On Sunday, a lot of America — these on Facebook, Twitter and different social media, particularly — misplaced their collective thoughts when actor Will Smith sauntered as much as a grinning Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars and smacked him throughout his face.
Chris Rock’s lame GI Jane joke at the expense of an alopecia-stricken Jada Pinkett didn’t warrant Smith’s theatrical show of machismo.
While the David-vs.-Goliath match-up didn’t sit effectively with followers of both man, the outrage expressed on social media and in the information was out-of-proportion to the incident — and dwarfed public fury over the real-life horrors on the streets on daily basis, together with these Smith and Rock grew up on.
I used to be initially principally agnostic and dismissive of the entire affair earlier than seeing a good friend’s Facebook submit and others who characterised the slap as “horrific.”
“Horrific? Horrific was Junior Guzman-Feliz being killed inside a Bronx bodega,” I replied. “Horrific was a homeless maniac shoving a young woman [Michelle Go] to her death in front of an oncoming subway train.”
As the week dragged on, we noticed the inevitable use of a racial-inequality lens to refract serious about The Slap.
The Guardian declared, “White outrage about Will Smith’s slap is rooted in anti-Blackness.”
“Will Smith and the unfair burden Black men face,” harrumphed USA Today.
AP went with “Will Smith’s slap sparks debate on defense of Black women.” (Frankly, I’m stunned — however not triggered — that the Associated Press even makes use of that cisgendered time period.)
It was the equal of those writers and information shops telling white individuals, “Leave Will Smith’s name out of your f–king mouths.”
Yet whereas the Smith-Rock dust-up drew a lot of a stir about violence, the every day carnage in New York City and different urban areas barely will get even mere handwringing — besides, after all, responsible police, unemployment and the lack of alternative.
You need “horrific”? On Oscars weekend and through the week that adopted, the metropolis witnessed these incidents:
- On the Friday earlier than the telecast, a 16-year-old boy was shot a number of blocks from Benjamin Cardozo High School in Queens.
- A 3-year-old woman was struck by a stray bullet whereas strolling previous a Brooklyn day-care middle additionally on Friday.
- Two 15-year-old boys have been shot of their legs throughout a dispute close to a public-housing advanced in East Harlem on Wednesday night time.
- While sitting in a automotive on Thursday night time, a 12-year-old boy was shot in the head and killed in East Flatbush.
And that’s only a style of the week’s violence in the metropolis.
It angers me to no finish that the every day tragedies visited upon New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, South Central LA, Philadelphia and different urban communities don’t advantage comparable consideration — and loud calls for for regulation and order — as The Slap Heard Round the World.
Did The Post’s extraordinary Oct. 1, 2021, entrance web page, which featured 21 kids killed in street violence final yr trigger outrage or set off elites? Ha! The sound of crickets was the response from far too many individuals, regardless of the quite a few unlucky younger black males gone too quickly.
Yet Smith slaps Chris Rock and all people loses their minds, whether or not they assist or condemn him.
People are “traumatized.” It was “horrific.” Whites are holding Smith to a better customary.
Meanwhile, dozens of inner-city minorities are getting their lives shredded at the arms of their friends and . . . crickets.
That in itself is outrageous. Inner-city violence and chaos needs to be much more “triggering,” traumatizing and life-altering than Smith’s and Rock’s sandbox conduct.
On inner-city streets, any variety of slights — from a dumb joke about your woman to somebody unintentionally stepping in your brand-new kicks to a diss about your Facebook submit — can lead to mindless stabbings and shootings.
Wouldn’t or not it’s good if all the A-listers (and peculiar folks) horrified by Will Smith’s conduct final Sunday night time turned their outrage in opposition to violence into motion that saves the lives of younger black males in the ’hood? Wouldn’t or not it’s good it a few of them truly devoted themselves to supporting violence-reduction and optimistic interventions?
C’mon: Let’s be “horrified” sufficient to really finish the bloodshed so that each mom’s son and daughter alive at the moment are alive to rejoice Mother’s Day with their mothers subsequent month — and lots of extra thereafter.
Michael Benjamin is a member of The Post’s editorial board.