Jesse Williams received the Humanitarian Award at the BET Awards 2016. And he was rightfully awarded. Williams has dedicated himself to the plight of the maligned people of America for quite some time. In fact, he has picked up the baton that Harry Belafonte used to carry during the Civil Rights era. So, this wasn’t an award to be taken lightly. This award went to a man that put in the literal footwork to be the humanitarian many of us strive to be.
Without missing a step, Jesse Williams said a speech that had most of Black Americastanding up with a round of applause. He touched on issues such as police brutality, the unnecessary criticisms of Black Lives Matter, black materialism in the face of servitude, and even cultural appropriation. He even told those that criticize without going against black oppression to “sit down”. Although he may have been “preaching to the choir”, Jesse Williams was serving a lot of “ether”.
Yet, there are always going to be those white people that get into their feelings about what he had to say. For example, Joel B. Pollack at Breibart (expectedly) noted in his article that “it takes no courage to tell an audience of black entertainers that white America is the problem”. News personality Tomi Lahren aggressively disagreed with Jesse Williams at every turn. She mentioned victimhood, questioned the idea of police brutality, and referencing “white people fighting for black ancestors”. It can’t be a surprise that many white people let their tears flow over things they shouldn’t even comment on.
Jesse Williams Does Not Care For White Tears
Here is the problem that I noticed from both Joel B. Pollack and Tomi Lahren. When it comes to their rebuttals, they both made the same mistakes:
- They focus on only part of the speech.
- The responses reek of fallacy.
- The responses also lacked simple comprehension.
If they were paying attention, both Pollack and Lahren would have noticed that white people weren’t the only ones referenced within the speech. Jesse Williams was went in on black men not treating black women right. Even more so, he chastised plenty of the people in the audience by noting “to put someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies and now we pray to get paid with brands for our bodies”. I understand that many white people don’t want to hear about their faults. Still, it is sad when white people complain about a speech that wasn’t totally spoken against them.
Second of all, they both don’t understand how fallacy works. Both Lahren and Pollack wanted to mention the fact that Jesse Williams is a wealthy actor and he can’t be all that oppressed. But how does that detract from the message? Their disagreement is ad hominem of the circumstantial: they undermine Jesse William’s credibility because he is of affluence. They think that his message becomes less real because of his stature; but it is real whether he’s rich and black or poor and white.
Also, I am beginning to become worried about their comprehension skills. Pollack spent more time trying to question what Williams was referring to instead of figuring it out. His sarcasm didn’t lead to a better rebuttal because he also thought that “you are presumed to be a racist if you dissent” against all that many black people fight for. Williams didn’t say any of that. Meanwhile, Lahren brought up historical facts that had nothing to do with what was said in that speech. If white tears are going to flow, one should at least know what one should cry about.
Jesse Williams Will Drink Those Tears
No matter what people may say to detract from his message, Jesse Williams said what was needed. He took many people to task, regardless of race, creed, and social status. That is what a true humanitarian does. He also ruffled the feathers of those that wanted to decry his position. Yet and still, detractors can never detract from the solidified truth structured in Jesse Williams’s words and roots.