Ryan Lochte had an opportunity to come clean and give his side of the story. During his most recent interview with Matt Lauer, Lochte never fully took responsibility and continued to dodge the truth. Lochte told Lauer that he thought that he was a victim and didn’t know if the encounter was robbery or extortion. It was another blatant lie because a translator informed Lochte and the other swimmers that money was needed because they vandalized property.
However, Lochte has provided substantial evidence to the world on the reality of White male privilege. It’s a condition that causes a segment of White men to believe that there aren’t repercussions for their ridiculous actions. Because Lochte really believed that he could get away with vandalizing property, lying about a robbery, leaving the country to escape trouble, and continuing to lie while seeing himself as the victim. And other people, such as IOC spokesman Mario Andrada, have given Lochte and his crew a pass by saying that they are “kids” who made a mistake. Lochte, 32, is decades removed from being a kid, but White privilege causes him to believe that he can still act like a kid and get away with it.
It’s a privilege that Black kids have yet to experience in America. Because when Black kids make the mistake of wearing a hoodie (Trayvon Martin); holding a toy gun (Tamir Rice); or walking away from police (Laquan McDonald), they somehow end up dead. Black men such as Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Eric Garner and others paid with their life for things that were perceived as mistakes.
But Lochte made a mistake and attempted to blame it on criminals because he was aware of the high poverty in Rio. He never thought that innocent men of color could have been arrested for his stupidity. But causing destruction, blaming it on others and running when it’s time to clean up the damage is the epitome of White male privilege.
Lochte will eventually move beyond this moment without paying a heavy price for the damage that was done. But the world got a chance to see how some White males believe that consequences are only reserved for people who don’t look like them.