Updated: Mar 31, 2022
This notion that violence is always wrong (a premise continuing to be said in discussions about the Will Smith/Chris Rock situation) is something that has never been practiced by White America. We live is a country that was founded upon laws like "The Casual Killing Act", which provided total absolution for murdering Black people; where rape statutes excluded Black women for centuries, essentially enabling and facilitating Black women to be raped by White men; and where the U.S. Supreme Court (in 1876, and again in 1883) ruled that African Americans would not be protected from White extremist acts of terrorism - which ultimately led to government-facilitated lynchings for the next 80+ years.
Furthermore, from the Scottsboro Boys, to the Groveland Four, to the Exonerated 5, Rodney King, Trayvon Martin and the list goes on......violence is central to American identity. Was violence not the answer when Kyle Rittenhouse left his home and killed protesters, only to be found not guilty? Or when George Zimmerman, back in 2012, followed Trayvon Martin and
murdered him in cold blood (after being told by the law enforcement dispatcher to stand down)? I mean, when has violence not been the answer, in a country that has built its legacy and empire on the tenets of violence?
It also both highlights what we do and don't see as violence. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson experienced violence in front of White supremacists who attempted to antagonize and degrade her for hours. White America's racist institutions perpetuate violence against Black people daily, and yet the masses of this culture can be concerned about Will Smith losing his temper (which most of us have, if we are willing to be honest).
The treacherousness of antiblackness and sensationalism is brutally debilitating.
There are much larger issues to address, than isolating Will Smith in this moment, as a way to further pathologies about the angry Black male.