In an appearance on CNN on Sunday, “Grey’s Anatomy” star Jesse Williams, 33, tackled the blatant racial bias in media character assassinations of slain Ferguson teen Michael Brown, who was unarmed when he was shot and killed August 9 by police officer Darren Wilson.
I think we have to talk about the narrative and make sure we’re starting at the beginning. You will find that people doing the oppressing often want to start the narrative at a convenient point,” Williams said. “This started with a kid getting shot and killed and left in the street for four hours. I’ve never seen a white body left in the heat for four hours in the sweltering heat.”
“I know plenty of white kids that steal stuff from convenience stores,” Williams continued in response to allegations that Brown stole cigars moments before his murder by law enforcement. “There is this idea that every time a black person does something they automatically become a thug worthy of their own death.”
“The rest of us are not treated like human beings. Period,” the actor said. “That needs to be discussed. That is the story.”
Williams is always found front and center in calls for social and racial justice, as evidenced by his consistent and fearless advocacy for of Black men.
“There’s a lot of young black men getting gunned down because people felt they were threatened,” said Williams about slain Florida Trayvon Martin. “Unarmed boys who were supposedly threats because being a black man in this country is sometimes an act of aggression in itself.”
When speaking out about the shooting death of Jordan Davis with HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell, Williams discussed the myth of the Black criminal:
“This is a tradition in this country, where people are able to go ahead and kill Black people because they’ve gotten sassed or inconvenienced. We’re victims of a fantasy. This fantasy of what the Black body does and can do has become more importantly than the reality and we pay for it with our lives,” Williams said. “Look at the amount of boys that are being shot because you feel scared. The idea of feeling threatened is not the same thing as being threatened. We pretend that it is, but it’s not. We have to keep fighting to be heard and to be treated like human beings.”
When Velez-Mitchell introduced William’s class privilege into the conversation, asking how he could still feel so “disenfranchised” with all of his success, he responded:
“I don’t think of just me, I think of a collective group of people. While privilege is very well, whether it’s a class issue that obviously exists–I’m glad you bring that up. This idea of having to explain why it’s racial, while we’re standing in our own blood is silly. It’s racial because it doesn’t happen to White people.”