Can White People Suffer Discrimination?

Can White People Suffer Discrimination?

“White Boys” to “Fuck White People”:

The Racist Spectrum That Occasionally Affects Caucasians


Reading the title at the very head of this article, brushing aside that it’s clearly a loaded question, I’m sure a lot of you will have an immediate response: “Yes, of course they fucking can. You ever heard of ablesim, or homophobia. Idiot.” So, now that we have a little more room to expand, here’s what I really mean to say: can white people be discriminated against purely based on their race (and nothing else) in a way that can do them significant harm? My answer would be yes but very rarely and, more often than not, the perceived slights that whites endure are often blown out of proportion in a way that trivialises actual discrimination. Outside of that, though, it can happen and it can be a truly horrendous thing when it does. This strange, sad week has given us an example of both instances.

So, let’s take a look at what happened to former American Idol contestant Bo Bice earlier this week. At a Popeye’s Chicken joint in an Atlanta airport, Bice was subjected to what he deemed “racist behaviour” when a black employee working at the restaurant referred to him as “that white boy over there.” To correct this, Bice contacted Fox 5, an Atlanta-based subsidiary of Fox News, to complain about this mistreatment in a segment on their network. At one point, he straight-up cries, turns to the camera and, pointing right down the lens, declares, “America, you should be ashamed!”

Let’s get this out of the way: Bo Bice, who sounds like he was named by a nine-year-old hillbilly who was just taught that alliteration’s a hoot, is a ridiculous fucking human being. When I first heard about this nonsense, it was my immediate intention to write a full-piece evisceration of the dude, titled “World’s Bravest White Boy Fixes America’s Race Problem With Golden Tears”; it would have started, “Like Rosa Parks before him…” and continued on much in the same light. The thing is, though, some pretty heavy shit happened in Chicago this week that we’ll have to get to in a moment, so I can only spend a brief amount of time shredding this cornball, yuckster douche bag. That being said, here we go: sir, you are a weeping arsehole. Being called a “white boy”, by any person at any point in time from now until the sun engulfs us, will never be something worth crying about on television. Far be it for me to dictate the terms of someone else’s pain or experiences but you, you second-rate Garth Brooks sac stain, do not get to do this. The very fact of who and what you are in this world means that you never have to do this, you veiny dickhead. Even if (if!) we can go ahead and give some benefit of the doubt as to how much distress this really caused you, I still don’t give a fuck. It’s like if someone in a wheelchair accidentally ran over your toe and you started complaining to me about how much your life sucks in front of that person. You need some goddamn perspective, my damp-palmed, swap-spawned amigo. Next time, go to KFC.

Bo Bice, wishing he’d talked to his agent before initiating this shit. (Fox 5)

Moving on (though I really wish we didn’t have to), we come to this horrific mess: a few days ago in Chicago, an 18-year-old man with “mental health challenges” was filmed on Facebook Live being restrained, gagged, beaten and having his hair and scalp cut with a knife. The young man was white and his four attackers black; they were, in fact, his class mates. As they assaulted him, the assailants yelled things like, “Fuck Donald Trump”, “Fuck white people” and that the guy they’re hurting, “represents Trump.” The original video went on for 30 minutes; if you think you can stomach it, here’s a link to a shortened version.

The young man who was assaulted, mouth bound with tape and looking terrified. (Facebook Live Screenshot)

At this point, it bears saying that this is not some perverse competition or misguided attempt at comparison with the black experience in America. Slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, Rodney King, police shooting after police shooting and all manner of general racist fuckey make it undeniable: being black or any sort of minority in America, even in 2017, sucks. Indeed, it would take the entirety of this site’s capacity to hold every video of an injustice being visited upon a person of colour in America just from the last year alone. But that doesn’t change the fact that the actions of these people, the three attackers and the woman filming who can’t stop laughing, are indefensible. They are, to borrow a popular term from the election cycle, deplorable. They represent the worst tendencies that exist in all of us, to take out our anger, frustration and disillusionment out on easy scapegoats, symbols of the things that trouble us rather than taking time to address the issue itself. Worse still, it’s given the conservative movement who back Donald Trump ammo to fire at liberals, to proclaim that a double standard is being imposed by the media who so frequently harp on about the horrors endured by non-white citizens. See, being racist and violent as shit to a sickening degree is very much trademarked by white people but it’s one of those few inventions that we’re not actually all that proud of; consequently, it’s just about the only field in which we seem to openly invite integration, just to take the stink off of ourselves.

The four attackers who, I think we can all agree, can fuck right off. (Chicago Police Department)

Look, shit like this doesn’t happen in a vacuum and, most often, it tends to swing to the other extremity: the number of hate crimes that have been committed against minorities, Muslims and any number of non-white groups since Trump’s election has been staggering, and blaming Trump for the actions of either camp, whether it be his supporters or detractors, is pointless and wastes time. It needs to be said, however, that the environment in which these sorts of things can happen has been cultivated by what a lot of black Americans must now see as a divided country, one in which the commander-in-chief has called their entire race “lazy” and supports a “stop-and-frisk” form of policing that unfairly targets African-Americans. This justifies nothing, but does go someway towards explaining it.

Can we just say, “Fuck you” at this point and call it a day? (Uncredited, maybe Satan)

Ultimately, I’m not expecting a new wave of black-on-white crime to start rippling through the United States, as I’m sure no one with a reasonable outlook does. It’s worth pairing the two of these stories together though: Bo Bice’s insane overreaction to not being oppressed in the slightest with the brutal assault of a young white man who seemed to symbolise, for his attackers, White America’s ills. It needs to be considered that real pain, real and proper suffering at the hands of hatred, is not something to jump on or aspire to. It tells us that people like Bice, with nothing better to whine about than imagined prejudice, muddy the waters when it comes to those actions that are motivated by race, and how difficult it can be to have a conversation about it when it actually happens if there’s one fuckhead who insists it’s been happening to him all along.

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