Being both an African-American and an openly gay man, Jussie Smollett is an example of a man who experiences intersectionality. However, Smollett recently disrespected his intersectionality by allegedly staging his own attack on January 29. This certainly angered the African-American community and the LGBTQIA+ community.
When Smollett was found by the police in the wee hours of the morning, there was a noose around his neck. The symbolism of the noose dates back to the early twentieth century. This was during the second Ku Klux Klan rise and when the lynching of African-Americans was taking place. The noose was viewed as a key hate symbol against African Americans. The fact that Smollett used the noose in his staged attack is clearly vile and shows the amount of disrespect he has for his own culture. This definitely angered the African-American population as the suffering associated with the noose was manipulated for his benefit.
Smollett’s false allegations also impact the victims of hate crimes. When someone makes a false claim, it makes it much more difficult for victims to come forward. False claims decrease the likelihood of authorities actually believing their stories. Historically, women have stayed silent about sexual assault. However, the #MeToo movement created a ripple effect and allowed many women to speak up and demand that their perpetrators face the consequences of their actions. This shows that there is strength in numbers. When these numbers are weakened due to false allegations, it dampens the seriousness of the issue as a whole.
By taking advantage of the pain of racism and homophobia to benefit himself, one can agree that Smollett was insensitive towards the communities he identifies with. His actions further perpetuate the stereotype that African-Americans are violent. With the stereotypes and oppression that still exist today, Smollett’s actions could have a negative effect in continuing to perpetuate these false stereotypes.
With hate crimes increasing over the past few years, it is important to stand up against bigotry and discrimination. One false allegation is not an excuse to disregard claims of hate crimes and each case should be individually treated by the law enforcement seriously. With the polarization that our society is currently facing, one can hope that this incident does not spiral out of control and negatively impact the lives of those in affected communities.