Here's What Happened When Jesse Williams Was Criticized for 'Light-Skinned' Privilege

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Actor Jesse Williams attends the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Here's What Happened When Jesse Williams Was Criticized for 'Light-Skinned' Privilege

Social media had to sound off.

PUBLISHED ON : JUNE 28, 2016 / 03:05 PM

Jesse Williams's call to action to eradicate racial inequality, cultural appropriation and police brutality made international news at this year's BET Awards. With members of the social media community virally spreading quotes from the Humanitarian Award recipient's moving speech, many saw his timely words as deserving of praise, while others linked the fanfare he is receiving to his lighter complexion.

"This is for the real organizers all over the country — the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do," he said during his speech before going on to highlight the various victims of police brutality.

While many went on to praise Jesse for his carefully crafted and heartfelt words, others claimed the attention was only heightened because he is light-skinned and biracial.

The Twitter users below, however, are clapping back at those claims, saying the discussion goes far beyond skin tone:

Ironically, the Grey's Anatomy star even touched on this very topic in The Guardian back in October:

"To some people, I might be a celebrity because I'm physically attractive. We are programmed to believe that someone is attractive because they told you that blue eyes are hot," he said. "I am not going to participate in that s**t. I aim to do what I can with what I have. And I have my [looks] — you know, European beauty standards give me access to things."

See his moving BET Awards speech in its entirety above.

Written by Moriba Cummings

(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)


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