Katie Hebert, Staff Writer |
The Cyrus family is caught in hot water after Billy Ray Cyrus tweeted a picture of his wife next to large bags of marijuana, writing, “Yes! Like I said yesterday @TishCyrus…. my how the times they are a changing #CrAzYMaMa” on Feb. 15. In response, Tish Cyrus replied to the same photo on instagram, writing, “First of all… My husband @billyraycyrus is INSANE, Second, this pictures is also insane, and third this is NOT my weed or my house! hahah. But if it was, that would be amazing for so many reasons!”
Miley Cyrus is known for smoking weed and has been labelled by many a marijuana advocate, especially siding with legislation to legalize it nationwide. However, the former “Hannah Montana” star revealed that she had quit smoking and drinking altogether and notes how her mom is now smoking large amounts of weed which has actually caused Miley to get back into smoking. Miley later shared on Andy Cohen’s talk show, “RadioAndy,” “My mom is going to kill me but yeah, my mom smokes a lot of weed. She probably won’t care. She’ll be like, ‘I’ve been wanting to do a weed company so you got me started. I’ll get you in don’t worry.’ She was doing candles… I think she should stick with candles.”
While talking about the family’s struggle with marijuana, many people have spoken out in rage as the Cyrus family showcases their white privilege in discussing drug abuse.
It is no secret that people of color are being incarcerated for small drug offenses at much higher rates than white people. According to the NAACP website, “African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites.” When we look at drug offenses, “African Americans and whites use drugs at similar rates, but the imprisonment rate of African Americans for drug charges is almost 6 times that of whites.
Donovan (@cxcope on Twitter) reposted Billy Ray’s photo, writing, “Thousands of Black people are in jail for the most minor weed offenses but Miley Cyrus’ mom can post this on Instagram with no issues.” Soledad O’Brien (@soledadobrien) also retweeted the post, commenting, “Think of all the people incarcerated right now on marijuana charges. And you wonder why so many people understand that criminal justice is often neither fair nor just,” as well as @wlwamerica writing, “yall ever think abt how weed is something that only white ppl can commercialize and turn into a personality trait. people of color will get called druggies so fast…..”
The Cyrus situation is not atypical of modern popular culture, but continues to showcase the double standard between criminality of white people versus people of color. There has been news circulating recently about “marijuana moms,” a phenomenon in which mothers can go to a special retreat to smoke weed and gain “enlightenment” through spiritual exercises involving marijuana. A video posted online recently showed a mother holding a baby, smoking out of a bong and just fanning the air out of the baby’s face. While they have the ability to share these things and use drugs without fear of repercussion, communities of color have often been targeted for drug use throughout history and are constantly incarcerated for drug crimes at higher rates than white people. Perpetuated by the “War on Drugs,” mass incarceration has skyrocketed in recent years, to where people compare the disparaging rates of racialized incarceration to legalized slavery.