Jesse Williams on Ferguson Shooting: This Doesn't Happen to White People
By Jackie Willis
Grey's Anatomy star Jesse Williams did not hold back from expressing his views on the killing of teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri that is causing so much uproar across the country.
The unarmed teenager was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, and since then, the city, and the country, has been in a state of unrest. "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 on Jane Velez-Mitchell's HLN show. "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."
The 33-year-old actor didn't stop there. "I know plenty of white kids that steal stuff from convenience stores," Williams said when it was brought up that Brown may have stolen cigars from a convenient store before he was killed. "There is this idea that every time a black person does something they automatically become a thug worthy of their own death."
"There's a lot of young black men getting gunned down because people felt they were threatened. Unarmed boys who were supposedly threats because being a black man in this country is sometimes an act of aggression in itself," he added. "The rest of us are not treated like human beings. Period. That needs to be discussed. That is the story."
When host Velez-Mitchell brought up the subject of class privilege and Williams' success in particular, the actor was quick to note, "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."
Refusing to hold back his opinions on the matter, Williams continued, "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. ...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.”
"We need journalism to kick in," Williams said, and John Oliver seemed to hear him. The host's response to the Ferguson shooting on Sunday's Last Week Tonight has also been getting some traction on the web. Check that out, below.