I must admit that I don’t normally watch the Oscars, but I am a fan of the industry and I absolutely love Chris Rock and Will Smith. I would like to believe that these two guys would be friends of mine if they were not famous and lived near me. We are in the same age bracket and have a lot of similar qualities.
Now with that said, I was going to be disappointed in both men for their actions. I was also going to be embarrassed by the actions of both as an African-American male because of the stereo-types that will follow as a result of what happened. And then I wanted to write a blog and explain all the things that they did wrong. Then it dawned on me that context is everything and I was putting these two men in a category they do not belong.
What I mean by context is that we are witnessing the results of previous interactions we don’t understand or have no full knowledge of. It’s disappointing that the interaction we saw was violent but there is much more to this situation that we may never know about. In addition, if this were just two average men (any race) and one had slapped another it would not have made the news and we wouldn’t be discussing it. Their fame made this newsworthy.
We place people in categories, sometimes sub consciously, but in our minds we decide whether a person is good, bad, ugly, charismatic, funny or talented among other things. We develop beliefs about these people based on the categories and then expectations are set. Then we become disappointed when our heroes (in this case) do not match the consistency of our expectations. This is what is happening with all the commentary posted on social media.
What should happen is we realize the truth about what we saw: the fact that these two humans were placed in a human scenario and both had an opportunity to do good, but failed. I truly believe if they had a do-over they could make a better decision. But above everything they proved that they are human and that they are flawed. If they were placed in the “flawed human” category from the beginning, then this interaction would not dominate the news cycle.
Shout out to Tyler Perry, Denzel Washington and others who tried to bring healing to the situation. Believe it or not, sometimes things are allowed to happened for the purposes of seeing what others would do. God uses this tactic more often than you think. So I wondered how many people thought to pray when the incident happened? I wonder how many others were willing to do what they could to bring healing to this situation? Both Smith and Rock will have many private interactions following this incident. I wonder how many of those conversations would be with people who are trying to honor God in the moment?
It’s sad when your own actions cause you to live with regret. Every time Will looks at his Oscar, the memory of the slap will come into focus. Every Oscar ceremony from this point on will remember the slap. How many business deals will not happen for these two because of this incident? Have they made peace with their God? Michelle Obama rightfully said that when they go low we go high. Going high requires us to process things in the highest part of our brains — and that’s our spiritual side. I pray the learning curve happens for all who are involved.