Kenton Gibbs| Staff Writer

In our society, famous people are often seen as larger than life figures whose lives we want to emulate. Whether it be our favorite athletes or pop up celebrities who are famous for nothing, these people have large followings and great amounts of visibility. That’s why whatever statements they do or don’t make are so important. With such weight behind their words, any commentary they give should be well thought out.

With recent events that have transpired, national conversations about racism, inequality, and police brutality are becoming popular in American discourse. That fact makes it particularly important for pressing things to be spoken about by people with the platform to reach many. However, I want to caution people about the dangers of following what a celebrity says, especially if their evidence to support a claim or stance is anecdotal and baseless.

Please understand that I’m not saying all the popular people in our culture have to think what I think. I’m simply saying it would be great if they took their levels of socioeconomic privilege into mind and researched what they were talking about before they spoke on it. Take TI for example:

Rapper and actor TI has been extremely outspoken on issues revolving around race. He has even released an EP entitled “Us or Else” with racism as the focus. He is a thoughtful man who takes into account what’s going on in the world outside of his own. He has done research on the trends of people most likely to be targeted by police, and that shows whenever he speaks on these topics by showing the information that he has learned. He gives me hope that we can actually look up to our celebrities, but quickly I’m met with the somber reality that not all of them actually care for their less rich counterparts.

One perfect microcosm of the self-absorbed and rich celebrities is Floyd Mayweathers. Once again, I don’t have a problem with his positions on these problems. It’s his explanations that are feckless and repulsive. Retired boxer turned promoter, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, was recently quoted as saying, “What I learned from boxing which everyone can take in life is follow directions. Follow order and don’t give nobody a hard time.” He went on to talk about how we call cops when crime is committed against us, until he was asked about Colin Kaepernick. He then went on to say “Kaepernick needs to focus on getting the starting job, stand up and get the starting job.”

Well there’s a few problems with this logic. The biggest being that Mayweather is displaying an all-too-common infatuation with order in spite of justice. This raises the very clear point that legality and morality are not interchangeable concepts.  It was true when Dr. Martin Luther King said, “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice;”, and it still holds true to this day. There are tons of examples where inhumane practices were legal and thusly created order.

Next, I’d like to explore the idea that Kaepernick should “stand up and get the starting job”. Well, simply put, even if Kaepernick lives to 100, the game of football will be over for him less than 10 years from now. But in the same scenario he’ll be a black man for every day of his life and even after he hits the grave. Even more important than just Kaepernick is the fact that intentional and systemic oppression of people of color predates the game of football. There’s also the tiny factor that the lack of accountability for law enforcement officers affects the world exponentially more than the San Francisco 49ers performance.

I really am waiting to see irrefutable evidence that there’s no such thing as bias in cops or any other part of the world. I would happily listen and try to take in what’s being presented. But we seriously need to consider how long we continue to watch and support celebrities who spew toxic ramblings of uninformed thoughts.