I guess I should be shocked that a judge and a psychologist in Texas would see a rich white kid as a victim of his privilege before seeing the people he killed as victims of his drunkenness.
But I’m not.
That’s the thing about privilege; it extends to being able to rewrite rules and to turn logic on its head. And that’s what happened in Texas recently, in the case of 16-year-old Ethan Couch. This kid was sloppy drunk, driving 70 mph in a 40 mph zone, and, as a result, killed four people, including a mother and daughter, and severely injured another.
But his parents’ money bought him a good lawyer and a cunning psychologist who told the court that Ethan was a victim of too much privilege; that he had never been reprimanded for his actions in the past and therefore, was not responsible for the deaths that he caused.
Poor Ethan, he said, suffered from “affluenza.” And the judge apparently bought it; instead of sending him to juvenile hall for 20 years with probation eligibility after two years, he gave Ethan 10 years of probation.
I call that white privilege on steroids. But it’s easy to see how things have come to this.
For many years now, white youths and rich white people in general, have been able to get away with crimes that black people, and especially poor black people, would be put under the jail for.
An example: A 2005 Urban League report showed that black men are three times more likely to be jailed for crimes than white men once they are arrested, and 24.4 percent of black people arrested that year were incarcerated, compared to 8.3 percent of white men.
Then there’s the media, which tends to portray white youths who shoot up schools and drive drunk or use drugs as being clean-cut kids who went awry, while casting black youths who get into fights at school, or curse or smoke as hopelessly incorrigible.
What turns logic on its head here is that privilege ought to help parents raise decent kids without the pressures of poverty. If anything, it would make more sense for a poor struggling kid with no options, no access to therapy or to the Betty Ford Center, to succumb to drinking or drugs to deal with the despair he or she sees every day.
And why in the hell is Ethan the victim of his parents not reprimanding him? It’s not as if they are too consumed with survival issues to not take the time to raise him.
But I guess they don’t have to worry about that. A judge has already bought into a psychologist’s asinine diagnosis of privilege being an illness and not an asset.
Eric Boyles, the man who lost his wife and daughter to Ethan’s drunkenness, said that the teenager never apologized or showed remorse for what he did. And why should he? He’s been told that he’s not rude. Just sick.
And so is the system that let him get away with murder.
Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her @tonyaajw. Or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tonyaajweathersbee.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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