(ThyBlackMan.com) People have all the time, in equal measure, been greater than prepared to tear down anyone’s popularity as they’ve been to applaud a superb comeback story.
Take one of many nation’s best presidents, Abraham Lincoln, whose political profession was riddled with high-profile ups and downs – from election losses and public bouts of despair to the Emancipation Proclamation and victory over Accomplice forces within the Civil Battle. Or greater than a century later, there was Jimmy Carter, whose presidency was broadly considered as ineffective and troubled, however his post-White Home profession noticed him grow to be one of many globe’s most revered diplomats.
Whereas People love a superb redemption story, not everyone seems to be judged on the identical scale – particularly if you’re Black. White males in energy have traditionally had a a lot simpler time rehabilitating their public photographs, or avoiding the worst abuse within the press, than Black males, which holds true in all facets of public life.
One tragic instance is the case of brothers Lee and Dennis Horton. The 2 brothers spent nearly three many years behind bars for a homicide they didn’t commit earlier than being granted clemency in 2021. Regardless of overwhelming proof of their innocence, no earlier legal data, and a historical past of changing into psychological well being counselors in jail, working a jail substance abuse program, and beginning a restorative justice initiative, the brothers – who labored on the marketing campaign on incoming Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman – have been consistently labeled murderers and had their names dragged by the mud throughout the election season.
And any such racial profiling is obvious throughout all class and socio-economic traces. Take, as an example, philanthropist and billionaire Robert F. Smith, who has been unable to flee widespread criticism within the press relating to a federal tax evasion inquiry.
Smith reached a non-prosecution settlement with the Division of Justice (DOJ), agreeing to pay $139 million in fines and penalties, to forgo claims he made on his tax returns for $182 million in charitable deductions in 2018 and 2019, and to assist federal prosecutors of their case in opposition to Texas billionaire Robert T. Brockman. Regardless of this hefty penalty, the media has persistently run tales lambasting Smith as a “tax cheat” and calling into query how he averted prosecution.
Whereas that is nothing new for a headline-hungry media, it’s significantly galling in comparison with the shortage of protection different personal fairness agency executives or cryptocurrency fraudsters have obtained for his or her misdeeds – particularly as Smith’s philanthropic and charitable work continues to be largely ignored.
Whereas Smith does lead Vista Fairness Companions, it isn’t a hedge fund and as a substitute a personal fairness agency. Nonetheless, have a look at the $7 billion in fines that executives at hedge fund Renaissance Applied sciences LLC agreed to pay to the Inside Income Service to settle a tax legal responsibility earlier this 12 months. Whereas the settlement was one of many largest in IRS historical past, it created solely minor ripples within the enterprise press and rapidly fizzled out.
In the meantime, Robert F. Smith is within the headlines consistently. That is partly comprehensible, as Smith has created a a lot bigger public persona than the executives at Renaissance, and is the singular face of his firm. However Smith’s persona is rather more than simply his hedge fund and the media might spend extra time protecting his philanthropic work – like his donations to HBCUs, paying off the scholar loans for Morehouse graduates, his work in combatting prostate most cancers within the Black neighborhood – as a substitute of focusing solely on his authorized issues.
Certainly, maybe the concentrate on Smith could also be a perform of his philanthropy. Would he be so scathingly analyzed if his contributions had been made to organizations apart from the Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition (NMAAHC) or the United Negro School Fund?
End story right here; African People: Black billionaire Robert F. Smith deserves his comeback story.