For all black actors who would like to concoct an excellent hoax, thus elevating their status and possibly getting more money for the acting, Jussie Smollett will always serve as a symbol, as an icon of what might have been. Thus he will always be remembered by Van Jones for his sacrifice, for his bravery, for his courage and for his creativity.
America and the world doesn't just need successful black actors, we need successful actors who are willing to concoct an excellent hoax, and make it believable. We need them to go the extra mile. Van Jones needs them to go the extra mile. We need them to earn accolades not just from fellow actors, but from the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.
On his first try at a successful hoax perpetrated on the American public and the Chicago Police, he didn't do so well. Still, for Van Jones, Smollett ranks with the likes of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson, so he must not be all bad.
Why do people like Van Jones act like this? Why are people like Van Jones so desperate for someone to look up to that they go dumpster diving, the go trash digging, they go on a field trip to the local trash dump, only to find people like Smollett, who is lower than low.
For whites, for people of any race, Van Jones breaks new ground. If Smollett breaks new ground for criminal behavior by someone who could easily steer clear of it, Van Jones is off the reservation. Van Jones would sooner give the Nobel Peace Prize to a homeless person who he found on the streets of San Francisco, after a fresh dump. Just so he is black, and here aren't as many black homeless people in San Francisco as there are are white.
By any other definition of the word, Van Jones is a race baiter extraordinaire, someone who lives, breaths, eats, drinking color of skin, one’s race, but especially people who have the same color of skin that he has. Not just any race, the black race. He is the self-appointed arbiter of, town crier of how people who look like him are supposed to think.
So it was not shocking when Jones defended Smollett, when he should not have been defended. Still, he who lives by the color of the skin, dies by the color of the skin.
“This is the fall of an icon and I don’t think people understand how important he has been in the black community,” Jones said on the program. “Empire as a show, to have him as a beloved character, I think did a great deal to knock back homophobia in the black community. The fact that he has been celebrated and you see homophobia in the black community through his eyes on the show, this is a Jackie Robinson against homophobia.”
It’s really disgraceful that Jones would compare Smollett, even if he had done nothing wrong with Jackie Robinson. Smollett suffered because of his own lack of character, because of his criminal behavior. That’s not exactly the same as how Robinson suffered.
Smollett did not break any barriers by taking the role on Empire. He broke barriers by lying to police, lying to the public, committing a crime. If this is an icon, there are thousands of black icons in jail, in federal prison for committing far worse acts that Smollett. Why do we need Smollett as an icon, to make Jones happy?
The show’s draw are the top two actors in the show, Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, both of whom have been major stars for years. In other words, Smollett and his two brothers on the show, are not as essential to the success of the show.
It’s also likely that Howard and Henson get paid ten times what Smollett gets paid per episode. If he were an icon, he should be paid far more than $135,000 per episode. But he’s not, and that’s the point.
The problem is that white liberals seem to need someone like Jones to say outrageous things. He is sort of their blackish town crier, complaining about being black, complaining about how the black race is being treated, yet apologizing for a common criminal. White liberals love this. Because they can't do anything about black crime. They next best thing is to make criminals, especially black criminals, like saints. And Van Jones is just the person to do it.
The problem with this is that it's a lose, lose for blacks everywhere. Criminal behavior is lauded. Ordinary blacks who don't commit crimes are not worth talking about. Further, it victimizes blacks, making it look like they can't really control what they do. It's really racist, but white liberals are all too happy to see someone like Van Jones lionize a criminal. Publicly they express shock, but privately, white liberals are full of joy. They have another victim of white, racist society.
No. We don’t need icons like Jussie Smollett, and we certainly don’t need icons or black pawns like Van Jones.
Based in St Louis,
Larry Ingram writes about the news media, movies and culture, as well as on topics like race, privilege, Christianity, religious expression and tolerance.
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