Fans call for Jesse Williams to be fired over “racist speech” at the BET Awards

Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams picks up his humanitarian award at 2016 BET Awards

At times, I wish racism actually had a simple definition since it’s meaning seem to change with the colour of individuals involved.

For this reason, I’m not really surprised at the recent turn of events as a number of white folks who watch Grey’s Anatomy have started a petition to have actor Jesse Williams fired from the ABC production for his powerful speech at the just ended BET Awards held at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, USA.

Since the powerful speech, the official Grey’s Anatomy Facebook page has been flooded with comments with some threatening to boycott the long-running show if Williams isn’t fired for actually caring about black people.

Jesse William’s was honoured with the 2016 BET Humanitarian Award for his selfless contribution to society.

According to a petition filed by one Erin Smith on days back,

“Jesse Williams spewed a racist, hate speech against law enforcement and white people at the BET awards. If this was a white person making the same speech about an African American, they would have been fired and globally chastised, as they should be, but there has been no consequences to Williams’ actions. There’s been no companies making a stand against his racist remarks and no swift action condemning his poor, racist attitude. Why was Burke’s character fired from Grey’s Anatomy after his inappropriate homophobic slur, but nothing for Jesse Williams? Why the one-way street? Why the support for a hater? Why the hypocrisy? #AllLivesMatter  All humans bleed the same color.”

The petition will be delivered to ABC upon reaching 500 signatories.

Funny enough, the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, and titular star, Ellen Pompeo, both praised Williams for his powerful speech after the awards.

Would the petition amount to anything or just a bark from a set of toothless bulldogs?

Read a transcript of Jesse William’s speech at the 2016 BET Awards.

Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that.

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country, the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

It’s kind of basic mathematics – the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Now… I got more y’all – yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612, or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Darrien Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done.There is no tax they haven’t levied against us – and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here.”You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote: the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander.That’s not our job, alright; stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest—if you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

Thank you.

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