I had a feeling from the beginning of the Jussie Smollett saga that something was off. I never joined parade because it was clear if this went wrong, its effects would snowball downhill. Here is why it turned out worse than I thought and the snippet in this post from a caller to my show Politics Done Right says it all.
Jussie Smollett gave this caller a talking point
I said the Jussie Smollett name for the first time on my show today. I used his infamy as a call to unite. The goal was to demonstrate a level of privilege afforded few. But most importantly I wanted to show the power of class over everything else.
I reminded the listeners of a form of my favorite phrase; when we unite Appalachia, the Ghettos, and the Barrios, the plutocracy will then fear us giving us the real opportunity to get the middle-class-centric policies we are owed. Divisions across racial, cultural, and other lines are designed to keep us fighting among each other forcing us to take our eyes off of our real oppressors.
Lo and behold a listener called in used a talking point I knew we would start hearing.
"One more thing," the caller said. "Because of what happened with Jussie Smollett, no one at KPFT ever ever ever again mention white-male-privilege. It is illegal to mention white-male-privilege. It's called wealthy privilege."
And there you have it; the privilege afforded a few now-upper-class people of color (POC)is supposed to negate a past provided more to white people over people of color. Jussie Smollett's privilege must now deny maltreatment by cops that we all see today. It must make us blind to biased care in healthcare, predatory lending practices in the aggregate, and this is just scratching the surface. Sometimes I wonder whether the quiet smile, leading by example, and not complaining too much has served POCs well.
After speaking to the caller, I forgot to send him to a couple of friends of mine who created an organization to combat this narrative problem among other things. Listen to the interview I did with them a few months ago.