Will Smith has shared that he's experienced being racially discriminated against by cops in Philadelphia!
As People mentions, Smith recently joined activist and political commentator, Angela Rye, for an episode of her podcast On One With Angela Rye. During their discussion, Smith shared his thoughts on the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, and mentioned how he had negative experiences with law enforcement while growing up!
Smith was called the N-word by cops "on more than 10 occasions"
Smith was born in Philadelphia in 1968, and reflected on his upbringing involving many instances of racial profiling. "I grew up in Philadelphia, I grew up under Mayor Rizzo," he said on the podcast. "He went from the chief of police to becoming the mayor, and he had an iron hand."
"I've been called n----- by the cops in Philly on more than 10 occasions," he shared. "I got stopped frequently. So I understand what it's like to be in those circumstances with the police." As People mentions, a statue of Mayor Rizzo near City Hall was removed last month as a result of the Black Lives Matter protests.
Smith also commented on how while attending a suburban Catholic school, he became aware of "the disparities" regarding the way law enforcement treated Black people in comparison to white people.
Smith talks about significance of the Black Lives Matter protests
Smith said that the Black Lives Matter protests are unprecedented because of how they have led to a worldwide movement to fight for justice for the Black community.
"We are in a circumstance that we've never been in before," he told Rye. "The entire globe has stood up and said to the African American people, 'We see you and we hear you. How can we help?' We've never been there before."
While Smith personally understands the "rage" that people feel as a result of having faced "oppression," he also acknowledged that "it can be really dangerous" to get involved in violent protests.
Smith says he "was really encouraged" by seeing peaceful protests
Smith explained why he feels peaceful protests are the best approach. "You got to be careful not to be consumed by your own rage, and that's something that I've worked really hard on," he said.
"Peaceful protests put a mirror to the demonic imagery of your oppressor. And the more still you are in your peaceful protest, the more clear the mirror is for your oppressor — for the world to see and for them to see themselves."
"I was really encouraged by how powerfully this generation was able to hold that mirror, and then the response of the world seeing and responding," Smith went on to say. "I was deeply encouraged by the innate connectivity of the protesters, globally."
Smith shares that he feels "happy to be alive during this time"
Smith may be optimistic about future generations, but he's not naïve. As People says, he acknowledges there are still "people that have made poisonous conclusions and have false beliefs, and they've got insane narratives running through their minds."
However, Smith remains hopeful that today's youth will be aware of the "lovelessness" in the world, and take action to bring about meaningful change!
"I am pledging my unending devotion to the evolution of my community and the evolution of my country, and ultimately the world, towards the greatest harmony that we'll be able to create," Smith stated. "I am happy to be alive during this time, and to serve."