The slap seen at the Oscars is the left’s version of Donald Trump’s entitlement to do whatever one wants without fearing any legal ramifications. Perhaps it’s become an American thing now and it is something we should be really worried about. The longer such entitlement is appeased, the worst the carrier of it becomes. Remember, Trump uttered that line during the 2016 campaign and six years later he’s still involved in criminal behavior that is an existential threat to American democracy. What will happen to us as a collective society if Smith gets away with assault broadcast around the world?
I am glad to see there was some push back which kinda echoes my own feelings about this. Kareem AbdulJabbar made some nuanced, quality points about Smith’s behavior, although I disagree with what he thinks should happen. In one sentence he encapsulated decades worth of arguments surrounding black masculinity and how it’s seen by others
When Will Smith stormed onto the Oscar stage to strike Chris Rock he advocated violence, diminished women, insulted the entertainment industry, and perpetuated stereotypes about the Black community
Am I the only one who sees the parallels between Smith and supporters of Trump and the GOP both of whom have embraced violence for the smallest of insults if those insults ever existed. Smith slapped one man before a television audience, while Republicans engaged in violence against symbols of American institutions for what they thought was an injustice against them. In the case of the GOP that’s been proven time and again NOT to be the case.
Unlike Republicans Smith comes from an African-American background that stresses in order to succeed black people have to be twice as good as their white counterparts. He does not come from the same space as Republicans who believe in natural entitlement, a birth right which only they have claim for. His being only the 5th black male actor to receive the award he got is proof that patience, endurance and craftmanship at the highest level are necessary to get the best male actor Oscar. How could he quickly forget all that and assault his fellow actor/comedian? (Smith was once a comedian, too)
It’s said he was protecting, defending the honor of his wife but what was he protecting her from? As Kareem points out in his piece, Jada Smith is equally talented, eloquent and capable as her husband and perhaps more prolific. She has her own broadcast medium where she discusses a wide variety of topics including alopecia everyone says was at the butt of Rock’s joke. Her Red Table Talk is the bully pulpit Smith, either of them, could have used to fire back at Rock if words were the weapon they used to do so. I would’ve preferred however, for Smith to fire back during his acceptance speech to talk about the importance his wife has meant to the success of his career and because of her strong character and how much she means to him she will forever be beautiful regardless of her appearance. He could only say that if it was heartfelt or he was thinking clearly. Regrettably neither of them thought words would work against Rock’s words. They chose option #1, the easier option, violence.
By resorting to aggressive, profane out of control violence, Smith solidified for a lot of Americans their belief that black men are fearful and violence is an appropriate response to control them and protect the rest of us from them. It was right there in front of everyone’s eyes. It is the image people will use to justify violence against men who use words, as Smith did and it will be the image people use to say they had to stop the kinda of violence they EXPECT all Will Smiths of America WILL use. I have heard a very catchy phrase emerge from this tragic episode in Americana, an expression that black people cannot condemn violence against themselves if they condone violence they perpetuate against themselves. I’m all in on that.