Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber: First to be diagnosed with 2014 affluenza strain?

Before the month of January is even over, it seems that “affluenza” has struck Justin Bieber.

The 19-year-old Bieber was recently arrested for DUI, drag racing and resisting arrest. The pop star admitted he had been smoking pot all day long. Bieber’s father, Jeremy, was with his son and helped block off the street for his son’s Lamborghini drag race with a Ferrari.  The Ferrari was driven by Def Jam Records singer Khalil Amir Sharieff. Bieber was released on $2,500 bail.

Despite the seriousness of the charges, the bail in this case was set at $2,500 which is normal for the offenses for which the star is charged. Bieber was represented by celebrity lawyer to the stars Roy Black.

During his arrest, Bieber was reported to be verbally combative and cursing at the arresting officer and refusing the officer’s orders to stop moving. When the officer issued Bieber a field sobriety test, Bieber failed. According to the officer, Bieber had “bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcoholic beverages.”

Bieber’s had a rough start to 2014. He was charged with egging a neighbor’s house recently and one of his house guests was charged with drug possession. Despite Bieber’s disrespectful conduct toward the police, drunk driving, pot smoking and visiting brothels in Brazil; he is not being labeled a drunken thug. In fact, the words most often used to describe him are “a troubled young star.” How different than the way Richard Sherman was vilified. Sherman was full of adrenaline, not cursing, but bragging and was quickly branded as a black thug. But Bieber just has a problem, while Sherman’s actions are interpreted as that of a sociopath waiting to strike. Nancy Grace stated on CNN of Bieber that it was “Too much bad behavior and no one has called him on it.”  Sounds like a case of affluenza.

Ethan Couch, 16, first claimed affluenza as a defense for his drunk driving. Couch was three times the legal limit for intoxication in Texas and killed four people. But yet because of affluenza, Couch was the victim because his rich and powerful parents always gave him everything he wanted and instilled a mind-set of privilege. But there is no such diagnosis for a young black like Richard Sherman. It seems that for black males in the spotlight iy’s an automatic diagnosis of “thuggerosis.”

Mo Barnes

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.