By Joshua Deckard
There truly is “more than meets the eye” when it comes to actor Jesse Williams, a cast member of Grey’s Anatomy. A modern Renaissance man with a diverse outlook on life and world issues, Mr. Williams was a thoughtful interviewee who offered unparalleled insight on the subjects of his life, racism in the world, and how awareness can be raised for dealing with the prejudice that exists across various platforms in the U.S. and even abroad. But that sounds like a report, so let’s not drag this on into an analytical oblivion and I’ll actually tell you about the real deal.
“We’ve always been black. The world just seems to need to mention it to us,” a life point from Jesse that rang tremendously in my ears as he was speaking about his childhood. A man of ‘both sides of the track,’ he grew up with a broad understanding of social class. Being biracial, he also shared his experiences from having both Caucasian and African American backgrounds, speaking of how “blacks only saw white and whites only saw black.”
As a man with great wisdom and insight about the current day struggles of the typical African American, Jesse offered useful advice and priceless points to the students of Syracuse University that dealt with the pressure to be better than the statistics while also facing daily injustices against members of the black community. Media was one of his primary topics on the race issue, speaking out about the depiction of blacks and how it teaches younger kids a lie about education and their roots, leaving them continuing the same degradative generational ignorance inherited by older relatives.
Aside from the race conversation, Jesse gave the crowd a glimpse of his personal life, inviting us into his thoughts on being a celebrity (deemed very attractive by mainstream media) and his career as an actor, a profession he actually said he “wasn’t particularly passionate about” but yet kept doing because of how fun it was. He also talked about the importance of self identity when asked about his personality and interests, telling the crowd that they should “not let anyone define them.”
The conversation with Jesse Williams was phenomenal and it was a privilege that he was able to grace the campus of Syracuse.