Letting Jussie Smollett Off The Hook Proves Privilege Is About Politics, Not Skin Color

Letting Jussie Smollett Off The Hook Proves Privilege Is About Politics, Not Skin Color

Just like children of wealthy Hollywood elites, Jussie Smollett has ‘privilege’ that most of Chicago’s black male population does not: the privilege of being a wealthy, connected liberal.
Derrick Wilburn
By

How many of the thousands of young black males in Chicago’s court system had all charges against them dropped this week? The decision by Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx to drop all charges against Jessie Smollett unmasks the truth about a frequently discussed topic in liberal circles: “privilege.”

Smollett, a black, gay American, was facing 16 charges for lying to police about an attack on January 29, which we later learned he had staged. Smollett claimed the 2 a.m. attack was by two men who assaulted him, used racial and homophobic slurs, placed a noose around his neck, and yelled, “This is MAGA country!” Apparently, no one told him that he was in Chicago.

The faked incident drew national attention and caused supposed civil-rights titans (and presidential contenders) like Sen. Cory Booker to opine, “The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching.”

There was just one problem—it was all a lie. A criminal lie, up until this week. Now, less than two weeks after pleading not guilty to 16 counts, Chicago prosecutors have dropped all charges and claiming they’ve reached an “appropriate” deal in the case, and the actor’s record will be wiped clean, according to B.E.T.

This is privilege, but not the “privilege” typically discussed in liberal circles, for this isn’t “white privilege.” It’s the far more prevalent “WCL (wealthy, connected, liberal) privilege.”

Those not in the WCL privilege club can have nothing more than unsubstantiated accusations of things they supposedly did 35 years ago in high school brought up, and the club immediately begins warming up the tar. Yet those in the club can have actual pictures of themselves in blackface surface and survive unscathed.

Those not in the club tweet off-color remarks with racist undertones and are almost immediately fired. Those in the club can use the word “n-gg-r” on live TV in June 2017, suffer no repercussions other than issuing the obligatory apology, and still host their own show to this very day.

Not being white, Smollett clearly doesn’t have “white privilege,” but he is part of the WCL privilege set—a class of people who are the recipients of preferential treatment that they give themselves and no one else. Pictures of him hanging with other non-white members of the club like Barack and Michelle Obama are all over the internet. Likewise, pictures of non-white club members Kim Foxx and presidential candidate Kamala Harris have also been widely seen this week. These are people loaded with WCL privilege.

Although two or three prominent names are grabbing headlines, news of the FBI blowing the lid off the current college admissions scandal is rocking Hollywood. The Hollywood Reporter rolled out this headline, “College Admissions Scandal Sparks Hollywood Panic: “There Could Be More Parents Caught Up,” the same day the latest Smollett news broke.

The Los Angeles Times recently summed up the admissions scandal by saying, “They include Hollywood actresses, former CEOs, a famed parenting book writer, a fashion icon, a Newport Beach college counselor and university athletic officials. In a college admissions scandal brought to light Tuesday, federal prosecutors allege wealthy parents paid to help their children cheat on college entrance exams and to falsify athletic records of students to enable them to secure admission to elite schools, including UCLA, USC, Stanford, Yale and Georgetown.”

They’re white, they’re black, they’re Jewish, they’re old, they’re young, but they have this much in common: they’re mostly, if not all, Hollywood liberals and therefore members of WCL.

After she graduated Stanford and Oxford universities, many wondered how Chelsea Clinton essentially walked into a $600,000-a-year job and soon thereafter purchased a $10.5 million apartment in one of Manhattan’s most exclusive buildings. Not a lot of people in their 30s can do that. The answer: “wealthy, connected, liberal privilege.”

According to the Chicago Police Department statistics and Policearrests.com, there were more than 61,000 arrests in the city for larceny in 2016 and nearly 16,000 for aggravated assault. In the city of Chicago, how many other young black males who comfortably fit Smollett’s demographic description have been charged with lesser crimes than Smollett’s and have had their charges summarily dropped, prosecutor’s explanation for such action sealed from public view, and their records wiped clean?

A new report by Fox News now indicates the Chicago prosecutor’s office even went digging for examples of similar cases in which charges were dropped (apparently) to make the dismissal of Smollett’s charges more palatable to the public.

Do other young black male defendants get the same attention? What do those larceny defendants’ city prosecutors say to judges and juries about their charges? Are those young black males inexplicably exonerated and their records expunged, or do they wear both an orange jumpsuit and the stain of their misdeeds for years, if not decades to come? There are scores of youthful black males arrested in Chicago for the charges brought against them. Yet one, Smollett, walks the streets today a free man while the others await a meeting with their public defender.

The truth is plain for all who chose to see it: Just like Chelsea, like Bill Maher, like children of wealthy Hollywood elite, Smollett has “privilege” that most of Chicago’s black male population does not—the privilege of being a wealthy, connected liberal. This wasn’t about Smollett so much as it’s a lesson about how the liberal power establishment treats its own.

Derrick Wilburn is a Centennial Institute fellow and the founder of Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives.

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