Justice

Wendy Williams Responds to Jesse Williams' BET Speech

July 6th 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

Many people were deeply moved by Jesse Williams speech at the BET awards late last month, which poignantly addressed police brutality, cultural appropriation, and institutional racism.

Wendy Williams was not one of them.

On Wednesday, she criticized the actor's remarks in a controversial talk show segment that quickly ignited a great deal of outrage on social media.

In particular, the talk show host expressed her disapproval of the NAACP and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and argued that there shouldn't be organizations dedicated to the Black community because organizations dedicated solely to white people would be considered offensive.

Twitter users quickly called foul on Williams' claim that "Historically White Colleges" would offend her, and pointed out that, with the exception of HBCUs, colleges and universities in the US are literally historically white.

Fellow-talk show host Montel Williams even took it upon himself to rebuke her viewpoint and voice his appreciation for HBCUs.

As Jesse Williams pointed out so powerfully in his acceptance speech, we certainly do not live in a post-racial society when unarmed Black people are killed by police in disproportionately large numbers.

"Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday," he said.

The "Grey's Anatomy" star also gestured to the institutional racism — "a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us" — that makes Black people's experiences in the criminal justice system, academia, the workforce and other areas of life very different from those of their white counterparts.

HBCUs, the NAACP, and the Black Lives Matter Movement are so crucial because of the oppression Black people have historically faced in virtually every sphere of society and continue to face today.

"If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression," Jesse Williams said at the BET awards ceremony.

Wendy Williams certainly does not seem to meet this criteria.