According to onetime American Idol hopeful Bo Bice, a recent incident with an Atlanta Popeye’s employee left him shocked and hurt after a woman called him what is apparently the worse epithet you could ever hurl at a white man: “white boy.”
In a now deleted Facebook post, Bice claims that one of the employees made fun of his name and laughed at him, prompting him to call the company’s 1-800 number and file a complaint.
“Now, if the tables had been turned and I as a white male treated any person of ethnicity anyway resembling how [the employee] spoke to and treated me, I’d be considered racist.” Bice wrote. “Soooooo….”
Speaking to Fox 5 Atlanta, Bice described the encounter that took place at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
“The three ladies behind the counter asked whose food it was. Just when I turned around, one of them said ‘that white boy,’” Bice told the station. “If tables had been turned and I used something as insensitive like that, you’re talking about I would be boycotted, there would be people not buying my albums, there’d be people coming and picketing at my shows and everything else.”
Bice, you’ll remember, made it to the season finale of American Idol in 2005 before losing to Carrie Underwood and going on to record three moderately popular studio albums in subsequent years.
Soon after Bice’s incident at the airport Popeye’s made the local news, Mack II Inc., the company that oversees the airport’s food service, issued Bice a public apology and said that “corrective action” had been taken against the employee in question.
“The company does not condone the behavior of one of our associates,” the company’s statement read. “Also, we will require re-training of our associates to ensure this isolated incident does not occur again.”
Despite the apology, though, Bice tearfully bemoaned that he was forced to recount what happened to him on social media.
“The fact that I’ve got to sit on TV and come down a notch and look like a petty little brat by tweeting and Facebooking this just to open up dialogue so we can have an adult conversation is ridiculous,” Bice told Fox 5 Atlanta, tears in his eyes and voice cracking. “America, you should be ashamed.”
While there’s a long, painful history of the word “boy” being used to emasculate and demean black men, the same simply isn’t true for white men.
But as Bice wrote in a second, lengthier Facebook post, he’s just out here trying to speak his truth to power. Or something.
“Stand up to this behavior, today it’s me, tomorrow it could be you our your loved ones who are starting down the barrel of the PC Police gun,” Bice said. “They don’t have to use the true [sic], it’s hard enough to get them to except [sic] it.”