Privilege. It is something that I speak on a lot because I am ever amazed by a) how powerful it is and b) how many people deny that it exists. Of course, the main opponents are those who benefit from it the most. Here lately, we have seen privilege at work in many of the most popular news stories. From Brock Turner’s measly sentence for raping an unconscious woman, to white cops getting off for killing people of color, we live in a world that hands out passes for indiscretions based on the pigmentation of one’s skin.
The latest case of “white boy out of control” involves Olympian Ryan Lochte. We have written about this ordeal profusely here at Movie, TV, Tech Geeks because damn it, my fellow journalist Jackie knew he was lying from the beginning. Many other outlets have given their two cents about his made up story of robbery at gunpoint in Rio; a place known as the murder capital of the world with a 90.5% crime rate.
Naturally, Lochte’s privilege has been named as the reason for this story unfolding the way it has. With that, I can see why folks believe his privilege backfired on him. I mean he got caught in his web of lies. However, all things considered, everything is playing out just as I would expect it to for someone like him in a situation like this.
This isn’t a case of privilege gone wrong. Had this happened during almost any time other than the Olympics, it would have been swept under the rug. But because what he did happened during one of the biggest global stages, there is really no way for his actions to not be acknowledged. And so far, that’s all that’s happened. Aren’t there some ethical standards for athletes competing at the most important sporting event in the world? It appears that the answer to the question is “not if you’re a white male.”
If Lochte’s privilege failed him, there would be swifter consequences for what he and three other USA OLYMPIAN swimmers did. If he, indeed, “flopped” in properly using his advantage of influence and money in a male dominated society; making a statement offering a flimsy excuse for his actions AND still claiming to have been robbed would be considered the punch in the face it is, instead of a means to quiet the commotion. His privilege did not fail. It is still at work. These men, who represent America, demeaned and vandalized a Rio gas station, then turned around and lied about it. Why? Because they could.
I look at this 32-year old man who led the motley crew, and I am both disgusted and frustrated. It takes a certain level of pompous arrogance to keep up a charade that paints you as the victim. Lochte has looked America right in the face and fed it a bogus text that he doesn’t even believe because he knows that in two weeks, “This will all blow over.” He is the most dangerous kind of privileged man.
The slap on the wrist Lochte is receiving is a stark contrast to the backlash and bullying Gabby Douglas got for, essentially, having a bad day. After people unnecessarily commented on her hair and even accused her of bleaching her skin, maybe she didn’t feel like putting her hand over her heart during the pledge of allegiance.
How disheartening is it that while the other gymnasts on her team excitedly checked their social media accounts for encouragement and cool memes about their incredible talent, she was bombarded with hate and negativity. That would affect anyone’s mood. But because of what’s between her legs coupled with the melanin she was born with, there is no benefit of the doubt or privilege extended to her. She did nothing wrong but yet received harsher criticism than Lochte, a person guilty of shameful deeds while in Rio on our dime. What a sad reality.
The thing that pisses me off the most about privilege is that white people deny it. It’s one thing to be oblivious because you just don’t realize what it is. It’s another thing to stare it dead in the face and say, “Nope, not me.” Then to top it all off, the ones offended for being called on their shit counter with a made up, BS, “there’s no way in hell it exists” term called “black privilege.” It’s just like the entitled to be so unoriginal.
The leaders of the Olympic committee cannot let this slide. They have to do something that shows they don’t condone this type of behavior from world-class athletes. I want to see a punishment comparable to the crime; a punishment that not only fits what Lochte and his followers did, but one that also echoes the values and purpose of the Olympic games. Not later, now. I want an apology in which Lochte admits that he lied and I want him to be suspended from the 2020 games. This man needs to be knocked down to size because as it stands, he is operating from a God complex.
Lochte’s actions are repulsive and his dismissive attitude arrogant. The unfortunate part of it all is that this situation shows his true colors. Is this the kind of person who should represent America?