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White Like Me

Feb. 04, 2002
Feb. 04, 2002

Table of Contents
Feb. 4, 2002

Winter Olympic Preview

White Like Me

Look how white I am. Am I lame or what? Can't jump. Can't dance.
Can't run. Can't dress. Can't hang.

This is an article from the Feb. 4, 2002 issue Original Layout

It's O.K. I know I'm a pathetic White Guy. I'm at peace with it.
In fact I laugh about it all the time. I have to. Black athletes
today love to make fun of us White Guys.

Last week, for instance, boxer Mike Tyson had a little fun with
white reporter Mark Malinowski at Tyson's press conference-cage
match with Lennox Lewis. Grabbing his crotch and using his best
prison vocabulary, Tyson challenged Malinowski to fight and then
accused him of being "scared like a little white p----" because
he wouldn't. In American trash talk today that's three put-downs
in a row. Little. White. And p----.

Now if a white heavyweight grabbed his crotch and called a black
reporter a "little black p----," he'd be spending the rest of
his days playing Parcheesi with Al Campanis and Dan Issel.
Nobody, though, demanded that Tyson apologize to Malinowski,
least of all Malinowski.

Not to worry, it's cool! Last season Toronto Raptors star Vince
Carter came onto the court to discover he was being covered by
the Minnesota Timberwolves' Wally Szczerbiak. Carter turned to
the Minnesota bench with a smile and said, according to
Szczerbiak, "You better get this white guy off me, or I'm going
to score 40." (Carter denies referring to Szczerbiak's race.)

Was Carter fined? Suspended? Ordered to spend six weeks in a
white-sensitivity workshop? Nah. We're White Guys. What are we
going to do, sue?

Sometimes we're not even White Guys. We're White Boys. In his
book Shaq Talks Back, Shaquille O'Neal wrote, "If you get dunked
on by a white boy, you got to come home to your friends and hear
it."

Hilarious! Of course it wouldn't be nearly as funny if, say,
David Stern wrote in his book, "If you get outnegotiated by a
black boy, you got to go to the country club and hear it." He'd
be taped naked to the hood of Jesse Jackson's car. Still, was
Shaq rocked by scandal? Did principals pull the book out of
school libraries? Nah. Because all us crackers know it's true!
If we dunk on you, you really suck!

Besides, anytime you can slip in the phrase white boy these days,
it's just damn funny. Now, if you called Jerry Rice a "black boy"
or Ichiro Suzuki a "yellow boy" or Notah Begay a "red boy," you'd
be begging spare change at a bus station inside a week. But it's
fine. We're the last unprotected race, so bash away!

Some White Guys aren't sure it's all that amusing, like Denver
Nuggets forward Raef LaFrentz. "When people call me 'white boy,'
I take it as an insult," he says. "It's a negative racial term,
just like the n word." However, Dallas Mavericks guard Steve Nash
says he finds it funny when black guys tell him, "You're pretty
good for a white boy."

"Besides," Nash says, "it's pretty accurate, right?"

See, we White Guys know we suck. We hear it all the time. When we
hoop, we've got White Man's Disease. When we dance, we've got
White Man's Overbite. When we jam, we're just Average White Band.
We know if Larry Bird were black, he'd be, as Isiah Thomas said,
"just another guy." We know we're supposed to giggle when Charles
Barkley says, "See? This is what I hate about white people." He's
right! We're all exactly the same!

When ESPN debuted its terrific new talk show, Pardon the
Interruption, the preview ads promised it "wasn't pretty." To
prove it, host Tony Kornheiser said, "We're old. We're fat. We're
bald. And we're white." Then his partner Michael Wilbon, who is
black, said, "And one of us is blind." Poor Tony. He's got the
big four strikes against him right there. Old. Fat. Bald. And
white. Hey, the truth hurts.

We White Guys have faced it. We're wack at most everything.
Basically the only thing we dominate now is stuff black people
don't have the right clothes to try--lumberjack contests and luge.
But we shred documents like nobody's damn business!

We're not mad. We've come to grips with it. Even when we do
something good--like the three white firemen who raised the U.S.
flag at ground zero--we understand you have to change two of the
guys' race to nonwhite when you want to build the statue. Who
wants three White Guys hanging around forever?

What, you thought White Guys had feelings?

COLOR PHOTO: DANA FINEMAN/SYGMA
I know I'm a pathetic White Guy. I laugh about it all the time. I
have to. Black athletes love to make fun of us.