Why does BLM’s founder Patrisse Cullors want to free Jussie Smollett?
Is Patrisse Cullors using BLM as a political flag to uncover a criminal? Here’s everything you need to know. It’s been less than a week since Jussie Smollett was sentenced to jail over staging a supposedly fake hate crime. Jussie Smollett is an American actor & singer, who started his career as a child actor, however, he’s currently 39 years old.
Patrisse Cullors, a BLM-co founder, visited Smollett in jail and has been sharing his case as well as the inhumane condition he’s been in. Cullors’s communication goes further being informative, the activist has been inciting people to “call the jails and demand Jussie Smollett be freed”. This whole situation is critical for BLM because if the Empire actor is lying, the movement would lose total credibility.
The prison system is disgustingly punitive and there are surely several other better ways to reintegrate criminals into society, yet, prison is the current way of doing it. It’s entirely valid to make an unfair case visible and ask for freedom, it’s also not only valid but necessary to point at hateful conditions inside. The situation with the Smollett case is that it’s not clear why isn’t the crime he’s accused of true.
In a recent video, Patrisse Cullors strongly defended actor Jussie Smollett claiming his freedom, but what happened? Is he innocent? Smollett was convicted of five felony counts for lying about a staged hate crime that he supposedly orchestrated in 2019. He was sentenced to 150 days of prison, thirty months of felony probation, as well as restitution of $120,106 and a $25,000 fine.
In the video, Cullors said, “He’s strong but what’s happening inside is just unacceptable”. Smollett was just getting an actual bed, apparently, he was sleeping on a restrained one in a psych ward and it was damaging his mental health. Smollett’s family has also been loud in their opinion, which claims the disgraced actor is innocent and has been unfairly treated by the American justice system.
The family also mentioned Smollett has a “compromised immunity” and should be liberated due to COVID-19 risks. Yet the family never clarified what makes Smollett immunocompromised.
Patrisse Cullors said in her video that there’s immense disinformation on this case. Cullors concluded by saying “what happened to Jussie could happen to any of us, and is completely unacceptable”. However, independently from Smollett’s innocence, the declarations from his family & Patrisse Cullors about jail conditions make all sense and something should be done.
Does justice have a color?
If someone did commit a crime, no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation, they should go to a trial and pay time in jail. None of the mentioned qualities should be a privilege for someone to escape a crime or on the contrary, to pay for something which wasn’t committed.
The complex situation, in this case, is that structural oppression towards black people is undeniable through American history. We’re talking about the country whose police force is known for killing black people. Let’s not forget George Floyd, whose murder on May 15th, 2020, mobilized hundreds of Americans to break the quarantine, giving the BLM movement a strong impulse.
Sadly, racism, LGBT phobia, and sexism aren’t only personal issues but systemic ones, which means institutions reply to them and validate them. In 2010, the incarceration rate for Black vs White Americans was 2,306 vs 450 per 100,000. It’ll be racist thinking Black people do commit more crimes right? Then why are they more incarcerated?
According to senior research analyst, Ashley Nellis Ph.D., Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons five times the rate of Whites. Yet, Latinx people are 1.3 times as likely to be incarcerated than non-Latinx whites.
There are undeniable ethnic disparities when it comes to imprisonment making the achievement of real justice something almost impossible for the unprivileged ones. However, an essentialist non-critic practice of a liberal ideology is not the answer. Oppressed groups aren’t automatically innocent just because of their intersectionality.
Smollett’s case should be analyzed critically and serve as an opportunity to make ethnic institutional violence visible.
What do you think about Jussie Smollett’s case and Patrisse Cullors declarations? Tell us in the comments below!