FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Hate Crimes: One Lie, Many Truths

Jussie Smollett, a popular actor and singer-songwriter, was recently arrested and charged with filing a false police report.

Smollett alleged that he was attacked in late January by two white men who spewed racist and homophobic slurs as they assaulted him.

A standout detail was his claim that the assailants said, “This is MAGA country.” Smollett has been very critical of the Trump administration and said he believed this was some sort of retaliation.

Originally viewed as the victim, Smollett is now accused of orchestrating his own attack.

This has created an uproar. Smollett’s attack was a major news story, and a plethora of public figures expressed support for him. The public isn’t only shocked but also outraged by the latest accusations — especially survivors of hate crimes.

This situation hits close to home. Though I was never physically assaulted, I’ve been targeted for harassment due to my sexuality.

It’s been a challenging journey navigating between two crucial factors of my identity; I am both Black and gay. In the spring of 2015, a fake advertisement was posted on a college social app. The advertisement listed my college apartment number and was advertising for men to come over.

It was written as if it were a woman. I was gone at the time, but men began coming to my apartment looking for sex. My classmate who lived in my complex saw the ad and let me know.

It was embarrassing because other students had seen the ad. I contacted both campus security and the police. Nothing happened. I still have no closure on this incident.

In the fall of 2015, I was leaving class with a friend. A car followed us while its passengers yelled homophobic slurs at me, chasing me into a corner. This was caught on tape by security cameras.

I alerted campus security, and although they saw the clear visuals on the tape, nothing happened. Since it was a verbal bashing, they didn’t think it was a real threat (never mind my being chased by a car).

It was a Christian university. Since then, I’ve always wondered what they would do if I were a straight, white male who was verbally bashed and chased with evidence on tape.

Though both of these events left an impact, I’m lucky that it was no worse. Due to the current divisive state of our country, hate crimes have been on the rise across most categories.

In particular, there’s been a spike in hate crimes regarding race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The Human Rights Campaign reported that in 2017, 29 transgender individuals were brutally killed. This is the highest ever recorded — though the 26 transgender individuals murdered last year comes close.

In fact, hate crimes have been on the rise for three consecutive years, according to the FBI. As a Black man and a gay man — a member of two marginalized groups often targeted — this is a source of constant fear and anxiety.

Unlike Smollett’s case, which was an extremely rare case of possible false reporting, rights groups estimate that far more real incidents go unreported.

Hatred is still prevalent. Whether verbal or physical, these attacks are very real and can carry fatal outcomes. The Jussie Smollett episode shouldn’t distract us from this. One man may have lied, but the real story is how many lives are still threatened.

Please don’t stop supporting victims of hate crimes or advocating for justice.

Gray Ndiaye is a modern-day Griot who resides in Southern California. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @graythegriot.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
February 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Mayor Mike, Worse Than Mayor Pete
Bruce E. Levine
“Sublime Madness”: Anarchists, Psychiatric Survivors, Emma Goldman & Harriet Tubman
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Leader of the Pack
Jennifer Matsui
The Doomsday Cuckoo Clock
Paul Street
Things Said in Confidence to 4000 Close Friends This Week
Jonathan Cook
Even With Corbyn Gone, Antisemitism Threats Will Keep Destroying the UK Labour Party
Thomas Klikauer
Cambridge Analytica: a Salesgirl’s Report
Joseph Natoli
Vichy Democrats vs. the Master Voice
David Rosen
Sanders vs. the Establishment Democrats: McGovern All Over Again?
Louis Proyect
Marx, Lincoln and Project 1619
Robert Hunziker
Amazon Onslaught
Russell Mokhiber
NPR and the Escalating Attack on Single-Payer Health Care
Ramzy Baroud
Breaking with Washington: Arabs and Muslims Must Take a United Stance for Palestine
Mike Miller
Race and Class: Overcoming the Divides
Michael Brennan
Timeline: How the DNC Manipulated 2016 Presidential Race 
Jacob G. Hornberger
U. S. Lies and Deaths in Afghanistan
Rev. William Alberts
Trump Served Up Projection at the National Prayer Breakfast
Nick Pemberton
The Overwhelming Sex Appeal Of Bernie Sanders
David Swanson
Why This Election Is Different
Dan Bacher
Western States Petroleum Association Tops CA Lobbying Expenses with $8.8 Million Spent in 2019
Christopher Ketcham
The Medium Warps the Message Straight to Our Extinction
Erik Molvar
Trump’s Gutting of NEPA Will Cut the Public Out of Public Lands Decisions
William Kaufman
Tulsi Gabbard: A Political Postmortem
Colin Todhunter
Menace on the Menu in Post-EU Britain
Gregory Elich
Mnangagwa’s Neoliberal Assault on the Zimbabwean People
Ron Jacobs
The Lies of Industry and the Liars Who Sell Them
Binoy Kampmark
Subverting the Blacklist: Kirk Douglas’s Modest Contribution
Tom Engelhardt
The War in Questions: Making Sense of the Age of Carnage
Peter Certo
Who’s Afraid of Socialism?
Brett Wilkins
Dresden, February 1945
Missy Comley Beattie
You’re a Lying, Dog-Faced Pony Soldier
Thomas Knapp
Yes, the ERA Has Been Ratified
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Can the World’s Second Superpower Rise From the Ashes of Twenty Years of War?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Short History of Humanity’s Future
Leonard C. Goodman
The Iowa Fallout and the Democrats’ Shadowy Plot to Stop Sanders
Nilofar Suhrawardy
Delhi Polls: A Storm Over Winner’s “Religious” Acts!
Saad Hafiz
The Unending Human Tragedy in Syria
Jacob Levich
Ocasio-Cortez to Constituents on Bolivian Coup: Drop Dead
Nicky Reid
The Buttigieg Delusion
Gary Leupp
Gramsci and You: an Open Letter to Mayor Pete
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Black America and the Presidents
John Kendall Hawkins
50th Anniversary of Abbie Hoffman’s Intro to STB
Susan Block
Rush Limbaugh Gets Medal for Being the King of Creeps
David Yearsley
Better in Dolby
Peter Harrison
Money is Our Assonance: Seven Short Poems
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail