I'm not supposed to say this. After all. I'm white. And male. And conservative.
So, by default, I'm part of the problem. Guilty. Of something.
Even though the Jussie Smollett story was a total hoax, we are to believe that it revealed the real problem in America. Angry white supremacists are destroying the country. Voting for Trump is akin to membership in the KKK. War has been declared against the African-American community.
Nothing can threaten that narrative.
And so, even if the Smollett story is false, it's actually still true.
At least some pundits wish it was. It so wonderfully confirmed their biases and prejudices.
In the aftermath of the Smollett debacle, then, rather than deep soul-searching, for some (like CNN's Van Jones), there's only one concern: How will this affect black Americans?
As for conservative white Americans, all hostility towards them is justified.
Just because they didn't put the noose around Smollett's neck doesn't mean they didn't want to.
Van Jones put it like this: "What I do want to say is that whatever [Jussie Smollett] is going through to do what he did has hurt the cause against racism and the cause against homophobia if it's true. If there is any way that they can be redeemed, I hope it can be. He owes those same young black gay men in that interview. He owes them not just an apology but a lifetime of atonement. Because this ain't nothing to play with, and if he was playing with it, shame on him."
Yes, shame on Smollett. And yes, he needs to make amends.
But Jones is missing the elephant in the room, namely, the justification of anti-white sentiments, sentiments that were whipped into a frenzy by comment after comment by pundit after pundit and celebrity after celebrity, all of whom embraced the Smollett story without question.
Van Jones and his colleagues need to be asking: What about the insult to conservative white Americans? What about the long-term after-effects?
To be candid, I've interacted with a lot of people about this story, some in the media but most not. Yet in all my interaction, I've not heard from a single person who drew general conclusions about blacks based on this debacle.
I've not heard from anyone who said, "I'll tell you what. These African-Americans are always fabricating hate crimes to make themselves look like victims."
In stark contrast, as has been demonstrated in article after article and commentary after commentary, all kinds of conclusions were drawn about conservative white Americans after the Smollett story.
Ugly conclusions. Vicious conclusions. Dangerous conclusions.
And those conclusions were felt to be justified, even without any confirming evidence. Even though the story was suspect from the start.
No facts were needed. Conservative whites (especially males) are guilty. Always.
Simply stated, the hoax attack served to confirm the anti-white, anti-conservative sentiments that are so prevalent in our society today. That hatred was stirred up as the shaky story could be maintained.
Now that it has collapsed, I don't expect to see a lot of hatred coming to blacks (or even to gays) in general. That's not the popular narrative, and that's not where Van Jones and others will be focusing.
But rather than asking, "How will this hoax affect black Americans?" they should be asking themselves, "How have we fueled the fires of racism and prejudice? How have we contributed to anti-white, anti-conservative sentiment? What can we do to work against that? And what can we learn from the Jussie Smollett incident?"
According to Jones, Smollett was "an icon ... a beloved character ... a Jackie Robinson [sic!] against homophobia in the black community, an icon, a beloved icon."
And so, in his eyes, Smollett's betrayal of his people is all the more painful and consequential. But note again his words, quoted earlier, and speaking of "the cause against racism and the cause against homophobia." Jones said, "If there is any way that they can be redeemed, I hope it can be."
Redeemed? As in, "If there is any way that the anti-white, anti-conservative narrative supported by the hoax crime can be redeemed, I hope it can be"?
Or does Jones really think that suddenly, because of the Smollett hoax, Americans will no longer care about anti-black racism or "homophobia"?
It's almost as if the talking heads on the left, whatever their color, are really upset the story isn't true. It's as if they are not colorblind, but rather, blinded by color.
For them, the Smollett story served a great (and ugly) purpose, and it's a shame it couldn't be sustained.
The real irony in all this is that those who have been the objects of racial prejudice have become the practitioners of racial prejudice.
Those were deemed guilty simply because of the (black) color of their skin have now damned others because of the (white) color of their skin.
Will we never learn?
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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