I have a lot of reactions to mermaidmary99’s Comment of the Day regarding the Will Smith debacle that dominated the past week after it turned into a full-blown Ethics Train Wreck. But her post is provocative, and represents an important perspective. I’ll leave my comments until after she’s had her say.
This is mermaidmary’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Now We Have Will Smith’s ‘Real’ Apology”…
I don’t think it’s fair to assume the worst about him.
What he did would take a LOT of time to process.
When one snaps the way he did, it’s not because you had a bad day.
In my experience it’s because of a lot of things which have been buried, denied and all those things were trigged in that moment.
Will is a human being and I think it’s on us to extend a bit of mercy and kindness when we see good actions.
No one knows if the apologized to Chris Rock yet, and I don’t blame him or Chris if they kept it private, for now.
I just think that we could refrain from being so judgemental about every move he makes and if it means he’s sorry or not, or assign motives to everything.
Unless we know for certain, those things are pure speculation.
Why not hope the best?
I am speaking from experience. I am a bit reluctant to share them but I will for the sake of maybe some understanding and mercy being extended his way.
At my wedding, my brother was angry at my dad for a comment he made to my little sister. We didnt hear the comment but my little sister was upset and cried so my brother felt he needed to defend her. (she was approx 20 years old)
He went up to my dad, during the dancing part of the reception and told him to leave. When my dad didn’t, he was so angry he grabbed a nearby chair and hurled it into my dad and a leg of the chair hit my dad right below the eye. This was in front of my dad’s entire family and friends and thankfully my dad sat down, and my brother, realizing what he did, turned and walked away. Thankfully it was dark in that corner of the room so not many saw it. I was humiliated. anyone would say my brother over reacted. and yes, he did based on what happened that night.
But his reaction was years and years of pent up frustration and trauma about my dad’s abuse. My brother and dad took years to heal over that and my brother is still learning what it was that snapped that night! (i’ve been married 33 years)
At another event, about 7 years ago, at my dad’s birthday party, my cousin got upset at what he thought was happening with his dad and my brother and ran and jumped on my brother, choking him saying “I’m gonna kill you!” my cousin snapped too! My cousin just apologized to me last year over that, even though I wasn’t there and expressed his horror and shame over his actions. He’s made amends to my entire family yet still is seeking to find out what it was that made him snap.
Oddly enough, my dad and uncle were both raised by a violent father, and growing up, they both on occasion displayed out of line tempers and were bullies and my cousin and brother (and me and my siblings) were terrified of them as children.
I NEVER saw either of them (cousin or brother) be violent ever my entire life, and they said apart from the events I shared, they had not been. I believe them.
Funny as i write this I just realized they both at the time they attacked another person in public, were going through some pretty shitty things with their spouses which were not fully in the light. We later learned of my brother’s unfaithful wife, as well as my cousins, and they were really going thru a lot personally.
All that to say, both are good men who had seen their dad’s be violent on a few occasions. Both of them vowed to never be that way, yet both snapped once.
I just think there are so many things we do not know about people’s personal lives and what they go through that it’s not a bad thing to hope the best when they are attempting to make amends. it’s easy to assume the worst because Will is a celebrity but what if he is sincere?
Anyone but a cold, uncaring human who is evil would not be remorseful. So what if he has a team to help him? He could be very sincere as well.
I read a black man’s blog who works with black men and his advice to “whites” was, “This is family business, you have no idea what we do in our culture, this shit happens all the time. Butt out.”
While I didn’t fully agree with his blog post, he did share things I had NO idea about growing up black.
My examples were from my Hispanic side of the family and I wish I could say I wasn’t ashamed of it being what I heard about from that entire side. My Italian side, I never saw any violence, doesn’t mean other didn’t.
Anyway, I’m sorta rambling and this will probably get eaten anyway, but I just think we need to believe the best for Will Smith and his family and his emotional healing that he needs, (I read his step dad or dad was violent and a young Will saw him do that)
Most men are still young boys in big guys bodies, and many still carry trauma that they experienced as innocent powerless boys. I think we can extend compassion to them.
I have spoken to my husband quite candidly about men being isolated and not having places to vent and share like women do and he agreed. He said it’s rare and many men carry so much pain. He used to have a book called “the secrets men keep” and I read it years ago (over 20) and was shocked. I asked him if it was true and he said, “Yup.”
Anyway, being one of the few women here, I wanted to chime in. Maybe my take is a woman’s take? Not sure but I sure have a lot of respect for you all, and if any of you snapped like Will did, I would NOT judge you for one bad moment. I’d remember all the good you have done and all the contributions you have made in my life via your posts here.
And.. if we want to judge someone on one bad moment, then logically, shouldn’t we judge them on one good one too? No. We don’t.
These things take time to work out IF done properly. Will have a tough road ahead. No one snaps like that cuz of a joke. There’s some deep pain he’s carrying. Maybe this will be a blessing in disguise for him to heal. And in turn, he just may inspire many from this. I hope so. Our world needs it.
I‘m back for a one point; I think I’ll put my more extensive comments in a comment below later today.
For now, I’ll just ask mmm: Would you still hold to that if Smith had seriously injured Rock? He’s a much bigger man, and such ‘slaps’ and other blows to the head have had disastrous consequences to others. Smith should know this; he played the doctor who discovered CTE in football players as well as Muhammad Ali.
In law, there’s a saying “You take your victim as you find him.” It is called “The Eggshell Skull Rule,” which is nicely illustrative. That means that if you engage in battery and unknown to you, the one you hit happened to have a special vulnerability, you are still accountable for all the damage you cause. It is also common sense, and thus one of the many reasons adults of average intelligence know that you can’t just pop someone because you’re upset, or angry, or stressed. How much compassion would Smith be getting if Rock had suffered a stroke from that “slap”? That he didn’t was just moral luck. How much would Smith deserve? My answer is “None” and I have the same answer now. You are essentially arguing temporary insanity, which would not fly in a criminal trial in light of Will’s subsequent statements and actions. He didn’t claim that he blacked out or couldn’t recall the incident, after all. It sure looks like people had to explain to him just how bad what he did was.
[I apologize to mermaidmary for using the graphic above, which relates more to my comment than hers, but I am sick of Will’s face.]