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What blacks must do with Jussie Smollett

What blacks must do with Jussie Smollett

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A little over three weeks ago, when Jussie Smollett alleged that two white men physically attacked him because of his race and sexual orientation, I told my radio listeners that the story made me numb.

That’s because in Donald Trump’s America, where too many are viewed through the lens of stereotypes, it wasn’t shocking to hear that Smollett, who is black and openly gay, had received a threatening letter a week before the attack. It wasn’t surprising to hear that someone would yell racial and anti-gay slurs while beating him. It was believable that someone would wrap a noose around his neck and shout, “This is MAGA country!”

In these divided times, MAGA — an acronym for President Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America Great Again — is a term we’ve often heard from those who seek to Make America Hate Again.

But much has changed in three weeks. Smollett was arrested and charged with filing a false police report after orchestrating the attack himself, and while I still believe we’re living in a hate-filled time, I no longer believe Smollett.

That makes me both sad and angry, and I’m not the only one in the black community who feels that way.

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Photo: Jussie Smollett at Paleyfest Los Angeles in 2016. Dominic D/ Flickr Creative Commons

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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of and a radio host on Praise 107.9 HD2 radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon.