The Offended White Boy

Do you remember Bo Bice? Neither did I. Not too long ago there was a show called American Idol, where semi-talented singers entered a contest to get a record deal. In 2005, Bice competed on the show but lost to Carrie Underwood. Like many who didn’t win the competition, Bo Bice has had a career under the radar. That changed this week.

This is the quickest way to explain why Bice is in the news. This is from his Wikipedia page:

In January 2017, Bo Bice took offense when employees at a Popeye’s chicken restaurant in Atlanta, GA called him “that white boy”. In an interview with a local Fox station, Bice went into tears over discussing the incident.

The paragraph gives as much discussion as should be given of the incident, but considering the coverage CNN and, obviously, FoxNews has given over the incident, this really needs to looked into context.

Are you that sensitive Bo Bice? Some workers at a Popeye’s Chicken call you ‘that white boy’ and you’re going to tear up on national television because you’re offended. Are you upset because they called you boy instead of man? Please don’t tell me you have never been called a white boy before?

When I first looked up information on Bice, I thought about giving him the benefit of the doubt, a slim benefit, because he lived in England for a number of his teenage years. I dropped that benefit after I saw his entire musical career was based on the Southern Rock, Sweet Home Alabama style of music. There’s no way on God’s green Earth that if you live in the South Bo Bice hasn’t been called a white boy.

From the FoxNews website Bice says the following:

Bice told FOX 32, “The three ladies behind the counter asked whose food it was. Just when I turned around, one of them said ‘that white boy.'”

Bice said he was taken aback by the encounter.

“If tables had been turned and I used something as insensitive like that… I would be boycotted, people wouldn’t buy my albums.”

He said the incident is an opportunity to start a conversation.

“I started this conversation so that we can have open dialogue about how no one should be called a boy,” Bice told FOX News Radio. “Maybe they should grow up and use better language. Maybe we should have a culture where we don’t have such perverted divisive language.” 

Looking at what I’m seeing, his main objection is being called ‘boy’ but let’s break this down a little further. I’m going to take a leap of faith and assume the three workers that called him that white boy were black. I’m assuming this since if it had been three white workers that called him white I don’t think we would get the water works. At my job, I get a lot of calls from the South. At least once a day, I’ll get a call from someone who will tell me words to effect of Mr. Charlie came out to work on this or Miss Daisy wants that fixed. That whole Southern deference to using the Miss Hattie or Mr. Fred kind of dialog makes me angry. I’m thinking to myself, you’re not on Tera, you ain’t helping Miss Scarlett. Be an adult.

In the realm of offensive language, being called that white boy by a bunch of black workers isn’t the most horrible thing I can think of happening to a white male who has a modest singing career and when offended can go on national television to cry about how offended they are at being called that white boy. They didn’t call you cracker, whitey or honkey.

Oh, and Bice, trying to use the ‘double standard’ card is really weak. What you’re trying to say when you mention what would happen if the tables were turned, is an argument you can’t go down. As you have put it, calling you boy is highly offensive, which I would argue a lot of people would disagree with. For you to say something that would be offensive to a black person, well, you know where you would have to go and you wouldn’t do it because it would be highly offensive.

I get so tired of people using the mildest form of possible racism to compare it to obvious, no question about it racism. The comparison is posed in situations like Bice; where a pinprick of inconveniences is compared to larger racial issues. If they called you a honkey or White devil, you know what I would say those workers were out of line. That didn’t happen. He wasn’t called a dirty White boy, a heathen White boy or anything else disparagingly except that he was called boy. Because he was called boy he wants to have a dialog on race relations? Yes, I believe we need a dialog but I’m sorry, you being called that white boy isn’t a rallying flag I’m willing to support.

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One Response to The Offended White Boy

  1. Great post, Reg. I think he’s getting extra play in this post-Trump environment where so many white people who don’t get white privilege think it’s ok to claim reverse discrimination or much, much worse.

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