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Sean 'Diddy' Combs Fragrance Launch

Celebrity Privilege, White Privilege, Black Privilege…All The Same.

What do they all have in common? They are all conditions that allow people to believe they are better than others, can act in a way others cannot, and can be afforded luxuries and benefits reserved for only those in that privileged class.

Taken to an extreme, privilege often has you thinking you can even beat the law…that you have special passes that others don’t have. Sometimes, it’s true, other times you are reminded exactly how far your privilege extends.

Diddy is about to find out…again.

Get off the phone, NOW! I’m Diddy and I have something to say to you, NOW! You think this is the first time Diddy has screamed at someone in urgency? You think this is the first time he called a person to silence in order for him to speak? You think this is the first time that he threw something at someone in anger? Check the record.

The issue this time is that his son’s football coach did not get off the phone for Diddy in a timely manner. But most times, Diddy’s commands are answered and obeyed. When he tells people to stop or go, they do. Celebrity and wealth privilege gave him those allowances long ago.

It’s understandable that a parent would get upset about a coach screaming at their child. That has happened to me and many others. It’s what happens next that invokes the privilege. The feeling that you can assault someone because you’re who you are…rich and famous.

In America, in the world for that matter, we supported Diddy and many others into that existence. Diddy doesn’t go anywhere where he is not treated better than everyone else, so how do you expect him or any other celebrity not to act with that elevated status and existence? If you’re standing outside waiting to get into a restaurant and Diddy pulls up, you wait, he goes in. He eats free, he drinks free, he gets photographed, he gets admired and even cried over. He’s more important than you and me and that’s the message we send to him and that’s what he believes.

Diddy hit the coach and may get away with it because of celebrity/wealth privilege and we allowed it.

Then there’s Rachel and white privilege. Specifically, that term has become so common as a go-to explanation for why White people act the way they do. I explain it simply by using Rachel Dolezal as a perfect example. When she decided to be Black, she could. When questioned about being White, she said she “identified as Black” because she could. She changed her hair and her skin color because she could. She went unchallenged in all those modifications.

Rachel is a product of what others around her have allowed her to be, what society supported (before and after the discovery), and what the capitalistic system of greed will allow her to gain from the lie…from the privilege.

People do what people allow them to do! White privilege for Rachel was allowed, unquestioned, supported. Don’t even try to tell me no one in her circle for all those years knew she was perpetrating a fraud, but it took her parents to expose it and then like a good fraud…she enlisted a publicist and agent to move on.

Rachel got away with using her White privilege because we allowed it.

I saw the images of former U.S. Rep Jesse Jackson, Jr. being released from a halfway house in Baltimore, where he has been living since his release from an Alabama federal prison in March after spending close to two and a half years in prison for using campaign money for his own personal use. His wife was also convicted. What made Jackson think he could use his position for his personal gain? What made him think he could break the law? Not get caught?

Black privilege, reserved for Black people that are born into it, have access to it and like the common characteristic of all privilege, is reserved only for certain Blacks. Jackson was born into a political family and structure, groomed for the legacy and showered with the luxuries that flowed from it. Are you telling me that none of the Jackson family or confidantes knew or participated in the illegal activity? Not a single person thought to tell him to stop?

I remember in 2008 when President Obama was running in his first election, I found myself in a meeting in Rep. Jackson Jr.’s office in Washington, D.C. I was amazed at the places he had traveled to, the people he was photographed with, the first edition books he had, the White House mini replicas he had that were to be signed by then-Senator Obama for keepsake purpose and value. His office alone was worth millions. Nothing illegal about that, he’s an elected official. I suppose. Nonetheless, it made me give the silent side-eye. It felt uncomfortable.

But wait, he was elected, allowed to hold that office, whether by lineage or proven record, supported by the people of Chicago.

And when he was convicted, the story was re-purposed to focus on his behavioral disorders, his depression, his dysfunctional upbringing in order to find a reason for his obvious attitude of Black privilege. He was treated with certain concessions that his privilege afforded. The media shots with various highly influential Black leaders supporting him in the background, the negotiations on when he would report to court and when he would turn himself in and if he could ever return to an elected position. All his life, in the Black and White community, Jesse Jackson, Jr. was treated as the son of Rev. Jesse Jackson and the benefits flowed.

Jackson Jr. stole money and believed he would never get caught because of Black privilege and we allowed it.

Privilege is privilege. People are a product of their environment, a product of the way others relate to them, a product of what they are allowed to do and get away with. We should take some responsibility for Diddy, Rachel, Jesse and all the others.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know, personal responsibility, right? How that’s been working in America?

-Mo Ivory

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