Jesse Williams is not getting fired

First of all, I thought really hard about making the title of the post racist and white-hating. But I couldn’t do that, and do you know why? Because that means I am playing their game and falling into their trap and I will not help that happen.

Second of all, y’all know I love Shonda. If you don’t love that I love Shonda you should probably not be following this blog because I reference Shonda all the damn time. If you do love that I love Shonda and you are not following this blog, please start. Thank you.

Down to business: at the BET awards Jesse Williams made a powerful, political, speech that spoke what a lot of people are feeling. However, unlike many other people, he was not silenced. Today I learned that there is a petition going around for him to get fired from Grey’s Anatomy in light of this speech (which Shonda has very nicely shut down on her Twitter). Part of this petition reads:

“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 negative attitude.”

Okay, what?! First of all (oh yeah- another list and this one is longer), he is a known activist. If your problem here is actually with activism, specifically celebrity activism, then do not spend your energy taking it out on one man.

Second, police brutality against black people is not made up, it’s not something black people conceived in their imaginations. It is something the media focuses on, it is something that has happened to more than one person I know and call a friend. It is something that is not punished in court. Many of those police officers get a slap on the wrist, if that. Please, never look me in the eye and tell me that is a lie. NEVER.

Second part 2, after Hillary Clinton failed to get indicted by the FBI alongside a statement from director James Comey, “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.” Now I know, I know, I am leaving a lot out.After reading the full statement I understand the arguments presented by the FBI even if I may disagree with the argument and/or the presentation of said argument. It doesn’t matter though– this is proof that white privilege exists, and that there are white people who think and act like they are above the law.

Third, this petition cites that he’s making racist comments against white people at the Black Entertainment Television Awards. I am not saying I think he was saying racist things. I am saying, however, that BET is about promoting black excellence in entertainment. Williams was speaking about promoting black excellence in the world in my eyes. How can you possibly get angry about that?

Fourth, I definitely think the firing of Dr. Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington) is making people think they have a point. Here’s some clarity: Washington was causing problems with his co-stars. Williams is causing problems with nobody. Washington made insensitive comments to the faces of people who were supposed to be his equals. Williams made calculated comments to people who were willing to listen.

In summary, I really don’t care which side you are on in this situation, and I definitely think there are more than two sides when you look at the big picture. I know what side I am on, especially as a black woman in America who doesn’t even want to turn the news on anymore. As someone who has lost people to gun violence, watched people get locked up because they were profiled and others released with community service, listened as people told stories about how unwelcome they felt suddenly… I could go on and on. It doesn’t matter which side you choose, it doesn’t matter what you believe. That doesn’t change what needs to happen in a just world.

Published by She Got The PhD

A web-based soapbox of an Assistant Professor of color in Chemical Engineering; sharing my feelings on books, academia, and current events. I hope you enjoy reading :)

2 thoughts on “Jesse Williams is not getting fired

  1. All of the hand clap emojis. Sometimes (all the time), white people cannot get over the fact that not everything is for them. I recently overheard someone talking about this incident and questioning why there even was a black entertainment station and why wasn’t there a white entertainment station. To which I replied “oh there is, it’s called the entire rest of broadcast television.”


    1. 1. Thank you for saying something. I think that is the biggest road block right now. I mostly see black people speaking up and I am certainly surrounded by enough white people that this should not be the case. Second, just yes– look at the number of shows on TV that still do not have mixed casts or have one token minority. There are shows I love that have never had a major black (Hispanic or Asian…) character.


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