The Blind Utopia of the Privileged, Part 1 of 2
By Tim Carthon (Blog #19: Race Relations)
The biggest problem in America is the blind utopia of the privileged; the people who are negatively affected the least by the system either not believing it exists or not caring if it changes. This is when indifference to us becomes deadly to us, literally. And who is “us”?
As you may have heard and/or seen, Nicki Minaj, a woman of color, and Taylor Swift, a Caucasian-American had a bit of a run-in about something Nicki said online. Nicki Minaj was speaking on Twitter® about what she felt seemed to be institutional racism within the award show realm, in this particular case the Video Music Awards (VMAs):
“If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for video of the year,” Nicki tweeted, “When the ‘other’ girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination. If I was a different ‘kind’ of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreography and video of the year as well.”
…and Taylor Swift somehow thought she was talking about her, so she responded:
“@NICKIMINAJ I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.” Swift said. She continued, “@NICKIMINAJ If I win, please come up with me!! You’re invited to any stage I’m ever on.”
And that wasn’t even the worst situation during that time in entertainment history.
What was worse was a New York Times® interview with singer Miley Cyrus in which she spoke about what Nicki said as well. Miley, instead of taking the time to understand Nicki’s words, spoke about the supposed ‘tone’ in which they were said:
“…You know what I always say? Not that this is jealousy, but jealousy does the opposite of what you want it to—that’s a yoga mantra. People forget that the choices that they make and how they treat people in life affect you in a really big way. If you do things with an open heart and you come at things with love, you would be heard and I would respect your statement. But I don’t respect your statement because of the anger that came with it. And it’s not anger like, ‘Guys, I’m frustrated about some things that are a bigger issue.’ You made it about you. Not to sound like a bi@!h, but that’s like, ‘Eh, I didn’t get my V.M.A.’”
As you can imagine, Nicki didn’t take kindly to those words.
That next Sunday (the night of the Video Music Awards®), Nicki had some vicious words for Miley onstage about what Miley said earlier in the week in that NYT interview:
“And now, back to this bi@!h that had a lot to say about me in the press, Miley, what’s good?“
For those of you who don’t know what “…what’s good?” means in the context in which Nicki used it, it’s a direct challenge (and not a nice one) specifically done when one feels that another has been talking negatively about them indirectly and usually ends in a ‘physical reckoning.’ The part that caught my attention the most was not what Nicki said, but Miley’s reaction after she said it. She looked shocked and confused, as though she didn’t understand why Nicki was confronting her.
That is a perfect visual of the overall race relations problem in America.
Although Taylor was much sweeter than Miley in her response, both situations were yet another simple case of the privileged being completely oblivious to their privilege and directly and indirectly misunderstanding and subsequently attacking the non-privileged, at least in regard to Nicki’s original subject matter. Ironically, I had no clue that shortly thereafter I was about to join Nicki in the ‘dealing with privileged people on Twitter® who seem to have no clue’ club.
The night I started writing this piece, my version of a male Miley Cyrus (who doesn’t even understand that he’s privileged) responded to something I tweeted, and, like Taylor and Miley with Nicki, he completely missed my point. DISCLAIMER: Recently, I’ve not been responding well to privileged idiocy, so please forgive any ‘rawness’ in my responses:
The first of my 5-part statement was on what he honed in:
Unfortunately, from his first response, it was an instant example of someone who was completely unaware of two (2) things: 1.) His American surroundings, and 2.) His inbred bigotry:
You read exactly what I read, right? He just said that unarmed Black people being killed by the police and being called the ‘villain’ afterward is because cops are told to kill criminals with the guns they are issued. He clearly just labeled all unarmed, murdered Black people as criminals. That’s clearly what he just said, right?
So I called him out on it:
And guess what? He denied having said it.
Of course he did.
And the Twitter® lowlights continued. He said something about the Black Lives Matter movement and how the people saying “Black lives matter” were “idiots.” I attempted to explain the movement and the saying to him, but his mind’s ears were closed:
He then proceeded to attempt to ‘inform me’ about how Blacks kill more Blacks than anyone else does. This was another attempt to dismiss and minimize the meaning and power of the Black Lives Matter movement:
*Sigh. He obviously didn’t understand the trend of race-on-race crime:
He then tried to ‘inform me’ about how African-Americans are a much smaller segment of the population, but supposedly commit more crime than anyone else does. This was, again, another attempt to dismiss and minimize the meaning and power of the Black Lives Matter movement. Unfortunately, he didn’t understand the actual depths of the statistics he was throwing at me:
Once I told him about the lack of understanding he didn’t even realize he had, he was confused, so I had to explain it to him:
The video to which I was referring was of former Baltimore police officer named Michael Wood; a Caucasian-American who was shunned by the police in the precinct in which he served due to him reporting police abuse of American citizens of color. He explained in his interview with The Young Turks® how the actions of the police were the things that were causing the cycle of crime and violence in communities of color (start at the 1:35 mark of this powerful video below).
After all of my Miley’s Twitter® ridiculousness, my two most poignant tweets that ended that conversation explained the essence of the blind utopia of the privileged:
Hey, I did give you a DISCLAIMER. Can you tell I was a bit frustrated with this particular privileged man? Then hold on to your hats, because weeks later, his Twitter® backup arrived…
Tim Carthon; Advocate, Speaker, Author, Educator