to expand the narrative that all Republicans, conservatives or Trump supporters are inherently evil or corrupted.
The ignorance of this message has permeated itself within our society and Smollett’s lies have yet again exemplified that.
Columns reflect the opinions of the writer. Letters to the editor may be emailed to Editor-in-Chief, Cecilia Maddox at firstname.lastname@example.org, and will be published at the editorial staff’s discretion.