Posts tagged ‘privilege’

A few words: White House Party Crashers

I’ll make this brief and get right to the point as it will sum up all that I feel we need to know about the White House Party Crashers:

They’re rich and white. Therefore, they looked the part and got away with being as close to the President as they are in the above pic. Ain’t nothin else on it.

Now I know I might get told I’m playing the race card here, and I’m prepared for that. But I absolutely believe that if this couple were working class and perhaps not white, if this couple looked more like me and my fairly-new partner–young Black people with natural hairstyles (another topic in its entirety)–they wouldn’t have even seen the inside of that State Dinner. Like, at all.

I’m not saying that the CIA is racist or that there was racially-charged intent in their actions–all they’ve admitted to so far is they “made a mistake” (no sh*t sherlock) and that’s all we can really accept for right now. What I am saying though, is that the Salahi’s ability to get away with crashing a White House dinner speaks to their class and their level of white privilege.

From Anovelista:

I am having major issues with the White House State Dinner crashers, Tareq and Michaele Salahi. The first description of Michaele Salahi referred to her as a “glittering blonde decked out in a red and gold sari” and I knew we were in trouble.  Even at the White House, the automatic assumption about a “glittering blonde” is why of course she belongs! She looks the part, right?

My point exactly. My friend Wise told me a great story that further illuminates this point. A few years ago, Wise went to a VIP party a professional colleague of his threw in the Hamptons. While he had every right to be at the party as anyone else, Wise was hassled by security because he doesn’t “look the part”: a tall brotha in a suit with a smallish afro. They questioned his being there, asked to see his ID, the whole nine, simply because he didn’t seem like he”belonged” there. What message does that send about how we feel about class and privilege and who gets to “own” high levels of such things?

In any case, the White House Dinner Crashers don’t tell us anything else, and it doesn’t get any more complicated than this. They were white, they were rich, and they got over on the CIA because they looked the part. Open and shut case of what is afforded to people who are at the top of the class ladder.

Black People, Decorum and Privilege

As I settle into another work week, I realize that this hasn’t been a good couple of days for Black America. First, Serena Williams loses her shit after a bad call during the US Open, which cost her the match. Then, Kanye decides to be a jerk (again) and ruin country music star Taylor Swift’s very first acceptance speech at the VMA’S by bum rushing the stage and declaring Beyonce’s Single Ladies video the greatest of all time.

The two situations above may seem very different, but I think the only difference between Kanye’s outburst and Serena’s outburst was a bottle of Hennessey. These are grown ass people who are fairly young. Black, and at the top of their game. So why did they act out in public like they could get away with it?

The way I see it, Serena and Kanye’s fame and talent, and even their wealth will not make up for their lack of privilege. Kanye didn’t get to perform at the VMA’s and was escorted out of the event. Serena lost  the match and had to pay  a $10,000 fine for her behavior. It wasn’t waved away as just being “colorful” the way it was when McEnroe did it, and I’ll venture to say that it’s because she is a Black woman and he is a white male. No matter how high a Black celebrity climbs, they will not just be a celebrity getting out of pocket, they will be a Black celebrity getting out of pocket. They will not escape their lack of privilege to do certain things and be able to LOL it up on the David Letterman show the next week.

That’s not to say I”m excusing Kanye and Serena’s behavior because I think both of them showed an extreme lack of decorum and what my Nana would call “home training.”  Everyone has to be accountable for their actions, but what I need for Black celebrities to understand is that their fame doesn’t put them on an equal playing field with white celebs that act out in a similar manner. Get your decorum game up and let’s cut back on the nigga moments from here on out.

So what you think? Does a lack of privilege mean greater attention to our public behavior?