News & Politics

America Is Plagued by Privilege, but It’s Not What You Think

From left, Miami Dolphins' Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Stills, kneel during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

We hear a lot about white privilege from liberals, but no one on the Left wants to talk about the most glaring privilege infesting our nation today: celebrity privilege.

Let’s start with football players who use company time to protest — what? I’m not quite sure what they’re protesting and what it has to do with football or the flag, but they’re out there raising their fists and bending their knees. While they’re being paid by their bosses to play football and abide by team rules, they inject their politics into the sporting experience and alienate customers.

Only someone with celebrity privilege could get away with that. The lowly office worker can’t speak his mind whenever and however he wants. The cashier at Chipotle can’t spout off about his political views and drive customers out the door. The assembly line worker can’t walk off the job to protest his latest beef with society. If he did, he’d get fired in a heartbeat — justifiably so.

Regular, hard-working Americans who remain faceless in the crowd don’t get the luxury of saying whatever they want to say — because they’re not celebrities. They labor in the shadows while multi-millionaires add to their piles of gold.

I’m not dissing the capitalist system here. If we want to feed the dragons, so be it — that’s the free market — but if you want to talk about privilege, let’s at least be real.

Our culture is riddled with celebrity privilege, from sports to publishing. Actors, singers, and athletes who know nothing about a particular topic get to publish books while unknown writers with stellar skills and expertise are passed by because they don’t have a “platform” — another word for a pre-packaged marketing strategy so lazy, cheap publishers don’t have to create one.

When Kendal and Kylie Jenner, Madonna, Snooki, and Nicole Richie — to name a precious few — get to publish drivel while talented writers resort to self-publishing on Amazon or nothing at all, you know you’re in the midst of cultural rot. Readers certainly aren’t enlightened; society isn’t enhanced with these tomes of triviality. The only people benefiting from celebrities sharing their dips into the shallow end of the pool are the ghostwriters. But, alas, even these actual writers remain ghosts.

And what about the makeup and clothing lines, cookbooks, restaurants, baby foods, and perfumes (does anyone really want to smell like JustinBieber?)? Is there a celebrity in Hollywood who doesn’t have a fragrance that makes most of us want to run from the department store faster than SpongeBob?

What’s sad is there are countless entrepreneurs and inventors out there who would love to see a company invest in their product. But they can’t even get through the front door because they don’t have the privilege of being a celebrity.

Ironically, these idols of fame are often the first to complain about “white privilege” or “male privilege,” completely ignoring the fact that they are the ones benefitting from actual privilege. They can snap their fingers and industry dogs will come running no matter their qualifications — that’s the essence of elite privilege.

We shouldn’t blame the celebrities, though. It’s not their fault that grotesque privilege lines their pockets and expands their already inflated egos. We have only ourselves to blame. If our culture didn’t reek of celebrity worship and society weren’t littered with celebrity suck-ups, we wouldn’t have this problem.