There’s a fine line between advantage and exploitation, and we cross that line subtly, every day in every arena.
It’s been a crazy week in pop culture. We had Roland Martin v. Umar Johnson, the death of Nelsan Ellis, and (seemingly) E’R’EBODY got a divorce. But two stories really caught my attention this past week – the Rob Kardashian/Blac Chyna saga, and the Maia Campbell crisis.
There’s a fine line between advantage and exploitation, and we cross that line subtly, every day in every arena. We see it with toxic relationships, corporate America, Donald Trump…but I digress. In the case of Blac Chyna and Rob(bery), we have a woman who took advantage of a man’s love for financial benefits, and a scorned lover who leaked private photos in response, notably leveraging his ex’s not-so-squeaky reputation for extra damage impact. We saw Maia Campbell’s battle with mental illness and drug addiction take center stage on the internet, by way of a drug dealer looking for fifteen minutes of fame.
What irked me the most is how many people cosigned for that mess. I can’t tell you how many posts I saw praising Blac Chyna for her ability to finesse a rich man out of copious amounts of cash, and presumably a lifetime lifeline in the form of an innocent child. Or fellas praising Rob publishing Chyna’s nude photos and other slanderous things about the mother of his child on social media in retaliation, the legality of which will be determined by a judge soon. This speaks volumes about the state of love and respect in relationships, and why they fail for lack of the basic cornerstone – TRUST.
It’s appalling enough that drug dealers enable tragedy by trade, but I’m sure others were as heartbroken as I was to see one go the next level and embarrass Maia Campbell on the world wide web – the place where acts of humiliation are permanently stored for posterity. Equally disconcerting is the fact that we are so selectively concerned that we only consider this “tragic” for a celebrity. It’s a big, fat joke when it’s somebody’s addicted Aunt Gloria or Uncle Leroy going viral at the expense of their dignity.
“Oh, No Baby, What Is You Doin’?”
What does this say about us? Are we so inhuman that we seek other humans as prey? Must everything be “kill or be killed?” We are each powerful and capable individuals; we don’t have to take advantage of others to have advantages in the world. Yet, we sniff out blood, pouncing on the wounded and broken, as a lion would run down an injured springbok. Another person’s willful exploitation of themselves is not an invitation for us to exploit them, too. Another person’s vulnerability is not an opportunity to gain something, but it is an opportunity to make a positive impact.
Bottom line: Every come-up ain’t a good one, and it’s only savage until it’s your turn.
Someone else’s vulnerability is NOT an opportunity for personal benefit, but it IS the perfect opportunity to make a positive impact. It may be a dog-eat-dog world, but we’re not dogs. Let’s just agree to evolve, shall we?