Jussie Smollett and the court of public opinion

There is much more to this story of Jussie Smollett being convicted of staging a hate crime against himself and lying to police.  To understand this, we must acknowledge that there are two types of courts.  The court of law plays out in courtrooms and is based on existing laws.  However, the court of public opinion is more powerful and changes laws.

Emmett Till was a 14-year-old black American from Chicago when he was lynched by racists in 1955 in the small Southern town of Money, Mississippi.  His crime?  Talking to a white woman.  His mother insisted on an open casket funeral so the whole world could see Emmett's mutilated and bloated body.  Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral or saw pictures in magazines and newspapers.

The two killers were white and therefore included de facto in a "protected class" of Southerners.  The local law enforcement and judicial system ignored the facts as long as they could.  Outrage intensified, and the two killers were eventually put on trial and were acquitted by an all-white jury.  Once acquitted the two sold their story to Look magazine and admitted they had killed Emmett Till.  The public was outraged, and the tide turned against racism.

Many believed that the racist killers' behavior both before and after the trial as well as the institutions that shielded the killers prevented them from facing justice and was the catalyst that led to the civil rights movement.

Jussie Smollett was found guilty of orchestrating a fake attack on himself.  Like Emmett Till's killers, Jussie Smollett was initially protected by the judicial system until outrage forced a trial.   Jussie Smollett was also protected by much of the media, which will now have to answer in the court of public opinion for running interference for him.

This leads us to Darrell Brooks, a career criminal and a convicted sex offender.  Brooks is charged with killing and injuring many innocent people in the Waukesha Christmas parade attack.  Like Emmett Till's killers, Brooks is de facto part of the "protected class."  He should never have been out on bail.  Many news sources were hesitant to name him or show his picture.  One major new source is accused of lightening his face so he didn't look black.  Look at the side-by-side photos and decide for yourself.

Darrell Brooks has not had his day in court yet, and it may take several months or even years before he does.  However, the court of public opinion on civil rights is moving in the opposite direction from where it went in the 1950s.  Jussie Smollett and Darrell Brooks have tarnished and destroyed much the progress made by civil rights.

Image: Dominick D via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 (cropped).

To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.

If you experience technical problems, please write to helpdesk@americanthinker.com