Is it News Worthy? The Will Smith & Chris Rock Drama

How many white people have been let off the hook for doing even worse than what Will Smith did? Why aren’t we examining that?

Alright, by now we’ve all heard that Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards, aka the Oscars. Mr. Rock made a “joke” in regard to Jada Pinkett Smith and her hair loss, which is due to alopecia. Smith proceeded to get up, slap Chris, and said “keep my wife’s name out of your f**kin mouth”, to which Chris said it was just a joke.


Now, should he have done it? No. Do I understand why he did it? Absolutely. Chris Rock has made misogynistic jokes in the past, as well as making jokes about Pinkett Smith. This time, he went too far and Smith had enough. He went on to receive an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in “King Richard”, the story of Serena & Venus Williams being trained by their father Richard to become the tennis stars they now are. In the aftermath, people are calling for Smith to be arrested, for his award to be revoked, and for him to essentially be blackballed in the industry.


In the age of instant gratification and social media, we tend to vilify people that don’t conform to our standards, or to societal standards. For a man like Will Smith to do what he did? Thoughts are mixed, yet at the end of the day none of them matter. None of them matter because we are not in the room after the cameras stop rolling, we aren’t in the homes of the Smiths or Chris Rock. Comedy only goes so far, and this was too far. Chris should apologize for that joke and promise to do better, he won’t though.


The voices calling for Smith to be held responsible by the LAPD & the Academy are a mix. To all expressing their opinions, but in particular white people, let me ask a question: do you think your opinion or the “solutions” you’re proposing are necessary? The police have a long and bloody history when it comes to interactions with Black men, and we see that history continuously repeating itself. Smith apologized to Rock, the Academy, his co-stars, and fellow nominees. Part of it reads as follows, “Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong.”


Here is a man that has admitted to his wrongdoing and has pledged to do better. Whether people want to believe he was defending Jada, he snapped because of how often he and his family have been in the spotlight as of late, or other reasons, he apologized. Now there is a risk he could be expelled from the Academy and lose his Oscar after decades of hard work. How many times has society forgiven white men for doing the exact same as he did, and even worse? How many more will it forgive? This represents how Black people always have to exude perfection in the white world, and if we deviate from that then we are worthless, less than human. If these two weren’t famous and this wasn’t the Oscars, there wouldn’t be a story. The white people claiming fear, shock, awe, and more have no idea what it means to be Black in this world, and never will. 


They seem to think they have a monopoly on violence, that if they shout the loudest their voices will be heard. The funny thing is that these same voices haven’t really said much about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. bombing and invasion of several Black & brown countries, the Haitian deportations, the long waits and families being turned away at the southern border, the impact of climate change, the cancellation of student debt, and so much more. Where was this outrage when a good chunk of their colleagues were accused (some being found guilty or pleading guilty) to rape, sexual assault, and other horrific crimes? How come these men get to keep their awards?


White supremacy and the interconnected systems that accompany it allow for white people to cherry pick what they want to care about, and shows. If we as a society are going to crucify a Black man simply because he is Black and because Black is synonymous with dangerous, criminal, killer, and more, then we should be going just as hard against white people that have done way worse and continue to do so with no repercussions. They should be held to the same standards that we are holding Will Smith to, but that’s not the case.


The Academy said they “don’t condone violence”, but they do when it’s committed by white people. Besides, the Oscars are built for white entertainment and appeasement and they don’t really serve much of a purpose. The institution is outdated and dumb, it shouldn’t even be a thing. All that to say, white people’s opinions in this situation don’t matter, and it never will. So they should sit down, shut up, and maybe focus on cleaning up their own messes before they start commenting on others. 

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