“It Drives People Insane To Be Constantly Smushed” Jesse Williams Talks Racism, Insecure White Folks & Hollywood’s Ridiculousness

December 22, 2014  |  

I’ve said it before and if he keeps talking like this, I’ll have to say it again. Jesse Williams is bae. Straight up. With his recent and consistent activism, speaking out against the injustices perpetuated against Black people, The Washington Post likened Williams to this generation’s Harry Belafonte. Of course Williams is his own person, but that’s a pretty honorable comparison. In addition to his appearances on major news networks like CNN, MSNBC and several other venues, he’s not afraid to talk to folks on the ground either.

In what appears to be an impromptu, street interview, Williams talks about racism in this country, White privilege, media depictions of Black folks and the very real racism that still exists in Hollywood.

Racism and lack of exposure

It’s also hard to relate to things you can’t relate to. By the way if you don’t live around Black folks and you just watch tv, you’re going to be racist. I’d be racist! It’s a mathematical equation. You and the media and a fake ass history system that makes you believe that White people created any of this makes you think that Black people ain’t worth a damn. Of course, that’s the way the algorithm works. So you need to put an effort forth. Just like what was happening in the gay rights community. Back when I was a kid, everybody said f-a-g. Because we didn’t know anybody that was gay and that’s what people said. And you meet some people and you step forward instead of back and you realize ‘Oh, that’s a human being. I’m an asshole. I shouldn’t be talking like that. That hurts people.’ And you move forward. Look how quickly the gay rights movement moved forward that also involves White folks and gay people are a part of your family. Black people aren’t necessarily a part of your family, unless they are.

We’re 11 percent of the population, which is staggering considering how dominate we are and that we are the most profitable export in this country, our culture and every single thing that we do. 

If it ain’t you… What do they say? ‘If I throw a rock into a crowd, the person who gets hit, is the one that squeals.’ Don’t be hit. If I’m not talking about you… If I’m talking about slavery, you ain’t a slave master then why you stressing? Why are you insecure?

Why are White people so defensive? 

Because when you’re privileged and you’re a fucking spoiled brat you complain about everything. When you get everything that you want, at all times, you complain when you don’t get it. If you’re rich and you fly first class for the first twelve years of your life and suddenly you ain’t rich no more and you gotta fly coach, you’re going to bitch about that. That’s going to be uncomfortable. Something was taken from you. The thing is that we’re not taking anything from anybody. We’re not more violent than anybody. Fact. It’s backed up by data. We’re not more prone to misbehavior in school, yet we’re brought directly into the prison system from suspension at incredibly disproportionate rates. We’re not more prone to crime. We are more prone to poverty. And generational poverty is a very real thing. You can’t corral an entire segment of the population into ghettos and away from the American dream and wonder why it doesn’t look like a Norman Rockwell painting. Why would it be? You’ve decided that it can’t be. Housing discrimination is the biggest fucking secret in this country. The suburbs were invented to uplift White America and to create a middle class and subsidize upward mobility when it was against the law for Black people to get those loans, against the law for Black people to own the actual deed to their homes. 

On Cultural smudging (to steal a phrase from Azealia Banks) 

It’s like understanding Gun, Germs and Steel, what really emboldens White supremacy to wonder why you’re so dominate. [It’s] a very important text to understand the intersection of coincidence and why we think it’s ok to have a movie like fucking ‘Exodus’ where White people look ridiculous dressed like Africans. You look ridiculous because we know it’s make believe. ‘But it’s just a movie, it’s just a movie.’ Nah. It ain’t just a movie. That’s the shit that gets Mike Brown killed. And you people think it’s ok because he’s a fucking animal. All of this stuff is connected.

On racism in Hollywood 

And that’s what you learn out there in Hollywood playing games. You know how many fucking jobs I have to turn down and how many people I have to fire because of the racist shit I get offered? And I’m as White as you can get being a Black person. I have a fucking struggle. You got to decide whether to wear a du-rag and rob some White person on a tv show or pay your mortgage and raise your family. And that’s no fucking joke. Those are five of my closest friends who have to decide every three days whether they want to chip away at their own soul and chip away a piece of themselves to dance and shuck and jive for White America. To fucking rob some White person on tv or play some demonstratively Black piece of shit in some movie in order to pay their rent. 35-40 year old grown ass men with degrees. It drives people insane to be constantly smushed. 

And that’s lovely Hollywood, that’s not Ferguson, Missouri. 

A struggle is stifling it’s suffocating. 

The double standard between Blacks and Whites 

Poor people stealing…is stealing bad or not? Because the whole financial structure…Goldman Sachs just destroyed this country and destroyed people’s lives, real lives. And none of them are in jail, you don’t know any of their names. You can’t name one of them. So is stealing ok or not? It’s a schizophrenic society where we’re told violence is not ok and Michael Brown is a thug because he muscled some dude in the store. Great. That’s not great but you just blew his fucking head off, so is violence ok or not? It’s a very fair question to ask.

You can watch Jesse Williams’ full interview in the video below.

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