Ava Seccuro staff writer
In the early morning hours of Jan. 29, “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was beaten, bound with rope and doused with bleach in Chicago. And now, a month later, his case still serves to be relevant, as his phone records and surveillance remain under investigation.
Smollett’s case is yet another example of the racism on the rise that seems to envelop our nation. For years past, little to nothing has been done to find justice for victims of racially targeted attacks. But, now considering that Smollett’s fame has brought cases like his into the limelight, will that change the way his case and others’ like his are dealt with? As time passes and his case continues to stand unsolved, it looks like nothing will change.
Hate crimes have risen by 12 percent in the nation’s 10 largest cities, including Chicago, which is where Smollett was attacked. It’s also quite evident that Trump’s unwavering dogmas of hate are to blame, as MAGA slogans were shouted at Smollett by his assailants during his attack.
Although Smollett’s presence in the media should not affect the way the public perceives and acts upon hate crimes, it may be the kick in the shin that the public eye needs in order to bring awareness; as if there isn’t enough already.
Hate crimes of race and homophobia, like Smollett’s, seem to be circulated in the media more often than not. The problem is, however, coverage of an event only does so much, and the reality is that there isn’t enough action being taken against these atrocious acts. We are not doing enough.
Despite the affirmative attention Smollett’s case received, the case also raised some questions about its credibility, especially among conservatives.The conservative editorial website the National Review rebuked Smollett’s attack until more evidence resurfaces. However, as the article attempts to dig up Smollett’s whereabouts on the night of his attack, they also manage to completely flip the story, making it seem as though Smollett had been instigating his assailants with his hatred toward Trump. Even if by slight chance Smollett had provoked his attackers, violence, especially of this caliber, is no justification for differing views and lifestyles.
The media has the power to bring these situations to light, but in biased publications such like the National Review, articles highlight the disparities in views of racial equality that our country still possesses.
Racially or homophobically charged cases have been right under our noses for decades. Emmett Till, Matthew Shepard, Trayvon Martin the Unite the Right rally: we seem to remember the cases and the names, but not the reasons why these people died. When the president of our country can blatantly be racist and not face any consequences, when people in this country start advocating for Nazis, that is when we should reconsider how actually progressive we are as a nation, and it starts with generation-Z.
Of course, change starts at the polls, and it starts by electing someone at least a smidge better than who we already have in the White House. It starts by pushing our representative to pass bills that will strengthen criminal punishments for hate crimes. However, the main solution is changing our views toward marginalized groups. We as a people need to learn to be more accepting and offer accurate representation to which it should be given, in order to truly capture the essence of a diverse community and understand how to treat one another. The sad truth is the only way to stop hate crimes is to not do them, but that is evidently not a feasible solution. Therefore, we must set a precedent and be the generation that finally does something about the hate that immerses our nation.