“I can tell you this — I will never lose to a white boy in my life. I don’t care what nobody got to say. Listen, can’t no white boy beat me, I don’t care, on any day of the week. I fight a white boy like 10 times, I’m gonna beat him 10 times.” This quote comes from a resurfaced live stream from boxer heavyweight Devin Haney, talking about his impending fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko, a three-weight world champion, from the Ukraine. Clearly, there is a prejudicial use of language in this, and included in this video of similar quotes from fellow boxer Bernard Hopkins, and basketball legend Charles Barkley, using ‘white’ as an incentive not to lose.

So, as expected there has been the usual mutterings of, ‘if it was a white boxer saying that there would be no way he would allow a black boxer to beat him, it would be racist’, which would no doubt been treated with a much higher coverage than Haney’s live stream, of which he later apologised for. Haney’s initial statement, in the grand scheme of things, was stating the obvious; that he feels that there would be shame in defeat to a white boxer. Nowhere in Haney’s video did he once state that white boxers were inferior at any level of ability, endurance, or strength. One way to see his statement is that he acknowledges Lomachenko’s prowess, and that the fact the Ukrainian is white is Haney’s extra incentive. Haney is 21 years-old, still learning his craft, and probably still learning how to present himself in interviews, which would rest heavily on his team and his representatives.

In America, where this kind of (what I believe to really be just a naïve 21-year old’s) trash talk, this term is widely accepted, or more accepted at this present time due to the racial tension, and the tinderbox of emotion that is still prevalent in the USA. However, is it really that offensive in the UK? Some will say that yes, it is. Some will believe that it’s equally as bad as flipping the situation. It isn’t, when you really study and learn, and comprehend the connotations of racial bias and language, and the effects that it has.

As a white person, do I really care about being called a ‘white boy’?

No. I couldn’t care less.

This is a comment that is neither here nor there to me and guaranteed to be thought of in a similar vein by many of my friends. Clearly, if the word ‘boy’ had been the word ‘c*nt’, or ‘bitch’ if directed towards a female, then this would cause offence, but still not really as a racial slur, and there is an exceptionally good reason.

I am white, already established, and never been abused or judged on the colour of my skin. My skin colours’ history has not been abused, raped, invaded, or used to insult me. My country has never been decimated and had the indigenous population enslaved, traded, then looked down on for hundreds of years. I have never been called any of the horrendous and prehistoric terms that have always used against people of ‘colour’, and not just black people. Globally, white people do not have any names that would incite the passion and rage that I have heard called, directly or indirectly, to other nations and continents. This is still obvious now, let alone the effects of hundreds of years of invasion by white countries, and obviously white people, and people treated as less than second-class citizens, some not as citizens at all. Even in this century, embarrassingly and shamefully in my own lifetime, the comments and insults of racial prejudice have not subsided. In America, schools in predominantly black communities have teams competing with schools of more diverse backgrounds, and of predominantly white students. Would it be acceptable and understandable that the teams from the black communities, generally less affluent areas and poorer areas, due to reasons beyond their control, would have a deeper desire to beat the ‘white boys/girls’, than the school two miles away and with the same population base? Of course, and with good reason. A still imbedded feeling that the white teams believe that they are superior, which is based on historical fact and heritage being lost.

In a similar way to my previous article on white privilege, I haven’t had to feel this. Not once. Mild banter with my Asian brother-from-next-door when I was a child. Being told that I have an ‘ice cream tub face’ still makes me smile to this very day, to literally as I type. I have the privilege to be able to take the piss out of myself, and comfortable that this ‘white boy’ really cannot dance and is bloody awful at basketball. Does this make me a stereotype? Yes, 100%. Does this make other white people cringe with embarrassment? Doubtful. And why not?

It’s not in white history.

Never stop learning. Be relentless. Knowledge is power.

James Caldecoat

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