Posting pictures with marijuana has been a part of American culture for a long time now. Most notably seen by rappers or other music artists, it used to instill shock but is now something we see on a regular basis as we scroll through our Instagram feeds. But a recent picture posted by a country singer has sparked some major debate over whether white people posing with weed is white privilege or just a sign that it is normalized in our society.
When you post something shocking or controversial on Twitter, you know there will be people who have a lot to say. That is especially true if you are a country star who posts about marijuana, and no I am not talking about Willie Nelson. The Cyrus family is known to smoke a lot of buds, which is no big deal considering in California recreational use is legal.
But many people are upset over one of the achy breaky hearts more recent pictures involving his wife Tish Cyrus. The image shows Tish Cyrus smiling while showcasing a vault…. Filled to the brim with bags of marijuana. Billy Ray Cyrus captioned the interesting picture with, “Yes! Like I said yesterday @TishCyrus.... my how the times they are a changing #CrAzYMaMa.”
Soon after this was posted, thousands of people started commenting, and many wanted to know if it was her weed in the massive vault. Tish decided to comment on the post saying, “First of all… My husband @billyraycyrus is INSANE, Second, this picture is also insane, and third, this is NOT my weed or my house! haha. But if it was, that would be amazing for so many reasons!”
But that did not stop people from stating that this image proves that white privilege exists, especially when it comes to using of marijuana considering the thousands of African Americans who are currently incarcerated for possessing a small amount of weed. The responses range from inappropriate references from Family Guy to sad images of prisoners waiting for their sentences to end while they read that marijuana was legalized in their state.
One person said, “How many thousands of people are in jail for the sum total of that locker of weed.” That statement is hard to think about but certainly important. The amount of marijuana in that locker has put thousands of people behind bars while they are ripped away from their families and livelihoods.
Another person tweeted, “I get ppl are excited that it's being decriminalized but so many ppl are still incarcerated and families [are] torn apart for a small portion of what this locker contains. #Thinkbeforeyoutweet.”
Most of these celebrities do not think about the pain behind something like this before posting an image which is understandable due to the fact that they have fame and money which has always taken them away from that issue. There is a giant stigma against people of color who use marijuana which is outrageous, especially after seeing Tish Cyrus showcase a marijuana vault, regardless if it is hers or not.
I do not think that Billy Ray Cyrus or Tish Cyrus were trying to undermine anyone, they just thought it was a fun and crazy picture. But people condemning them for not helping people of color out of incarceration is not fair. We do not know what happens off of social media and they could be helping people more than you know.
One person said, “Please use your societal position to amplify the injustice of every single human being forced to live in a cage (a population that is disproportionately Black) because of the contrived illegality of this same plant. FREE. THEM. ALL.”
The cold hard fact is that yes, they do have white privilege and even more so due to their celebrity status. They should be more aware of incarceration due to marijuana and not treat it as a novelty. But, isn’t the normalcy of sharing a picture with weed online something we are striving for?
Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus should be using their status to highlight the incarceration issues but to them, it is normal for marijuana to be everywhere. Would you condemn a marijuana company for posting the same image? Most companies do not aid in incarceration issues but that doesn’t cause an uproar online.
Hate does not cancel out hate and instead of adding fuel to the fire, educate the world on what needs to change to reunite families hurt by the war on weed. Every day we get closer to allowing that to happen but highlighting issues like this are slowing the process. We need to focus more on the people who need help instead of a picture on Twitter, that is when our world will really change.
1. Billy Ray Cyrus. Retrieved February 19, 2019 from https://twitter.com/billyraycyrus/status/1096511063149862912
2. Miley Cyrus' mom sparks white privilege debate after posing with a very large amount of marijuana. Retrieved February 19, 2019 from https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/miley-cyrus-mom-sparks-white-privilege-debate-after-posing-with-a-very-large-amount-of-marijuana
3. - an idiot. Retrieved February 19, 2019 from https://twitter.com/sydeliza19/status/1096925964066529281