The CBS Evening News shared an “inspirational” story over the weekend that is complete and utter bullshit.
On surface, the story of Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins’ unlikely friendship seems made for the big screen until you begin to pull back the layers.
Back in 2005, McGee was minding his own business when Collins accused him of dealing drugs. While McGee was innocent, Collins–an admitted crooked cop–was not. Collins arrested McGee and doctored up fake evidence, which led McGee to spend four years in prison.
Collins, who ended up serving a year-and-half in prison for falsifying several police reports, planting drugs and stealing, said the day he set McGee up he was just trying to make a case–by any means necessary.
“Basically, at the start of that day, I was going to make sure I had another drug arrest.”
Unfortunately, McGee was the fall guy and it cost him big.
“I lost everything,” McGee told CBS News. “My only goal was to seek him when I got home and to hurt him.”
More than a decade later, McGee and Collins found themselves working at the same faith-based employment and ended up working together at a cafe. Instead of hurting Collins, McGee forgave the former cop for almost ruining his life after he apologized.
CBS News explained how the reconciliation went down:
“I said, ‘Honestly, I have no explanation, all I can do is say I’m sorry,'” Collins explained.
McGee says that was all it took.”That was pretty much what I needed to hear.”
Today they’re not only cordial, they’re friends. Such close friends, not long ago McGee actually told Collins he loved him.
“And I just started weeping because he doesn’t owe me that. I don’t deserve that,” Collins said.
But he didn’t forgive just for his sake, even for Collins’. “For our sake,” McGee said. “Not just us, but for our sake.”
McGee went on to CBS News about his Christian faith, and his hope for a kinder mankind. He wants to be an example — so now he and Collins give speeches together about the importance of forgiveness and redemption.
To be clear, I don’t have a problem with McGee accepting Collins’ apology, that’s his choice. However, far too often Black victims are not only praised for excusing those who wrong them, but it’s also expected.
After Sam Dubose was shot in the head by former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing, a reporter asked his mother, Audrey Dubose, “Do you see it in your heart to forgive this officer whether he’s convicted or not?”
Ms. Dubose said “of course” she would forgive Tensing if he asked, but why was that question even posed in the first place?
After Rekia Boyd was killed by a white off-duty police officer in Chicago, her mother, Angela Helton, was asked if she would forgive him and she had a very different answer than McGee and Dubose.
“I don’t forgive him,” Helton said. “I will never forgive him.”
Forgiveness is a personal choice, but the push have Black victims forgive white folks who have harmed them isn’t inspirational or powerful. In most cases it’s just downright problematic and abusive, and it continues to excuse behaviors like Collins that lead to innocent Black people being caught up in the system.