Why It’s Time to Abolish Celebrity
You don’t have to be a celebrity to act like one. Unfortunately, “celebrity” has transcended the elite class. Anyone who puts social climbing over community has internalized a celebrity mindset. These people rationalize that a certain fallback of money, or fame, would put them in a separate category from common peasants, so they wouldn’t be beholden to the accountability common peasants have to take to keep people around them.
America continues to grow in the direction of serfdom, leaving most of its wealth with an elite class that represents 1% of the population. It’s hard not to dream of becoming this one percent as celebrity affects all of us, even those victimized by the corruption coming from this very culture.
We’re trained to scale down our integrity to fit into hierarchal structures that only invite brutality to the table. In these hierarchies, victims of discriminatory violence become gatekeepers themselves as a means of self-preservation, and build cliques based on approximation to money and power.
Celebrities of color are at the forefront of efforts to bring realistic portrayals of marginalized people to the page and screen. Diverse representation, in theory, dismantles racism by appointing diverse creators to speak on behalf of their communities in the art they create.
Inclusion is a more strenuous endeavor that works toward access, opportunity, and community-wide empowerment. Inclusive efforts account for nuanced cultures and diverse outlooks that exist within a single marginalized group. Inclusion should leave marginalized people empowered to use their own voices, to speak on behalf of themselves. A framework of inclusion sees the most vulnerable as the worthiest of support.
Priority on celebrity, in turn, always glorifies those at the top. Celebrity stands in direct opposition to inclusion movements, but not to diversity. Diversity can still exist with a central focus on what is mainstream and popularized (see: whiteness), especially in a market that believes Black people to share a universal Black experience.
I cannot work from this limited frame of thinking. Nuanced realities from the outside world do not stop existing just because they don’t fit a white market of ideas. Not compromising inclusion for diversity is not cause for criminalization…